The Philosophy of Traditional Art vs. Digital Art

cover of Traditional art vs digital art portraitflip

A war of traditional art vs digital art has been long waging since digital art has come into existence?

It is no secret that painting has been a medium of expression for man since the dawn of time.

But since then, art and man have come a long way from cave walls to tablets.

For man, art represents his emotions, thoughts, creativity, and ideas—be it in the form of traditional art or digital art.

Today the question stands for traditional vs digital art. Which is better? 

Me being an artist and have tried both mediums.

Let me give you my two cents—nothing can beat putting your emotions on a piece of canvas with your bare hands. 

mona lisa ad of reproduction

No barrier. It’s just you, the canvas, and your perspective of what the outcome will be.

Digital art on the other hand lacks a human touch.

Yet, it continues to grow in popularity, and it is currently the most extensively utilized art medium for commercial art and design.

This article will cover all the unbiased pros and cons of both digital and traditional art. 

So let me help you decide which one to side with!

What Is The Difference Between Traditional Art And Digital Art?

What is the difference between traditional art and digital art?

It’s pretty evident, isn’t it? 

The stark difference between traditional and digital art is one medium is traditional and the other relies completely on technology.

To put it in a nutshell, any art you make using the help of technology is digital art. For example digital painting, digital animation, digital sculpting, VFX, and everything else done on a smartphone or a PC.

On the other hand, anything made without the use of technology is a traditional art. Painting on canvas, sculpting, sketching, craft, and many other art forms fall into this category. 

Here are two major differences between traditional and digital art:

Traditional art is physical 

It is made using a real medium like paper, canvas, paints, sand, or clay. Look around; any surface that you see can be used to make traditional art.

Digital art is virtual

It is created using technology and is totally virtual. This means that you can create and view it only digitally (on screens).

Unless you print it! But will it really be counted as an original art copy? 

Traditional calls for patience and lots of supplies

Creating traditional art can take a lot of time, but the result? A unique piece of artwork. However, you’ll need a lot of supplies in the first place to start.

Digital art is fast to create and doesn’t need a buttload of stuff

Okay, it’s not exactly fast. But, you can expect to make art in less time as compared to the traditional one. 

Plus you can make digital art on your phone, tablet, laptop, or computer, literally anywhere!. 

I guess now you know the basic difference between digital vs traditional art. Now let’s see what each of these art types has to offer to humanity.

Traditional Art: Pros And Cons Of The Classic Art

What are the pros and cons of traditional art

Traditional art is not just about painting anymore. Don’t believe me? 

Take a look at a few forms of traditional art:

  • Literature (poem, drama, fiction)
  • Visual Art includes painting, drawing, and sculpting.
  • Plastic Art which works with manipulating plastic. It includes sculpture and modeling. 
  • Graphic Art (similar to painting, drawing, lithography, or expressing art on flat surfaces. It is also known as 2D art) 
  • Decorative Art (physical design, furniture design)
  • Performing Art (theatre, music) 

Do you see how diverse art is? 

For simplicity’s sake, this blog will explore handmade painting as a traditional art form.

Although old, this type of art has its own set of benefits and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of traditional art:

Pros Of Traditional Art:

pros of traditional art

1. Traditional Art Is Unique

The most point that will rest my case in this traditional drawing vs digital drawing war—sui generis.

Every painting you make is one of a kind and cannot be duplicated. Even if you try to duplicate your own work, it still won’t be a 100% match.

So, it is safe to say that every traditional artwork ever created in the history of mankind is unique and that is the beauty of traditional art ❤️

2. In-Depth Experience Of Art

Traditional art like painting allows you to understand how using a paintbrush in a certain way can create a different stroke on the canvas. 

Not just brushes but your fingers, body, pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, etc. There are so many different mediums to produce art with.

It gives a practical experience of how different materials can be used to make amazing artwork.

3. Used For Art Therapy

Do you know what is the winning point in the case of traditional art vs digital art? Traditional art is used as art therapy.

For those who don’t know what art therapy is, it is a  process where one uses art as a medium to explore one’s emotions, reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem, and resolve psychological conflicts.

4. Stress Buster

Traditional art is scientifically proven to reduce stress and make you calm. 

This one I can vouch for. Before I studied painting I was in a very—as one might say—a dark place. But painting helped me. In a way that even a therapist couldn’t.

