Is Coloring Digitally Really Coloring?

By Stephanie Anders 

Is coloring digitally really coloring? It is the subject of debate in some coloring enthusiast circles. Adult coloring is an important aspect in the lives of many. It is their way of expressing their inner artist and these colorists take every aspect of it very serious. Others simply color to relax akin to popping open a bottle of wine.

Coloring is now commonly prescribed to relieve stress and anxiety. It helps those with motor skill disabilities such as Parkinson’s disease. For those with Alzheimer’s, or other types of dementia, it keeps them focused in their moment and not lost to confusion. Some of our older colorists find relief from tremors through coloring. Our  veterans find moments of peace from PTSD through coloring. What about those who cannot physically color with pencil or marker on to paper? They color digitally. When does it become not true coloring?

Some of the greatest illustrators of our time color digitally. We do not mind when we see that digitally colored comic book cover, or even the digitally colored cover by our favorite coloring book artist. It seems to only be the colorist that are not famous or super stars that are criticized for coloring digitally. About 50% of the images that we color today have had their lines cleaned up in a digital art program or digitally drawn in a program. Is it not a true design? Should we or should we not color it?

The truth is a tablet or computer program are tools just as colored pencils, sharpeners, markers, etc. Both sets of tools require practice, effort, and time to learn. Not everyone can create or color digitally, just as not everyone can color on paper with pencil or marker. An artist who paints with his feet is no less than the artist who paints with his hands. The end product has always been art.

Art has no true definition, no laws of creation. Art simply is. Therefore, no matter who we are or how we live, what we are and are not capable of does not matter. Coloring is coloring.


Leave a Reply