8 Most common myths about Digital Art and Digital Artists
Updated: May 12
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The common problem of technological evolution and social stagnation even in 2021
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During the last two decades, we’ve experienced great technological advances not just in professional fields but also in personal lives. The evolution of connectivity and accessibility has brought us in a way closer and yet we are socially divided.
As an artist living in 2021, I have access to great devices and programs that help me learn art faster at my own pace, and also to spread my art faster and further. Jet there is still this bittersweetness when it comes to acknowledging and selling digital art. How do you sell it? Who do you sell it to? Where can people use it when they buy it? It’s not like they are buying an actual painting and taking it home to put it on their wall. And because of it, a vast majority of people don’t really consider it as actual art.
Let’s face it there isn’t a single university that specializes in teaching just digital art, where you can get a degree as a digital artist. Yes, there are classes within the art college programs but usually, artists need to learn most of it by themselves or through online sources. The latter is most common and this is how I learned digital art.
When I tell people what I do for a living the most common responses I get are “Oh, so did you go to college to learn it?” or “That’s not drawing when the programs do all the work for you.” or “So, what exactly do you do?”, and when my answer is “No I learned it myself and No, the program doesn’t do all the work I do.” They usually just brush it off as unimportant or it’s just a hobby. But the thing is, it’s not just a hobby it’s a business that pays the bills.
The thing is, being in the 21. century, many people still have no idea what you can and cannot do digitally. For example, do art, sell art, and work from home online. Well, since the pandemic, when most people were forced to work from home the tables have turned, and they partially understand. You can do a lot from home; all you need is a decent computer and a good internet provider. But there are still some who remain clueless.
Everything has its myths and misconception that the majority firmly believe in and digital art or art, in general, is not an exception.
The first myth that most people believe in is digital art is easier than traditional. WRONG. It all comes down to your skill level as an artist, you still need to know the fundamentals of traditional art. The only difference is that when drawing digitally you don’t make such a mess with the paints and brushes. Digital art isn’t easier as a matter of fact for some artists it can be the opposite. You need to know how to use the drawing program, which some have quite the learning curve. Drawing with a display tablet is easier than with a drawing pad. But in general, digital drawing is not easier you still need to learn how to do it.
The second myth about digital art is that digital art is not real art. Why? Because you don’t have a canvas, tons of paints and brushes lying around, an art studio filled with art supplies and paintings laying around. Just because something is not in a physical form it doesn’t mean it’s not real. Digital art is real art, you still need to learn it, practice it, and master it. If you know how to draw traditionally drawing digitally is going to be easier because you already have the fundamentals. But if you don’t know how to draw traditionally you won’t be able to do it digitally unless you learn from the start.
The third myth about digital art is that digital art is cheating. Why? Because you have the undo option, you can copy images with the help of layers, fill in large portions of an image with the bucket fill… That is not cheating that’s being efficient and besides you can undo in traditional art too. Have you ever heard of an ERASER? If you don’t like a painting, you can simply paint over it. It is the same thing. And copying can also be done on paper with the help of a lightbox. You can also put your paper directly on top of your computer screen and redraw the image. Same features different approach. Yes, you have different types of brushes that help you create textures, and it saves you time, but you still need to know how much texture ok, and how much is too much.
The fourth myth about digital art is that digital art is less valuable than traditional art. This depends on what you’re comparing it with. Are you comparing the famous Mona Lisa with a digital illustration print that I’m selling on Redbubble? It is like comparing bananas with kiwis. They are not the same thing. They both have their value, and this can be applied relatively. Which one sells more? Which one was done by a famous artist? Which one is more popular? It is all a matter of personal opinion in the end. When you buy an art piece from your favorite artist even if it was drawn digitally, it brings value to you, the buyer. Not because it is worth more, but because you cherish it more. It has sentimental value to you personally.
The fifth myth about digital art is that you need a tablet to do digital art. That is not true, a drawing tablet helps with the process, but most digital artists started out with drawing with the mouse, or their finger on their phone. If the artist is doing vector art, he/she doesn’t actually need a drawing tablet. Everything can be done with just a mouse. Also, not just digital paintings are digital art. There are various types of digital art such as video, animation, vector art, pattern design, graphic design, photo-editing, word art, and so on. Owning a drawing tablet or drawing pad is a personal preference.
The sixth myth about digital art is that digital art can not be ONE OF A KIND. This myth is soooo not true. Yes, you can mass-produce more easily just by copying the original, but you still need to have the original. There are numerous paintings, drawings, doodles that I’ve done, and something went wrong with the saving process which resulted in me looing the art piece. That is not all, there are numerous artists that have lost their original pieces because their computer broke down and they didn’t save a copy, or their storage drives malfunctioned. Those pieces were one of a kind too.
The seventh myth about digital art is that digital artists are less talented than traditional artists because they rely more on the programs to do their work. That is also not correct. It doesn’t matter if you’re a traditional or digital artist if you don’t know the fundamentals of drawing, color theory, and possess some sort of skill that you’ve nourished through the years then your art will suck either way, traditionally or digitally. The program doesn’t replace your skill level, it just enhances it.
The eighth myth about digital art is that digital art is only for cartoons and manga, not portrait paintings. Wrong again. There are numerous digital drawings made that resemble traditional oil paint, crayons, watercolors. It has nothing to do with the art style. And to be frank about it, before the evolution of technology cartoon artists and manga artists drew on paper first and some still do.
People are always going to have misconceptions about everything that they don’t know. In this manner, you have two choices that depend on how open-minded and willing to learn they are.
First, you can correct them every time they are wrong in their opinion and educate them.
Second, just brush it off and move on.
Stop wasting your time arguing with someone who lives in a box.