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Hello, dA!

As you may be aware, we are in the process of revisiting gallery descriptions and making sure that all of our submissions categories make sense and are useful to you. We also want to make sure that categories are mutually exclusive so that people don't submit their deviations to the wrong galleries/categories by mistake. 

This process brought out a very interesting conversation among some members of the CV team. Specifically, we started talking about what, fundamentally, the difference between digital drawing and digital painting was. Does it depend on brush strokes? Is there some technique used on one but not the other? What sets the two apart?

 . . . OR, are they essentially the same thing? :XD:

Here's what the submission guidelines currently say about digital drawing and digital painting:

Digital Drawing: Digital art drawings created using computer-aided drawing tools or digital techniques.
Digital Painting: Digital art using digital painting & airbrushing techniques.

. . . not helpful, right?


What are your thoughts?


We're talking to all of you hard-core digital artists out there now. How do YOU see this discussion? Is there REALLY a difference between digital drawing and digital painting? If so, what is it? You can respond to this blog, of course, but you can also respond to our poll here.

Thanks guys! dA rocks. :dalove:


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:icontamarar:
tamaraR Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012   Digital Artist
Sometimes it's clear to me but other times it isn't. Is a drawing one with lines and a digital painting without? I'm not always sure. I think it would be better if it became one option.
Reply
:iconshink0u-chan:
Shink0u-chan Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
same thing...there are many who use tablets for digital paintings...i thought the definition for the two would be different.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
oooooooook, gonna say this.

But when I submit a piece to a group as Digi Painting, it'll get rejected BUT if its digi drawing its not ... go figure?

Now a drawing i consider it as something that uses a dry media, pencil, pen, charcoal etc and a painting is something that uses a wet media, acrlyics, oils, watercolours.

now digitally this makes no sense!

I also lean towards Digi drawing primarliy because my images look static, whereas some digi paintings can look fliud. its a tedious link at best.

I think many devaints think of the catagories as tiered, such as digital pianting is better than digital drawing but that an assumation of mine.
Reply
:iconstygma:
Stygma Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I am always confused about that! The problem is rarely use only one technic in a digital artwork. It's both drawing and painting. So, where should I put it? I'm trying to guess how much of painting vs drawing is shown to decide in wich category I will put the art.
Reply
:iconssceles:
ssceles Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I already posted but as a follow-up:

I got told because "half" of my piece was line art, that it was a drawing. I don't consider one hour of lineart to be "half" my piece when I spend four hours painting afterward. The time it takes to draw typically takes up a fourth of my piece, more or less. I use watercolor, airbrush, and marker tools in SAI and I do not merely cell-shade. When I worked traditionally with watercolors, I'd ink it when I was done I was still praised for my painting ability.

Talk about mixed mediums. If could just stop at 'digital art' without having to choose drawing or painting I would.

But if its suddenly a painting instead of a drawing when I remove the lineart layer, when its the same coloring technique no matter what, that's just silly.
Reply
:iconthiaminatenn:
ThiaminaTenn Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012   Digital Artist
For me, drawing means to use pencils for creating lines, hatchings, sketches (ok that's hard because you can also sketch with brushes >.< but I think most people sketch their character or whatever with a pencil in to their sketchbook's...)

And painting means (for me) to use brushes, playing around with colors, colorblending or even rough brushstrokes but not to create line for line, even though styles can change from hard to very smooth. (for example a landscape created with oils is obviously a painting and when you create something similar digitally you would also call it painting in my opinion)

But I think for many people it's both kinda the same - digital and tradtional :D
And sometimes it could be really hard to choose, because some people mix it strongly.
Reply
:iconlurkingshadoww:
LurkingShadoww Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
I always thought they were the same thing O_O in fact, Since I upload a lot of Digital art over paper drawn.
Reply
:icongaltenoble:
Galtenoble Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012   Traditional Artist
Digital drawing I usually think like lineart or cell shading. Digital painting makes me think like a painting, but done on computer.
Reply
:icondeidaraart5:
deidaraart5 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
In my opinion digital painting is layering up colors slowly to make smoother transitions (not necessarily realistically, but not cell shadig either). Digital paintings can have lineart, or be lineless, as it's the coloring itself that is the painting part. Digital drawing is more hard shading, no shading, lineart, or sketches.
Reply
:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I thought the same thing about digital drawing.
Reply
:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
In the end, both are complex and can be simple.
Reply
:icondeidatvm:
DEIDATVM Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
Lineart is the difference.

