Why Digital Art Is a Popular Medium

Pauline Freud

Amber Mills’ article, “Digital Art- Why It’s Such a Popular Medium” (2012) asserts that digital art became popular due to its ease and accessibility. Mills expands on this idea by explaining how technology, such as tablets, feel authentic but are easier to use and quicker than traditional mediums, supply more effective tools than their physical equivalents, let those not in classes to access tutorials, and allow one’s imagination rather than their supplies to be the artistic limit. Mills’ purpose is to inform the audience as to why digital art is a useful canvas for many modern artists. Her vocabulary is simple but biased towards digital art, so the audience likely consists of artists of all ages that are open to the concept of technological art forms.

Although Mills didn’t directly state whether she thought that digital art was superior to traditional art, she highlighted the ease of tablets and other technologies in comparison to physical tools. She suggests that programs, such as PhotoShop, allow the user to erase and blend more effectively than on a canvas. She also says that PhotoShop is built containing such tools, whereas traditional artists would have to buy supplies separately to perform similar tasks. I can understand her viewpoint because, in my high school art class, I found that physical art forms relied heavily on expensive supplies that were confusing to use. Therefore, I turned more towards digital mediums that were amenable to amateurs. I completely agree that almost every aspect of technology is innately more convenient than physical art. However, her points in this article do not counter any criticism from traditionalists. The lesser time requirement, ease of use, and accessibility supplied by technology are recognized by all parties. Artists who dislike digital art argue that these traits make the art less genuine and less valuable. I doubt Mills could counter this claim neither party misunderstands the medium. Rather, they seem to differ in their interpretations of digital art’s qualities.


Mills, Amber. “Digital Art – Why It’s Such a Popular Medium.” DeviantArt. N.p., 5 Oct. 2012. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.


Image: Wacom Cintiq 12WX Drawing Tablet


3 thoughts on “Why Digital Art Is a Popular Medium

  1. I also believe Mills makes a terrific point. Instead of acquiring a whole studio of expensive and effective equipment or sadly cheap and ineffective equipment buying one program could provide it all. Now everyone has the chance to create something amazing or even life-changing and the only limit is your imagination. I wonder, since Mills hints at technology being superior, how would technology implemented in art programs affect the value of the art? Obviously buying a bunch of computers and PhotoShop programs would be less expensive in the long run and some would see it as an improvement because the students have more tools at their disposal and more time to create. However, traditionalists would think technology replacing real tools could be detrimental to the art process. Can a happy medium exist with Edward Phelan’s idea of digital prints? Or is that just too expensive?



  2. It’s worth noting traditional art met one of its greatest challenges over a 100 years ago with the advent of photography. Artists didn’t all just throw away their tools and become photographers; they completely reinvented themselves. And traditional art will continue to do that now. I would say there is actually a heightened appreciation for traditional art for its uniqueness and because of its finality. Of course, you could scan and reproduce a traditional piece, but I think people are becoming especially aware of the value of something one-of-a-kind. There is also the respect earned by artists who’ve trained themselves on the real-world canvases, be it sculpting or sidewalk chalk murals, without the need of an Undo button. It is a matter of accessibility and art via a digital community obviously benefits a digital artistic process.



  3. I enjoyed this post because I had never considered the amount of money digital design saves artists. It is quite a hefty fee to purchase adobe products and other programs, but in the long run you can get more for your dollar. An unlimited amount of products can be made with a subscription to one of these programs, where unlike painting, the artists would be required to buy more and more paint. This aspect makes digital design very appealing, along with all the other benefits it provides.


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