History and pioneers.
Like drawing, much of digital painting history can be traced to the creation of graphics tablets. But from there, the paths diverged.
Specific paint programmes released throughout the 1980s set the medium apart from drawing and attracted a number of major artists keen to establish their potential.
Andy Warhol caused a splash in 1985 when he digitally manipulated an image of the pop star Debbie Harry.
David Hockney, meanwhile, used Paintbox software throughout the 1980s. He described using the Paintbox tablet and monitor set-up as “painting with light”.
It would mark a decades-long interest in the form for Hockney. During the 2000s, he created a renowned series of paintings - including many portraits and nature scenes - on his iPhone and iPad.
Today, digital painting is accessible to professional and amateurs alike. Apps and programmes are available on almost any smartphone.
Advantages and applications.
Digital painting allows users to experiment in any location or light, with a huge variety of colour and layering possibilities.
Different brushstrokes are accessible at the touch of a button, which can help artists merge the practices of painting and drawing - sketching outlines with a pencil-like stroke and filling them in with a thicker, more vibrant and colourful paintbrush effect.
David Hockney - Yosemite Suite (2010)
A series of iPhone drawing/paintings inspired by the Yosemite National Park in California. His Picasso and Matisse-esque landscapes present glimpses of redwoods, boulders, streams and valleys. The scenes are rendered with depth, texture and vibrancy in the distinctive portrait orientation of the iPhone.
Tools and software.
Digital painters can use a range of apps and programmes to master their craft or just to play around. Careful research into the right software for your vision is a must.
Adobe Illustrator gives artists the freedom and flexibility they need to create incredible work. Switch between brushes and colours in a flash, combine media and add layers to make your piece stand out.
Want to go old school? It’s easy to create traditional styles like watercolour and pointillism with the diverse range of brushes and tools.
Other types of digital art.
Digital art isn’t limited to drawing and painting. Here are some of other disciplines you’ll see across the art world.
This allows artists to manipulate 3D models on creative programmes using brushes and tools. These can create a softer, more organic touch than other 3D modelling techniques, which are based around geometric patterns and vectors.
You’ll find 3D sculpture in video games, films and online — while the Tokyo artist Keita Okada has some mind-blowing examples.