Cel shading or no shading without lineart is kind of ambiguous.
Reply
:icondreamer-11:
DreameR-11 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For the most part they are the same. For me personally, I usually make a digital drawing before I digitally paint it. So, the same
Reply
:iconspirit-of-the-fire:
spirit-of-the-fire Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
I'm not a "hardcore" digital artist but...

I don't think there is a clear distinction between digital paintings and drawings. To me, it's always been mostly the style that determines which is which - i.e., anime and cartoons (e.g., [link] [link] [link]), to me, look like they should be in the "drawings" category because they seem to be more closely emulating traditional drawings, while realism and certain abstract styles (e.g., [link] [link] [link]) seem more appropriate in "paintings" because they seem to be more closely emulating traditional paintings. I know a lot of people categorize by technique, but that's often difficult to determine with digital art, so raises the risk of not actually knowing if something is a miscat or not.

But really, there is so much overlap, there are so many pieces that could easily fit into both categories, I don't think there's really a need for two separate galleries. Personally, I would be perfectly happy with a single gallery called "Digital Drawings and Paintings", and artists who feel the need to can specify which their work is in the comments.
Reply
:iconficticiousanimation:
FicticiousAnimation Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Digital painting is like with more paintbrush like brushes.
Digital drawing is like in mspaint or using more line-like brushes.
They are very different, but in my opinion they should be merged. After all, having two categories that are so similar that nobody can tell the difference cold confuse newcomers to the site. It could also result in having one of these categories becoming considerably more popular than the other, which means people would start gaming the system.
Reply
:icon9573:
9573 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
it depends on the technique and tools you use. Outside of the computer you don't draw with brushes too. Neither do you paint with pencils.
Reply
:iconcryo-draws:
cryo-draws Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
What do we do about drawings with lineart AND painterly colouring? D8< This always confuses me.
Reply
:iconcatluvr2:
catluvr2 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm leaning towards what everyone else has said, i.e. line art and such as drawings, shaded and no visible lines other than color changes being paintings.
Reply
:icondeerydeerth:
DeeryDeerth Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Honestly, I always viewed digital drawings as sketches, doodles and simple drawings with usual brushes that actually looks like digital art in overall.
As for digital paintings, I've always thought they're the primary way to imitating traditional art and making drawings look dynamic, soft, without any special lines. :)
Reply
:iconmissvirginia:
Missvirginia Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012   Digital Artist
I think there's a difference because essentially digital art is mimicking traditional art, yes? It was first, so digital must be an imitation. In this case, when a digital artist is trying to mimic a drawing they would tend to do traditonally (graphite, colored pencils, etc.) that would be a digital drawing. However, when they are imitating a painting (say oil, watercolor, etc.) that is a painting. Simple. :nod:
Reply
:iconpricechi:
pricechi Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
I think there are more deviations submitted to 'drawings' as compared to 'paintings', and I noticed half of the stuff in the painting category don't really belong there.

I used to put everything into the drawing category, but now I decide based on the methods I use. I always use a mix of painting and drawing methods so in the end it's all personal opinion. However I do not agree with digital painting being a strictly lineless thing as mentioned by some. Even on a single layer painting, lines can be used as guides or be used to define the painting. Drawings also need not have lineart.