5. No Electricity? No Problem!

Unlike digital art, you don’t need electricity or a battery backup to do traditional art. No screens are involved. Just gather your stuff and do the art!

6. Aesthetic In Nature

Traditional art is the only way to give aesthetic beauty to anything. Ever seen handmade paintings at galleries? They’re so mesmerizing that you’d get lost in them.

7. Versatility

Traditional art gives you the versatility to choose from thousands of forms of art (check at the beginning of this subheading) 

The most amazing part? You can even have different categories under a single type of art. For example, under handmade painting, you can go for at least more than 50 different styles and techniques.  

8. Uses All Your Senses

Practicing traditional art gives you the chance of connecting with it. You touch the object, feel its texture, and connect with it (something which cannot be done with digital art).

9. Traditional Art Is Infinite

Imagine how many lifetimes will it take for you to master all the traditional art forms. It is beyond comprehension.

(If you think you know the answer, comment down in the comment section!)

10. Strengthens The Problem-Solving Ability

You know there’s no “undo” in traditional art. Once you’ve made a mistake, the only way is to cover up the mistake physically. 

This practices your problem-solving abilities and makes you aware of how to avoid mistakes in the first place. 

Sometimes even those mistakes turn out to be a blessing in disguise a.k.a the ‘happy accident’.

Eg: To parody Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol created the—Piss Paintings. He had asked his assistants to urinate on a canvas prepared with metallic paint. The subsequent oxidization of the materials created a fine piece of artwork.

11. Teaches You Patience And Perseverance  

Working with traditional art will teach you how to be patient. Withstanding long art sessions build perseverance. 

12. Builds Discipline 

If you want to achieve mastery, traditional Art demands the discipline to practice the craft every day (whether you feel like doing it or not). So, anyone practicing traditional art has some level of discipline. 

This is why PortraitFip is able to deliver thousands of paintings across the globe, and outperform its other competitors.

(Here you’ll learn how PortraitFlip gives tough competition to a well-known network. Here you go: PortraitFlip vs. MyDaVinci)

Cons Of Traditional Art:

cons of traditional art

1. Requires Ample Time To Create

Traditional art is not something you can create in a day. Several factors go into making artwork. 

It includes waiting time before the paint dries (before adding another layer) or waiting to proceed ahead. It can take a lot of time to create one artwork (from days to weeks, and sometimes even months)

2. No Undo Button

Yeah yeah yeah! When it comes down to this point in digital vs traditional art; unlike digital drawing, traditional art can’t be undone.

Any mistake made during traditional art cannot be undone (unless you are planning to start all over again).

The flaws can only be covered up and they will leave a mark on the final artwork! 

And remember, sometimes blunders can totally spoil the artwork. 

3. Take Years To Master The Technique

Mastering any form of traditional art demands your undivided attention for years.

Becoming a pro can take time as there are no quick fixes or tools to jump up your growth.

4. Limitation Of Materials

You start and finish with what materials you have. Also if you run out of paints, you’ll have to wait until you buy new ones.

5. Medium Incompetence

There are often medium limitations with each form of traditional art. Like in the Oil painting, slow drying is a limitation. 

You’ll have to wait till the paint dries before moving on to the next stage or else you risk mixing undried colors accidentally. 

6. Can Get Messy

Working with Traditional Art can be a mess. You’ll get your hands smudged, there will be accidental paint drops or water spills.  

if you’re practicing the art for hours every day, you’ll have to put in extra time for cleaning the mess. 

7. In The Long Run: Storage Issues And Expensive Keep-up

Whether good or not, you’d want to store every art piece forever. And that can be a problem. 

Imagine how much space in your home you’ll need to store years of art? 

Also, when you run out of supplies, you will have to buy new ones (which will be costly in the long run).

Digital Art: Pros And Cons Of The Modern Art

what are the Pros and cons of Digital art?

Between digital and traditional art; it is a possibility that digital art might have fewer cons.

But don’t you see, there are no paintbrushes, no canvas, no clay, or physical tools in the world of digital art. 

There are just 0s and 1s in the program that defines artwork on your screen.

