Differences between digital and traditional drawing

2 2 - Differences between digital and traditional drawing

There is a huge debate on whether digital art takes skill or not. In my opinion, it does, but we’re not talking about that today. Today we’ll be discussing the differences between digital art and traditional art along with their advantages and disadvantages. At the end, I’ll add my own opinion to this topic.

What does ‘digital’ and ‘traditional’ in the art world mean?

First off what does digital art and traditional art mean? Maybe some people might not be familiar with these terms so that everybody starts off on the same page I’ll explain it in short words. Traditional art has been a thing for centuries, it’s art that is part of the culture of a group of people, of which skills and knowledge are passed down through generations. But traditional art is mostly just art that has been drawn physically in real life. Digital art is a new form of art that has been available since the 1970s. It’s an artistic work that uses technology to create a piece of art. In traditional art, you’d usually use paper and pencils of some type of sort, but in digital art, you’d usually use a computer, a software and a tablet, the prices for the equipment for these two different mediums may vary. I’ll talk about those again later on.

So now that you have a rough idea of what traditional and digital art is, let’s talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of these two.

Advantages of Traditional art

  • Traditional art materials have been used for centuries and have improved over time which makes it feel special.
  • Physical and original. An original piece of artwork is often considered worth more than a print or a digital file.
  • The feeling of having something original in your hands. Some people love and enjoy the feeling of having something valuable and original in their hands or as their own.
  • The imperfections. The flaws of an artwork that was created by hand have an authentic value.

Disadvantages of Traditional art

  • Mistakes are difficult to remove. If you have ever drawn something and have made a mistake you either have to embrace it or cover it up.
  • Unable to replicate or duplicate. Of course, this could also be an advantage because that piece of artwork is unique, but sometimes if you want to try out different color schemes you wouldn’t be able to duplicate the piece without a digital medium.
  • Materials can get expensive. If you run out of materials you have to go out and buy more which can be expensive, but then again, the price depends on what materials you use.
1 - Differences between digital and traditional drawing
by Monika Zagrobelna

Advantages of Digital art

  • Easier to get started and to work quickly with.
  • The undo button. You can undo mistakes with just buttons/keys which means mistakes aren’t permanent.
  • Less equipment. As I mentioned above you don’t need to buy a lot just to get started with. You’d need a computer, software and a tablet and you’re ready to go.

Disadvantages of Digital art

  • Unlimited options.
  • No original/physical copy. As I said above, an original piece is often considered worth more than a print or a file.

My own Opinion

I use both mediums. I love drawing traditionally and digitally. I personally don’t prefer one over the other. Sometimes I do enjoy digital drawing more due to me also wanting to animate at times but sometimes when you have an idea it’s just easier to sketch it out on paper and let out that emotion that you might’ve been bottling up inside. I often do a mixture of both. I sketch up my idea or my doodle and if I happen to like the way it looks, I’ll finish the sketch up digitally and add details. Therefore, if you’re asking me which I prefer, I wouldn’t be able to answer since traditional art and digital art both have their own unique artistic characteristics.

-Ivana Vajagic


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