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Digital Painting

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

An in-depth survey - The major aspects of digital painting explained and illustrated for artists and collectors.


Raster painting

Octave Pixel's Small Rocks is a typical raster painting. It is not possible to create the 'perfectly imperfect' lines and shapes that are made by a human hand in a program for vector painting.

Octave Pixel: Small rocks, raster painting.


  • Soft, nuanced overall appearance

  • Multicolor planes

  • Hand formed lines and curves

  • Digital texture (abraded patches)


Vector-raster painting

1. Hybrid program In Sunny Angle (below), stroke by stroke raster forms and lines are subtly smoothed by Bezier curves. The overall appearance of the painting reflects the hybrid basis of the program (ArtRage) and gives it a homogenous appearance that is somewhere in the middle between vector and raster.


Helene Goldberg: Sunny angle, vector-raster painting


  • Smooth, homogenous, overall appearance

  • Sharper than raster, softer than vector paintings

  • Textured color planes (orange, white)

  • Multicolor planes (grey, green, mauve)

  • Transparencies (yellow line)

  • Perfect forms and shapes (circle, rectangles)


2. Two programs combined

In Rear window (below) a program for raster and a program for vector painting are used in the same painting. Combining programs makes it possible to contrast the characteristics of vector and raster.


Programs for vector and raster painting combined in Rear window.


  • Hard-and-soft overall appearance

  • Vector shapes (red shapes, green and white oval forms, grey planes left and right)

  • 3D illusion (red shapes)

  • Smooth computer gradients (red-white shapes)

  • Transparencies (grey shadows)

  • Uniform color panes (yellow, blue, mauve)

  • Multicolor planes of raster (patches of soft pink-red, grey-purple)

  • Soft forms and lines of raster (center)


Vector painting

No artist could better illustrate the characteristics of vector painting than Amparo Higón, a pioneering vector painter with an impressive oeuvre of abstract and figurative work hosted at Flickr. The image below was created in freehand-style using Corel.


Amparo Higón: Self portrait


  • Highly defined, bold, sharp forms

  • 3D illusion (red balls and the eye)

  • Digital texture (plastic in the epaulettes, glass in the balls, metal in the button)

  • Architectural forms (collar, mouth, hat)

  • Monochromatic color planes (all)

  • Smooth computer gradients (red-black ornament top-left on hat)

I hope this article has helped you understand the digital art realm. Please check out our digital artists if you would like to view more and start your digital collection.


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