Traditional art Vs Digital art

Oooh, GOOD question!

It depends on what type of traditional art and what type of digital art are we talking about. You will find a lot of traditional art that requires zero skill and hard work. The same can be said for some digital art.

Traditional art Vs Digital art
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Which requires more skill: digital art or traditional art? Why?

I consider myself Both a  traditional Artist and a Digital Artist. I have been doing digital art as well and I will give you an answer based on my experience.

Let’s assume that we are talking about good work here – it involves skill, research, imagination, and talent. Let’s not talk about blank canvas and stolen copy/pasted ideas.

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Traditional art and digital art, while having certain things in common, have a very different approach.

It is true, you cannot press ctrl+z on your canvas and undo mistakes, but the very fact that you can do that on digital drawing sets the bar higher up. What do I mean by that? I shall explain.

Good traditional art is not easy to master. But I think the same can be said for digital. There are so many digital artists out there, you have to be extremely good if you want to shine through them.

Digital art will not get appreciated as much as traditional because people usually think you can copy/paste it and that is it. It is true. You can.

But you can do the very same thing with traditional work, only most people do not know about it. I have met painters who are pretty much “cheating”.

They would print pictures on a canvas (that can be done), take some paint, and “fix” it so it looks like it is all done with their bare hands.

They would find some surreal photographs online (steal them without artists’ permission), put them in Photoshop, “fix them”, print them, and then paint them just to sell them as their ideas.

Some, honestly, do that. The worse thing is they get appreciated as “great masters and painters”. Now, this was bonus information. Let’s continue…

Why is traditional art harder?

Traditional art is now “harder” for me because it takes longer to master. I’m not talking about being able to draw.

I’m talking about becoming familiar with the technique, knowing how to choose the right colors, planning ahead of time (because you can’t ctrl+z it), selecting the right brush, physically applying the right pressure, and knowing how to paint details without painting them (because you cannot zoom in).

Digital art is simpler because there is only one thing to learn – your technique. You can make any brush you want, set the opacity, and do so many other things that would take years of practice on canvas.

Why is digital art harder?

Digital art is so difficult because it is totally different from traditional art. Many qualified artists know they are new to a digital art platform and must learn the basics again. They are starting again

In digital art, you don’t have a natural paint flow. You don’t get a sense of the brush actually touching the canvas.

It’s only on the surface. It’s not true. It takes some getting used to (if you are a traditional artist).

Colors cannot be mixed in any way. The approach is unique.

I can’t glaze or pick a color to play with. It’s just the way it is. Pixels are the smallest unit of measurement.

That was the most difficult part for me. You must put your trust in a machine, your monitor, and phony colors, and believe that it will do exactly what you want.

As a result, what makes it “easier” can actually make it “harder.”

In that regard, tradition is simpler. You can sense it. That’s how I’d describe it.

So that was my personal experience. If you want to do both professionally, you will notice that what makes one easier makes the other harder.

People have different perspectives on it, which is natural. To be a good artist, you must put in a lot of effort, as well as have a lot of skill and talent.

The best option is to try them both. I frequently see both sides arguing about which is harder, better, and so on. I consider myself a traditional artist.

That’s how I got started. I’ve only been doing digital art for about 5 years. On the other hand, I’ve been a traditional painter and a Digital painter for over 15 years.

I had always assumed that digital art could not be compared to traditional art, so I gave it a shot. That is why I stand by my words.


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Which costs more, traditional art or digital art?

The cost of art depends primarily on two things: the skills of the artist, and the material cost for the medium. This holds true whether working in traditional art or digital.

Photoshop is not cheap, GIMP is cheap. You get what you pay for.

Oil paint and canvas is not cheap, pencils and paper are cheap. You get what you pay for.

Generally speaking though, the value of an artist’s work depends more on experience and skill than medium/materials: practice and training. Postgraduate education, whether it’s a few courses in website design, or a bachelor’s degree in lithography printmaking, makes that time significantly more valuable.

Incidentally, my mother has both of those. She charges about 180$ CDN per hour for graphic design services, and her rates are on the low side. She can design both your website and your business cards, though, so she effectively gets twice as much work from each client.