... Could be a technique thing I guess. The current category definitions are good enough for me though!
Reply
:iconficticiousanimation:
FicticiousAnimation Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree, but what are the current category definitions? Are they separate or merged?
Reply
:iconpricechi:
pricechi Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
Ah, I'm sorry! This is what I actually meant [link] =)
Reply
:iconficticiousanimation:
FicticiousAnimation Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh that makes perfect sense, thanks.
Yeah I agree with you.
Reply
:iconsevenofeleven:
sevenofeleven Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
I used to use just brushes but now I use pencils and brushes in Artrage so I can't really say its a digital painting or drawing.

If you are going to put things in categories, you need to be able to tell what fits and what does not immediately. The more time you spend scrutinizing stuff to find out where it goes, the less time you have to keep things orderly.

It has to be obvious like a drawing in the sculpture section.

If you cannot tell the difference between digital drawing vs digital painting in a spit second then maybe you should not change anything.
Reply
:iconartastrophe:
artastrophe Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
IIRC, in art school, anything with a pen, chalk, pastel, pencil, or charcoal (probably forgetting some...) we considered drawing, even using ink washes with a paintbrush.

Digital gets trickier... but I would say, painting takes away the need to use lines to show shapes/define subjects and is comprised entirely of shading/coloring without relying on those outlines for definition.

And for me, drawing is simply used to sketch out compositions; it's the step I do before I color it in/paint it. :D Great question!!
Reply
:iconchickadde1:
Chickadde1 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Student General Artist
Digital Drawing: What i can do
Digital Painting: What i can't do
So, nope not the same thing.
Reply
:iconchaffyy:
chaffyy Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012   General Artist
This is how I define them:
Digital Drawing: The use of lineart and simple colouring.
Digital Painting: Complex and more detailed colouring, with no lineart as such.
Reply
:iconemmystuck:
Emmystuck Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For me, a digital drawing implies simpler colouring, sometimes with shading, while a digital painting is very complex and has more shading and colours. A subtle difference that's hard to explain, but I can point them out on sight.
Reply
:iconsleepyowlet:
sleepyowlet Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The definition I learned at school was painting: emphasis on spaces, accents are created with contrast of colour; drawing: emphasis on lines, accents are created with contrast of light and dark. So it's very possible to paint with chalks and crayons... and it's also possible to draw with a brush.

Problem is, there are so many mixed forms, and in digital art the distinction is even harder. I don't know where to put my stuff most of the time ._.
Reply
:iconzaleho:
Zaleho Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think they're definitely two distinct categories >_> At least, I've treated them as such. Digital drawing would be the digital equivalent of sketching with a pencil or using a pen or crayon or other non-paint to draw in traditional media while digital painting is the digital equivalent to using a paintbrush. They take different techniques and approaches to do. I personally like them separate because I think of my digital paintings as paintings and not as drawings.
Reply
:iconsleepyowlet:
sleepyowlet Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thing is you can paint with crayons and you can draw with a brush even in real life. I think the distinction is more about the way contrast is achieved. In a painting it's about colours, in drawings it's about lines and light/dark contrast. At least that's what I learned at school.

This [link] is very much a painting, but I created it using pencil and chalk brushes.

And then all the mixed forms... so I'd love a category named "digital drawing/painting". It would prevent a lot of confusion, I think.
Reply
:icondevibrigard:
DeviBrigard Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012
Perhaps split it into:
Digital art > sketches and linearts
Digital art > drawings, paintings and airbrushing
Perhaps also bring technical drawings out into its own category, it appears to mostly be filled with with just regular drawings :/
Reply
:iconk-times-two:
k-times-two Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Professional General Artist
It seems digital 'painting' and digital 'drawing' is up to what the artists themselves consider is a painting or a drawing. You can draw a painting and paint a drawing, but generally drawing is limited to hard pencil-like things, whereas painting is limited to wet, gloppy things you smudge around with a brush. If most digital artists tried to reproduce their art with traditional art forms, I'd imagine that they would end up being mixed media.

Based on the above, it comes down to what techniques you try to emulate more. But even then it's tricky, because as I said, you can draw a painting and paint a drawing. "Digital Canvas" is probably a decent umbrella term, since no matter what you're using on it, your canvas is your screen.

