Digital Art Explained – Is It Really Art or Not?

For a lot of people, when they look at some digital art and then compare it with “traditional art” they feel like the digital art is cheating in some way. For these people things are as simple as this – if you have money to buy a graphics tablet you will be able to create digital art, if not your work will suck. If they already have a tablet, the next step is to buy the newest Photoshop and so on.

It is true that a person can do a lot of things using these software solutions. If you are both good with a software and drawing on a tablet it is possible to make great progress in the field of digital art. Because of these reasons a lot of people think that you must have a lot of money in order to become a digital artist.


This is probably one of the biggest reasons why people have such a huge misconception about digital art and don’t want to acknowledge it as real. Some of the most common arguments people have is that “real artists” cannot undo their mistakes and that they need the technical knowledge to mix colors, pigments, master brushes, pencils etc. They think that traditional artists always create unique pieces while these so-called digital artists just buy expensive tools that allow them to create something good without any knowledge whatsoever.

If you are wondering whether this is true or not, then I suggest you keep reading this post. If you don’t have any knowledge about digital art and the process, here you will learn everything about it. If you have some knowledge, but still feel like you could do more I will give you valuable tips to understand where you are going wrong. At the same time, I will try and explain all the misconceptions you might have.

Traditional art and digital art

There are various methods that can be used for recreating the world that surrounds us. You can take some soft material and mold it into a recognizable shape. Some harder materials can also be used for sculpting. In most cases we use terms such as “creating” for all of these actions, but are we truly creating something out of nothing? Not at all, we are just reshaping some form and giving it an image we recognize and give meaning to it.

A short time ago yet another similar category appeared and people called it “digital art.” The computer and internet age has given many new professions and options when it comes to what a human mind can do. It has also become a powerful tool artists can use to showcase their creativity. It offered a constantly clean work place and even gave freedom to make some mistakes.

The power of computer-based artistry was so vast that some of the skeptical “traditional artists” looked at it as an unfair advantage. You can use only one pen instead having dozens for different softness and there is no need to clean your tools after finishing your work.

Computers are also very useful for automating time-consuming and boring processes. For example, you can easily multiply objects with just a couple of clicks or scale things that are too small or too big. Here is the main issue, a computer is in no way an art tool.

It cannot substitute canvas, brushes, or sculptures. It has a set of tools that can allow you to create images of reality using the same format as photographs. This is all it can do. Does a computer make the whole process of creation more convenient? Yes it does. But, does it make it easy so that everyone can do it? No it doesn’t.

It’s not easy to be a digital artist

Nobody dares to say that doing traditional art is an easy thing. There are various categories and knowledge that underlie traditional art and comprehending them is something that cannot be done by everyone. Even if a person handles the basics at all of the fields, he cannot excel at all of them to be an all-around artist. Someone can be great at painting, but struggle with sculpting.

The similar rules apply for digital art techniques as well. You also get a set of tools, but a specific technique is not assigned to any of them like in traditional art. What I’m trying to say is that drawing lines on a paper with a pen is actually no different than drawing lines using a stylus pen. The end result of your drawing is in a different format, but everything else is basically the same.

Although there are tools that allow you to do some technical task more quickly, the skill required to create art is still great and not everyone can do it, no matter how good software or gadgets they have.

Having expensive equipment doesn’t make you an artist

Let’s presume that you know everything there is to it and that your only limitations are the expensive tools you must acquire and master to transfer your art knowledge to a digital platform. It seems quite unfair, don’t you agree? I understand you.

Traditional art requires a whole workshop with all of the necessary tools, while in digital art you only need to have a computer, a graphics tablet and good software and you are good to go. As long as this is your only frustration you are fine. The real problem is when you try and justify your lack of skills with the fact that you don’t have the money to switch to a digital approach.

The moral of this story is that you have to try your best and work on becoming a good artist no matter what tools or techniques you use. The tools and money you need will come eventually. The bottom line is: “Would you rather be a good artist that is limited by certain options or a bad artist that has all the tools, but doesn’t know how to use them?” If you are struggling with drawing lines on a paper having an expensive tablet won’t change a thing.

Digital art opens more opportunities for making money

One of the biggest areas where digital art truly excels from traditional art is that you can find more jobs and opportunities to cash-in your work. The fact that the most business processes and projects have switched to digital technologies means that all of the major artistic jobs have also gone through this transition. Furthermore, there are many online business opportunities, for example online stores always need cool-looking design for their stores and you can check some reviews of software vendors to see what I’m talking about.

The conclusion of all of the things we talked about is pretty hard, but it’s true. A bad artist will always find excuses no matter if it’s education or “bad tools” and this is something you should look to avoid doing. Think about all the older artists who were poor and did their masterpieces with the things that were available to them. Work on yourself as an artist and you will eventually get everything you ever needed.