• Isaiah Lawrence

What Exactly Is Digital Art and Is It Better Than Traditional Art?

Digital art is an artistic work or practice, using digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. It is simply art made via computer software in a digital age. In the future, the definition of digital art may slightly change due to constant technology improvements. Digital art is regularly thought of as art created on a computer, but a better description is art created on an electronic device. Now, that we know the definition of digital art, what are examples of digital art? What is the difference from digital art and traditional art and is it better?


Examples of digital art are fractal/algorithmic art, dynamic painting, pixel art, 2D computer graphics, 3D computer graphics, digital photography, photo painting, etc. Some digital art styles vary in the difficulty process, but all you need is a computer with the proper software you are looking for.


Fashion-girl” 320x496px 107.68 KB.’ ©. Apr. 30, 2020.


The advantages of digital art:


• It can be more convenient to get started and finish a project once you learn how to use it.

• There are unlimited, experimental possibilities (like creating many layers and painting from any color).

• You have the undo button where you do not have to wait for a paintbrush to dry (making edits within seconds).

• It is easier to duplicate for clients.


The disadvantages of digital art:


• There are unlimited possibilities (which can lead to creative paralysis).

• There is no original copy.

• It is arguably too easy (but it takes a great level of skill in order to produce astonishing digital art.

• Malfunctions happen, so anyone with technology may be aware of troubleshooting. At times, technology may not be your best friend.


The software you use for digital art is up to you, rather it is “Blender,” “Clip Studio Paint Pro,” “Maya,” “Adobe Photoshop,” “Artweaver 7,” “Krita,” etc. Focusing specifically on CAD (computer-aided design) softwares specifically for fashion designing, there are softwares like “CLO,” “Tuka 3D,” and “Browzwear.”


Moonfall.” ©. Sept. 2, 2017.


The advantages of traditional art:


• Original/physical artwork costs more than digital art.

• Imperfections created in the art have a unique value.

• There is a broad range of physical mediums for a hands-on experience.


The disadvantages of traditional art:


• The simplest mistake may be hard to remove (especially if you varnished a painting).

• The reproduction process may require the artist to recreate the same piece physically, to use a scanner, or digital camera.

• When you run out of supplies, you have to buy more.


Art supplies can obviously get expensive. Any starving artist can tell you that.


Romance At The Beach” A vintage Mexican calendar cover of a couple having a romantic time at the beach.’©. Jan. 25, 2019.


What is the difference between digital art and traditional art? It is simple to understand. Digital art uses digital technologies to produce art. Traditional art use traditional mediums like acrylic paints, oil paints, watercolors, temperas, gouaches, fresco, murals, graphites, pencils, color pencils, pens and inks, markers, charcoals, conte crayons, chalks, India inks, oil pastels, airbrushes, spray paints, and more. Such mediums have existed, been developed, and been improved.


Get ready to feel older than necessary. In 1440, Goldsmith and inventor Johannes Gutenberg experimented with printing in Strasbourg, France. This was when he was a political exile from Mainz, Germany. By 1450, Johannes returned to Mainz, having a printing machine ready to use. 180 copies of the 1,300-paged Gutenberg Bible were printed (where each page contained 42 lines in Gothic type and double columns, showing some letters in color).


Optical Illusion Beige Swirl.” ©. Feb. 21, 2012.


The first mechanical printer was designed in the 1800s by Charles Babbage. A precursor to printers and keyboards, the typewriter was invented by Christopher Sholes in 1868. It is safe to say that printers are a part of digital art as well, currently providing us POD (print on demand) services).


Dating back to the 1950s, many artists and designers worked with mechanical devices and analogue computers (viewed as a precursor to the work of digital pioneers who paved the way). 1952 is the year when one of the earliest electronic works in V&A’s collection called ‘Oscillon 40’ was created. Ben Laposky manipulated electronic waves that appeared on a small fluorescent screen with an oscilloscope. Remington Rand (best known originally as a typewriter manufacturer) developed the first high-speed printer in 1953.


Back in the 1960s, computing technology was expensive with no ‘user interface' (like icons or a mouse, and portable, pre-existing software. In the 1970s, that is when artists took the initiative to teach themselves how to program, instead of relying on computer programmers. One would think at such a period, many practitioners of programming would have a scientific or mathematical background, but they came from a traditional fine arts background.


Dreadlocks” ©. Apr. 26, 2009.


The term digital art came about in the 1980s when Harold Cohen (a pioneering digital artist) invented a paint program. While it is a paint program designed to make large drawings on sheets of paper placed on the floor, it is also a robotic machine (known as AARON). As we know it today, technology became more sophisticated. That is when computer graphics and digital effects were used in feature films like ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit,’ ‘Back to the Future,’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ as well as with television programmes.


It was 1987 when Photoshop was developed by the American brothers, Thomas and John Knoll, then in 1988, they sold the distribution license to Adobe Systems Incorporated. Photoshop, (the software known for editing and manipulating digital images) was originally created as a solution for displaying grayscale images on monochrome displays.

Dalmatian Digital Painting Note 10.12560x2560px 1.77 MB. ©Apr. 11, 2014.


Digital art can be described as a computer generated, scan or drawing, with a tablet and a mouse. In the 1990s, that is when it was convenient to simply download videos onto computers, readily available for creative manipulation projects. This is how fashion design softwares were developed, introducing us to an overwhelming variety of wearable ideas.


More people are investing digital art with in NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). NFTs are built on blockchain technology, similar to Bitcoin (with tokens placed in a virtual wallet, where they can gain value in the secondary market by being sold or traded). Investing digital art in NFTs is an incorruptible proof of ownership, even if the image or video is widely replicated.


Digital art advanced to the point where they can be seen at some contemporary art exhibits with camera-based technology. It is much more convenient in many cases to email images of your digital art to others, giving them a virtual experience (like they attended openings, lectures, biennials, fairs, and galas).


Duel Truck with Trailer” Heres another view of my Peterbilt truck model… ©. 6 Sept. 2013.


It comes down to the question, “Is digital art a better choice than traditional art?” To answer that question, it all depends on your personal preference. You may despise creating traditional art because you are not skilled at it yet, but it just takes practice. Digital art can give you the same amount of features as a skilled traditional artist and if not, more. “Why would you say more,” you may ask. Well, if you are tech-savvy and confess to being nerdy, you may find yourself creating a wall-mounted, visual, digital art piece (with illusions).


Would you prefer to create art on an easel, observing your natural surroundings. Or would you prefer to create your art on an electronic device while looking at a Google image? Switch it up and use traditional art to paint from a Google image and you can still create fabulous art.


With traditional art, you can experiment, creating an endless amount of illusions as well. If digital art really was not real art, then anyone wondering about digital art versus traditional art, should no longer wonder. Instead of just a laptop, inspiring artists can use a wireless, touch-screen, graphic tablet with compatible pens. Many customers mention the tablet (which can be connected to the computer) makes creating digital art more convenient.



Work Cites:


Lucidsea79. Fashion-girl. 30 Apr. 2021.

Urban Style Comics. Urban Style Comics. 2021.

Mehndiratta, Sumit. Fine Art America. Optical Illusion Beige Swirl. 21 Feb. 2012.

Parker, Stephen. Romance At The Beach.Fine Art America. 25 Jan. 2019.

Peters, Justin. Behance. Moonfall. 2 Sep. 2017.

laziee2ann. Deviant Art. https://www.deviantart.com/laziee2ann/art/Dalmatian-Digital-Painting-Note10-1-446735108

Swartz, Stuart. Fine Art America. Duel Truck with Trailer. 6 Sept. 2013.