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do you think its beneficial to learn traditional before digital painting? 

1,140 deviants said Yes, a majority of the time
440 deviants said No, not necessary at all
62 deviants said Its digital before traditional... what????

Devious Comments

YaraFerreira Featured By Owner May 30, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I don't think it's really necessary to learn traditional before digital. I attended at Fine Art college, and had some painting lessons, but it wasn't that good. I learned very little of them :/ I went to digital some time ago, and, maybe for the facility to doing and re-doing things, I'm learning a lot more with digital. For me, digital is being better to learning. But, anyway, i think its a personal issue :)
SuicidalArtist000 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2015   General Artist
I'm studying traditional drawing fundamentals currently before then studying digital painting, i would hope one doesn't extremely have to learn traditional painting first to become good at digital painting/or concept art, but i will take the study of it on as well if it is literally the only way to ever become good at digital painting/be a concept artist.
TernadoG Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
They're both two different mediums so no it's not necessary to learn either first but it is to good practice both to help get your artistic mind flowing. their is things you can do & learn with digital you can't with traditional & vice verse meaning you can start with either or just go with the one you really want to use.
sifyro Featured By Owner May 2, 2014   Artisan Crafter
I cannot get good tools for traditional also i dont have enought money for that, everything is expensive here, also im very slow in traditional and i dont like to take risks of my work being ruined (a simple dirty spot in the painting and doog bye good work) without any backup. I think that this is not very necesary. I would prefer practice more in digital instead wasting time trying to learn to paint in traditional...
LuisLaoshi Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have to say no.

It is only beneficial if you are using a tablet with a display such as a cintiq. Otherwise, you'll be relearning everything.
mikoabrina Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013  Student General Artist
For me, I started out drawing traditionally since I have no access to any digital equipments back in the day but when I had a chance and bought one, I shifted to digital media. I had a different feel for what methods to use. When I felt I lack some foundations or artistic discipline, I got back to using traditional mediums to learn the basics. It felt "beneficial" for me to teach myself first from traditional since I can apply the techniques. Although, when I was painting, I rather enjoyed learning digitally first before applying the colors and lightings on traditional. It saved me money in some way and its beneficial for me too.
KazuAC Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013   Traditional Artist
Stephen SIlver has said that he can tell when someone started out digitally before traditional. So that says a lot right there. 
FrostbredSoul Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013
I voted no, but I wouldn't throw traditional work out altogether.

I prefer to do most of my work through Photoshop these days, but traditional is still a valid way to go if that's what people are used to. I think it's more important to know the theory behind what works best in art. The theories explaining how colour and shape within a picture can define its mood and direct the eye are very useful, and while traditional mediums do provide good examples of this, there's no reason why digital art can't offer the same examples.

It also depends on the purpose behind the artwork. As a basic example, the same tools that were used to create a Renaissance piece are less practical if you're creating cover art for a children's novel or a website promoting most modern day action movies. On the other hand, if you're attempting to capture the feel of a pre-modern world or society in your work, then at the very least, taking some cues from traditional examples from that period is a must.

At the end of the day though, it's obvious that we're living in the digital age now. Most forms of art made by man in the years to come will likely take form in a digital medium. Architectural visualisation for example used to be done traditionally with paper and pen by draughtsmen, until someone started developing CAD programs for computers. Now entire cities can be planned using 3-D software and presented through electronic devices that fit into a briefcase.

Whether you develop your basic skills in digital or traditional mediums, an artist today will have to learn how to use digital tools if they want a wider audience.
Hyperchaotix Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Both can do things the other one can't so it depends on what you're going for and what specific tool you use (mouse, tablet, paintbrush, pen, mspaint, photoshop, cardstock, making textures for 3D models, etc)

Personally, I think traditional is important to at least try out first no matter what you're going for as I personally feel you have more control that way and it can be a good way to learn artistic discipline.
PurpleHope Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
hmmm Yes because you can't bring your laptop and tablet everywhere.
kelpieselkie Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think it's important to learn both, because your work with one will translate well over to the other. I started dabbling in digital painting before I got into traditional painting, but what I learned in traditional painting, helped improve how I color things, and my overall style. I mostly work with markers nowadays, but even that was improved by working with traditional paints. I think its important to be well rounded in both mediums because you can only keep improving.
someonetookVoxxin Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
of course.
SweetOctopiewriter Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'm also sure there are people who started with digital first and had no problem transitioning onto paper. 
SweetOctopiewriter Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Ehhh, it depends. Personally for me, traditional drawing and digital drawing feels different, and it may be the same for other people. There are people like me who prefer getting used to traditional art before going to digital art so that the transition from paper to the computer isn't so rough. But, I'm sure there are people who can just jump to digital art and learn the basics straight on there. So, in the end, it's personal choice.

