Creating digital illustrations is a fun way to express yourself or promote your business. You can create almost anything you want!

Illustrations have been a part of our culture for a long time. Since ancient times, people have used drawings and paintings to tell stories and convey messages. Some of the most famous brands in history are made up of beautifully designed logos and pictures.

With the explosion of technology and online media, creating new illustrations has never been easier. You can now use software to produce virtually any type of illustration. Tools such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Sketch allow you to compose, edit, and design from the ground up.

This article will go over some basic tips and tricks for designing digital illustrations. Hopefully you’ll be able to take what you learn here and apply it to make beautiful images that match your style and creative vision.

Disclaimer: The content in this article should not be considered professional photography or artistic skills. These are just simple ways to improve your hand-designed illustrations. If you would like to pursue more advanced art courses, try looking into them at local colleges or artistic communities.

Find inspiration

how to illustrate digitally

Finding inspiration for digital illustration is easy! There are many ways to do it, from looking at other artists’ work to exploring different styles and techniques.

Intermediate and advanced artists spend lots of time studying how others create art so that they can pick and mix elements into their own style.

By experimenting with new ideas, you will find yourself developing your own unique artistic voice.

There are also a wide range of free resources available online for anyone to use. You don’t need to be trained in drawing or painting to give yourself creative challenge by trying something new.

You can make your illustrations personal by using things you love, but aren’t too precious about what you include. The possibilities are endless!

Running away from your creativity may help prevent you from producing your best work.

Take photos

how to illustrate digitally

Taking good pictures is an art form that takes practice, but doesn’t quite get categorized as “art.” There are many ways to illustrate digitally, so there’s no wrong way to take pictures!

From taking candid photographs in casual environments to staging interesting scenes, there are limitless creative opportunities when it comes to still photography.

As you begin exploring your camera more, try experimenting with different modes (such as aperture or shutter speed control), backgrounds, and overall picture concepts. The internet is full of helpful tips and tricks for every level photographer.

When it comes down to it, just be yourself and have fun!

Illustrations: digital or physical?

You may have noticed that we don’t always call these illustrations. You can probably guess what they’re called already – a painting is simply referred to as a “painting.” An illustration is also known as a graphic design, although sometimes that term is limited to simple posters and logos only.

But why not give the term “illustration” a new definition? I agree that it should apply to any mediums that use pictorial representations to tell a story, but let’s broaden it slightly to include anything that uses imagery to express an idea.

That includes things like written stories, videos, and now – digital media. Because while those other forms of storytelling aren’t physically interactive, they are very powerful. And our culture has become increasingly dependent on both visual and narrative stimuli.

Create a digital drawing

how to illustrate digitally

A perfect way to illustrate digitally is using Adobe Photoshop or another similar software program as your toolbox. You can create almost anything you want to put onto a surface, such as a computer screen, paper, or even plastic!

There are many ways to use photoshop for illustration. The most common way is creating an outline of the object that you would like to include in your design. Then, you will have to add in some color with different shades and layers.

You can also draw directly into the program, but it is best to do so slowly and methodically. Do not press too hard on the keyboard as this could cause damage to the keys!

Another way to incorporate illustrations into your designs is by finding examples and copying what artists did before.

Practice drawing and editing

how to illustrate digitally

It is always better to start with practice, so that you get used to manipulating your pictures before moving onto higher levels. There are many ways to learn how to draw, edit, and manipulate pictures digitally. You do not need to be trained in art to begin!

Many people first try taking digital photographs then editing them down at their computer. This can sometimes look very fake and plastic-like. The quality of your photograph will determine whether or not this style looks good for your picture.

Another way to gain experience level design is by looking through other people’s work online. You do not have to pay anything to view most artwork free of cost. Many websites offer an account where you can create an account free if you are willing to spend some time exploring their features.

Once you feel comfortable designing from the ground up, you can move onto more advanced styles such as pixel painting and collaging.

Use proper lighting

how to illustrate digitally

Proper light is an integral part of creating beautiful illustrations. You should never use direct sunlight as source of light, this will not allow for natural looking shadows or texture.

When using flash, make sure it is not front-facing, instead aim at the wall so that only the back-side is exposed. Flash does not produce enough radiated light to properly illuminate your image.

Surface lights are your best bet, these can be created through photo editing software or with simple light bulbs and sheets of white paper or cardboard.

These types of lights must be placed directly next to the object you want to light up, otherwise the light will not fully reach it. Using multiple surface lights in various angles creates more realistic illumination.

Create textures

how to illustrate digitally

A texture is an element in your design that gives it depth. Materials like wood, leather, fur, or marble are all considered textures.

There are many ways to add textures into your designs. You can use patterns such as florals, geometrics, or herringbones; you could go classic with shades of brown, gray, and black; or you could try something more innovative like using materials made from recycled objects or food!

Making sure your textiles have been dried and processed properly will help ensure their quality. There are several sites where you can find free downloadable textures for digital artists to enjoy.

Another way to add texture is by incorporating light and dark areas within your image. For example, if your picture contains bright lights, then those shadows beyond the edge of the light source are also part of the texture.

Using these techniques, there’s almost no limit to what kind of textures you can create.

Use color

how to illustrate digitally

Color can play an important role in how your image looks. There are many types of color, such as bright, bold colors or soft, pastel shades. It is best to use solid colors rather than using washes because you will not see all the variations of color being mixed together.

Color schemes are very popular and there are many online tools that can help you create yours! Some software allows you to pick one main color and then add onto it from there. More advanced users edit their own colors directly. Creating your own color scheme is a fun way to refresh your creativity.

There are also some general rules about which colors go well together. For example, reds go with greens and oranges, and pinks go with purples. Mixing different colors together creates a new hue that depends on what the other colors are!

As mentioned before, do not mix all the various colors together inside the picture. Only apply either light washes or strong colors. If someone wanted to test this out they could take any two colors and blend them together and read up more on why that does not work.

Learn to use your entire tool set

how to illustrate digitally

There are many ways to illustrate digitally, so don’t feel that you have to stick with only those tools mentioned in this article! You can take any of these tips or strategies and apply them to other areas of graphic design, not just illustration.


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