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October 5, 2012
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The World of Digital Art


Stepping out of the real world and into your imagination is an experience that is both shared and held close to all of us. Most of us here express it in our own way in respects to art and the art form. As time moves forward technology progresses on, that type of expression is finding new means and mediums to be painted upon.

Digital art has exploded with the modern age and with it brilliant and fantastic artists have emerged from its rupture. So why is Digital Art so popular.

  Cordyceps by jeffsimpsonkh


What makes Digital Art so appealing that most would give up traditional art to move onto something more accessible. Is it money? Is it the potential to further your own artistic ventures? Some say all and others none of the above. It's all personal preference but I am sure we can all observe how popular Digital Art has become. Not just for the artists down the street but as well for the artists who are creating beautiful matte paintings for movies, television series, comics etc. 

The Procession-Final by AlexRuizArt


"A picture is worth a thousand words."  ~ Napoleon Bonaparte



Digital Art offers so many opportunities to expand on your own palette and skills. There are so many tutorials online that can allow you to reach the goal you want to be with your art in the digital realm and there are a lot who do it effectively too. The sky is the limit and there really are no boundaries. Only what your imagination can create. Perhaps it's that ease, that seemingly seamless transition from paper to computer that drives our curiosity. Perhaps it's just another piece of technology to play and fiddle around with as new software comes out for us to test and make Digital Art even more appealing.


Alm-Atias Refuge by andreasrocha


So maybe that's why a lot of users tend to veer towards Digital Art. They feel more comfortable with the accessibility of all the things that can aid them in achieving the look /  feel they want. There are countless stock accounts and websites here on DeviantART and around the web. You can even view live sessions online via youtube or livestream to watch your favorite artist paint something using the same tools you do on the computer.


Digital vs Traditional by MidnightTea7


You can buy tablets that make it feel even more like painting rather then the potential feel of a synthetic canvas. Which might not only make the process easier but more appealing. There are brushes, textures and styles all at your finger tips that would make painting chain mail, for example, a thing of the past. What would take probably a good chunk of your day using traditional art, digital art could take a few hours in PhotoShop.

To mix and blend colors instantly. To erase a mistake without having to re-do the entire canvas. It's the ease of Digital Art that makes it so appealing to so many users. Digital Art though a popular medium to use is still an art form and a beautiful one at that. Just like all art forms. The passion for art still remains just like any other medium of choice. Regardless if it is Digital or Traditional.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." ~ Aristotle
 



So I bring this question to the community. To allow you to think on such a topic and feel free to discuss in the comments below as this will warm you up for another article I will be releasing in the coming week or so!



Is Digital Art a popular medium? If so why? Is it because it's easy to access? You can download free applications online or use muro to draw?






Journal Design and CSS by PreetikaSharma. Header modified by KovoWolf
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:icon123escazu:
123escazu Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
I do both..After I finish a canvas, I begin the process of playing with digital art...
Love the abstract out come, as well as the original base its created from
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:iconmariachry:
mariachry Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
IMO digital art is kind of easier to be fixed. You have undo,layers etc. Both digital and traditional art is hard to master and are both significant but for me, the feel and smell of a canvas..well it cannot be replaced by a computer :)
Reply
:iconcheezzle:
Cheezzle Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012  Student General Artist
It's popular because the internet is popular, and digital is one of the best ways to convey art through the internet. Also it's considerably easier to make a better looking piece digitally vs traditionally.
Reply
:icon47ness:
47ness Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for putting together this article, Amber. :nod: It's good to have some perspective on the bigger picture once in a while.

If I can be a bit frank though, from reading the comments, it seems like there's a fair bit of traditional art-bashing going on. :( Sure there are observable downsides to the traditional process, but that shouldn't be the main motivator in being a digital artist. Being for something just to be against something else is not a sustainable mindset.

It's worth noting traditional art met one of its greatest challenges over a 100 years ago with the advent of photography. Artists didn't all just throw away their tools and become photographers; they completely reinvented themselves. And traditional art will continue to do that now. I would say there is actually a heightened appreciation for traditional art because A) of its uniqueness and B) because of its finality. Of course, you could scan and reproduce a traditional piece, but I think people are becoming especially aware of the value of something one-of-a-kind. There is also the respect earned by artists who've trained themselves on the real-world canvases, be it sculpting or sidewalk chalk murals, without the need of an Undo button.