It also depends on what I'm doing. For drawing figures, animals, peoples, etc. sometimes I feel like it's easier on paper first, but if it's something like nature landscape, then digital art is where I start. On an unrelated note, I remember one of my friend said that she didn't like digital arts because it didn't look as good as traditional... apparently, she doesn't look at a lot of digital art....
A-nnemae Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Professional
I think depending on what an individual can get their hands on first; it doesn't matter, maybe for some reason they have access to a tablet but not paper, or maybe to say they have access to just paper but no fine stuff like copic markers or high end water colors etc. While a digital medium is different than a traditional one in some respects (for digital we get layers, but some don't use them, so it could essentially be the same if they wanted) both give experience and if someone is wishing to learn more about their art either way is beneficial. I don't honestly see a right or wrong way when it comes to traditional or digital first. 

Cyberborg Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013  Professional General Artist

If the electricity went away tomorrow, I would pick up my traditional tools the day after and continue on...

That is a bit simplist, I know, but in all seriousness nothing beats the traditional methodology. A firm grasp of those
techniques will make work in the digital realm go a little smoother.
fang Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
beneficial but not necessary, though i would say it's easier to do life studies traditionally... can't imagine trying to get that exact screen angle you'd need for still lifes
TwistedSynapses Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
The best artist I personally know never bothered with traditional first. He's working for the big studios now. I think a good visual mental library is the most important thing. You need to be able to see and draw ideas from what you've seen etc.
PieroStuff Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Imho, no. The important thing though, is to learn the basics that can be applied to whatever medium you choose. However, keep in mind that all the digital tools exist because inspired and/or based on the real/traditional tools, so studying them I'm sure can give you a better insight of such tools once you start using them.
AmeliaPenDraws Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Professional Artist
use traditional paints, and don't use black unless you're inking lines.  But learn instead to mix colors to create your darker shades, this will make your digital paintings way better.
Mythorie Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Having learned how to use traditional before digital (watercolors being my prime) I have to say I learned the fundamentals far better when I didn't have to worry about how the medium would behave and in turn, was able to apply what I learned from my digital studies more easily and just work on the medium rather than fight with everything but it'd vary from person to person. 
fireforger Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Student General Artist
Definitely. Not only is it arguably easier to learn the fundamentals of art traditionally, it is also important to understand where art comes from and where it's going, and understanding is easiest when you experience it. From my experience, artists who have no or little experience in the traditional media make that fact blatantly obvious in their digital work. Yes, you can learn composition and values and form digitally, but the main problem with digital, especially when it comes to the younger artists, is that it's a fast medium that can breed laziness in the inexperienced artists. Traditional teaches people that it's good to take things slow and think things through when finishing up a piece, rather than just clicking the burn/dodge or smudge tool to do the work for you. 

As a concept artist who has seen a lot of art from all over the web, ranging from beginners to advanced artists, I have yet to see a good digital artist that did not have previous traditional training. As mentioned before, those who do not practice traditionally make that fact very obvious in their work.
daxy5 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Traditional is VERY IMPPORTANT. You can't paint digital without traditional knowledge becaouse photoshaop and tablet are just tools
daermi Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013
Physical paint and brushes are also just tools.

They are also much more expensive and messy than many decent painting programs out there. ;)

The important thing is the theory and techniques - proportions, perspective, lighting, color theory, etc. And those are universal, no matter what medium you're working in.

Personally, I found it too frustrating trying to learn traditionally. In some mediums, if you make one mistake it's impossible to fix it and you have to throw the work away and start over. My traditional drawing class at the university was just depressing, and if I hadn't already started doing digital art, I would have written myself off as a failure and given up. Working in a digital medium was much more encouraging, because I could always hit Ctrl-Z, erase, or paint over a mistake. It allowed me to figure out how to fix the problem and keep going.

