Why Digital Painting instead of Traditional Painting? I get asked this question a lot. Of course neither is better than the other but for me there were many advantages starting with digital painting.The fundamentals for painting digitally, oil, water color etc are the same but being self taught I wasn't fortunate to get traditional training. Though through hours of video tutorials and books I have been able to pick things up quickly doing so mainly do to digital tools. Not only from training with video tutorials, but with digital painting packages themselves.
Painting in the digital world has allowed me to work and re-work paintings quickly and easily. Not avoiding mistakes, but learning from without starting over from scratch. It has allowed me to experiment with colors, approaches, brushes,textures and even composition that would not have been possible with traditional media. With that said, studying traditional painting methods is essential to mimicking the textures and styles from within any digital painting suite. It is not the tool but the artist that creates art.
Some of the many advantages are the use of images as plates to paint on and the use of images as a color pallets. In conjunction with the color tool, to isolate the actual colors that I see compared to the one's impression of the color that I thought I saw.digital painting packages have been very helpful to me in learning color and lighting. Other tools allow one to work out perspective and compositions as well as the use of layers allowing one to work above a painting before committing to those changes. Layers do not exist in traditional painting but are great ways to experiment with options but layers don't exist in the real world.
There are a variety of both commercial, free, and open-source painting packages that will enable any artist or future artist to experiment with and see for your self. Below is a list of some of the more popular ones that I have worked with:
Free / Open-Source:
For me I have enjoyed learning about art through digital media allowing me to expand my imagination and work though obstacles in painting what I see in my mind's eye. And in the end we do not have to choose between digital and traditional because they can be used side by side or even mixed for any project. Art is about expression and imagination. Today there are very few limitations (most notably time) and we can take it further by mixing even 3D suites such as Blender to incorporate into our 2D world. It is used most notably in film and TV where live footage is mixed with a 3D content. At times this is the only way to film a world that doesn't exist. I recently came across an artist BenHeine featured on DeviantART who is a good example of mixing digital and traditional art.