Digital vs Traditional Art: Choosing Your Medium
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. What is digital art?
  2. What is traditional art?
  3. Pros and cons of digital art
  4. Pros and cons of traditional art
  5. How to choose between digital and traditional art
  6. Resources for digital artists
  7. Resources for traditional artists

When you're standing at the crossroads of creativity, the question of digital drawing vs traditional art can seem like a towering mountain. It's not just about picking up a brush or stylus; it's about choosing a path that will shape your artistic journey. So, let's take a step-by-step walk through this exciting terrain and discover what each medium has to offer.

What is digital art?

Imagine having a magical canvas that lets you undo mistakes, experiment with an infinite palette, and share your masterpiece with the world at the click of a button. That's digital art for you. It's art born out of the marriage between creativity and technology; it involves using digital tools—like computer software, apps, and digital drawing tablets—to create visuals. It's like playing a video game where you're both the player and the designer, and the outcome is a beautiful piece of art.

Here's what makes digital art stand out:

  • Flexibility: With digital art, you're not limited by physical resources. You can draw, paint, erase, or change colors without wasting a single drop of paint or damaging your canvas.
  • Variety: From a simple sketch to a complex 3D model, digital art allows you to explore a wide range of styles and techniques. Think of it as having an art store at your fingertips.
  • Accessibility: One of the biggest advantages of digital art is that it's easily shareable. You can post your artwork online, reach a global audience, and even sell prints or merchandise.

But remember, like any other form of art, digital art also demands practice and patience. Mastering the tools can be a learning curve in itself—but don't let that intimidate you. Just as you learned how to hold a pencil, you'll learn how to use a stylus. And once you get the hang of it, you'll find that the digital canvas is a playground of endless possibilities.

What is traditional art?

Picture this: a tranquil studio, the smell of fresh paint, the rustle of a brush against canvas. That's the world of traditional art. It's the art of using physical materials like pencils, pastels, watercolors, oils, and more to create tangible pieces of work. Traditional art is like a hands-on science experiment, where you mix colors, manipulate textures, and witness the magic unfold right before your eyes.

What makes traditional art unique? Let's explore:

  • Tactile Experience: The feel of a brush, the grain of a canvas, the texture of paint—traditional art engages your senses in a way that digital art can't. It's a hands-on, immersive experience that many artists find fulfilling.
  • Physical Presence: Unlike digital art, traditional art results in a physical object that you can touch, display, or even sell in a gallery. There's a certain charm to owning a piece of artwork that exists in the real world.
  • Uniqueness: A traditional artwork is one of a kind. It carries the artist's personal touch, from the individual brushstrokes to the subtle variations in color. This uniqueness often adds to the value of the artwork.

However, traditional art comes with its own set of challenges. Materials can be expensive, mistakes are harder to correct, and sharing your work with a wider audience can be more difficult compared to digital art. But these challenges are part of the journey, the journey of mastering your craft and creating something uniquely yours.

Whether it's digital drawing vs traditional, remember that it's not about which is better or worse—it's about which one speaks to you and helps you express your creativity.

Pros and cons of digital art

Imagine having an art studio right at your fingertips. With digital art, your computer or tablet becomes your canvas, and software programs your tools. Digital drawing is like the high-tech cousin of traditional art. It opens up a world of possibilities, but like everything else, it has its own set of pros and cons.

Let's talk about the advantages first:

  • Unlimited Tools: With digital art, you're not limited by physical supplies. From brushes to colors, everything is available at a click. Plus, you can experiment with effects like gradients or 3D modeling, pushing the boundaries of your creativity.
  • Easy Corrections: Made a mistake? No problem. The undo button is a digital artist's best friend. It allows you to correct mistakes without any trace, making the process less stressful and more forgiving.
  • Shareability: Digital art gives you the power to share your work with a global audience. You can easily upload your artwork online, get feedback, and even sell it on platforms like Etsy or DeviantArt.

However, digital art isn't without its challenges:

  • Learning Curve: Mastering digital software can be daunting. It requires patience and practice, especially if you're transitioning from traditional art.
  • Dependence on Technology: Your ability to create digital art is tied to your hardware and software. Issues like software crashes, hardware failures, or power outages can interrupt your creative process.
  • Lack of Physical Artwork: Digital art exists in the virtual realm. While you can print your work, it doesn't have the tangible, tactile qualities that a hand-painted artwork has.

The "digital drawing vs traditional" debate isn't about picking sides. It's about understanding what each medium offers and finding the one that aligns with your artistic goals. So, are you ready to dive into the world of digital art?

