When I first started painting and drawing, I started with traditional art. All through my childhood and into adulthood, I doodled on everything. Then in my 30’s, I picked up a brush and started painting, which lead to colored pencils and Inktense. I have loved and hated each medium at times, but mostly loved. Then in 2017, I bought an iPad and iPencil. I fell in love with digital art.
Why Digital Art?
It’s easy. It allows me to take it everywhere and paint anywhere. Now, that the iPad and the Procreate app is paid for, I don’t have to pay for anything but my cell phone fees which I’m paying anyway. I never run out of art supplies and have to buy new ones. I don’t have to worry about the art supplies being lightfast since it’s all digital. Then, once my digital painting is complete, it allows me to upload my art to any website and sell it as a print, on a t-shirt, or on a mug. It allows me to share it with the world on my blog or social media. I don’t have to worry about getting that perfect pictures so that I can make prints or merchandise. It’s awesome.
The Drawbacks to Digital Art
I know. I know. There are still some naysayers. “Don’t do digital art. You won’t have anything to show for it.” I call bull. I still have the original drawing on my computer. I know I won’t have that original painting on canvas or wood or tile or whatever surface I would have painted it on. However, I find that I don’t care that much. If I was working with a medium that wasn’t lightfast, I couldn’t sell the original anyway, so what is the difference. I have so much of my art on the walls in my house, I can’t put anything else up there.
“There is a limitation to the medium.” A program can only do so much or at least that’s what “people” say. I call bull again. With the different types of brushes that can be created in whichever program you use, you can recreate any medium you want. With the right program, the surface would be the same way. Some of the fun is that you can make your own brushes too. Creating brushes, shapes and patterns for your program gives you flexibility in what you can do with your artwork and it gives you the possibility of earning extra money from those unique creations.
Why Digital Art Is Better Than Traditional Art
Going back to my first point from the drawbacks: “You won’t have anything original to show for it.” I would rather sell 1000 prints than sell 1 original. Plus, the math works better. See, if I sell 1000 prints and make $10 profit on each one, I would make $1000, but if I sold one original, I would make less than that $1000. “But,” you say, “you could do both.” Well, you see, if it was traditional art and I wanted a really good scan of that art to make a really good print, it would cost me most of the money I made from selling the original to get that scan, maybe more than I would make off the original. And sure, some people are great photographers, but that equipment costs too. So that is also more money to spend. With digital art, you buy your program, your tablet and you’re done. Mine happens to be the iPad and Procreate. I may upgrade later, but I’m happy with what I have for now.
Space! Digital art doesn’t take up nearly as much space as traditional art. I have my iPad and its accessories, my pencil case with my iPencil and its accessories, the stand I put my iPad on and that is it. I don’t need anything else. It will all pack up into my backpack and travel with me. It’s great. I can set up anywhere, on a beach, in a Starbucks, at lunch with friend, or at a park or zoo. It makes it easy to paint or draw outdoors without having to get messy or spill water or turpentine, depending on what medium you are using. I can take a picture of what I’m drawing for later reference if I get rained out. It’s versatile.
Going back to travel for a moment. I really want a semi-nomadic life-style. I want to spend every six months to a year in a new local. Packing up all my traditional art supplies every six to twelve months would be hell on earth. Packing up my digital art supplies, even if I add in some camera equipment if I decide make videos or stream on Twitch, wouldn’t be that bad or take up that much space. The equipment is getting more portable all the time. Eventually, I want to travel around the world. At that point, everything would need to fit into a backpack with at least one change of clothes!
I want to sell merchandise. While I can take photos or scans of your traditional artwork to be able to sell merchandise, it’s like the prints, it costs lots of money for either the proper equipment or to hire someone with the proper equipment. This is about making money from lots of people rather than from one person. With my one piece of digital content (and this works for other things than artwork), I can sell it on multiple platforms. I can gather multiple piece of art in a book and sell it on Amazon. I can gather 12 pieces of art and make a calendar. I can make prints. I can put the art on mugs, shirts, tote bags, socks, pillow… The list is endless. There is even a site where you can get artwork as metal prints.
I mentioned it before, but I want to add it to the advantages of digital artwork as well. I can make brushes, shapes, gradients, and patterns for the program you work in. Those elements or presets for your program can be used to bring users to your site or sold to users of the program. It’s a great way to generate extra income. This isn’t an option that I have explored yet, but it is an option that is open to anyone working with that program.
All that being said, I’m not planning to give up traditional artwork totally. I’m going to be transitioning to more digital than traditional in my goal to live more nomadic. For you, traditional might be the better way to go and there is nothing wrong with that, but for me, I’m falling more and more in love with digital art every day.