Traditional and digital art


Right now, I seem to be living in a world where, in the relentless worship of everything to do with technology, we’ve taken up a strong preference to digital art, that is to say any artwork that was made on a computer. While I do agree that a lot of digital art looks good, I feel that there’s a question that must be asked. What’s wrong with traditional art?

As a student whose predominant focus is traditional art, I feel that there is a certain level of bias against traditional art. There might be things you can do on a computer that you can’t do on paper, but that’s no reason to assume that digital art must be superior. After all, making good artwork in both the traditional and digital areas still require a lot of practice in order to get right.

In truth, both forms of art have their advantages and disadvantages. For me traditional art offers a more direct expression of one’s thoughts and feelings, because you are literally making an image using physical materials. You can also craft a truly unique style that is hard to replicate digitally. In digital art (which I haven’t had a lot of practice), you have a wide array of tools to create art that you can go back and edit, but where’s the human element? Also, creating really good works of digital art requires you to be sitting in front of a computer for hours, which might lead to eye strain if you don’t have enough light in your room. Besides, the creative aspect in digital art is determined by how well you can use the software you make it with, while in traditional art, there’s a lot more effort involved, and there’s plenty of room for experimentation thanks to the variety of techniques and materials available.

There isn’t much real difference between traditional art and digital art, other than the medium with which to use it. It’s often said that digital art lets you do things that traditional art can’t, and while that may be true, the only thing I can think of in that department is that you’re more able to repair your artwork. I feel that traditional art and digital art can and should co-exist, and that neither is objectively superior to the other. As with all art, whichever form of art is really better is down to your opinion. I prefer traditional art, but I can appreciate the kind of beautiful images that digital artwork can make. However, I believe that there’s no excuse to make traditional art look inadequate next to something that was creating on Photoshop. Just because it was made with modern techniques doesn’t grant it an immediate superiority over the art of the past.


One thought on “Traditional and digital art

  1. Interestingly as someone who does both oil painting and digital art I have always felt that the bias for for traditional methods and against digital art. Your post surprised me to hear something contrary to my experiences. Indeed, that is one reason why in my own blog I push digital art. Nevertheless the fragrance of the oils, the textures in the paint, the entire experience of the brush – these things for me are as much the joy of tradtional methods as the outcome.

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