Creating digital illustrations is a medium that has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Technology makes it possible for anyone with an artistic flair to create their own designs quickly and easily!
Illustrations have a rich history, going back thousands of years. Today, they are just as popular (if not more so) than ever before.
Digital illustration is quite different from traditional drawing or painting. Rather than using fluid materials such as water or oil, you use computer software to produce your work.
Here are some important things to know about creating digital illustrations. You can start by looking into beginner level programs like Adobe Photoshop or Gimp. From there you can advance onto more advanced applications like Figma or Sketch.
Getting familiar with these apps will give you the foundation to make beautiful images. Now let’s take a closer look at some types of illustrative artwork and how they’re made.
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What Is An Illustration?
A well-designed piece of illustration art is usually categorized under one of three genres: figure, landscape, and still life.
Practice making quick sketches
A simple way to get into the art of digital illustration is by practicing your hand drawing. You can do this at any level, even if you have no experience whatsoever!
There are many ways to learn how to draw. Some people say that learning how to draw takes away all the pressure in life because you’ll never be able to draw well enough to take care of yourself under stress. That may sound scary, but I think it’s an overstatement.
I’ve seen some incredible drawings that used very basic shapes and lines, so don’t feel like you need to use more complicated techniques to start.
Any surface will do- paper, canvas, iPad, computer screen – you name it. Just pick something you’re already using and add some texture or depth to your artwork.
Start with only five minutes a day and work up from there. Over time, you’ll find your drawing improving at a steady pace.
Create a personal theme for your blog
Starting with digital illustration is like creating new clothes! You can’t start working in styles that are not yours unless you have them first. So, how do you get started?
Create a personal theme or style for your illustrations. What matters most about your artwork is what makes you feel passionate. Yours may be landscapes, still life studies, animals, people — whatever inspires you to create.
Once you find your artistic voice, you can begin experimenting more. Find mediums and techniques you want to include and then add some textures, colors, and layers to showcase your talent.
But before getting too carried away, take your time to hone your skills. There are many free resources available online as well as organized art classes at local colleges and universities.
Learn how to use a variety of colors
Color is one of the most powerful tools in digital illustration. There are many ways to learn how to use color effectively in drawing, painting or designing artwork. One way to expand your palette is to experiment with mixing individual pure colors and mixed-color schemes.
You can also mix shades of a primary hue (such as red) by adding more of that color while reducing the amount of white in the mixture. For example, if you were trying to create an intense red look, you could start with a very strong dose of red paint and reduce the proportion of white liquid used in the process.
The same goes for creating grays and neutral tones. By changing the proportions of each color component, you’ll find new effects, looks and nuances to achieve.
Learn how to use the different shapes in your art
Shapes are one of the most fundamental components of digital illustration. There are several types of shapes that you can include into your artwork.
You’ve probably already used circle, square, and line drawings before. These are called simple shapes.
More complex illustrations contain additional shape materials such as squares or triangles. You also have rounded rectangle, heart, ovoid, and other irregularly shaped shapess.
These more complicated shapes require some extra steps to create them. But they are not difficult to do! They just take a little bit longer to execute.
The best way to learn new drawing tools is by doing- so why not try making your own patterns using circles and rectangles? Or practice creating your own unique shapes like with our article: How to Draw A Heart Shape Like An Expert.
Once you feel comfortable adding these extra touches to your artwork, move onto something easier. Try designing a plain box or wall paper pattern using only lines and squares.
Learn how to create textures
A texture is an element in your illustration or design that gives it depth. Natural materials like plants, rocks, dust, fabrics – you name it!
Textures are very integral to creating digital artwork. Artists use them frequently to give illustrations more realism. For example, look at the windows of any famous building- they’re all framed with some kind of patterned glass or brick wall.
That’s because patterns and textures help convey the feeling of space and dimension, making the picture seem larger than its actual size.
And we can learn lots of cool textures by going outside and exploring! Plants, stones, tiles, cars, roofs– anything really. You get so many great ones online and free.
Learn how to use lighting to your advantage
As we have seen, light is of great importance in creating images that appeal to the eye. When working with digital illustrations, you will often need to create shadows, highlights, and other effects due to limitations within the software.
Using lighting effectively can take longer than just picking up a pen or brush and going to town, but there are some fundamental concepts that everyone must know when starting out.
Here we will go over some basic tips on using light in your artwork!
1.) Value (light vs dark)
Value refers to whether an area of the image is lighter or darker than its surrounding areas. For example, if the rest of the image is very bright then by adding in some soft shadows, the image becomes more interesting. Or if there are too many hard lines then it may lose focus.
By having both strong values and textures, the picture will stand out and look more realistic.
Practice making images that reflect your theme
As with any artistic skill, digital illustration is mostly about practice. Once you get into the rhythm of creating illustrations, you will keep finding new ways to use it in different fields.
Practice by looking through online galleries and apps that feature illustrative works. Looking at how others have illustrated their favorite scenes or characters can give you lots of inspiration!
You may also want to try experimenting with styles and techniques. There are many free resources available via social media channels like Instagram and Twitter, as well as sites like Pixlr and Canva.
These sites offer easy-to-use software that allows you to edit pictures and create new ones.
Learn how to properly use the correct colors in your image
Choosing your color palette is an integral part of digital illustration. There are two main reasons to do this! The first is that many people have natural differences in skin tone, so being able to match their complexion well can help make them feel more comfortable with you as an artist.
The second is that strong colors can effectively convey important messages or emotions. For example, red is considered a powerful color because it can invigorate others, inspire confidence, and motivate them to achieve things. Blue is associated with tranquility and calmness, making it a good choice for illustrations that require some relaxation or quiet reflection.
When choosing colors for your artwork, stay within the parameters of what is aesthetically pleasing to look at while also expressing the intended idea.