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Last year I made a journal discussing the differences between traditional and digital drawing. Drawing traditionally vs digitally

Since then, I've been focusing a lot more on drawing traditionally and I think I've made a lot of progress since last summer. It's not that I considered digital as an inferior medium to traditional, but I made the mistake of believing my true artistic skill was reflected in how well I could draw on paper. (Since I was looking at a bunch of amazing traditional artists on Instagram) The truth is that digital and traditional are two completely different skill sets. Some people are amazing at drawing on paper but their digital coloring skills aren't up to par, and vice versa.

My personal opinion is that you should do a lot of both traditional and digital art (if you are able to) because the skills you learn in one medium will transfer over to the other medium in an interesting way. Drawing traditionally has made me more conscious of each line stroke and has trained me to better make artistic decisions I won't regret. Drawing digitally has made me better at picking out colors when I do traditional paintings, and I try to imitate digital techniques on the paper/canvas but it comes out in its own unique way. It's fun to make mockups on the computer that I later transfer to a canvas or paper. It's like the paper and screen are having a conversation with each other.

A few months ago I wrote a long research paper for one of my art history courses on how digital art is a worthy equal to the traditional mediums. I still think about it all the time and what I could have added to the essay. It's just always on my mind. I just think it's great to be well-rounded in both mediums, because it opens up a lot of new possibilities.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on the matter!
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:iconcottoncritter:
cottoncritter Featured By Owner Edited Aug 14, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I've dabbled in both over the years and I think my most creative time was when I was playing with pixels, digital art, and also things like acrylic painted rocks, perler beads, watercolors etc. 

These past years I didn't have access to digital art programs and been focusing on things like colored pencil art. I'm worried though that traditional art will become less and less desirable (certainly seems that way on DA sometimes) and wonder if I should be getting back into digital too. I'm curious about pursuing pixel art like I used to anyways. (Icons, character scenes, landscapes etc)
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's definitely true that art communities have their biases. Do you post your traditional art on Instagram? I feel like I see more traditional than digital art posted there (especially since they love their Instagram shots with all the tools they used haha)

Pixel art sounds like fun! Especially since you mentioned experimenting with perler beads. I have so much respect for pixel artists considering how much patience and attention to detail it requires. Truly an art form suited for the digital age! ;p
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:iconnerun0san:
Nerun0san Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2018
And people still saying "DigITaL iS nOt aRt" ...
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man, those people just don't get it. :x
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:iconkhasdannyanlord:
Khasdannyanlord Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
well i try to do the same at the same rate my conclusion is digital is the same difficult only you need the right tool to work!
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep!
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:iconantelopelim:
antelopelim Featured By Owner Edited Aug 6, 2018  Student General Artist
After years of doing art digitally because I'm bad at coloring on paper, I've just realized that coloring digitally isn't going to help improve my handling of a real paint brush.

Therefore, I've been thinking of trying coloring traditionally as well, as I still believe it is a fundamental thing to improve my coloring skills.
Having experiences on both media is just going to help you way lot more than being skillful in either one. One can discover a more diverse way of painting when they have the skills on both, producing something extraordinary.

Traditional painting, is hard to correct mistakes. In a way, it can help reduce your mistakes when drawing digitally, that's what I think.

Yeah, my main problem isn't drawing on paper but coloring on paper. :(
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree with you there! Coloring traditionally isn't easy, especially if you don't have the right materials and it can be frustrating and physically tiring in some cases. I think that's what makes digital art so great because it allows you to experiment with color as much as possible and you don't have to worry about "wasting" anything.
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:iconantelopelim:
antelopelim Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2018  Student General Artist
EXACTLY!!!
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:icontoedeledoki:
toedeledoki Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2018
Can relate! Especially the ability to pick out and mix colours better after having done digital art for some years really surprised me initially. 

