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Submitted on
January 3, 2013


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Common Misconceptions: Digital Art

Hello everyone! This is the second installment of the series of “common misconceptions” surrounding different areas in art. This blog will cover the most prevalent myths that surround the medium of digital art. (it's chock full of super sweet images, check out the wonderful artists!)

:bulletpink: Digital Art requires less skill than Traditional art

This is probably the top ranking myth. There is no “shortcut” when it comes to making good quality art period.  It is not any easier to paint a beautiful image on a computer than it is with a brush and canvas. Most people who make that argument don’t really have any personal experience with creative software or they chalk up digital art as simple drawings in MS Paint.

:bulletpink: Digtial Art requires less practice, anyone can do it

Like any skill out there, digital art needs the same amount of practice as you would need with a pen and paper. Actually perhaps even a little more, because not only would you have to learn to handle a mouse/tablet, you would have to learn the software you were using. Some obviously pick up certain skills faster than others, but that shouldn't deter you from practicing like you would for anything else.

:bulletpink:You need expensive software/a certain brand of tablet to make good art

Also wrong! Sure the Adobe Suite is nice to have, but honestly, you do not need it to create wonderful works of art! There are many many many open source image softwares out there that seriously offer the same things for FREE. On that same note, if you choose to buy a tablet, please don't think that you have to spend hundreds on one! Yes, more expensive tablets have more settings, more options, better sensitivity ect, but if you're like me, it probably isn't wise to spend that much for one. Mine was $20 from Amazon, it's lasted me almost 3 years and I'm very happy with it. However, you don't need a tablet to make really good images either! A trackpad or mouse in an artist's hands can do amazing things as well! Here are some examples of really great artwork made without Photoshop or Illustrator for you skeptics out there:
The girl with the braid by shidehSupergirl II by dCTb Candy lips by Maddrum2011.05.29 - Falling Rain by todachios
Painter Classic/Corel                GIMP                     Inkscape                         PaintTool Sai
Remembrance by FilsdThese Changes Made by worksteadyGolden Swordsmen by SazarielFamily Portrait by mahaon
Pixia                             DAZ Studio                Apophysis

:bulletpink:Digital Art is "low brow" or kitsch

Kitsch and "low brow" art existed LONG before the advent of computers so it's incorrect to give this medium that label. I'm not one to say that all art is inherently good either, because that's impossible. However, there is a small trend I've seen circling about dA of people somehow thinking that digital art cannot also be fine art, that somehow it's a perversion of skills that others who work traditionally spent years honing and now it's become a fad. For starters, digital art isn't even the largest gallery on dA (it's not traditional either)'s Photography! So before you grab those pitchforks, get a little insight ;) It's no secret that there are numerous fan groups here in dA (I'm a part of some of them myself!) so naturally there are MILLIONS of images relating to the fandoms, many of them are digital works. Some astounding, some not so much, but those images are not all the digital gallery has to offer. If you seriously think you can sum up the entire digital gallery in a mediocre Sonic the Hedgehog drawing, you're being lazy.

:bulletpink:Digital Art does not exist outside of the internet

This is also an incorrect idea. Digital art has been gaining more and more respect over the past decade and yes there are exhibitions out there around the world specifically for digital art and new media, I've been to a few and they are awesome! The Soho in New York has a gallery made specifically for digital media in fact. There are juried exhibitions for photographers and digital artists set up at Here are some examples of digital exhibitions:

Collider 3: Transform, Enusu Kang

Superflat, Takashi Murakami

Nothing New, Lowell Nickel

If you guys have any more questions about myths surrounding digital art, post them here and I'll do my best to answer them (or find someone who can!) The next blog will be about copyrights and fair use :)

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flutterlily Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are soo right I use an app on my ipad and a empty pen  with a wipe stuffed in it:D
LizanaBee Featured By Owner May 4, 2013   Traditional Artist
Having grown up with traditional art and then tried to expand into the digital realm... I feel like digital work requires a far more analytical approach than traditional artwork does to create (at least for me, it does). I realize that someone who basically 'grew up' working with the digital might feel just the opposite because of what they're most familiar with.

Trying to create things from scratch in photoshop always makes me grumpy because I just want to use a pencil that acts like a Pencil! lol I don't have fancy software and the tablet that I got years ago sits in a bag most of the time. For myself... I tend to use digital media just for basic editing (usually necessary because I'm not skilled at photographing artwork).

I must admit that I've thought many of these myths from time to time... at this point, I just figure that it's Different. Digital art isn't really my cup'o'tea, right now, but I do enjoy seeing other's work. I do grow jealous sometimes since it seems that digital work is already "prepped for prints" but ah well. C'est la vie, eh?

Anyway... thank you for the article. :)
Oharya Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
"Digital Art requires less skill than Traditional art

There is no “shortcut” when it comes to making good quality art period. It is not any easier to paint a beautiful image on a computer than it is with a brush and canvas. "

I call bullshit. Traditional art don't give you any chance to mistake. You need to know a shitton of techniques, buy extra good paper, extra good brushes, extra good paint just to make your work look at least decent. There's much difficulties in the process of painting itself.
LizanaBee Featured By Owner May 4, 2013   Traditional Artist
I used to think this, as well... but buying the special paint, brushes, paper, etc is akin to buying the expensive programs, tablets, and computers that the digital work is created with.

Yes, in traditional media mistakes are often much harder to fix... but if one is familiar with their medium, they're usually not entirely irreversible (I'd also argue that the feature of traditional art that makes us work with our perceived mistakes can be a great strength rather than a weakness)

Great art can be made in both realms without the fancy materials... is it different? Yes. Is it necessarily easier? I don't think so. Depends on what you started with and how you think (as with any medium).
Oharya Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Disregard that, I suck candies. I realised I was wrong - it was just a matter of my lack of skills.
the-Loony Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student General Artist
I don't wholly agree.

If youīre a digital artist, there are many ways you can make your work easier by using several different programs - presketch architecture or just perspective, create a 3d model which is painted over, the use of grids is extremely easy in digital media aswell as tracing outlines.
etc, etc.
but what is certain, is that the process of creating a painting, even with so much help by way of using different aiding programs or sth. similiar, does NOT require less skill.
the artist still has to create atmosphere by the right choice and placement of FG and BG, colors, motion, .... blah blah.

so my conclusion is: in digital art you can create more impression with less time/effort if you know how.
but even that is an art form by itself ;D
Xadrea Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Time in art making isn't really an issue for me, because at the end of the day if it's done and I'm happy with the outcome, that's good :) There are things you can do to shorten the length of time it takes to make something, but even that requires skill, not everyone is going to understand the algorithms and tricks to even make a 3D model ;)
the-Loony Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student General Artist
time in art making is an issue in the idustry tho. it concerns you as a professional. =/

But it doesnīt matter - i already said so too: a good artwork requires skill, whichever media or process you choose.
Everything comes right down to the artists themselves. itīs up to them to make the decision how to use media, whether to make it a ritual, a personal artwork into which you put your very essence, or make it simply so it suits the needs of the client.
the digital way can be just as meditative, enlighting and educating as the usage of traditional arts, tho those offer more different features of their own.

i myself do a lot of digital work. but i'd recommend to every artist to try out as many different media as possible, simply because it will broaden your horizon so greatly. (and the other way around)

once more: in the end it remains the artist decision how to create art. and itīs up to the observer, to decide what to make of it.
Xadrea Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
That's true :lol: I've got a few deadlines coming up myself. I was just talking about in general when people say things like "how long did this take you" at some point that really doesn't matter if the work is good :)
the-Loony Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2013  Student General Artist
yeah, with some stuff thatīs totally true :D
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