Digital Art vs Traditional Art : Similarities and Differences

With Covid speeding up the digitisation process, digital art has also found its place in the new normal. Having applied both in her daily work as an artist, Celine Chia shares her point of view with regards to the similarities and differences in Digital Art vs Traditional Art.

Similarities :

  • For both artworks, you need to have the end goal in mind on how you want the picture to look like
  • Drawing skills, colour and toning – you will need to have at least a basic grasp of the colour scheme, the shadows and highlights to make your drawing look realistic.
  • Both use similar mediums (pen, pencil, marker, brushes)
  • Both require a canvas and brushes to start off.


Digital ArtTraditional Art
AccuracyMuch easier to control your mouse to draw the perfect circle/lineRequires stable hands from the artist to draw a perfect shape/line
Alpha LockingCan ‘lock’ the object in position and paint within the objectRequires a lot of control of your own brushes
AmendmentsCan easily press undo or add/remove layers in betweenHarder to do amendments, as you will need to erase or paint over the previous layer
Ccmonstersart logo in the making
Easier Amendments via Digital Art, with the Hiding & Removal of Layers
Digital ArtTraditional Art
AngleCan easily adjust the angle, as well as shrink or expand the object accordinglyNot possible unless you paint another layer over
Blending You can blend by adding 2 colours and blending them togetherYou will need to own the respective colours and adjust the tone by blending the colours together
BrushesEverything is accessible through the stylus, which serves as brushes of various thicknessNeed to own the various brushes in order to achieve the effects (E.g. Nylon brushes for acrylic, Coarse for oil painting and soft brushes for water colour)
Cookie Chronicles by Celine Chia
Exploring Various Brushes Techniques
Digital ArtTraditional Art
Colour ChoicesYou have the whole colour wheel in your grasp, along with the option of adjusting the tone and colours to your preferenceLimited choices, since you need to mix the colours to get the desired shade
CostRelatively cheaper since all you need is a tablet and the software installedRelatively more expensive, since you need to purchase the various materials like paint and paintbrushes
Delivery (To Client)Can be sent through various digital platforms (soft copy)Require manual delivery and careful handling of the canvas
Wave Bags ccmonstersart
Wave Bags (Traditional Art)
Digital ArtTraditional Art
DuplicationCan be done easily, through copy and pasteNot possible to duplicate the work exactly
EffectsEasier to produce via adding filter effects (E.g. Colour Burn, Black and white)
It is also possible to add in animations and gifs onto the layer and wrap the object drawn
Harder to produce, since you need to draw everything yourself (E.g. shiny beams or monochrome tint on the entire canvas)
EfficiencyFaster pace, higher efficencySlower pace, lower efficiency
cookie chronicles (colour burn effect in action)
Colour Burn Effect
Digital ArtTraditional Art
ExclusivityEasier to duplicate since you can make multiple copies at the same timeUnique and almost impossible to duplicate since every art work is never the same, even if it’s painted by the same artist
Layering Can have as many layers as you want, and can hide or remove the layers as you wishFor acrylic, the layer keeps increasing as you paint over the previous layer but you cannot remover the previous layer
For watercolour, the layer gets darker the more you paint over the previous layer
MaskingUtilise the masking functionUse masking tape to paste over the area that you do not wish to paint on
Prints (Patterns)Do up the initial one and you can replicate it easilyRequires you to draw the entire set of prints yourself
26 layers cookie chronicles
Multiple Layers (As Many or as Little as Desired)

Ultimately whether digital vs traditional art, it boils down to the preference of the artist. For Artist Celine Chia, she prefers the traditional art as it is a testament of her skills. 
It tests your foundation of your art piece, since you need to know how to control your strokes as well as your blending techniques. 

To each his own, at the end of the day, art is subjective and the beauty of art is in the eyes of the beholder.

Check out more of her works on her instagram @ccmonstersart

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