Digital vs. Traditional Art: What Are the Differences?

Digital vs. Traditional Art

Did you know that there are nearly 2.5 million artists in the United States? Over 300,000 of those artists use art as a secondary job.

It’s not always easy to make money from art, but passionate ones do what they can to live their dream. There are now online mediums one can use as “buy my art” and earn money from his creative skills.

Because of the prevalence of digital art, learning and creating art is more accessible than ever. Even so, traditional artworks are still important in the industry and around the world.

What are the differences between digital vs. traditional art? Keep reading to find out.

What Is Digital Art?

Digital art is made with technology instead of traditional art methods and techniques. Digital tools in this art form can help increase creativity and development.

Although some people view digital art as something that may replace traditional artmaking, there are benefits to this art form. We’ll discuss each of them below.

Increased Access

When it comes to digital vs. traditional art, digital art is more accessible. Not every artist has a set of acrylic paint or watercolors to make traditional art pieces.

Many people have access to digital devices like smartphones, iPads, or laptops. These devices are not cheap initially, but there is no continual cost when buying a device outright.

In comparison to tubes of paint, canvases, and other art tools, digital art is the more affordable way to make art in the long run.


It’s fun to own paints, markers, and watercolors, but are they convenient to own? Carrying around art materials isn’t ideal for anyone, but you never know when inspiration hits.

It can be a hassle to create anyway other than in an art studio. Using a digital medium instead is hassle-free. You can carry devices with you basically anywhere and don’t have to prep to create something.

On the con side of things, some digital art programs require you to have an internet connection. While there are a lot of places with free WiFi, you might risk going to a place where you can’t work.

You would have to carry your art materials everywhere you want to work, but you are not limited to only areas that have internet access.

Instant Shareability

Because your art is stored on a digital device when you create something in digital form, it’s easier to share the work.

You can instantly share your work on websites and through social media platforms. Plus, your art form won’t be diluted. A photograph of a physical painting doesn’t do the features of the art justice.

Increased Productivity

Traditional art takes a lot of time to complete. If you make a mistake, you might need to start over unless you can somehow salvage the issue.

Creating digitally saves time in this aspect because you can undo something without having to start over. In digital creation, you can erase elements without a trace while positioning or resizing objects.

In the digital world, you aren’t limited by the physical features of the material world.

Flexible Resources and Tools

A digital artist has more resources and tools to create art. They can use various artmaking software that includes tools that can simulate a traditional art piece.

Some of the best digital software art programs are:

  • Affinity Photo
  • Corel Painter
  • Photoshop
  • Rebelle 5
  • Procreate
  • Clip Studio Paint Pro

Photoshop is the industry standard but there are a lot of options out there that might match your goals better.

In an art program, you can use regular brushes, watercolor brushes, and more. You can flip, resize, or change a canvas without going out and buying an entirely new one.


If you remember to save your work and protect your digital files, digital art is safer than traditional art. You can copy your wok onto an external hard drive for an additional level of safety.

An external hard drive like a flash drive is commonly used by digital artists so that they can pull up their art and work on various devices.

With a traditional method, anything can ruin the canvas you spent hours creating. Rain, greasy fingers, and dirt all have the potential to ruin a traditional art piece in seconds.

What Is Traditional Art?

Traditional art is made physically and without the use of the online world. Both art forms require skills but have different modes of thinking.

Traditional art techniques can help artists gain a better understanding of art materials and how they can be used. Let’s go over the benefits of making traditional art.

Hands-on Experiences

Learning artmaking through a hands-on experience can help artists manipulate paintbrushes or use carving tools to their advantage. Through the experience, you’ll gain a broader view of how materials get used.

Physical art creation is also great for motor skills and better hand-eye coordination.

Unique Pieces

You can create unique pieces in both the digital and traditional forms of artmaking. However, the handmade nature of traditional art isn’t as easy to reproduce.

A handmade piece is a one-of-a-kind piece whereas digital creation can be reproduced and shared within seconds.

Traditional art pieces have more value than digital art pieces because of their uniqueness.

Working with a traditional medium is messy, but the messiness is what makes this art form individualistic.

Increased Versatility

Digital is one medium while traditional art methods can be created with more types of media. You’ll come up with different experiences and results when you create graphite images vs. pigmented paint art and so on.

Using various art materials won’t give you the look of a clean-finished product as digital art does. If you want to create something with a lot of textures and layers, this is a major benefit.

Physical and traditional art is an actual media but some come with limitations. For example, materials might interact in an odd way or you could have limited color options depending on your palette.

Forced Problem-Solving

The undo button on a digital device can save you from careless mistakes. With traditional art, mistakes cannot be easily erased. This allows you to focus on forced problem-solving.

The restriction forces artists to physically fix the mistake. In some cases, the best art pieces come from accidents that are problem-solved.

Artists will be better suited to improve their skills and no longer make those mistakes in the future.

More Skills

Traditional art typically requires more skills than digital art. This is because you need to have knowledge of the following:

  • Color theories
  • Composition
  • Drawing styles
  • Graphic and stylistic expressions
  • Experimentation
  • Materials
  • Textures

Learning and using different brushes, pencils, and other art tools can increase your techniques. Although you can make your skills work for digital art, you won’t have the hands-on experience from strictly digital work.

Digital vs. Traditional Art: Which Is Better?

When you know the differences between digital vs. traditional art, you can decide on a preference. The answer to which is better boils down to skills and opinion.

For most artists, digital art is easier to complete. Some prefer traditional art because it is a testament to their skills.

At the end of the day, some might find traditional art easier because they don’t work well with digital methods. It all comes down to how you were trained as an artist and what your best skills are.

You can find examples of digital and traditional art at from artists with stories about their skills.

Is Traditional Art Dying?

Traditional art has existed for centuries before the technology existed and will continue to exist. Despite the rising popularity of digital mediums like NFTs and crypto art, the mediums are able to co-exist.

At one point, people believed that painting and drawing would be replaced with photography. That has yet to happen because all forms of art are appreciated. When new mediums come about, the older ones remain.

Traditional art has a historical significance that will never die out entirely. In fact, the collectors market continues to boom even though digital reproductions of classic paintings are common.

Understanding the Differences in Art

Digital vs. traditional art is a commonly debated topic. A lot of people and artists are trying to figure out which is better but it comes down to opinion.

When you learn the differences between the two, you find that they each have their pros and cons that make them unique. The art forms have found a way to co-exist and will continue to be popular for years to come.

There is room for both mediums in the art world. For more informative articles like this, check out the other posts on our website.

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About the Author: Lisa Eclesworth

Lisa Eclesworth is a notable and influential lifestyle writer. She is a mom of two and a successful homemaker. She loves to cook and create beautiful projects with her family. She writes informative and fun articles that her readers love and enjoy. You can directly connect with her on email - or visit her website