Pros and cons of traditional art

Let's flip the coin and look at traditional art. This is what comes to mind when you think of an artist with a palette, brush, and canvas. It's tangible, physical, and hands-on. Traditional art has stood the test of time, but like digital art, it comes with its own set of advantages and challenges.

First, let's paint a picture of the positives:

  • Tactile Experience: The feeling of the brush touching the canvas, the texture of the paper under your sketch pencil—these sensory experiences are unique to traditional art. It gives you a hands-on connection with your work that digital art can't replicate.
  • No Technical Difficulties: Traditional art is free from tech troubles. There's no software to learn, no fear of hardware failure, and no need to worry about file formats or storage.
  • Physical Artwork: With traditional art, you create a tangible piece of work. It's something you can hang on a wall or gift to someone, giving it a sense of permanence and personal touch.

However, traditional art comes with its set of hurdles:

  • Limited by Supplies: Your creativity can be bounded by the art supplies you have. Running out of a particular color or not having the right size canvas can halt your creative flow.
  • Errors are Permanent: Unlike digital art, mistakes in traditional art can't be undone with a click. While some errors can add character, others can force you to start over.
  • Difficult to Share: Sharing your traditional art with the world isn't as easy as hitting 'upload'. You need to photograph or scan your work, and the quality may not always be true to the original piece.

When it comes to "digital drawing vs traditional", there's no universal answer. Each method has its charm and challenges. Perhaps you're drawn to the tactile nature of traditional art, or maybe the limitless potential of digital art excites you. The choice, as they say, is in your hands.

How to choose between digital and traditional art

Now that we've outlined the pros and cons of both digital and traditional art, you might be wondering, "Which one should I choose?" Well, let's break it down.

First, think about your personal style and preferences. Do you enjoy the physical process of drawing, sketching, or painting with your hands? Or do you prefer using technology and enjoy the precision it can offer?

Next, consider your goals. If you're looking to work in fields like graphic design, animation, or game design, digital art is often the go-to medium. But if you're more interested in fine arts, illustration, or mural work, traditional methods might be your best bet.

Then, think about your budget. Digital art can have a higher upfront cost because of the equipment and software needed. But remember, once you've made the initial investment, there's little to no ongoing cost. On the other hand, traditional art can seem cheaper to start with, but the cost of supplies can add up over time.

Finally, there's no rule saying you have to stick to one or the other. Many artists switch between digital and traditional mediums depending on the project or how they're feeling. So why not try both?

The "digital drawing vs traditional" debate doesn't have to be an either-or decision. It's about finding what works best for you, your style, and your artistic goals.

Resources for digital artists

Embracing the world of digital art can seem daunting if you're just starting out. But don't stress! There are plenty of resources available to help you master this medium. Here are a few key ones to get you started:

  • Software: For digital drawing, software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Procreate are popular choices. Each has its own set of features and tools that can cater to different artistic styles.
  • Tutorials: Websites like YouTube, Skillshare, and Udemy offer a wealth of tutorials on digital art. Whether you're just starting or looking to refine your skills, there's a tutorial for you.
  • Online Communities: Joining forums or online art communities can be a great way to learn, get feedback, and connect with other digital artists. Websites like DeviantArt, ArtStation, and Behance have strong digital art communities.
  • Art Challenges: Participating in online art challenges can help improve your skills and provide inspiration. Try Inktober, a popular challenge where artists create a digital drawing each day for a month.

In the end, the resources you choose to use will depend on your personal preferences and the style of digital art you're interested in. So, don't be afraid to experiment and find what works for you!

Resources for traditional artists

Traditional art has its own charm, doesn't it? Working with tangible tools and materials can be a truly satisfying experience. To help you further your journey, here are some resources that could prove useful:

  • Art Supplies: Knowing where to buy high-quality supplies is the first step. Check out stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or even Amazon for a wide range of paints, brushes, canvases, and more.
  • Books: Books like 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' by Betty Edwards or 'The Natural Way to Draw' by Kimon Nicolaides can be invaluable resources to learn and refine your techniques.
  • Classes and Workshops: Look for local community centers or art schools that offer courses or workshops. This can be a great way to learn from experienced artists and get hands-on practice.
  • Art Shows and Galleries: Visiting art shows or galleries can provide inspiration and give you an idea of what other artists are creating. Plus, who wouldn't love a day out surrounded by beautiful art?

Remember, everyone has their own unique journey with art. What matters is that you enjoy the process and continue to learn and grow. So, why not grab a brush, some paint, and start creating some magic?

If you're interested in exploring the intersection of digital and traditional art, check out our 'Daisie Original Animation Course' with none another than Alex Jenkins who will you take you through his complete animation process. Dive in and take your animation skills to the next level!