Making unique art from digital art

Luis Mendo
6 min readJan 22, 2024

When artists make art using digital tools, is there an “original” we can talk about? I am conducting a test

My relationship with digital art making

The 11" iPad Pro came out in 2018 featuring the Apple Pencil 2. I immediately bought one. It wasn’t my first one, but the new pencil and specs made it a big thing. I knew I’d end up swapping my Photoshop + Wacom setup and it took me only a few months to do ALL my client and personal work on the iPad. I even wrote a piece about using the ipad as a sketchbook that still gets lots of readers today (it’s actually due for a review).

In the 7 years I have worked digital only, I have mostly encountered pleasure and advantages. By making all my drawings on the iPad, I can do so much I can’t when working with ink and paper:

  • Send work to my international clients in seconds after completion
  • Amend illustrations from wherever, whenever, if needed
  • Keep things tidy; an original paper archive is a nightmare to keep
  • Desk stays clean too
  • Change, mix or try new techniques on the fly, without needing to go to the art supply store or the nightmares of trying for instance watercolours on a too thin paper, or painting over an ink that is not water resistant
  • Being able to draw anywhere with the lightest setup. Even in the dark.
My current iPads: big one for work, medium as sketchbook and mini mainly for reading in bed.

But of course artists will find thousand reasons to keep using analogue media, and I will vehemently agree and applaud their decision. Especially the last stage of making something analog: having a final piece in your hands has a charm, a innate power that is hard to beat.
To be able to hold, smell and touch it, that is ✨magic✨.

And this is one of the shortcomings of working digital; it’s what holds many back to go fully digital when creating artworks. Something I can fully understand… of course you want to have an original to show for the work you’ve put in.