Digital Art vs. Traditional Art

Digital Art vs. Traditional Art

Digital Art vs. Traditional Art

Some artists view digital art negatively while others say it's useful. But why? Why is this a debate? Digital art is now involved in photography, animation, film, and graphic design. However, some think digital art is a one-trick pony for which no formal instruction should be required simply because it will never take the place of traditional art. While there is only one medium with digital art, traditional art takes many forms such as painting, sculpting, mixed media, etc. thus its perception of greater importance and value. This doesn’t make digital art irrelevant, though. 

As an example, photography was not always considered to be “art.” Now photography is absolutely considered to be a valid form of art. It involves a creative and well-trained eye, editing skills, and an artistic viewpoint. So when we ask the question of whether digital art will ever be fully recognized as true art, why wouldn’t our ideals evolve into such? It’s pretty clear that things change, even in the world of art, and like everything else in the world will continue to do so. 

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of digital vs. traditional art, beginning with digital:

Better access
  • A lot of students have a device already--a tablet or ipad or phone or laptop with a touch screen. Maybe they cannot also afford to buy paint, canvas, or other art materials a painter or sculptor or artist using other mediums would need to replenish regularly. Devices do break or become obsolete over time, but their initial cost is less than the expense of continual buying of art supplies in most cases. 

    Convenience

    • Devices are just smaller and handier and now designed to fit in a backpack or handbag. Carrying around an easel or a lot of other supplies can be a logistical nightmare compared to the portability of a laptop or tablet. 

      Shareability

      • Digital art is already stored on your device so you can instantaneously share it on social media or send it to someone for immediate consumption. You can certainly take a pic of your traditional art but the effect isn’t at all the same for the viewer--it’s still 2D. 

        Productivity
        • Digital saves a lot of time because you can just edit mistakes or things you’re not satisfied with; physical art is limiting in that regard because you have to spend time going back to actually correct mistakes or make changes in real life on tangible works with tangible tools.

          What are the pros of tactile, traditional art, then?

          Originality

          • Traditional art is considered more valuable than digital art because every piece is original; no one else can duplicate it. no mass production, everything is always different and unique because it’s a physical creation.

            Physical connection with mediums

            • You’re not working with a touch screen or mouse, you’re getting the full tactile experience, the smells, the sounds, the space in which you work. There is a physical connection between you and your art. 

            Versatility
            • Obviously, you can change up, combine, add to, subtract from, and use all kinds of mediums to create your finished physical product. Digitally it’s pretty impossible to vary between paints and pencil and layer achieving depth and texture that’s noticeable to the eye and creates drama. 

              No “Undo” button

              • You can’t just hit “undo” and make changes to physical art like you can with digital. You have to actually physically correct it using tangible mediums and devote a little more time to your project. 

                What’s the moral of this story? 
                The issue of whether digital art is better than or comparable to traditional art doesn’t have to be black and white. It’s possible to compromise by combining digital and traditional art to expand your mediums and artistic experience, as well as those of your viewer. Pick up some digital techniques and incorporate them into your traditional artwork so you can keep up with the times, modernize your work, and open your mind to new technology. Traditional art will never be entirely placed, but digital art will continue to be incorporated into it as a supplement, not a replacement.
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