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Beginners Guide to Digital Art, Painting & Drawing

Explore the world of digital art: its forms, tools, industry impact, and future trends. Discover inspiring artists and get started on your digital art journey.

Phones and computers are essential in our daily lives. They’re a stable component at work and in the home.

Naturally, art is one of the many things that has also become digital.

There are plenty of reasons why you should take on digital art over other traditional art forms.

For starters, if you have a phone, tablet or computer, then you’re ready to create digital artwork!

The future is limitless when it comes to digital art, so you’re free to explore as many art styles as you want.

Do you want to unlock your creative side? This guide will help you become a better digital artist.

So, let’s dive in!

What Is Digital Art?


Digital art is any art piece you create using digital devices and tools, such as your mobile phone, computer, or tablet.

Though many critics don’t recognize digital artworks as real art, there’s no denying the skill and knowledge of digital artists.

After all, they have to master various digital tools to finish a piece of art, as well as be highly imaginative.

For example, digital painting requires identical talent and effort as traditional painting. The only difference is that the finished piece is virtual!

In contrast, the process of 3D modeling is starkly different from sculpting. However, both require an intense understanding of physical objects and translating them into other media.

Digital art encompasses many art forms. As long as you create the art using technology, it’s considered digital art. So, your masterpieces can be any of the following:

  • 3D modeling
  • Artificial intelligence art
  • Digital painting
  • Digital animation

Many digital artists print their digital artwork to either sell or display in their own homes.

This is made easier thanks to the rise in popularity of AI websites like Midjourney that help digital artists create work far quicker than before.

Digital Software Tools for Creating Digital Paintings & Vector Art

Now that you know all the various forms of digital artwork, it’s easy to get frustrated with all the tools you’ll need to start your digital art journey.

You’ll need certain digital art tools and software, depending on the type of digital art you’re interested in.

Yet, many digital artists utilize only their creativity, creating canvases with basic software such as Excel!

So, while you might not need all of the following, here are the most popular digital art stables to help you get started:

Best Digital Art Software

The most crucial aspect of digital art is the software you work with. Though most digital art platforms are beginner-friendly, each is perfect for certain art types.

That said, most amateur digital artists start with at least one of the following software:

  • Adobe Photoshop
a person is using a laptop with the adobe logo on it.

Credit: Luca Sammarco

Photoshop is one of the most powerful digital art tools. You can use it for almost any type of art, including graphic design and digital painting – many people also use it to edit digital photography.

The software is also well-integrated with other Adobe products, such as Adobe Illustrator, Lightroom, and Animator. This means you can export any file and continue working on your piece on a different platform.

There’s also a huge digital art community surrounding Photoshop, with every digital artist under the sun sharting their pixel art, media art or other computer-generated designs and creative process for all to see.

(What is the Best Pixel Art Software?)

Traditional artists also frequent these communities, perhaps to gain inspiration for more traditional fine art pieces, which are often influenced by creative vector art.

The Photoshop iPad app is also a huge advancement in digital technology for artists, bringing many of the features of the desktop computer software to a mobile device.

The only downside to Adobe Photoshop is that it’s subscription-based. Still, the subscription can give you access to Adobe Creative Cloud.

  • Procreate
ipad pro ipad pro ipad pro ipad pro ipad pro ipad pro ipad pro i.

Credit: Procreate

If you’re looking for a digital art tool specifically designed for painting, look no further than Procreate. This platform allows for a natural drawing experience with plenty of powerful features.

You can also use Procreate for 3D painting and digital illustrations. Even if you’ve never picked up a tablet stylus before, Procreate is so straightforward that you’ll be a pro in no time.

Unfortunately, Procreate is only supported by iOS, in particular, the iPad.

Photoshop vs Procreate (Key Differences)

  • Krita
a screenshot of a website of Krita software

Credit: Krita

So, you’re unsure whether digital painting is for you and don’t want to commit to software? Well, Krita might be the answer.

The free, open-source platform makes learning digital art incredibly fun due to its customizable user interface. It includes all the essential features to get you started on your first digital art piece.

Krita doesn’t have much in terms of customer service, though. Still, it’s the ideal app for beginners on a budget.


Many digital artists can get by just fine without any hardware. That said, if you want to take your art to the next level, these tools can make your life much easier:

  • Tablet
a person writing the word creative on an tablet.

Credit: Antoni Shkraba

If you’re planning on going pro, a drawing tablet is a must. This could just be an old iPad, or you might invest in newer tablets.

Many graphics tablets designed for drawing purposes support desktop software. So, your software options won’t be as limited. Furthermore, instead of being tied to a desk, you’ll be able to create art anywhere!

  • Trackpad

You can simply use a touchscreen or a mouse to create your art. However, trackpads are pretty sensitive, translating each stroke, precise lines, and changes in pressure.

Trackpads help you feel like you’re drawing on an actual piece of paper. They make painting, illustrations, and photo editing a breeze.

  • Drawing Tablet Stylus
a young asian woman is sitting at a table with a laptop and a pen.

