Creating digital illustrations is one of the most popular ways to edit pictures you take or find online. You can create beautiful, complex images that contain little to no text! It’s like creating a new genre of art.

Illustrations are very versatile. You can use them as decorations or to strengthen a message slightly. Or you can make them full-blown logos or designs if you want to push your skills further.

Digital illustration is fun to experiment with. There are many free apps and programs that let you design and add textures to images. Textures are simply patterns (on an object) or materials (like paper). Adding textures to something will give it depth.

This article will go over some basic Photoshop tools and how to do simple digital illustations. If you’re already familiar with photoshop then feel free to skip to the next section! We’ll be doing mostly vector shapes and layers so there’s nothing to worry about.

Create a drawing of the image in a drawing software

how to do digital illustration of a photo

Although there are many ways to do this, one of the easiest is by creating an illustration or digital painting of the photo. You can use any style you like; it does not have to be realistic!

You will need a good quality camera to take your picture. Make sure to include close up shots as well as wider ones to achieve the best result.

Once you have taken the pictures, it is time to start editing them. For example, you could go into Photoshop and simply paint over the photos to add effects such as shadows, highlights, and textures.

Another way to edit the images is using a third party app that has tools to enhance the pictures. There are several apps that have these features so make use of those to improve the look of the pictures.

Make the image look digital

Choosing an appropriate background is a key part in creating your new illustration. You want to make sure it does not distract too much from the picture, but at the same time, it should give some context to the image.

This will depend on the intended use for the piece. If it is designed to be framed and displayed on a wall, then a plain white or solid color background is best.

For web uses or print pieces, a simple background can sometimes get overwhelmed by other content or features, so opt instead for an easy to read site design or pattern using your own style as decoration.

You do not need to include all of the decorations and patterns in the article, only one or two are needed to break up the text effectively.

Learn to use a color picker

how to do digital illustration of a photo

Choosing colors for your artwork is an integral part of digital illustration. There are many ways to do this, but one of our favorite methods is using a tool called a color picker! A color picker allows you to search for a specific color or hue and also gives you information such as what colors go with it and which ones clash with it.

Many software programs have their own dedicated color pickers that can be accessed directly from within the program. Some may even allow you to create your own custom palettes using these tools!

There are several free and paid apps available that contain very comprehensive color pickers. The most well-known color picker app is Adobe Photoshop’s Hue/Saturation tab where you can test out different shades and tints of a particular color. You can also research similar colors in the Color Finder section of the same menu.

Use the correct colors in the image

how to do digital illustration of a photo

Color is one of the most important things when digital illustrationing a photo. If you are not careful with your color choices, then it can become very difficult to make changes or fix mistakes.

There are two main reasons why this happens. The first is that as the artist, you will use all sorts of different colored markers and brushes to blend and mix into the picture. This creates a lot of leftover bits and pieces that have no specific purpose.

The second reason is that some of these leftover parts get mixed together and matched wrong, creating confusion for the viewer. For example, if there is an area of green grass next to a blue ocean, the eye cannot know what part is supposed to be natural scenery and which one was designed by someone who has trouble drawing landscapes.

General tips: remember that whatever background you add needs to relate to the rest of the image. In our example here, we had too much going on so it became hard to tell where one thing ended and another began.

Use the correct lighting in the image

how to do digital illustration of a photo

Choosing the right light for your illustration depends mostly on what you want to achieve with it. If you would like to emphasize its natural beauty, then choosing strong sunlight is perfect.

Alternatively, if you wanted to create more dramatic shadows, then finding a soft source of light is ideal.

And lastly, if you wanted to incorporate some element of reflection or glittery effects, looking into illumination by products is necessary. These are all very different types of lights that can be used for digital painting.

Use the correct perspective in the image

how to do digital illustration of a photo

Perspective is an element that helps create the three-dimensional look you want your images to have. It creates this effect by altering how much information appears away from you, depending on the angle at which the viewer looks at the picture.

By using different angles, the eye can go down, up, or anywhere in between, giving the illusion of depth. The trick is knowing what proportions are needed to achieve this effect!

There are several ways to use perspective effectively. One way is by creating a vertical frame around the subject of the photo. This frames the shot vertically, making it feel more dramatic.

Another way is to include some horizontal lines in the composition. These add balance to the photograph and give the feeling of movement. A common example of this would be putting a tree in the middle of a green field.

Both of these work because they make the reader aware that there’s something beyond just the surface of the paper. There’s something else out there, and it’s bigger than what we see directly ahead.

Finish it up

how to do digital illustration of a photo

So now that you have learned how to draw from life, let’s take it one step further and learn how to do digital illustration! This is another great way to create your own artwork or find new ways to use images.

Just like drawing from nature, taking inspiration from other artists’ work and practicing, digital illustrators start with an image or element they want to re-create and then add something extra to make it their own.

In this case, the extra can be adding textures, colors, or even creating your own texture or pattern using tools such as Photoshop or Gimp.

Publish the image

how to do digital illustration of a photo

Another way to do this is to take a photograph or find an already prepared photo that you like and then digitally draw your own illustration using software such as Photoshop, Gimp, or other similar applications.

In these programs, you can either create a new layer or replace what was there before with your drawing on top of it. Add texture, colors, and styles to make it look more realistic!

You will have to experiment to see which one works best for you. Some may be easier to use than others but they all have their strengths.


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