Just like traditional art, the world of digital art is big (and growing with the advancement of technology). Here are a few categories:

  • Fractal or Algorithmic Art
  • Data Moshing
  • Digital Painting
  • Video Game Art
  • Electronic Music
  • Interactive Art
  • Pixel Art

Some believe that digital art originated somewhere in the early 1980s, while some claim its existence to be in 1967.

Whatever might be the year of its origin, today Digital Art is revolutionizing the art industry to a great extent. 

Let’s see the pros and cons of Digital Art.

Pros Of Digital Art:

pros of digital art

1. Ease Of Handling

You don’t need a bagful of material to make Digital Art. Just your smartphone, laptop, or graphic tablet is enough. Another perk is you can make art even when you’re traveling. 

2. No Mess!

When you’re doing digital art, there’s no smudging of hands or accidental spills on your carpet. Everything happens within your gadget and there’s no mess to clean after you’re done with the artwork. 

3. Limitless Possibilities

There’s no limit to what you can do with Digital Art. Anything you imagine can be created. You can also create out-of-the-world art!

4. The Revolutionary Undo button

Made a mistake? You don’t have to cover it up. Just press the “undo” button and your artwork is undone! Unlike traditional art, there won’t be any mark of a mistake in your final artwork. It will be flawless!

5. Easy To Use

Technology has made everything easy for us and digital art is no different. Learning digital art is easy and requires less effort as compared to traditional art. 

You don’t have to learn the mechanics of how the materials work. Anything can be created with just clicks and taps. Also, the time to achieve professionalism in digital art is comparatively short. 

6. Fast To Produce

You don’t have to wait for the paint to dry, or the clay to harden, neither there is any physical attribution to art. That’s why making digital art is fast. 

As soon as you’re done with the final stroke, your digital art is complete and ready for publishing.

7. Ample Of Editing Tools

With digital art, you get the freedom to choose a wide option of editing tools like undo button, copy or paste tool, smudge option, canvas size, brush size, shape tools, filters, and whatnot! 

These editing tools can make the work easier for you. 

8. Cheaper In The Long Run

Digital art needs just a one-time investment: pay for a laptop or graphic tablet and a bunch of software (even just one software can do the trick). 

Unlike traditional art, you won’t run out of supplies. It may seem that paying for a graphic tablet is expensive, but in the long run, buying traditional art supplies can get costlier. 

9. Keeps The Artwork Safe

The number of prints I have destroyed is painful.

Any accidental spills or stain marks can leave a permanent mark on your traditional art and you’re always at risk of spoiling the artwork completely. 

Between traditional and digital art; safety is guaranteed in the digital world.

You see with digital art there’s no chance of spoiling your artwork accidentally (there’s always going to be an “undo” button) 

creation of adam reproduction

You can keep a backup of your data or revert the mistakes easily (just don’t spill water on your laptop!) 

10. Multiple Art Copies

Digital art can easily be duplicated. You can duplicate your work and make hundreds of variations to your original artwork. 

This gives you the liberty to create multiple versions of your artwork and choose the best piece.

11. Easy To Store

Storing your digital art will not take up a lot of room in your house. It won’t even need any space!  

You can store your years of artwork on your laptop or hard drive or you can just upload it to the cloud.

Those were the power points of digital art. 

Digital art is technologically advanced but it is endowed with a few weaknesses (some of them are serious limitations!) Check them below.

girl with pearl earring replica

Cons Of Digital Art: 

cons of digital art

1. No Power, No Work

Doing any form of digital art requires electricity or battery backup. Without it, you won’t be able to work. And every time your battery is low, you’ll have to run to reach the charger. 

2. Too Easy As Compared To Traditional Art

How being easy can be a disadvantage? Well, working with digital art can be effortless due to the ease of functionality (the technology does everything for you). 

This means that anybody can create digital art without having any prior knowledge. Also after a while, doing digital art can become stagnant because you’re not challenged enough. 

3. Lifeless Artwork

Any piece of digital art you create is going to stay on the screen (unless you print it). So technically, every art piece you create will be virtual and may look boring to many people’s eyes.

4. No Original Print

The only way to have a physical copy of your digital art is to get it printed. And there lies the drawback. 

Your artwork may look vivid on the screen, but when it is printed, it may lose its original touch and appear dull.  

5. Eye Strains And Headaches

Creating any form of digital art requires you to stare at screens for a long duration and this may cause eye strain and occasional headaches. 