Getting back to your query though, it is a matter of accessibility and art via a digital community obviously benefits a digital artistic process (for me, I enjoy working in Photoshop because I can access more color/light ranges + allow others to access it easily via deviantART) But that hasn't diminished my lifelong passion for good ol' scribbling on paper. I'd like to think I know what my aim is (regarding the quote by Aristotle) and sometimes just having an age-old tool like a pencil in my hand is just enough connectivity between imagination and the canvas. :nod:
Reply
:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012  Professional General Artist
Heya!

Thanks for the comments and insight. I know this article might seem a bit directed towards calling Digital art 'better', but it was meant to be an open discussion about why it has become a popular medium and it seems like it all stems from the same thing. In the end it all comes down to personal preference. I myself never meant to bash Traditional art and I don't think anyone else meant to do so intentionally either.

I myself LOVE traditional art. It is obviously where I first started my passion for art and I love and respect it just like I love and respect all mediums of art. Whether it is digital, traditional, photography etc.

I agree with you and share your sentiments 100%! :heart:
Reply
:icon47ness:
47ness Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ah, I think you did yeoman's work promoting the positives in the discourse. :nod:

(Now that we know the general views of artists on this site, it would be interesting to posit your question to a greater public sphere. 'Is everyone else embracing the digital medium as much as we are?' After all, the public is ultimately what sustains us financially. ;) )
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:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012   General Artist
:la: Lovely article and points covered here.
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   General Artist
:heart:
Reply
:iconcrickatoo:
Crickatoo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
What got me going on the digital band wagon was initially my curiosity when I was 6 years old (and photoshop was practically brand new!). When I was 14 and really started diving into it, it was because I didn't have a scanner and uploading images to the internet to share with others was something I really wanted to do! These days, I dabble in both traditional and digital mediums, but in the long run digital artwork is less impactful on my wallet ^^;
Reply
:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
So awesome! :heart: Man.. I remember when PhotoShop came out. *hopes she isn't dating herself? :P But yes, I love digital art and all it has to offer and yes, very soft on my wallet.
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:iconp1ch1r3m0n:
p1ch1r3m0n Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
For me, I can't make straight lines very well in digital (or there's a secret I haven't learned, haha), so when I do line art it comes out better in traditional, but with digital, I can do so much more colour wise than I can with my silly Crayola pencils.

I think Digital has become so much more popular, because you can do so much more with it. You can do a gradient effect, add shading, and such, and make it look so much better because there are no brush/pencil strokes.

It can make things look much more like you're *in* the imagination of the person, and less like you're looking at a *picture* of their imagination.
Reply
:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
If you are using photoshop for example, if you hold SHIFT and then draw, it will make a natural straight horizontal line or a vertical line. Depending on how you are 'drawing' it.

Thank you for sharing!
Reply
:iconkassidikeys:
KassidiKeys Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012   Digital Artist
My hands naturally tremble, so when I work with traditional art, I have to use quite a bit of force to get my lines straight so I can't get the delicate lines needed- in digital? I can simply clean my lines up.

In traditional, I know that once I start drawing, my supplies and I are committed to the image. I have to have it planned out in my head before hand- otherwise, I risk ruining that $20 worth of paper/pencils/whatever. So I DON'T experiment when I'm working traditionally, unless it's in my sketch book just tooling around- once I've committed to a "formal" piece though? It doesn't matter if I decide "wings would look really cool on that" when I'm almost done- I can't afford to risk losing the hours of work or the price of materials to try it now..

In digital, I just slap on another layer and keep going. Digital has definitely allowed me more freedom as an artist because of the ability to take back mistakes or expand on ideas in the moment that don't necessarily interrupt the process or destroy the image- and THAT is why I went from Traditional to Digital...


And then I transferred over into 3D when I discovered I can spend 8 hours painting a body, or 5 minutes rendering one and save even more time- as an artist, when your time is limited- that much saved time allows me to finish things and complete more work that I ever could doing it traditionally, or even painting it digitally.

Not everyone likes digital art (even less like 3d art). That doesn't mean that it's not any less valid than traditional, or photography, or any other format- when all is said and done- what's really important is the artist's ability to express themselves and the result of that expression.
Reply
:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thank you for sharing! Yea, I know how hard it can be... the difference between traditional and digital. It's nice to be able to use whatever program you happen to have and clean up your work. Especially having layers.
Reply
:iconkassidikeys:
KassidiKeys Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Digital Artist
Layers have been such a lifesaver for me.
Reply
:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
Oh yess!
Reply
:iconarte-de-junqueiro:
Arte-de-Junqueiro Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Excellent - thought provoking and wonderful examples too.... :iconclapplz: ... now, where did I leave that old Bamboo tablet....? :rofl:
Reply
:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Must find tablet!! :la: and thank you very much!
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:iconstygma:
Stygma Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, digital is popular because it's there and great artists make it. No matter the medium, I'll collect what I like and there's a lot of digital artwork that I like.

