Digital art has existed for several decades, but it has only recently become accessible to the general population of artists. Because more and more digital artworks are being created in today’s landscape, some art enthusiasts wonder whether one art form has more value than the other. To reach a fair conclusion, we need to examine both art types.
What Is Traditional Art?
Traditional art refers to a form of expression that uses physical, non-digital mediums to produce the product displayed. For example, a piece of traditional art might be one in which an image is painted on canvas with acrylic paint or formed from a lump of clay. This type of art has existed for centuries, if not millennia (if you count cave drawings as art), and as of today, there are seven traditional forms of art:
Each art form includes an array of styles, a body of famous artists, and examples of the finest pieces displayed in galleries, museums, archives, libraries, and even in live performances.
What Is Digital Art?
Unlike traditional art, digital art makes use of electronic devices and computer codes. Digital artists might use specialty tablets to create their works whereas traditional artists use pencils, canvas, or written words.
Like traditional art, there are several forms of digital art that creators use to display emotions, ideas, and commentary on current events. These forms include:
2. Digital Paintings/Drawings
3. Video/Cinema Content
4. Digital Photography
You may notice some overlap between the forms of traditional art and digital art, such as animation and cinema. At one time, animated films were created using traditional mediums, where animators painstakingly drew pictures displaying a series of character movements on paper. Videography and cinematography as well can record subjects on classic cameras or digital recording devices.
Additionally, many novelists, poets, and literary professionals make use of computers to organize story notes, outline a series of events, draft their manuscripts, and edit their pieces before submitting them for professional review.
Yet, these works of art are still categorized under the umbrella of traditional art. Despite the ways technology has evolved to bring the creation of art to new levels, some technological implementations have been unfairly viewed as a “lesser” form of art while other implementations are welcomed with open arms as an essential tool of the trade.
So, what’s the difference between digital art and traditional art? Let’s explore.
Key Differences Between Traditional and Digital Art
As mentioned above, there are several similarities and overlaps that exist between digital and traditional art, both as a process and in terms of the end results created. This is expected being that one art form came before the other; one art form influenced the development of the other. However, there are a few important distinctions between the two art forms as well.
When creating traditional art using physical tools, viewers are often able to see the artist’s movements within the piece. For example, certain brushstrokes can hint at a shaky hand and particularly deep lines might indicate strong emotion during that part of the creative process.
Digital work, on the other hand, usually appears more fluid and uniform because the artist is using an electronic device to draw or paint with. This form may be more forgiving to artists who live with disabilities or chronic conditions that would otherwise interfere with the creative process.
Creating a piece of traditional art, in some forms, can be ruined or significantly altered if the artist makes a mistake. A simple unnecessary brush stroke or splash of paint is incredibly difficult to clean from a canvas, but on a screen, digital artists can simply undo mistakes by returning to their previous save point.
Sale & Delivery
Selling and delivering pieces from each art type differs significantly as well. When a traditional artist finishes a commissioned piece, he or she needs to package the item and send it to a physical location. Delivery takes time in this situation and during transit, any number of things can happen to the piece (damage, loss, etc.). Delivering a digital piece is as easy as attaching a file to an email and having it reach its destination within minutes.
A beautiful piece of artwork can be in very high demand. Art enthusiasts all over the world want a chance to display unique pieces in their homes, offices, or collections. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible when some works of art are exceedingly rare. Some pieces are only ever created once, while others only have a few official copies in circulation.
Of course, creating prints of famous works of art can make pieces more accessible for display purposes, but the value isn’t always the same. Additionally, individuals who want to purchase original works or authentic copies need to be wary of forgeries and frauds in the art community.
When it comes to the reproduction of digital art, mass production is much easier. The artist decides how many copies they choose to make available, but it’s not as difficult for unauthorized parties to create and sell copies of a copy they purchased.
That said, the ability to reproduce a piece doesn’t necessarily mean that the work is any more or less valuable than a more exclusive piece.
Traditional Vs Digital | Is One Better Than The Other?
It would be irresponsible to make sweeping generalizations about one form of art being inherently “better” than another. Both traditional art and digital art require skill and artistic thought. Asking whether one type is better than another is like asking whether literature is better than cinema. The completely arbitrary confines of “better” and “worse” is no way to look at art.
Being emotionally moved by a piece of art shouldn’t be dependent upon the type of art or the form it takes. When the message reaches you and makes you feel something significant, the art has done what it set out to do. Does it really matter which steps the artist took or which tools the artist used to produce the piece that reached you?
A book written by hand is no better than a book written on a typewriter, and a book written on a typewriter is no better than a book written on a computer if we’re only looking at the method of creation. The substance, the idea, and the result are what’s important.