Now that I'm more confident in my basic skills, I feel like I'm up to the challenge of traditional painting and am starting to dabble in acrylics. (And thank god I learned digitally first, because the supplies for my first project are already more expensive than what I paid for my digital painting program!) :dead:
daxy5 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Well i agree with you that it's easier to make a mistake in digital painting and it's less expensive. I am on the Academy of Fine arts and we draw, paint, sculpt and do graphics traditional art (linocuts etc) and it's hard but in my opinion it's somehow funnier to paint traditional. When you know you can't make big mistake. I am trying to become an illustrator/concept artist because it's somehow easier to paint those fantasy things. When you are in fine arts... It's too hard. You need to work 24 hours per day and wait till someone important like art historian to push you into buisness. And also i don't like 21. century "Art".
but i thing that basics are in traditional medium. Check out my gallery if you want and let me know whta you think : ))
Maeternus Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Glad I peaked into this pole. It's reinforced my decision to work on traditional before transitioning to digital.
dracontiar Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
Learning traditional is definitely BENEFICIAL. I've found that it's a lot harder to flub with traditional mediums. To get paint to look right, it's such a huge jump to learn the correct techniques, many of which carry over so well to digital. Is it necessary? Certainly not. Do I think I'd be a lot more stumped by digital if it weren't for learning how to paint first? You betcha.
folie-0885 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think you can learn a lot more about colour and value by doing traditional painting / drawing first. With digital art the colours are just readily available so not as much thought goes into how to choose the colour wisely and how to add tones gradually.
animedoglover Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
It's beneficial but not necessary. Some people just can't draw/paint traditionally but can do amazing things digitally(sp?)
I think it's easier to learn traditionally first though, because it gives a closer sense of what you are drawing, the proportions and all.
BjoernSiebolds Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013   Digital Artist
This is not as easy to answer as it seems.
I think than it might be helpful to start traditionally... However, the switch to digital art is then more difficult than if you start digitally. Working methods as well as the "feel" differ in several points...
lilcreationher Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I always thought that you should begin where you take interest in first or what you can get your hands on.
Since my family budget isn't great, I started from traditional media first before starting on digital media. Later on I messed a bit with Digital, but only through school a few times. After a while you learn to like and dislike both in a positive and negative way :]
KevinFThomasArt Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I believe an artist should bounce in every medium and never focus too long in one
younger i played around with digital and traditional
later i focused on digital art and reached a limit of my quality.
so i went back to learn about traditional art and my digital improves and both art improving

Vekke Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
not really

people argue that it makes you better at colours, but I don't really see the difference. I've seen new digital artists use "grass is green, sky is blue" type colour palettes but... you also see that with new traditional artists too. Traditional equipment is very expensive compared to digital, so it's very likely a new artist will be intimidated by a canvas and try to play it safe instead of deleting a file and trying again. No need to throw out your tablet or photoshop in order to start over, right?

Re: filters-- I don't think these are as much of an obstacle as people make them out to be. If you use them poorly you have to stop in order to improve... or just learn how you can rock them ;D

Also having fun matters too. If you're more prone to draw a ton of digital artwork, that definitely gives you an edge over the person who grudgingly whips out the acrylics or oils when they don't enjoy it as much, just because they "should". I've been drawing forever and traditional is still really stressful to me because of the permanence and mess; Honestly I think it'd have taken a lot longer for me to get to my current level if I had to start out with traditional only.
CanisLupusDingo Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I believe that depends solely on the artist, and how they learn.

For example, I've seen artists who began and learned all their art in traditional (and were quite talented, creating amazing traditional works), but when they began to use digital media, they found it very difficult. I wouldn't be surprised to find an artist who began digital, and then attempted to transition into traditional and found it difficult.

Some artists may not have any issues either way.

For me personally, I find that using a wacom tablet is akin to a blind contour drawing, with the exception being that with a tablet, you can still see what you're drawing. When drawing a complex form (such as a human) I find it very difficult to start digitally; I need the solidity of a traditional sketch--however I find that painting traditionally often doesn't yield the results I'd like to see in my "better" pieces. Using a digital program like Photoshop allows me more freedom to experiment and make mistakes without killing my patience or willpower. In fact, despite beginning my art traditionally and learning stuff like anatomy traditionally, I find learning something like colours and contrast balance to be much easier in digital media. For me, I need a balance between traditional and digital media.
StarWisherMidnight Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They could go both ways for traditional v. digital. In the end, I think it is personal preference, but I also think it's fundamental to know both ways. In my personal experience, I started with traditional and then scanned the art in to switch it to digital. OR sometimes I would keep it traditional all the way through. I also am so skilled with sketching digital now so that's what I do for most of my work. Unless there are days were I just feel "bleh" and do doodles in my sketchbook cause I don't feel like getting my computer out :P
Acrylis Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2013  Student General Artist
I'm exactly like you! :meow: I don't know what big of a difference it makes but just to add a point, I've noticed most people that started off traditionally had much less of a big adaptation to make when the time came to try digital art with a tablet or such while I saw a couple of people that only ever drew digitally freak the hell out when they tried drawing on paper because they would get so lost without their electronic gadgets... Doodling in a sketchbook like you said is just so much better to me than doodling with my tablet (even though it's a large one). It's just not the same thing at all and I believe it is better to learn that before the use of a tablet! :0
StarWisherMidnight Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree completely!
prbardin Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I agree with LuisSalazar, it doesn't really matter as long as you learn the fundamentals. In fact, i think it's advisable these days to learn both ways at the same time for flexibility sake, especially when you choose an Illustrator/Concept artist paths. I only do digital for my jobs and commissions, but even IF the client want a traditional final piece, I will still want to go through all the proofing routine digitally, to save time, resources and materials.
owlcarols Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think sketching traditionally is definitely helpful. You can't transform heads, hands, etc. to make them larger/smaller or rotate them, so you're forced to redraw them, improving more quickly.
tbdeinc Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
Hell YEAH traditional first!