I will talk for myself. It's not because of the accessibility that I like to do digital art. My house is full of crayons and paints. I don't find digital art easier. But digital art offers me so much more than traditional. I can take an artwork and make any corrections I like to fix my mistakes. I can change the mood by changing the colors. I can do collabs with someone that live on the other side of the planet.

Of course, there's still a greatness in traditional media. I have a huge respect for those talented artists who won't "cheat" with layers and software effects. I'm just not that good and digital art helps me express myself more than traditional mediums. And my progression as an artist is way faster.
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Crayons! la:

Yes, I love that aspect of digital art. Fixing mistakes. I tend to try and paint like I normally would on canvas but when the option is there and available to you, it's hard to resist ;3
Reply
:iconmdvillarreal:
MDVillarreal Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think digital art is so popular simply because it's possible to have an entire warehouse full of art tools available all at your fingertips with no mess or extra expense (minus the cost of any commercial software or hardware). Though I still believe fully there is a certain power that physically created art retains, I think it's great that so many more people these days can have a relatively simple outlet in which to express their creative desires.
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Yes indeed. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts!
Reply
:icondollphinwing:
dollphinwing Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Simply it's much easier to use. I go to a fine arts school so I've had to learn all the traditional ways of doing things. It's all very time-consuming and requires hard labor. Many nights students go without much food or sleep because they need to do everything the harder traditional way. Plus I've found that just about anything you can do traditionally there is a way to get the same look on the computer. There are even ways to trick people into thinking a digital print is traditional by printing several times or embossing parts of the image. Basically all the convenient reasons mentioned, cheaper, easier and in many ways simpler. Some people don't accept digital art, but they don't seem to understand that it's just another tool to use for art. Digital art is even starting to creep into the traditional art world :P
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Yes, being an artist does have its moments of hardships but the product of ones imagination is well worth it <3
Reply
:icondollphinwing:
dollphinwing Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
haha yeah, I'll be in the studio working on assignments and breathing in chemicals. Then I think about how much damage it could be causing my brain and say "the things I do for art!"
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Professional General Artist
xD oh my
Reply
:icondollphinwing:
dollphinwing Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
And another thing is you don't have to worry about breathing or coming in contact with harmful solvents which just about every traditional studio has to use.
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:iconsuperhermit:
superhermit Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love digital art because its bright perfect colors, it can be sold and still kept for yourself, you can share art with a larger audience, cheep, not messy, easy to edit and much more!
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thank you for sharing :)
Reply
:iconsuperhermit:
superhermit Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
te he
Just had to get that out there
Reply
:icongwendolyn12:
Gwendolyn12 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Digital art is so popular, among other reasons, because it's cheaper.:B

you buy a $400 PS license, a $70 Sai license and a $180 tablet and you'll have it for an indefinite time; traditional art is harder to manage, to afford and you always feel like you're lacking a certain material.:B you can simulate most of the effects digitally, though. You just need to know what you're doing.
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
This is true :) and there is even free programs out there that allows you to still paint like Gimp!
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:icongwendolyn12:
Gwendolyn12 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
exactly:nod:
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:iconnervene:
nervene Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012
My brain has virtually no set-up time, can quickly conjure up ideas, experiment with as many options as it wants while retaining the parts it likes, create perfect lines and curves, can use any color it has seen, and can shift, crop, resize and reorder elements around. That just happens to be what digital painting can do, too.

Whatever method gets me the closest to putting down what's in my head in the shortest amount of time is going to be what I use; when you skip the vast majority of handling physical elements by exchanging them all for a keyboard and a single pen, there is a nearly countless amount of time saved. And the faster I get the idea out, the more accurate it tends to be to the original idea. So for me it is in convenience and effectiveness; which I assume is a shared reason for others why digital work is becoming so popular.