Credit: Ketut Subiyanto

If you don’t want to invest in a trackpad, a tablet stylus is the next best option. These are extremely precise, though you might take some time to get used to all their different features.

You should keep in mind that most drawing pens aren’t universal, so you’ll need to get one that’s compatible with your device.

You should also check our article on the best computers for graphic design.

Getting Started With Digital Art

Starting your digital art journey is easy, especially if you’re already an artist. All you need to do to transform your art into digital art is to learn how to use art software.

You don’t need to have any skills to take on digital art. As long as you have the right tools, and you’re willing to put in hours of practice, you’re all set.

Choosing your tools is the most crucial part of your art journey. If you already own a PC, a tablet, or a phone, you can use any of them.

Nevertheless, you need to understand that your art won’t look like that of professionals who have expensive tools and years of experience! So, start slowly by creating on your phone, then work your way up once you learn all the basics.

Luckily, various YouTube tutorials can help you, regardless of the type of digital art you’re creating. Moreover, keeping up with digital artists might encourage and keep you challenged.

Notable Digital Artists to Follow in 2023

Creating digital art without inspiration can be tricky. Beginners, in particular, need plenty of inspiration to find their art style.

That’s why it’s essential to follow digital artists. You can learn from their distinct styles and model your portfolio after them.

Here are some notable digital artists you can follow:

Marcus Magnusson


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Markus Magnusson (@motionmarkus)

Lucas Zanotto


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lucas Zanotto (@lucas_zanotto)

Emonee LaRussa


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A post shared by Emonee LaRussa (@em0n33y)

Sergio Garcia Sanchez 

The Impact of Digital Art on the Art Industry

Whether you’re a digital art enthusiast or a lover of everything traditional, you can’t deny the tremendous impact of digital art.

Digital art has bestowed upon artists unprecedented creative freedom by introducing novel materials and media. It has entrenched itself as a cornerstone in film production to such an extent that no movie or TV show today is without some element of VFX, animation, or other types of digital art.

Beyond the sphere of entertainment, digital art has significantly influenced the educational sector by offering innovative tools and platforms for learners.

It has widened the ambit of art education, making it possible for anyone with a device and internet connection to explore, learn, and create art.

This interactive and immersive learning process is fostering a generation of self-taught artists who excel across various forms of art.

Digital art has also spread into advertising and marketing. Brands are capitalizing on the visual allure of digital artistry to design compelling campaigns, enhancing brand communication and engagement.

Digital art has also revolutionized the traditional concept of galleries and exhibitions.

The advent of virtual art galleries enables art enthusiasts to explore and purchase art from the comfort of their homes.

Artists can now reach a global audience, unhindered by geographical barriers, democratizing art on an unprecedented scale.

In essence, digital art is continuously evolving, becoming more accessible and engaging every day.

It marks a fusion of technology and creativity, broadening our understanding of what art can be and pushing the boundaries of traditional artistic expression. The continued evolution of digital art promises to further redefine its impact on the art industry.

The Future of Digital Art


Digital art isn’t just painting and animation! Technology has taken the craft one step further, integrating it into artificial intelligence, finance, and social connections.

For example, Midjourney is a popular art platform where users create illustrations entirely through AI – see how to use Midjourney.

While this garnered great controversy, as anyone can create fake images, artists have utilized the tool to gain inspiration and expand their style.

Additionally, artists are now able to capitalize on their masterpieces by creating NFT pictures and selling digital art to make a living on digital art marketplaces such as FineArtAmerica.

By creating NFTs, they can maintain ownership, control distribution, and potentially reap significant financial rewards for their work, while buyers can own unique pieces of digital art, bridging the gap between tangibility and virtuality.

Digital art can also help you connect with others through virtual reality, as in Metaverse.

Users can immerse themselves in art, exploring virtual galleries or even creating their own masterpieces in a 3D virtual space. It allows artists and audiences to connect and interact in immersive, innovative ways that extend beyond the flat canvas.

The future of digital art is indeed vibrant and limitless. As technology continues to advance, we can expect the realm of digital art to keep expanding, presenting new possibilities and redefining what we perceive as art.

The creative landscape is continually evolving, challenging artists to innovate and audiences to perceive art in a whole new light.

Final Thoughts on Digital Artwork

Digital art is a perfect way to start your art journey and unearth your creative side. Not only is it cheap and accessible, but there are many online tutorials and guides to help you along every step.

Some great platforms you can use include Photoshop, Procreate, and Krita. If you want your art process to go as seamlessly as possible, you might invest in a drawing tablet, a trackpad, or a stylus.

While many critics believe virtual artworks to be lazier alternatives to traditional art, digital art is all around us, from movies to virtual reality. There’s no telling what digital art will look like in the future.

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Content Manager

As the Content Manager of Shotkit, India Mantle brings with her a lifelong love for photography that she developed during her childhood, watching her father document their family moments with his Nikon EM. In her free time, you find her enjoying the awe-inspiring natural beauty of her home, Northern Rivers, Australia.

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