Is Digital Art Easier Than Drawing Traditionally?

Our content may have affiliate links that can result in commissions for qualifying purchases, full details in our privacy policy.

As we shift move and more towards being a digital society there seems to be a huge shift in people switching over from traditional paper or canvas based artwork to the various forms of digital artwork. Over the last five years or so this shift has only grown exponentially with each year that has passed and only shows signs of becoming more and more popular in the future.

Although the majority of people do tend to use a high-quality drawing tablet that has been specifically designed for digital art, something like an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab often serve as the first step towards the shift. With these tablets being in wide circulation these days we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask if digital art is easier than drawing traditionally on paper or canvas.

As we have noticed so many people reaching out to ask questions based around this, we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over our thoughts on if digital art is actually easier than traditional paper based art or not. Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible who are thinking of making the switch while also being able to make the best choice on your drawing tablet moving forward.

Is Digital Art Easier Than Drawing Traditionally?

Back when the specialist drawing tablets first hit the market a few years back, they did get a ton of flack from the artist community but their reputation has since improved drastically. Although these early complaints were usually based around resistance to change and making the switch from paper based art over to drawing on a tablet, some of the complaints were based around the poor technology and unresponsiveness of the activate areas on the tablets.

This initially led to the impression that digital art was actually harder than traditional paper based art as it really was a pain to comfortably draw on these tablets and many people simply refused to switch over. Even to this day, a none specialist tablet such as an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab still can be a pain to use for artwork but thankfully, brands such as Wacom have done a ton of work on their latest additions to their range making the whole process much easier.

Due to this, over the last three years or so, there as been a huge shift in the attitude of the community pretty much switching from initially thinking that digital art was harder than traditional art to thinking that digital art is much easier than traditional art. This is largely due to the fact that you have an undo button with a digital drawing tablet incase you make a mistake but the additional of individual layers that you can work on without changing the other layers in your artwork also help.

Although there is still some controversy based around if digital art is actually easier than traditional art for a professional artist, the general opinion does definitely seem to have shifted that digital art is the easier route to take. That said though, as with most things in art, both digital art and traditional art both have their pros and cons going for them and will always have their die hard, dedicated user bases who prefer one over the other.

The Main Advantages Of Digital Art

One of the most overlooked advantages of digital art is that you can quickly and easily mix multiple forms of media together at the touch of a button that is simply not possible in traditional art. For example, say you want a background with the effect of alcohol ink, with a layer of watercolor effect on top of that, and then an oil or acrlyic based effect on top of that. For traditional art, this is a nightmare with most people simply never wanting to try it but for digitial art, this is much easier and often implemented for unique looking artwork.

Although this next advantage is commonly listed as one of the main reasons that digital art is easier than traditional art when it comes to speed we still want to touch on it for our readers. With traditional art, you often have to wait for one layer to dry or set prior to being able to work on your next layer else you risk spoiling your artwork. With digital art, there is no waiting period and you are able to start your next layer instantly saving you a huge amount of time. If you are working on a time sensitive commission for a client then this alone can be a major plus for going with a digital drawing tablet.

The final advantage of digital art and probably the one that too many people overlook and fail to take advantage of is the brush customisation that the software offers you. Although you are able to customise your brushes for traditional art to some extent, the level of customisation and the difficulty of doing so is nothing like with digital art. On top of this, there are already huge collections of digital brushes available to download online without you having to put the time and effort into making too.

How Hard Is It To Learn Digital Art?

Digital art tends to be just as easy, if not easier to learn than traditional art for a large number of people. If you are brand new to art and you are building up your initial skillset starting with a digital drawing tablet or drawing software on your computer then many people report they are able to learn their techniques faster. This is often due to the advantages of digital art that we pointed out above as well as the majority of young people being tech savvy and usually already know their way around a tablet.

If you are a more experienced artist than it can be more of a mixed bag but the majority of people do tend to report that they have been able to transfer their traditional art skills to digital art within a short period of time. The majority of people who tend to say that it takes longer to transfer their skills to digital art tend to be more resistant to change and draw the process out longer than it has to be.

The vast majority of modern drawing tablets either have a textured active area on their screen or a texturised nib on their stylus that mimic the feel of traditional drawing too. This often makes it even easier to transfer your traditional art skills over to digital art provided that you are using a modern drawing tablet too as the feel of the stylus on the tablet feels more familiar than it did on the older tablets.

Is It Better To Learn Art Digitally Or Traditionally?

In our opinion, it is best to learn both digital and traditional art if you are a fledging artist as it opens you up to a wider range of commissions in the future to help support your business. If you are short on time and only able to learn one type of art then we usually lean more towards learning digital art if you are younger as more and more art commissions are digital these days and in out opinion, this is only going to increase in the future.

If you are only looking to draw or paint as a hobby then you are able to go with the option that you prefer. Although traditional art does have a lower initial cost, over time, this all mounts up and often becomes more expensive than having a digitial art tablet as the only thing you have to replace with a tablet is the stylus. This seems to be something that many people new to art often overlook as they only look at the initial costs for their new hobby or business and fail to think long term.

Do You Have To Be Good At Drawing To Do Digital Art?

Although it does definitely help if you are already good at drawing to be a good digital artist, in our opinion, the various tools available to help you perfect and hone your skills for the various drawing tablets off-set this. A number of people have followed the first 20 hours system and published their progress on sites such as YouTube and Instagram on their digital art journey showing rapid progress though.

Provided you are actively working on improving your digital art skills we are confident that the vast majority of our readers who actually put the time and effort in will be able to get good at drawing on their digital tablets with little to no prior experience. Although putting the time and effort in to learn traditional art can also yield solid results, it does not have the advantages that we covered earlier in the article that can help speed up your progress when using a tablet.


That brings our article going over if digital art is easier that drawing traditionally to an end and we hope that we have helped you make a decision on the future of your artwork. We have tried to point out the various advantages that we feel digital art has over traditional art that make it easier to learn and judging by the opinion of the community, it does definitely seem that a large number of people from the art community tend to agree that digital art is easier than traditional art.