Being mainly a fan-artist myself, categories are just terribly confusing altogether for me. I honestly don't know where else to complain, but being involved in as many varied art forms as I am, I do have a couple misgivings about the system. It's really hard because the fan-art category has no artisan craft subcategories, and since I'm in the no-man's land of needlefelting a lot anyway, it's like... where do I put this? Or that? Haha. I'm still not sure where I should put my pencil-carving things.

The thing is, dA tries to categorize things both by medium and by subject. But when those two are all scattered around as they are, it's terribly confusing, because it's like

Some Mediums-->Niche Mediums-->Some Subjects
Subject-->Some Mediums-->Some Niche Mediums

Times that by twenty or so and you've got gaps! Now I mainly work in artisan crafts and fan and digital art, but especially in unique forms like I'm attracted to (like pencilcarving, or the very very versatile needlefelting) it's especially difficult to work in this system.

Personally, I think it should look more uniformly like

Mediums-->Niche Mediums--> Subjects

but I realize that's a lot of shenanagins that won't happen any time soon. :XD:

Just my :twocents:, haha.
Reply
:iconfreckleonmypalm:
FreckleOnMyPalm Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Professional General Artist
Oh, and as a shout out to all those talking about lineart and tools being the key here...well...traditionally anything done with PAINT is a painting no matter how you USE the paint. A lot of painters use lineart, the thing that makes them painters is their choice of medium. Just as not all, or really even most, drawings,utilize lineart but they're drawings because they're done in pencil, chalk, pen, etc.

Thus this odd logic people are using seems particularly moot when applied to digital medium where the true differences are the TYPES of programs being used rather then how they're used.
Reply
:iconfreckleonmypalm:
FreckleOnMyPalm Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Professional General Artist
I never understood why there should be a difference. I'd say to simplify things just make the categories for digital work 'raster,' 'vector,' and etc rather then separating drawing and painting.

The biggest change I would love to see though as far as categories go is that there should be a mixed media category that is a traditional+digital because a lot of us draw something traditionally and scan+color the piece digitally and it's often (for me anyway) a half and half sort of deal and I never know which category I should choose because of that.
Reply
:iconburlew:
Burlew Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
+1 to the traditional+digital idea; that's the most annoying thing to try to place, especially when it's just colored and not heavily repainted or anything.
Reply
:iconitsnotfilia:
ItsNotFilia Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think a tag-like, or a select-all-that-apply approach to categories may do more justice to mixed media or other details about categories in general. (like multiple topics)

Regarding your extra comment, though I get where you're getting to, I feel that the last part is a bit off - for example, you can use Photoshop to both manipulate (like cropping, changing contrast, applying various effects etc.) and/or paint, so it still actually depends on how you use the software you have.
Reply
:iconfreckleonmypalm:
FreckleOnMyPalm Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Professional General Artist
Ooo I like that idea, that would be far more effective!

I was really only trying to make a point about using the same logic for digital as traditional being sort of silly and I think trying to divide digital painting and drawing in this way is messy and confusing. Separating manipulations though makes perfect sense as they're a different bag.

With your idea of having a select what applies approach would make their question here pretty much moot since, well, you'd have more options and would be able to more accurately describe what you felt you were doing.
Reply
:iconbamagravy:
BamaGravy Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012
Congratulations, you've started a war, or a battle hmmm same thing different name. Mainly depends on the people involved, what they call it. If the artist calls it a drawing then that's what it is and if they call it a painting, well that's what it is also.

I defer to the creator.
Reply
:iconmilitant-jester:
Militant-Jester Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012   General Artist
In this case the distinction seems really meaningless, confusing and unneeded.
Reply
:iconitsnotfilia:
ItsNotFilia Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
What's with all the lineart obsession I see in folks here? People can 'draw' fine without it. The reason it's ambiguous in the digital field is that, in there, there's no real distinguishing between a pencil or a brush - in a sense, they're all brushes. In fact, I dare say that the only difference I can think of is using brushes vs using other tools, (such as shape tools, or the bucket fill tool etc.) maybe even manipulation tools.

