Pros and Cons of Digital and Traditional Art

Pros and Cons of Digital and Traditional Art

Drawing software is easy to use, even if you’re a beginner! In this article, I will go over the advantages and features of painting software to reassure anyone who’s thinking of getting started!


You might think learning how to draw illustration and manga will take a long time, but painting software is a good starting point for drawing illustrations.
Painting software refers to a software for creating art on a computer. People also call it painting tools or drawing software. This kind of software allows even beginners to enter the world of drawing in ease!


What you can do with a painting software

A digital illustration refers to drawing illustrations using a pen tablet (or even a mouse) and a drawing software on a computer. In this tutorial, I will explain to you the advantages of drawing digitally.


(1) Easy to make corrections
This is the main advantage of digital drawing!
The process of drawing a digital illustration is as follows: thumbnail sketch > rough sketch > draft > inking > painting > clean up. The ability to redraw or edit easily is essential to improve efficiency of these steps.


Beginners tend to redraw the same section repeatedly, but you won’t have a damaged paper or messed up table in a digital environment.
Even if you fail to draw a neat line, or paint the wrong section, you can revert the changes.
Also, after inking the work, you can redraw the eyes to create a different facial expression, such as a wink. It is also easy to change the overall composition afterward with digital art.




(2) No need to pay for art supplies 
If you want to draw an illustration or a manga in a traditional way, you have to prepare many things, such as pencil, eraser, inking pen, felt pen, paper, ink, screen tones, paints, and fixers.

Most of these are consumable goods, which means that you have to buy them again after you use them up.


On the other hand, although the initial cost is expensive for digital art, you rarely need to replace items. The only item you have to purchase repeatedly will probably be the pen nib. Therefore, it is very cost-efficient in the long run.
Since you won’t be wasting paper when you make mistakes, you can relax and draw.



(3) Easy preparation and tidying up

For traditional drawing, you have to prepare tools such as paints, buckets for cleaning the brush, and easels before you start drawing.


When you finish drawing, you have to clean the brush, put away the canvas, wipe off the excess ink, etc. For oil painting, the paint will splatter everywhere, so you have to lay a sheet on the floor before working and tidy up the sheet after working, which is somewhat time-consuming.
The paint will also spoil your clothes, so you have to wear clothes that can be dirty. I’m sure some people have had trouble getting ink off their hands.


Compared to that, you can turn on your computer, start the software and then immediately start drawing for digital illustrations. Tidying up is easy – just save your data and shut down your computer. Your room and clothes will remain clean.



(4) Process the image to make your illustration more attractive
An illustration with a sunset in the background, a sparkling sea, or an illustration emerging in the dusk faintly…
For digital illustration, it is easy to edit the work, such as brightening and darkening the illustration. Some people love these processes of digital illustration. This is another significant advantage of working with digital art.



In addition, there are many screen tone materials, which will help you draw characters with gorgeous kimonos or dresses in ease. The great variation in background materials can help people who are not used to drawing backgrounds. With these tools, you can draw more quickly compared to traditional tools.



(5) Easier tracing

Tracing refers to mimicking a photo or image. Tracing will help you learn how to draw illustrations, such as tracing a complicated building, or tracing a picture to copy the lines. Just be careful of the copyrights.


Traditional tracing uses tracing paper or chacopaper, but this method is not suitable for tracing detailed parts, and you cannot trace the original illustration accurately. In digital, you can create a new layer above and then immediately start tracing. In addition, you can adjust how much of the original image you can see (opacity).



Better things in hand drawing


In this section, I will introduce the advantages that only exist in traditional drawing. Learning the advantages of both digital and traditional drawing before you start drawing in digital will help you improve your skills faster.



(1) Don’t need a computer or specific software
You cannot draw digital illustration without equipment such as a computer or a mobile tablet. You might find it hard to carry your computer, but you can carry a pen and notepad, and draw an illustration when you want to.



(2) Illustration will not suddenly disappear

Digital drawings are data. If you lose your data, you lose your illustrations too. A computer freeze which prevents you from saving is scary, but the worst scenario is when you lose years’ worth of data if the hard drive with the data gets corrupted.


On the other hand, your sketch will not disappear in middle of working in traditional drawing. Although your drawing may gradually lose color or quality, it is highly unlikely that everything will disappear. It is also unlikely that you will lose multiple illustrations at once.



(3) Expressing unique lines, colors, or textures

The biggest advantage of traditional illustration lies here. People call this a “hand-drawn feel.”


For digital illustration, lines often become similar or uniform. Compared to that, traditional drawing reflects more of a person’s personality or characteristics.
When coloring traditional art, blurring and mixing the colors on various paper or canvas might create some unexpected effects, which can enhance the experience of drawing.



In addition, it is hard to redraw or make corrections in traditional art, so you need to focus deeply and work carefully. For example, you need to plan the color scheme before you start painting. Repeating this process can help you improve your drawing skills.
In contrast, people tend to draw roughly in digital because they know that they can edit the lines later on. Drawing in such way doesn’t help your skills improve, so it’s best to avoid this.



(4) Controlling the pen tip
Some people have never used a pen tablet, but everyone should have experience using a pencil. Most people can use a pen, so it won’t take a long time to learn how to draw in a traditional way.


On the other hand, the drawing feel of a pen tablet is different than a normal pen. It requires some time to learn how to control the pen. Artists learn the speed, strength, and movement of hand gradually by checking the lines on the monitor.


Also, when using a pen tablet, you have to get used to the distance between the monitor and pen tablet (unless you are using a display tablet). On that point, a traditional environment reflects your movement more accurately.



(Created by: Nyle Inc.)
(Writer: Wakako Ishida)
(Illustration: Andy♂)


Interested in character art & design or what it takes to become a character designer?
Check out the link below!

Ultimate Beginner's guide to Character Art & Design