Mark Nitschke Digital Versus Traditional Sketching Thoughts


Digital versus Traditional Sketching, what is an artist to do?

For the last few years, I have been torn on what direction I should move forward in, digital sketching or traditional sketching. I actually enjoy doing both, but I always feel like I should be doing one or the other. Is there a correct answer to this age old question, or will I forever be torn in two directions?

What My Education Taught Me?

My educational background in college dealt mainly with traditional methods. All my actual art classes had me getting down and dirty with charcoal and graphite and all the fun messy traditional sketching tools. Oh and let’s not forget oil painting, what a mess that can be. While I am not putting these mediums down by any means, it is just so much easier to pick up a tablet and work away. Does this mean that digital is the best way to go? I think no matter how great the technology is, nothing beats doing something the traditional way. The feel of real charcoal in your hand is not something digital could ever reproduce. The joy of mixing paints to get the right consistency is something every artist should experience. 

I did some computer work in my graphic design classes, but nothing like I do today. Sketching on my iPad or Wacom tablet was nothing like using a mouse in Illustrator to put my ideas down on paper. Using these digital tools is really almost breathtaking in certain ways. Being able to choose from amongst the countless brushes and tools in Procreate or even being able to make your own, all right from a menu just a couple of clicks away, is so convenient. So, does this mean that digital is the best way to go? Again, convenience is not always the best reason for doing something.


So, I seem to have now only further exasperated myself. Is exasperated even a word? What is the best thing for me to do? Is there a way for me to excel in both methods? What should I do? This reminds me of one of my favorite movie quotes of all time, “Cats and dogs living together!”. I do think both have a place in my artistic life. I love traditional too much to give it up and I love the ease and forgiving nature of digital too much to not further pursue it. 

Balancing Act

In the end, I think I have given myself the okay to work in both. How do I find a balance though? Well, just like in daily life, it is a give and take. I need to do what makes me happy, but also what will make me grow as an artist. So, I plan on trying to give an equal amount of time to both for now. If one path starts to feel better than the other, maybe then I will make a different choice.