Learn about the different paints and how to mix them... and about brush strokes and the affects of watering down your colors... and the different papers, parchments and canvases...

In the end... No batteries required.

ABlipinTime Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Traditional what? Pencil and paper? Paint and canvas? Those are two different sets of things that give very different results. Plus, if you don't have software that has CYMK format (here's looking at Gimp), you're not going to be able to mimic real paint colors.

I think pencil and paper is best to learn first for shapes and structure, etc., BUT.... learning digital is learning a whole new medium and while you're artistic eye can be improved from drawing, you have to learn the new medium anyways.
There are various artists who prefer hand-drawing and scanning in. That's fine in some ways, but you have the tedious job of solidifying/correcting those scanned lines on the computer.
Then there are artists who are great just using the computer, and the coloring jobs look awesome... but their perspective and proportions for things might be off. However, this may be more or less a flaw in their natural ability than blamable on the fact that they are using a digital medium.

In the end, it's a toss up. I don't think it really matters what you start with as long as you eventually learn both.
MMKH Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I spent my high school years learning the traditional fundamentals and I found it has helped me. It's much easier to draw with pen on paper first than to start with a tablet IMO.
lunarstargazer Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
there's a quote from one of my favorite childhood books "You must form your own fashions in a way that suggests you flout the standards from knowledge, not from ignorance." Not entirely appropriate for the question posed, but the idea is relevant I believe.
What's more, with technology new mediums for art will always be changing and debuting, but traditional art will remain constant. When you know how to make art, it's easier to adapt to each new digital medium, because the basic form will always be the same, but the reverse is less likely so as each program can promise different artistic shortcuts and touch-ups. To focus on a medium based firmly in the digital world risks making you an expert in a medium that will be industry obsolete in a year. For professionals looking for companies, I can't imagine anyone without a firm hand in traditional art having the advantage over someone who does.
calette Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Anytime I take a break from digital and go traditional for a while I feel an improvement in my techniques. 
CorbinHunter Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I learned to draw and paint traditionally before mostly transitioning to Photoshop. I personally can't see much of a difference between digital and traditional skills (besides basic application), and I don't think learning traditionally has been of particular benefit to me.
SlimeAttackk Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Traditional first is always easier. ;w; With digital, you have to learn to get used to the program first, so you can't jump into drawing straightaway. Plus, as mentioned before, you could have cheats, like copy+pasting, undoing, custom-made brushes, etc. Learning the basics with traditional is much faster as well, because the pencil movements seem more realistic, or at least to me. You don't have to learn eye-hand coordination as much as you would have to with a tablet, since you're staring at the computer screen, not your hand.

If you're learning to paint, use textures, etc., I think digital would be easier, but it doesn't matter too much. c:
CrowRaptor Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
funny, i did exactly that! i used to do traditional on my old account and then started digital. and now i'm a digital artist. i still prefer traditional because i like black and white, but i don't know how to work my scanner (new one) so... yeah.
but i think that's how it works. you learn your hand first, then you try something harder or more challenging C:
Daltynn Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
not sure if you mean traditional PAINTING before digital painting, or just traditional art in general, because painting has particular limitations that digital isn't restricted by (like amount of paint you put down), so by learning traditional painting first there will be things that translate over, but there will be things you sort of have to unlearn as well. If you're talking about traditional in general however then yes, i think you should learn basics through traditional first.
this is of course all just my opinion, I am no master so my statement isn't the end all be all >.>
Dx33x Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The basics of drawing are easier to learn traditionally first. If you try to learn drawing digitally you first have to get a feeling for your program and often are so overwhelmed by the many possibilities of a digital program. Brushes, filters, layers,... you tend to 'cheat' to get a certain look or effect without understanding -why- something looks the way it does. In traditional media the canvas is blank entirely and you have basically only one brush form: Your pencil/pen. You can't just stamp in a cloud or a stone, paste a photo over something as texture or using a premade perspective grid. You need to learn to draw these things all on your own while the traditional medium itself is easier to learn than digital (You have a brush and a paper... while on digital you have layers, layer options, transparency, brushes, brush shapes and sizes, filters,...) so you have to concentrate less on the medium and can put more effort into understanding the fundamentals of drawing. I'm not saying it is necessary to learn traditional first but from personal experience as well as watching many other artists here on dA improving over the years, I can tell with relative certainty that those who have a decent balance between traditional and digital media, practicing and learning drawing fundamentals traditionally and then refining these techniques digitally later, show the biggest improvements in their works.
BlazeDriver Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You can learn the basics of art with digital, so it really doesn't matter. 
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