This is because all screens emit blue-violet radiation that causes stress on the eyes. Also, looking at the screen before bedtime can delay your sleep.

6. Too Technical

Having hundreds of editing tools can make you technically challenged! It can be overwhelming to learn and use the tools while making digital art. 

7. Lack of Connection With Art

Unlike traditional art, you cannot touch or feel a digitally created artwork. For an artist to create amazing art, they need to connect with it. 

But with digital art, this can be difficult as you cannot touch the artwork while making it.

8. Analysis Paralysis

There are endless possibilities for what you can create with digital art. Having so many options can make you overthink the art and leave your creativity paralyzed!  

Suppose you are creating the artwork and you want to add an effect. There are thousands of effects to choose from and analyzing every step can drain you mentally. 

9. Technical Difficulties

“Error. The program has stopped working unexpectedly!”

App crashes, glitches, bugs, hardware difficulties, invalid files, and issues while troubleshooting will always be imminent when technology is involved. 

You can’t deny that you will face some of these problems at some point while working with digital art.

Many times, you may lose your current progress if the software crashes, and may even lose your data if your hard disk corrupts (thank god it doesn’t happen in traditional art).

10. Theft Of Work

The biggest disadvantage of digital art: You can face theft of your artwork as it can be easily copied and sold. 

Apart from that, your artwork can easily be duplicated and revised into different versions. This can never happen with Traditional art as each artwork is unique (and cannot be copied with 100% precision). 

Now you know that even technology has limitations… but who is the champion of the digital vs traditional art war? 

Traditional Art vs Digital Art: Who Wins?

traditional art vs digital art? who wins? which is better?

Get ready for the universal truth.

All the folks who practice digital art today started their training with traditional art. 

Don’t believe me? 

Baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z, whichever generation they might be from, began their art journey with traditional means of art like sketching. 

Come on, don’t tell me they never doodled with a pencil during their childhood! (doodling is a form of traditional art).

Today they might have left the shelters of traditional painting and have turned full-time to digital art, but it can’t be denied that they started their journey in the old school way.  

So who wins? 

By now, you know the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of art. But if you really understand what art is, you must be knowing that any form or piece of art cannot be compared. 

Art is unique and not about comparison. 

Both traditional art and digital art are good at their place. It’s stupid to think that traditional art is better than digital art or vice versa. 

Also, you can feast your eyes on these beautiful handmade paintings.

So What Should You Choose? Traditional or Digital Art?

so what would you choose between traditional and digital art?

You may use the following list of benefits and drawbacks to help you decide what art medium to choose and where to begin or what to try next. 

Although there is no right or wrong response, I would want to emphasize what I mentioned previously. 

It’s a popular misperception that digital art is simpler since it allows you to work faster and undo mistakes. 

However, successful digital work still demands a thorough grasp of the principles of art.

Just another thing to also consider is that digital art is a mere imitation of traditional art in many ways.

But I would also like to point out that mediums choose you. 

I am a 100% traditional artist, despite hindering into the digital world. 

I knew what suited me best because I love the tactile experience, the smells of the paint, the sounds of the brushes against the canvas, and the space in which I work.

But that doesn’t mean traditional art won this war of traditional art vs digital art.

Sometimes I even merged both of them to create a hybrid art known as Mixed Media.

Hybrid Art: Combining The Traditional Art And Digital Art 

what is hybrid art? traditional art and digital art combination

If you search the internet, you’ll find a lot of variations that define hybrid art. 

The most common definition is, “hybrid art is a contemporary art movement that implements scientific and technological perks into art”.

But I will tell you in simple words what hybrid art is. 

When you combine two forms of art, you get hybrid art.   

Combining painting and sculpting, you get a shaped canvas. Mix photos and editing software, and you’ll get a new form of a digital hybrid art piece.

In a sense, combining different forms of art leads to the invention of new styles. That’s what most artists are doing!

The master one form of art and then implement their learning to another type to create a new style.

The future of art only depends on how we integrate both mediums. 

Now, if you’re wondering how traditional art and digital art can be combined, I’d love to tell you that’s what we have been doing for the past few years!

We combine traditional art and digital art to make awesome paintings from photos. How do we do it? 

Read On!