Working digitally is hands-down better than any way I'd used traditional mediums before, and for my uses has rendered traditional 2D work obsolete. When we move to controlling our painting applications using our thoughts I will gladly dispose of the tablet, as well.
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
Great insight, thank you for sharing :) and yes, it is convenient to be able to get your thoughts and ideas out on 'digital paper' when you can quickly sketch them up and out.
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:iconcatluvr2:
catluvr2 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think digital art is popular because for one thing, you don't have to keep buying paint, for example, and if you misjudge the size that you want your artwork to be, you can just go and scale it larger, something you simply can't do with traditional work. I've dabbled in traditional and digital work, and while they're both appealing, there's simply something about digital work that keeps drawing me back to it. Look at my gallery. There are about 6 digital works for every traditional one, and that's including photos as traditional, but not including literature as traditional.
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
:nod: It's a great feature. You can also adjust the canvas at any time as well. So if you need to make it smaller or larger you can do so mid painting.

Thank you for sharing :)
Reply
:iconthiefoworld:
Thiefoworld Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012
I think Digital Art is so popular nowadays simply because we are in the so called "digital era". Almost everything can be done through a computer and the internet today. Technology progressively takes over our most basic activities, making them easier and more accesible (thus making us more lazy XD but oh well) We can buy music, movies, books and many other things from home, we don't even have to have them "physically" anymore, you can download a book and then read it through a portable device. Kids today are exposed to digital devices like tablets and smartphones when kids 15 years ago were given notebooks and pencils. Of course there are still notebooks and people still go to a library to buy books nowadays, but the option to do it digitally exists today, and slowly becomes more and more popular.

Same happens with art, the advantages the digital mediums offer are attractive to many and we have more and more options each time, from variety of software to create it, to devices where we can do it and also tools to simplify the process. With traditional media you have certain restrictions, as simple as the size of your canvas. (You need more space for the digital illustration you're doing? Simply enlarge your digital canvas!) You never run out of paint, your brush never wore off, and as somebody already mentioned, you never need to clean afterwards. You don't need a huge studio to work and store your work, to transport it is as easy as saving it in a USB flash, or even easier, send it via email!

As I said, digital mediums will never replace traditional ones completely, there are aspects digital will never emulate 100% from traditional, but it's also true there are things you can't do via traditional media, or you can do them easier and faster digitally.
Reply
:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
Great insight! and yes, I agree with you :) I think moving along in our technology progression has allowed us and afforded us the luxury of being able to create beautiful pieces of work right from home as well using the latest and greatest technology available.

I can't wait until my next article because I think it will touch on a really interesting topic in respects to digital art.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It's way more convenient for me, but I'm still more comfortable with traditional :B
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
Yes :) I am very comfortable with digital art.
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:la: I've gotten better about the whole not looking at your hand as you draw deal, but it's still kind of weird.
Reply
:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
haha that's taken me a while to accomplish too sense I am used to looking down at paper xD
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol: Yeah! I'd been doing photomanips so I thought it wouldn't be too hard...but it totally was.
Reply
:iconvalasedai:
ValaSedai Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For me it's simply totally replaced traditional art because after I had once spent 220€ on a good tablet and art program I basically never have to buy art supplies anymore ever again (unless my tablet breaks or I need new nibs^^) so for someone with a limited budget it's so much more practical.
And at the same time it's less frustrating because stuff like erasing hundreds of times doesn't scar the paper, I can select and freely move certain elements on the canvas, I don't need to clean brushes before using a different colour, etc etc
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
Indeed! I hear a lot of artists who where traditional artists go to digital art because of the cost :)
Reply
:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
For me the pull initially was the super flat colours. I was into Anime at the time and with flood fill and such you could get a flat colour with no brushmarks or fluctuations or blemishes. That and Digital Art looked 'easy' in comparison to painting, and as someone said the expense seems less because of lack of paint and paper/canvas etc. However I didn't have a tablet til I was 18 so I spent years drawing with a mouse.

Personally I could never go 100% digital. I find my work ends up lacking some spark or other (others can do it so it's not a critisism of digital) so I tend to draw by hand and scan and work digitally after, or combine in textures and such made traditionally. I find that Digital Mixed Media gives a much greater potential than just digital, or just traditional.
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:iconkovowolf:
KovoWolf Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thank you for sharing! A great insight as well into the medium. Especially the type of art such as Anime that I haven't considered.

I love Digital mixed media as well and the freedom it allows because it does give you best of both worlds
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:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
I've always drawn and painted by hand and I saw no draw to go digital until I found anime on TV and I of course wanted at first to emulate the flat cell shading I saw in the cartoons, then of course I discovered all the other realms of digital painting etc, but it was anime that was the first pull.
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