A much better question to ask, an artist considering whether to pursue traditional or digital media is; what can you endure more of? If you can stand to sit and work digitally for 10 hours a day, but more than 3 hours in front of a canvas/sketchbook will drive you batty, maybe go with digital.

How do you price your art, both digital and traditional?

This is basically done by three parameters:

  1. The time applied Or the Time spent
  2. Accumulated experience (relative to guaranteed quality by the artist) and
  3. Material used.

There are three more considerations that are made about what was said:

  1. the ideal work – is one that often can not be done
  2. the viable result – what can be done relative to $$ paid or available + available material + available time
  3. the acceptable output – this is the minimum result that the professional can accept from himself, without compromising himself, in terms of the quality of his artwork.

By evaluating the three basic factors plus the three mitigating conditions a commercial value can be obtained.


Is fine art worth more than digital art? Is there a way to market digital art so that it can be sold at an equal value?

Assuming that, by “fine art”, you mean paintings, sculptures, illustrations, and the like.

As in, physical art. If that’s what you mean by fine art, then I’d say fine art is decidedly more valuable.

Here is a list of reasons why:

  • Fine art can be experienced and felt, not digital art. Can you hold digital art in your hand? No. Is digital art something that can be held, rubbed, or touched? No. Is there a unique texture that can be felt by touching digital art? Still, no.

In short, traditional, tangible art is seen as more valuable than digital art for the same reason that consumers are more willing to pay for a physical print book than an ebook.

Notice how no one wants to pay a cent for a webcomic, yet they’re willing to pay $10 for a comic book? Heck, you can sell a comic book for $2 million. I doubt Webcomics could sell for that much, at least for now.

Yeah, book sales experts predicted that ebooks would overtake print books in sales, but that turned out to be an incorrect prediction.

For digital art to be sold at the same value as tangible art, digital artists would need to market their digital art in such a way that they could convince buyers that their digital art is just as valuable as their fine art. They’d probably need the backing of large, powerful institutions that want people to value digital art.

As for how to pull that off, I’ll admit that I have no idea how that could be done. Someone might figure it out. Never say never.

Why do most artists do digital art more than traditional art?

I am sure there are plenty of artists who work traditionally, and probably far more than work digitally, you just don’t hear about them on the internet because they are probably “off the grid” technologically speaking.

But I will give you my reasons for why most of my finished art is digital.

  • Digital Art comes with an Easy setup and breakdown. I don’t have to clean brushes, prepare a canvas, stretch a canvas, or treat the paper with fixative. I don’t have to worry about smudging something or smearing it.
  • I also won’t run out of paint, I won’t have to break down and buy more pencils or supplies. And if I get tired, I can simply quit the application.
  • There aren’t any brushes to clean, no easel to cover, and no putting supplies back to their requisite containers.
  • Experimentation. Because of multiple updos, I can make mistakes and then just delete them. There is no permanent damage done. It allows me the freedom to move things around and the flexibility to try things in multiple ways. I don’t have to plan my work from the beginning and can let it evolve as I work it.
  • Sharing is Easier. If I worked traditionally, when it came time to share it, I would have to photograph it and light it correctly. When I work digitally, I can simply save the file in a format for sharing, add a watermark, and then upload it to social media.

A few of the reasons why I use digital tools more commonly than traditional media. 

  • It’s supremely compact. I can stash my iPad and Apple pencil in my bag and I have, effectively, an entire art studio for photography, drawing, and digital painting as well as a more ‘standard use computer’ (documents, spreadsheets, web browsing, etc).
  • Compare that to paints, sketchbooks, pencil cases, and a tripod for my camera, and…

About the Author:

Manny Acharya is the co-founder of Artmellows. Your go-to place for Design, Digital Art, Digital sculpting, Photography, Design Tools and gears Info, and Product Reviews. Manny is a Digital Artist, 3D Sculpt Designer, Ardent Photography, Drone flying Enthusiast, and tech Lover. He supercharges Digital Art and design by crafting memorable 3D sculptures & 2D Design and art. Learn more About Manny:

PS: Manny has created a Beginner Friedly ebook to Learn the Nomad 3D Sculpt App. Know More about the eBook. Know more about Manny

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