Creating digital illustrations is an art form in itself! There are many ways to go about it, and new techniques are being discovered every day. This article will talk you through some easy steps to create your own illustrative pieces using Adobe Photoshop.

Intermediate users will find these tips helpful as they begin experimenting with their artistic skills. More advanced artists can add additional touches to improve their craft even more.

This article will focus mostly on creating still images but if you’re looking to develop your drawing skills then be prepared for some other styles as well. These include graphic design, cartooning and painting which use different strategies and software.

There are plenty of free resources available online so never feel that you have to spend money to learn something new. Many people share their artistic knowledge by putting up tutorials and teaching notes on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Learn how to use Illustrator

digital illustration how to

There are many ways to approach digital illustration. Some artists prefer using vector graphics, while others develop their skills in pixel art or traditional drawing. No matter what style you want to pursue, there is one thing that will always be important- practice!

Illustrators often times teach themselves new things by studying other styles of artwork and incorporating bits into their own work. By experimenting with different techniques and media, you’ll never know what will inspire you next!

There are several good resources available online for beginners to learn basic tools like Photoshop and illustrative software such as Adobe Indesitator.

Practice making quick sketches

digital illustration how to

A beautiful illustration is not just about having lots of pretty things in it, it’s also being able to translate your ideas into illustrations quickly and efficiently. Sketching is an excellent way to do that!

Sketching is creating a drawing from general shapes and forms. Rather than trying to draw every detail, you can start with some basic shapes or form concepts and then add more details to them as you go.

Practice sketching by giving yourself time to really look at something for how many minutes it takes you to create your drawings.

Try looking at pictures, magazines, websites, etc. and copying what styles you find interesting. Add your own touches to make it your own. Fun fact: Some of the best artists in history have said practicing drawing was one of the main reasons they were trained in art.

And now you have a reason to practice! You can use this article as a starting point for doing so.

Create a mood board

digital illustration how to

After getting some initial inspiration, you will want to create a mood board to test your ideas. A mood board is like a little slideshow of pictures and illustrations that represent different themes or styles that you would like to include in your digital illustration.

Your first step should be to take lots of notes and gather all of your resources and materials. These can include things such as images, fonts, shapes, colors, and so on. Once you have gathered enough material, it’s time to creating your mood board.

Start by choosing a color scheme and theme for your piece. Pick two or three main colors and add additional touches of those colors into other pieces. For example, if one of your colors is red, then use both bolder and softer versions of this color.

After your colors are chosen, it’s time to pick an appropriate picture or collection of pictures to fit within the theme of your design. Make sure to check out free online sources to gain new knowledge and insights on how to combine different elements into one beautiful image!

Once everything has been assembled, it’s time to edit and enhance the texture, shape, and style of your artwork. Add effects such as shadows, highlights, reflections, and textures to give your designs more depth and dimension.

Do not rely on your imagination

digital illustration how to

As we mentioned before, digital illustration is very different from traditional drawing or painting. It is much more than just adding pretty pictures to an article!

In fact, there are several stages that make up the process of creating beautiful illustrations in computer software such as Photoshop, illustrator, or other programs. These stages include research, concept, design, modelization, and implementation.


This includes doing some preliminary looking into the field of illustration (what types of styles people use for their work), studying successful examples, and even finding inspiration outside the field of visual art.


Next comes the most important part – coming up with a strong idea for the picture. This can be done through brainstorming, thinking about things you like, talking about ideas with friends, or by simply taking a break-point where you realize “I have nothing new to show so I will start making something new”.

Once you have this initial concept, it must be studied thoroughly. What colors should it contain? Is it a still image or video? Does it need to tell a story?

All of these questions must be answered before actually starting to draw anything. Also, what kind of medium does the artist choose to implement the idea onto? Paper, canvas, vellum, etc.?


After all of those steps, the last one is designing the actual picture.

Learn to use shapes

digital illustration how to

Shapes are one of the most important concepts in digital illustration. There is no such thing as advanced drawing without using at least the basics of shape. Even if you feel that you have a good understanding of shapes, there’s always something new to learn!

Shapes can be basic like squares or circles, complex like triangles or rhombuses, or even more elaborate like bubbles or waves. They all play an integral part in creating beautiful illustrations!

The easiest way to understand how to draw shapes is to start with the simplest ones and work your way up. Try out some line drawings by looking at things around you (landscapes, still life pictures, etc.) and then add simple shapes to create your own artwork.

There are many free resources available online for beginners to try their hand at designing. You do not need to spend money on expensive software to get started.

Know your values

As we already discussed, digital illustration is a very diverse genre. There are many ways to achieve success with it! One of the most important things to know as you progress in this field is what makes you happy and how to use that knowledge to motivate yourself.

It is easy to get distracted by the ever-expanding list of skills needed to be successful, but staying focused can be hard at times. What kind of art moves you? What inspires you? What types of images give you feelings? Take some time to explore these things about yourself so that you can focus more on producing artistic pieces that match your inner artist.

Another way to stay motivated is to look at the work of other artists. Try looking through various illustrative sites’ portfolios or watch some YouTube videos for tips and tricks.

Learn to use colors

digital illustration how to

Color is one of the most important tools in digital illustration. There are many theories about what color schemes work and don’t, but no matter what you choose it should always make your piece look good!

The easiest way to start learning how to use colors effectively is by choosing some shades that are close in hue (same color family) and value (lightness or darkness). For example, if you want to learn more about drawing animals, start with a dog face! Dogs have lots of different shapes which makes them great practice for defining lines. Then add some noses, eyes and fur and you’ve got yourself an easy painting!

Next, pick two or three main colors and blend away! Try mixing all sorts of opposite pairs like red and green, blue and orange etc. You get the same results as taking out white space, just focus less on creating empty areas and more on using colors to tell your story.

Create your first digital painting

digital illustration how to

Starting with a plain color palette is an easy way to begin creating digital paintings! Many beginner artists start here because it is such a simple concept. Using only neutral colors, you can add in some basic shapes to create your initial design.

There are many free online tools that can help get you started as well. Most of these have drag-and-drop features or feature sets that are similar to those found in Photoshop. Some even have special effects like rounded corners which give your artwork more depth.

Many sites also offer reward programs for spending money, which helps promote new artistic skills. These rewards could be for buying certain products, taking their classes, or both!

This article will go into detail about all of these different aspects of digital art.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here