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What are Digital Art Supplies and How Do You Use Them?

A tag made with digital art supplies

The Inside Scoop on Digital Art Supplies

Have you ever been watching a creative YouTube video and heard the term ‘printable’ or ‘digital ephemera’?  Or maybe that creator you follow on Instagram mentioned a collage sheet or a digital stamp?  These are all forms of digital art supplies, and while some of us might be in the know when it comes to adding digital products to our supply arsenal, not everyone understands just what they are or how to use them.  

The Inside Scoop 

Digital art supplies range from simple to extravagant.  It can be a simple digital image or a complete themed set of images. It can even be a complete work of art.  The thing that ties them all together is that they are digital rather than physical items. The same way that folks like Tim Holtz design physical products like papers and embellishments that you purchase at your local craft store, digital artists design things too. The difference is that their product comes in digital form.  

Just what is a digital form?

If something is in digital form, it means that it exists as a digital file that can be accessed, opened and used on some form of computer or electronic device.  The most common types of files for digital art supplies are:

  • .jpg or .jpeg files
  • .png files
  • .pdf files
  • and in some instances perhaps even .docx or .gif files

Many times a bundle of digital files are sold together and chances are they will be bundled into a .zip file. This just means that all of the files have been put together into one file that you will need to ‘unzip’ or extract the individual files from. Most computer systems today make extracting files super easy, and of course, there are plenty of instructions out there to help you if you’ve never done it before.

How do you use a digital art supply?

Make sure you pay attention to where on your computer or device you place the unzipped files from your digital art products. Sometimes it helps to have one file folder on your computer set aside just for these types of files.  That when you are ready to use them, you can find them quickly and easily.

Using digital art supplies can be as simple as printing it out on your printer, to using it in combination with some of your own digital creations.  Chances are unless you’re creating strictly digital art, you are going to end up printing it out at some point.  

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Opening and using digital files

I could give an extensive lesson on working with digital files, but you don’t have time for that and honestly, neither do I at the moment.  Let’s just go with the idea that you know how to use a program like Photoshop, Elements or even Word, ok?  

Using some sort of program, you will open your digital art files.  With all but the .pdf (and possibly the .docx) files, you will insert or open one of your images in the program. Usually you have the option to resize the images within the program, which is one of the really cool things about working with digital art supplies.  It’s like having that image in just about any size you could ever want.  Within reason of course.

In some programs, you can even combine images together to create a new image.  Way cool, right?

In fact combining digital images together is really what many digital artists do in order to create cool printables.  Things like tags, journaling cards, papers and more can be created by combining digital image files.  Don’t freak out though, the whole reason we do that is so you don’t have to.  

An example of a PDF printable, a type of digital art supplies
An example of a PDF printable

All you have to do is print. And maybe cut, glue, color…

For the most part, digital ephemera and other digital art supplies are created so that all you have to do is print the designs onto your choice of paper and use them in your creations.

Video showing how I cut my digital tag printable with the Tim Holtz small tag die

Unless you’ve purchased an actual digital piece of artwork that is meant to print out and display, you will then cut out your items and use them the same way you would use those elements that you buy at the craft or art supply store.

Why Add Digital Art Supplies to your Stash?

Besides the fact that adding digital art supplies opens you up to a whole world of digital artists and designers to use in your creations, they are also economical.  Most digital products are cheaper than their physical counterparts. That’s because you are printing them out yourself using your own paper and ink. I know, paper and ink can be expensive depending on the type of paper and your printer.  Here are a few reasons they are super economical even with the cost of paper and printers:

  • You print only as many items as you need, so you aren’t left with a dozen leftovers you’ll never use.
  • You can print it as often as you need it.  If it’s something that you love there is no running out, simply print more.
  • You can print on whatever type of paper you want. Depending on your printer you can use everything from the super thin Tomoe River paper to 140lb. watercolor paper.
  • Many digital artists allow you to use their designs in physical products to sell, without the same tight restrictions that many of the major craft companies and their big-name designers have. This is a huge benefit for those who create things like junk journals, planners, and other papercraft items and sell them at craft fairs and on sites like Etsy.


Have you tried Digital Art Supplies?

If you’ve used digital art supplies, what did you think? Come on over to my Facebook Page, give it a Like, and let’s talk about it.  If you’ve never tried digital supplies, sign up for my email list and get the set featured in this post as a free gift.*

*Witches and Wizards, ETC., Digital Ephemera Collage Tags Kit, featured in this post will be the free gift for joining my email list for a limited time, at the end of which a different digital kit will replace it.  

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