Digital art vs. traditional art by Paolo Libunao

1186301_716054101744305_192237196_nHey everyone,

I pray all is well. Comic creator Paolo Libunao recently weighed in on the pros and cons of digital and traditional art. For the artists out there, check it out and share your thoughts by leaving a comment and/or contacting Paolo directly.





In this digital age everything is almost done with computers. Even art is done digitally nowadays. As an illustrator, I have created art in the past using pencil and paper but now I’m trying to save up for a CINTIQ. I have experience illustrating comic books, storyboards, and character model sheets. Over the years things have changed when it comes to the medium I use. I use to compare pencil and board brands, which one has a softer lead and which board has better textures. Now I go to online forums asking what type of software is best when it come to drawing line art.
Let’s compare digital art and traditional art. I’m basing all these from my experience as an illustrator. I do mostly line art and a bit of coloring. If you’re a graphic designer, animator, painter, etc, feel free to share.

Traditional Art


• Art on paper or canvas has more value. You can’t sell or auction your files like art on paper.
• Looks more natural.

• Cheap. Paper, pencils, brushes, and inks are definitely a lot cheaper as compared to a computer and WACOM tablet.

• You can draw even if there’s a blackout. You just can’t do it at night.


• Revisions can be a pain. You’ll do a lot of erasing and will sometimes force you to redo the whole artwork.

• Messy. If you’re a painter you’ll hate the smell of paints and lacquer thinner. You will also clean up your tools after working. I once spilled a little bottle of india ink on my shirt.

• Storage and delivery. Storing original art will need a lot of space. Delivering them to your client is even harder and more expensive but at least you’ll make Fedex richer.

Digital Art


• Very efficient. No messy pencil smudges or inks. Erasing is easy which makes revisions easier. It makes your work faster especially if you have a tight deadline.

• No need for a scanner unless you sketch the construction lines manually.

• Environment friendly. You don’t use paper. This excludes the electricity you’re using.

• Ease in organizing. No paper or reference clutter. You don’t have to worry about termites eating the art you store in shelves you can save the files in CD or a back-up drive.
• Computers are expensive. Especially if you’re using it on art. You need at least 4 gigs of Ram to make your software work efficiently. You need at least a 22 inch monitor. Some artists need to buy a MAC if they can afford it.

• Software is expensive if you’re buying original and licensed. There are freeware out there but they don’t work as efficient as software that you buy.

• WACOM tablets are as expensive as the computers themselves especially if you’re buying a CINTIQ.

• It’s hard to make your art look natural and hand drawn. Line art done by hand still looks impressive. Although there are techniques that will make your digital line art look hand drawn.


Whether it is digital art or traditional art they are both art. The differences between the two are the media you use. I once read an article on the internet that said “Teaching an artist how to use a computer is easier than teaching a computer user how to be an artist”. Before I switched to digital medium I had to learn composition, the human figure, perspective etc, for years with a pencil. Because I have knowledge how to use traditional media the transition was easy. I bought my WACOM BAMBOO way back in 2010 and it took me six months before I can be considered as a digital illustrator. I still sketch on paper with a pencil when delivering rough thumbnails. Traditional art is here to stay even if computers will become more advanced. My advice to aspiring digital artist is to learn traditional media before buying your first WACOM tablet.

Paolo Libunao

About R-Squared Comicz

I'm a Christian, husband, student, & comic writer. I like comics, hip-hop, basketball, & learning, and at the end of the day, I pray that my life meant something.