Choosing to work with digital versus traditional is up to the individual artist, yet there are some benefits to working with digital tools.
Drawing and painting with digital tools represents a medium all on its own. It offers a wealth of choices and opportunities entirely different than those of traditional media. From a practical standpoint, digital art tools are incredibly versatile and forgiving of mistakes. With the ability to create with almost any canvas size you like, multiple layers, color and light enhancements — even make and customize your own brushes — there’s very little to limit your creativity.
Step 1: Understand the Tools of the Trade
- Digital Art Applications: There are many applications to choose from, but two professional standards rise above all the rest. Adobe Photoshop, despite the word “photo” in the title,is one of the leading drawing and painting illustration tools available. Corel Painter is another very popular piece of drawing and painting software that many digital artists swear by. It features a plethora of tools designed to mimic traditional media—which it does very well
- Pen Tablet: Almost every digital artist favors a pressure-sensitive pen tablet over a mouse as it gives them more control similar to that of a traditional drawing tool. The natural feel of the pen in your hand, and the ergonomics of the digital art experience are fundamental reasons to use a pen tablet. Add in the artistic effects you can create with a pen over other tool, and quickly, it like the difference between finger painting and digital fine art.
- Beginners and students like the Bamboo line of pen tablets for their ease-of-use, versatility and price.
Step 2: Digital Art is Art and Digital Artists are Artists
Digital art used to be feared and criticized mostly because people didn’t understand it. There used to be a lot of misconceptions about whether or not becoming a digital artist required any talent or skill or if it was just pressing some buttons and calling it art. But let’s debunk that myth. While it’s true, using a computer and software will offer you choices that no other medium can, the computer will not do the work for you.
Today, you’ll find digital art pieces hanging in museums and galleries all over the world; it’s become one of the most widely used and accessible mediums in commercial and fine art. And it takes just as much dedication, talent and skill to become proficient with it, as do other mediums. The advantage of digital art is in the editing, the timesaving features, and the ability to control opacity, brush size, and more in a seamless very intuitive way.
Step 3: Becoming a Digital Artist
- Understand the Artistic Skills you Have: Let’s face it: Trying a new medium is daunting; especially if you’re an artist who has spent years working with traditional tools. But when you move to a new medium those hard-earned art skills don’t suddenly get left behind. All the experience you’ve gained, knowing how to blend color, work with light and shadow, texture, expressions, emotion, impact, all of that comes with you.
- Continue to Experiment and Evolve: The art is yours; the medium is just how you express it. We have yet to meet a successful artist that looks at their work and says “Yeah, that’s enough, I don’t need to get any better or try anything new.” The best thing about being an artist today is that there are more resources to help you become proficient with these tools than have ever existed in history, ever. That’s exciting.
- Trust your Passion: If you have the ambition and passion to create art, there are no limits when it comes to finding training and information to help you realize your passion. If art is who you are, it’s in you to explore, you express yourself through the images you create. If you’re reading this, digital drawing and painting may be something you’re considering. As in all things, it’s easy to find excuses to ignore that curiosity.
But then again, if you were able to easily dismiss that instinct to try new things, you wouldn’t be an artist in the first place.