Actually, here's a question for everyone: if you drew a circle and manipulated the crap out of it, which category would it fall into?
Reply
:iconprinceofpride:
PrinceofPride Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with your stance on lineart. Besides, someone can draw traditionally without the use of lineart with colored pencils and whatnot, then I don't see why digital art requires lineart in order to be considered a drawing.
Reply
:iconodrawing:
OdraWing Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Digital drawings are like paper drawings. Coloured with markers, watercolor or coloured pencils over a well defined lineart made with pencils or pens.
Digital paintings should be more like the usual canvas paintings, like oil paintings and etc.
For example, most cartoons drawn with computer, manga, and vector-like lineart should be digital drawings.
I guess the difference starts fading with the lineart and use of blenders, complex backgrounds, and stunning light effects. Because the so called lineart disappears as a well defined feature of the picture and starts to become just guidelines for the final result. And that is more painting-esque.
Reply
:iconfelzlycia:
FelzLycia Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think, digital drawings have linearts. While the digital paintings have no lineart, but they have detailed colorings and shadowing parts.



*Based on my experience*
Sorry for my bad english! ^^;
Reply
:iconemmystuck:
Emmystuck Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Maybe you mean that usually digital drawings have a visible lineart while digital paintings' linearts are shown by change of colour? If that's what you meant, I completely agree :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconfelzlycia:
FelzLycia Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yep, yepp, exactly! That's what I mean... ^^;
Reply
:iconsoleworker:
SoleWorker Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I regard line less drawings that utilize the features of real life painting in the digital world as a digital painting, and digital drawing is more simple, (but definable not inferior) where as lines can visibly be seen.

Digital painting would make use of lost edges, bounce lighting, no blended contour lines - so to speak. I myself am a Digital Draw-ist ^^: opposed a digital painter. I wish to paint like the pros one day.

Example: In my opinion ==>

This is a digital drawing:
[link]

While this is a digital painting:
[link]
From the talented Charlie Bowater

To me, i see skilled usage of lost edges, bounce lighting, and mega usage of pressure to re-produce almost photo realistic effects in her "painting". While in my "drawing" I used lighting a lot, but the lines of my line-art still bring out the definition in contrast to the line-lessness of Charlie's art.

IMO - a digital drawing becomes a painting when the lines are lost and shadows and lighting are used to define the lines - like in the real world.
Reply
:iconwingedgenesis5:
WingedGenesis5 Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
If it's line art, sketch or fully cross hatched, I put it in drawing since technically, I'm not painting if there's no color, right? If I've colored it, I put it in painting. I never thought of the categories as confusing thankfully.
Reply
:iconssceles:
ssceles Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I draw.......... then I paint the inside? If my work is colored, I put it in the painted category. If its just a drawing, I put it in a drawing category.

For example, when I worked traditionally, I'd do the same thing. I'd draw in pencil, then I'd either ink it right away, or I'd watercolor, wait for it to dry, then ink it. The first is a drawing, the second has been painted and would go in a watercolor category. If it had been done with colored pencil, I wouldn't consider it a painting, but then again, do colored pencil works get their own category?

There's also digital art that looks like its done with markers, or done in a vector style, with non-blended colors (cell-shading?), that doesn't count as a vector unless it was done in a vector program or with vector tools, even though they look identical until zoomed in. It is neither 'painted' nor merely 'drawn'.

Whether it counts as a painting or not really depends on the artist's style. I use lines AND I paint, even when working traditionally. I didn't just use a bucket/flood tool, I actually painted - I use both the watercolor and airbrush tools when I color my work. But I also have lines. It's not a mere drawing. I often submit my lineart separately as well to a drawing category.

Not everyone is capable of lineless painting, and people looking for drawings aren't looking for things that aren't lineart. I have lines and paint so I'm not really what either purists are looking for.
Reply
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