Is Digital Art Real Art – It Certainly Is!

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Written by Juha

Can you really create a genuine art piece solely on a computer?

The answer is yes!

Digital art is “real” art. Digital artists rely on the same techniques and training that traditional artists do, just digitized. Digital art is created by a real person, by a real artist, and so we can conclude that digital art is real art in every way possible.

What Is Digital Art

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Digital art is art created using some form of digital software or apparatus. In many cases, a digital artist will draw an outline or sketch on paper, then scan it onto the computer to continue working on it in a software.

Popular art software includes Procreate, Clip Studio Paint (my no. 1 choice), Autodesk, Photoshop, and Krita. These software, however, don’t seek to do the artist’s job for them. Rather, they seek to aid the artist in whatever his creative endeavors might be. One of the biggest advantages of using these software programs is having access to unlimited tools.

Innovative programming allows the artist to choose from a variety of tools designed to simulate real-life art supplies. These tools include watercolor, pencils, airbrushes, and even stencils.

It’s true that software relies on artificial intelligence (or a special piece of code) to fuel its abilities. However, these AI properties only seek to make the digital drawing process as close to real-life as possible. But the actual drawing process is left for the artist.

This includes making tools react to pressure sensitivity and the natural behaviors of the material (such as brush texture and thickness of paint). The result is not only an authentic experience for the artist but a piece that is indistinguishable from real life.

Still, some ask what’s the point of drawing something on the computer only to make it look as hand-drawn as possible. Many digital artists counter that digital art enables them to have access to thousands more materials and tools than possible in real life.

Even the color picker alone eliminates the need for buying paint or specifically colored pencils or markers.

But digital drawing comes with added benefits that traditional art doesn’t have, such as the ability to work in layers and undo actions. It gives the artist freedom to explore their creative intuitions without being limited by the page.

And many of those artists don’t seek to add a hand-drawn feel to their pieces but rather experiment with digitized art styles and even CGI.

What Is Art

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A broad question deserves a broad answer. Art is the imitation of life, or perhaps more accurately described, the imitation of how we dream about life.

Art is not defined by style, amount of effort, or medium it’s created on. With the digital boom of the 21st century, computers were bound to intersect with the world of art, and it didn’t take long before they did.

If art is what inspires us, and computers are what empower us and make us smarter, it’s natural that the two come together. Some digital artists delve into niches such as “digital painting,” which is virtually indistinguishable from painting in real life.

Other artists, however, playfully work with more surreal and pop culture-centered themes: Industrial, ethereal, natural landscapes, urban jungles, mythical creatures, and anime and manga. Digital art and its surrounding community enabled the art world to explode into several new dimensions.

Digital Art Requires Real Art Knowledge

One common misconception is that digital art takes out the work of real art. Real art, apparently, is only to be achieved without any assistance and after years of dedicated training and knowledge. Well, those people aren’t wrong. Real art does require some knowledge and practice but get this: so does digital art.

That’s because digital art is real art! In fact, learning how to draw digitally takes even more specialized knowledge than the traditional artist has. 

Like the traditional artist, having a strong foundation in anatomy and perspective is key. No tool makes or corrects the values of a piece. It is up to the artist to make these things happens.

In that sense, you could consider a drawing software, stylus, or tablet like the instrument of an artist. The instrument doesn’t create on its own. It’s up to the artist to wield his skill and knowledge and command the instrument to do as he wishes.

Similarly, people aren’t born knowing how to play an instrument. It’s not a natural skill, although some might have a higher inclination due to their interests and talents. Drawing, regardless of what medium you do it on, requires years of practice and a strong foundation in the universal art skills.

The Only Difference Between Traditional Art And Digital Art

Therefore, the only difference that can be said between traditional art and digital art is that one uses a computer and the other doesn’t. The tablet is the paper, the stylus is the pencil, and the computer is the eye. 

It’s worth noting that many digital artists (if not all) began as traditional artists or were trained in traditional mediums. That’s why digital art has such an incredible variety in style, despite many pieces being created by the same software (Clip Studio Paint, for example).

One person can create a stunning digital portrait, and another can create an explosive anime scene. What’s even more unique about digital art is that it allows for the blending of genres and other mediums.

Just as many people upload traditional art to be worked on in a software, others also incorporate photographs, text, and even music. CGI is a particular aspect of digital art that’s taking off in recent years and is subject to the same arguments as digital art.

But alas, even CGI requires a significant amount of technical and artistic knowledge that some spend years in school learning.

Technology Today, Art Tomorrow

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so is art. Art created using a digital medium is just as valid and extraordinary as traditional art. If Leonardo Da Vinci were alive today, perhaps he too would be using a Wacom tablet and stylus. Who knows!?

Perhaps his Viviruvian man would be done in the style of anime. But with the amount of effort and hours digital artists sink into their work, one thing is for certain: it would be no less extraordinary.

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