I've no preferences personally. I've found that both media types are great and unforgiving in their own way. The permanence of it was what really daunted me from starting traditional pieces at first. To achieve a certain result requires a solid understanding of one's tools and how say paper, water and paint respond to one another. You have to be mindful of every stroke, line and splotch, because it will colour the final result indefinitely. It's also what tends to give your pieces instant character, but it doesn't give you anything to hide behind either. If you suck, your piece will suck. Then there's the infinite malleability of digital artworks. Nothing is final and you can endlessly add, subtract, refine and rework to your hearts content. It can be comforting if you can trust yourself to know when things 'look bad'. I'd say it's arguably easier to create a pretty illustration with digital art than traditional art. However, it requires always having to consciously decide when and how a piece should and will be finished. For me, it can often be frustrating how stiffling that freedom can be. 

But ultimately the skills that truly matter in art are unrelated to the medium that you choose to express your creativity with. Sometimes I receive the best feedback from people who couldn't draw a tea pot if their life depended on it. They might not have an active understanding of how to visualize what's in their mind's eye, or how mix paint to put on a canvas, take a picture of a city skyline at night with a DLSR or mold clay. But they do understand or at least unconsciously recognize form, light, composition and colour. Learning the tools of the trade and all the specific advantages or disavantages of other art mediums is incredibly important, but in my opinion comes second to the foundational knowledge of how to look at the world and understand how it interacts with itself as well as how it affects us. Practicing a particular medium of your choice is just one of many ways to further that understanding. Be aware of the pros and cons of any medium you try and there's no 'right' or 'wrong' one to be practicing is what I feel ;)


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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for commenting! You have a lot of great insight. Especially in regards to being given too much freedom with digital to the point where it can be overwhelming. It makes you wonder how much of digital artists' art block just comes from having too many options in which case I'd say step back and focus on something else for a bit. I've definitely been there and I'm sure you and many others can relate as well. And I agree- learning the fundamentals is SO important. Some people believe that having a unique style is more important than having the fundamental art skills, but I disagree-- if an artist's style lacks the proper foundation then it will all fall apart especially if the fundamental issues are never addressed. (I speak from personal experience on that one!)
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:icontoedeledoki:
toedeledoki Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2018
I'm glad you didn't mind that wall of text haha. Totally agree on that last part. I'm speaking from personal experience too! Too long have I been able to hide away some clear gaps in my knowledge of perspective and anatomy using Photoshop tricks (transform/warp/liquify). Eventually you just run into a wall. Plus it's an inefficient way of working too, having to constantly 'fix' proportions at multiple stages of painting. Anyway, I've got some ways to go but going traditional has been a real eye-opener so it's back to basics for me. I've been enjoying it though! 
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes!! Exactly all of that. It feels so liberating learning new skills that makes the overall process quicker and more efficient instead of spending 2 hours fixing everything from the bottom up. It's a good investment. And of course, I think you've got the painting thing down pretty dang well!
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:iconvioletcascade:
VioletCascade Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018  Student Digital Artist
I used to love to draw traditionally before I got my tablet but since then I realized how much strain I was putting on my back bending over because when I'm drawing digitally my hand is on the page and I'm looking up and sitting up more also I can use both my hands with digital being left handed I can scroll with my right hand and draw with my left xD
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
As a rightie I always wondered what it's like to use a computer mouse as a leftie. I guess you're probably used to it right? (no pun intended) Tho I guess there's alwyas the option of switching the mouse to the other side.  Just something random I've always wondered about. XD
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:iconvioletcascade:
VioletCascade Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2018  Student Digital Artist
yea i've always just had the mouse on my right side it'd be awfully strange to switch it now haha :'3 i can't even imagine but lefties are usually fairly good at using both hands for tasks 
the biggest issue i've run into is using scissors they're just awful xD
my teachers would always ask why i didn't cut out something or why it's taking so long and usually i'd have to ask a friend to cut things out for me
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:iconprinnia:
Prinnia Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I agree that both are very valuable things to practice!  And your skills in one definitely won't directly reflect your skills in the other, although they do contribute to one another in a meaningful way. I find that I'm much better at being loose and experimental in traditional because I always had a very sketchy way of drawing, whereas my digital art is much cleaner and brighter.  It's definitely easier to experiment with colors and layers of things digitally.
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes!! Exactly this. It's interesting to see how your skills from different mediums carry over to the others, for better or for worse. Definitely helps to be well rounded in general I say!
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:iconwotawota:
wotawota Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018
Hmm... there are various points of view or the ways how to judge it...
IMHO, in simple terms:

First, technically speaking, I think, traditional drawing (process!) is somewhat superior to digital one. Please don't get me wrong - I really don't underestimate digital creation hard work, but in digital world you can use for example many clever labor-saving automated program modules (etc.), then, without electricity you cannot do anything.... While if you draw "traditionally" all you have are your hands (with particular drawing tools)... plus you can create wherever, far from civilization.
Second, from the point of view of the inspiration and creative imagination, I am sure that both ways are totally equal.
I'm sorry ... I'm not good at explaining the things...
*
Well, I also agree that ideally (if possible) it's the best to practice both.
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You bring up a great point! That is one of the big advantages traditional has over digital. When the power goes out, I can't do digital art until the power comes back, but I can always draw or paint (provided I have a light source!)
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:iconwotawota:
wotawota Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2018
Flowers fella (Love)  Da Vinci Fella (Artists) Blowkiss valentine fella (Love)
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:iconkuragari1988:
Kuragari1988 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well I started traditionally, later I tried with mouse. And I like digital with graphic tablet most. Because I tend to mess up the line art and that made me furious x_x I have no patience and shakey hands...
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I get what you mean! Digital line tools are definitely a life saver. It can be really aggravating on paper sometimes.
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:iconkobutanori:
KobutaNori Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I started drawing mainly digital but recently I've been doing more traditional art.  Traditional drawing made me realize a lot of bad habits that I developed because of digital drawing.  For instance, I completely abuse the undo button and transform tool, I draw too fast, not actually thinking about line placement which actually slows down my work flow tremendously.  Drawing traditionally is great because of its unforgiving setting.  Rather then drawing mindlessly and erasing the countless mistakes in digital, I was forced to think about how I wanted something to look and then carefully, slowly, try to draw that.  I think while its okay to prefer one medium over another (i still prefer digital) I think it is incredibly beneficial to practice both mediums. Llama Emoji-09 (Drinking Tea) [V1] 
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Exactly! It's interesting how switching to a different medium can highlight our weaknesses that we might have not noticed or acknowledged otherwise. I've had the same experiences as you when it comes to switching to traditional to the point where I questioned my skills as an artist, when in reality I just hadn't adapted that different set of skills. Even if it's just dabbling in a different medium it can still have a significant or interesting effect on how we work in general, and I think it's for the better.
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:iconpaleona:
Paleona Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018   Digital Artist
I almost never draw traditionally- it has always intimidated me with how permanent and seemingly unforgiving it is. I feel I've only considerably grown as an artist after starting to draw digitally, it just suits me so much more, I'm infinitely more comfortable in digital. I do love the look of traditional art, the randomness you can get through paint strokes, the varying look of pencils depending on how the tip is sharpened, etc, if that makes sense. You have to consciously tweak / do a lot more for digital in that kind of regard, I think. 

I feel like digital art has a lot of stigmas and misconceptions surrounding it, mostly by people who are not artists. I've been asked a few times if I trace or use some sort of template when drawing and others have blatantly said that digital art is "cheating". The art doesn't make itself, just because you use a digital medium. It takes just as much time and skill as any other form of art, and has its own learning curve. I find editing and erasing/fine tuning much MUCH more enjoyable in digital.

I think it's nice to mess around with any medium, but it's fine to prefer and mostly use whatever you like best. Art is a very personal thing and there's no "right" way to do something. Bear Emoji-01 (Good job) [V1] 
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh definitely. I've gotten the most crap from people who have never done digital themselves. Insinuating that we digital artists just press a magic button that makes the picture for us. And my response is "Why don't you try making something on the computer?" And see how fast they change their tune! You're absolutely right, there are so many different mediums to experiment with. I don't think any one is less valid than the others. We just have to find the one that works the best for us personally, and our true potential will really show through!
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