Doing digital illustration is a pretty creative process that involves drawing, painting or sculpting pictures or designs using computer software. There are many ways to get into doing digital art as a career or hobby.
Many artists start by creating still images such as photographs or paintings. With computers having evolved so quickly in recent years, now you do not need to be trained as an artist to produce beautiful imagery.
Virtually anyone can pick up a mouse and create their own illustrations! This is very appealing since almost everyone has access to a computer these days.
There are several free and low cost applications (or tools) designed for beginners to use to improve their artistic skills. These apps have features that allow you to edit textures, colors, and shapes which all help you develop your creativity.
This article will go over some easy ways to begin designing with digital artwork.
Practice making shapes
A shape is anything you can define as two lines or three lines with a gap in between. Shapes are an integral part of digital illustration, you will use them frequently!
The easiest way to learn how to draw a lot of different shapes is by practicing drawing lots of similar ones. There are many free and low cost software programs that let you practice drawing basic shapes such as squares, triangles, circles, and polygons.
Many artists start off doing simple geometric shapes before moving onto more complex ones. By starting easy, you’ll find it easier to move onto harder shapes!
There are also many great sites with free vector (or shaped) graphic files for you to download and edit. Many of these websites offer you the option to print or share your artwork which gives you even more opportunities to experiment and expand.
Practice: Finding Your Style
Now that you have some fundamental tools under your belt, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned to create something unique. Find inspiration from all areas; look at still life pictures, landscapes, architecture, cartoon characters, and so on.
Once you find an element or style you like, try creating your own version of it. Follow a formula or pattern of the existing work, then add your own personal touches. Experimenting with textures, colors, and styles is one of the best ways to develop your talent.
Learn to use a variety of colors
Color is one of the most fundamental parts of digital illustration. There are many, many ways to learn how to do digital color painting, but you must understand the undertones, shades, and intensity of each hue first!
There are eight basic hues in color theory — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple, and white. By mixing these together, you can create almost any other color in the spectrum!
The easiest way to start learning about color is by using all neutral colors as your base. For example, starting with only black and white will teach you about contrast and how whites look so good next to blacks.
Learn to use the pencil tool
The first thing you will need in digital illustration is a good quality graphics tablet. A graphics tablet allows you to create illustrations by using an interactive surface, like your computer screen, as a drawing canvas. You can draw directly onto the tablet with a pen or finger!
Most people start out using the iPad’s Pencil as their drawing medium but that isn’t necessary at all! Almost any capacitive touch device (tablets, smartphones, etc) can be used to learn how to do digital illustration.
The best way to learn how to do digital illustration is by doing! There are many free resources available online where you can quickly produce masterpieces.
Learn to use the pen tool
The first way to do digital illustration is by doing painting with a brush or a pen tool. There are many ways to learn how to use this tool, but one of the most beginner friendly is using a computer program called Adobe Photoshop.
You can create beautiful illustrations in photoshop! It is very accessible for anyone who has it. You will have to spend some time learning your tools, however.
The easiest way to start drawing in photoshop is choosing an item that is not too complicated to draw. A simple still life picture works great!
Once you get the hang of that image, then you can move onto something more complex. Try experimenting with different styles such as washi-tapping, scribbling, pattern mixing, and so forth. These all combine into one style which is important to know!
Wasih tapping means taking small notes directly from nature or other things around you. Scribbling refers to writing quickly over an area, while mixing patterns incorporates various textures and colors. All these concepts work together to make one strong style.
Learn to use the clone tool
The first way to do digital illustration is to start with something known as a hand-drawn style. This can be done by, instead of drawing everything from scratch, using an effect called cloning.
The Clone Tool allows you to copy parts of another layer or texture in your image and then modify that new piece. For example, you could take one part of a leaf and make it bigger or add some detail to it.
There are many ways to use this tool so definitely experiment! Some artists even find themselves going back to reusing older methods for inspiration.
Create your own images to practice on
There are many ways to do digital illustration, but you must begin with creating your own images! You can create stills, cartoons, or even animated illustrations!
There are several apps that let you make almost any style image easily. Many of these applications have you upload an existing picture or material to use as a base, then you edit it to fit their given template.
These templates usually give you settings for color, fonts, and other general editing touches. Some allow you to add in additional features such as drop shadows, text, or other decorations. These additions are easy to put into place once you know how!
By practicing using these apps on various styles and projects, you will be more familiar with what changes come next.
Learn some photography tips
A little bit of pre-digital life includes learning how to take good photographs! If you’re looking to get into digital illustration, then it makes sense to add some depth to your craft by adding new skills like photo editing or Photoshop.
There are many ways to learn about photographic editing beyond just using Adobe Photoshop. Many free apps offer similar features that can be just as effective in helping you hone your artistic eye.
Gmail is one of the most popular email services out there, which means it has lots of pictures and settings for you to experiment with. The Settings option contains color balance, contrast, and other basic photoshopping tools such as cropping and rotating.
The Color Scheme button allows you to choose from various shades and tones of the picture, while the Contrast setting adjusts the intensity of colors. You can increase the strength of bright colors and reduce those that look too dark and soft.
Create a signature
A signature is when you customize your digital art or graphic design tool so that it uses your own style as decorations for the piece. This can be done in any software, such as Photoshop, Gimp, or other graphics editing tools.
In this case, we will use Adobe Photoshop. In order to create our signature, we will first need to make an image longer than the size of the screen. Then, we will go into photoshop and draw some lines on the picture. These lines will form our signature.
Next, we will choose a layer and type out our signature. You can now edit the color and shape of your signature! Add some shapes if you want! Fun fact: The word “artist” comes from the term artist-meister, which means master craftsman.