Different Styles of Digital Art

Digital art hasn’t been around for a long time, but because of advancements in technology, a wide variety of art styles are already available. These include conventional paintings done digitally, vector art, art created with pixels, and others.

There’s also digital art created by AI through text prompts. If you’re wondering who can use DALL-E 2, it’s unclear when OpenAI will make DALL-E available to the public.

As you begin your journey as a digital artist, it’s important to understand the different styles of digital art before you begin to hone your skills.

Digital Painting

Digital painting is an emulation of traditional painting. By using a stylus and a tablet connected to a computer, an artist can emulate the traditional drawing experience. Oil, acrylic, and watercolour paintings are all types of conventional painting that digital painting imitates on programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.

The art program on the artist's computer interprets the movement of the stylus as a digital brushstroke. The artist glides the stylus over the tablet as they would over a canvas—it can even read pressure from the stylus to create different depths in the image.

Vector Art

By using graphic designing software such as Adobe Illustrator, you can create digital art with a distinctly cleaner style. These programs are often used in creating logos and t-shirt designs.

Contrary to creating pixel-based strokes that mimic a brush, vector artists choose points on a graph and use the software to draw the lines or curves. The artists can then alter the shape's boundaries, including their curvature, and fill the forms with solid colours and gradients.

Vector art is considered the middle ground between digital art and graphic design. Because the image is based on numbers, you can stretch vector art to any resolution without distorting it as would happen with other digital art forms.

3D Modelling

By creating points on a digital 3D canvas and using software like Blender or Maya, artists create a collection of lines and planes called a mesh. This mesh can be designed to look like the intended object, and once it’s ready, the mesh can also be animated.

The majority of special effects you see in movies and television are created using 3D modelling, as are the graphics for almost all contemporary video games.

3D Sculpting

A more recent type of 3D art is 3D sculpting. The goal of 3D sculpting is to mimic the traditional techniques of creating sculptures with materials like clay.

Artists begin with a basic block of digital clay and shape it by pushing and pulling it, just as they would when sculpting in real life. They can add and remove digital clay to adjust roughness and smoothness, just like with traditional sculptures.

Zbrush is the most well-known program for 3D sculpting, although the open-source Blender is another popular option.

Pixel Art

This form of digital art emerged out of necessity when computers weren't powerful enough to properly emulate complex art. Large colour blocks, or pixels, are used to create artwork. Because of this, each piece of art must be cleverly designed to be recognisable in such a basic digital format.

There's a niche selection of software built expressly for creating pixel art, but it can also be made in Photoshop or Krita. Many games still have pixel art for the retro aesthetic it offers.

Pixel art can be a good starting place if you’re looking for digital painting ideas for beginners.

3D Animation

3D animation is used to give 3D models a sense of movement. Different parts of the model are assigned as bones, and the animator selects how each of the bones assigned to a portion of the 3D object will move at precise points in time. The more bones in a model, the more lifelike the animation will appear.

Wrapping It Up

Some of these digital art forms are easy to learn, and some of them take extra effort, but that’s where it can be fun. Just give it some time and effort, and you’ll be creating masterpieces in no time.