Should I practice drawing traditionally or digitally?
Learning to draw: Are you starting with pen and paper or in digital space?
I will disagree with everyone else and say if you are serious about graphic design or digital illustration, you should get yourself a tablet as soon as possible .
If you are the creative type, your first experience of drawing is unlikely to be in digital media as you were likely exposed to analog media in kindergarten or elementary school in art class. And I think you should take traditional art classes to build your basics as these classes are generally not taught using digital media. But that has more to do with tradition and practicality than anything else. (It is easier to equip a class with pencil / paper than to provide a digitizing tablet for each student. And not all students have a tablet to practice on at home.)
Yes, analog media has many properties that digital media cannot reproduce, but the opposite is also true. And if you spend most of your career drawing digitally, getting used to the feel of a tablet as quickly as possible is far more beneficial than learning the nuances of physical media. And it takes time to get used to drawing with a digitizer tablet.
And while a high-end tablet can be quite expensive, a cheap entry-level tablet like the Bamboo can actually save you money. Art materials aren't cheap, and if you keep drawing / painting it quickly adds up. So with digital media, you can practice more without spending that much money.
Digital media are also more beginner-friendly in some ways. The main reason is that there is no undo button on your physical canvas. Of course, you can erase a pencil sketch, but you can only do so many times until the paper is worn out. There are no such problems with digital media. Also, you don't have to worry about making a mistake and ruining or smearing a whole piece, or letting your paint dry prematurely, or not being able to find a paint that you used in your last session, etc. There's also less cleanup when you're making a digital painting versus an analog one.
All of the above reasons could make you tend to practice more digitally than if you just had access to physical media (I know that was the case for me). That's not to say that you shouldn't bother with physical media, but that you should have both options early on. The most important thing is that you set yourself up so that you can practice as much as possible and be motivated. Having both a tablet and a sketch pad allows you to resort to the medium of your choice when the urge hits you.
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