Keeping The Traditional Art Dynamic With The Help Of Digital Art

Keeping traditional art alive with the help of digital art. how Photo to paintings is done at portraitflip using digital art and traditional art

Our artists at PortraitFlip work at what they are best at – doing traditional art to convert your photographs into precious handmade paintings!

You send us your photo, choose the painting medium (Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor, Charcoal, Pencil, Color pencil), and our artist hand paints a beautiful painting of your photo. 

But where is digital art here? You may ask.

Well, we implement sophisticated editing software (digital art) to make the desired changes to the photos before our artist starts painting. 

Here’s how we do it:

  1. You send us the photo(s) you want to get painted and mention the suggestions. For example, you want to change the background or want to add or remove people or morph your face for a king’s.
  2. Our graphic designers use their amazing editing skills to make the desired changes to the photo (Digital art at work here).
  3. We will send you the photo. Once you approve, the photo is sent to our professional artist who starts painting the portrait (Traditional art)
  4. Within a short period, you receive the handmade painting (made by implementing hybrid art)
  5. Here are a few categories we offer that make use of digital art and traditional art at their finest.

Custom Royal Portrait

Become a queen or morph your face with any character from the past. With a Custom Royal Portrait, you can become any fictional character of your choice. 

Compilation Portrait

Where we merge characters from different photos into a single handmade painting. Did your loved one miss an essential event in your life? Add them to the painting with Compilation Portrait.

Grandparents and Grandchildren Portraits

For remembering those who passed away before seeing their grandchildren, this category allows you to unite grandchildren and grandparents in a portrait.

Bad Photos Portraits

Your old, faded, or black-and-white photos are restored in the form of a handmade painting!

And More!

Whatever type of painting you wish, you can have it! Just write to us! Interested readers can read about it here.

So this is how we implement digital art into traditional art.  Now coming back to the main question,

Will Digital Art Replace Traditional Art?

will digital art replace traditional art forever?
In the distant future…

In the era of the digital world, people are choosing the easy path and turning towards digital art. 

Being hard to practice and master, traditional art is being left behind. 

On the other hand, it is true that you cannot create art if you can’t connect with it physically and emotionally—just as traditional art lets you do.

Look, I’m not manipulating you to choose traditional art over digital art. All I’m saying is, to choose the one you feel more connected with. 

Art is all about connecting and expressing yourself. The way you make art is a mere medium.

Master one, and after that move on to another in the future. If you feel it, take the hybrid art path or stick with just one discipline. 

To Conclude anybody who has “learned” or “wants to learn” digital art has to anyways start their journey with traditional art. 

Because you need to learn to hold a pencil before you can use photoshop!

So in my opinion, it’s unlikely to happen that digital art will replace traditional art—unless we all start living in a virtual world or become part of a dystopian future as shown in Black Mirror.

Before you go, a thought-provoking question for you. Think about this once.

Ask any artist and they will tell you every artwork is unique in itself. Yet, our schools judge artwork according to their preferences. 

Many students with real talent may not secure top positions in art school or competition and may believe that their art is worthless. 

This may lead them to quit practicing their art. What are your views on this?   

In conclusion, If you ask me, I’ll suggest that learning both forms of art will be the best. That will open up your creativity to the next level!

traditional art and digital art meme by portraitflip

That’s What She Added…

Salut reader!

I’m glad that you are here.

I hope you were able to learn the perks and cons of both traditional and digital art. 

And we hope you found all the answers you had on traditional art vs digital art.

If you feel that we missed mentioning something, please let us know in the comment section.

You are also invited to share your experience of your art with us. 

You can also reach out to us on social media: Instagram and Youtube.

Have a great day, my artistic friend!

All the best with your journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

Traditional art has been in this world since the dawn of time. Even though digital art is gaining popularity, we forget that it can always be duplicated unlike traditional art. Albeit to choose between traditional vs digital drawing everything depends on the artist to choose the medium that speaks volume to him. 

Digital art is a mere imitation of traditional art as it can be difficult to copy traditional to the T. That’s all there is to digital art: it is not cheating but just a more efficient way to produce art. Digital art is just more easier due to the technology of tools it has.

In a nutshell, yes, tangible artworks can be minted and sold as NFTs online if they are digital in nature.

2 thoughts on “The Philosophy of Traditional Art vs. Digital Art

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