Creating digital illustrations is a pretty universal skill these days. You can create them at a professional level, or you can do it for fun and/or profit!
If you’re looking to take your creative skills up a notch, then learning how to draw using computer software is one of the first things that you should look into.
Digital illustration softwares come in many forms- some are more focused on typography, while others let you combine shapes and textures to make pictures. Some only allow you to add very general touches such as brushes or patterns, whereas others have advanced settings where you can control individual pixels.
This article will go over several different types of software, what each one does, and how to use them to achieve desired results. At the end, we will compare two popular drawing apps – Adobe Photoshop and Gimp.
Learn how to use Adobe Photoshop
When it comes down to it, digital illustration is just using Photoshop or another similar graphic design software to create illustrations!
There are many ways to learn digital illustration in Photoshop. You can pick one of these three major programs (Photoshop, Gimp, and Indesign) at a beginner level and go from there.
All three of these applications have their strengths depending on what you want to do. Some people start with the basics like color manipulation and then move onto drawing more complicated shapes, etc.
But aside from learning about colors and shape, there are few things that every professional digital artist seems to be familiar with — typography.
Typography is designing and setting up fonts for your artwork and/or text. There are many free and paid font sites where you can look up new fonts or edit old ones.
A lot of people start drawing by practicing line drawings or doing simple shapes such as squares, circles, and triangles. These are all great starting points to learn how to draw!
Practice editing is another way to begin learning digital illustration. As you can probably tell, ‘editing’ means changing something that is already finished.
For example, if someone designed a picture with rounded corners, then it would be an easy task to edit them into square ones. By experimenting with this, your artist skills will expand.
There are many ways to practice editing. You could try erasing everything and starting over, re-doing parts, or simply adding things like shadows and highlights.
The more you do it, the better you get at it! Try out different styles and genres to see what feels natural to you.
Learn how to use different colors
Color is one of the most important tools in digital illustration. There are many, many ways to learn how to use color effectively in your artwork!
Color theory teaches us about how individual colors affect our moods and subconscious emotions we feel when we look at them. For example, red is considered an aggressive color because it can make us feel strong and powerful. Blue makes us feel calm and relaxed.
Using this knowledge, artists will mix colors using formulas that relate to these effects. Artists also manipulate hue, value and intensity (aka brightness or darkness) to achieve specific results.
There are several good resources for beginners to learn basic color theories such as those listed below. Also, looking into which pigments match certain colors can help you choose appropriate shades.
Learn how to use shapes
Shapes are one of the most fundamental parts of digital illustration. There’s no avoiding them! They show up all the time in other artists’ work, and it is easy to make your own using only shapes.
The easiest way to start drawing with shapes is by choosing an object or area of an image that you like and then copying and pasting its shape several times. You can also take some familiar objects (like leaves) and experiment with different styles and proportions.
Practice drawing lots of simple squares, triangles, circles and lines- there’s nothing wrong with mastering these! Once you feel comfortable drawing basic shapes, move onto more complex ones. Try experimenting with rounded corners and inverse curves.
Once you’re feeling confident, try creating your own designs made out of geometric patterns and shaded shapes.
Learn how to use textures
A texture is an element in a graphic that comes from nature, life or something manufactured. Textures can be made of hair, fur, plants, concrete, wood, leather, marble, clay, or silk.
Textures add depth to your illustrations and are very versatile to use. They can be applied directly onto another material or layer like clothing. For example, we could apply leaves as a skin texture for someone with dried up skin or plant a whole body image covered in textures.
There are many types of textures to learn such as grass, brick wall, ocean waves, and more. How to draw them properly is pretty similar so do not worry!
Texture artists spend lots of time experimenting, researching, and studying different ones to get the perfect effect.
Learn how to use lines
Line styles are an integral part of digital illustration. They play an important role in defining shapes, creating narrative structures, and developing your drawing skills.
Line is one of the most fundamental parts of artistic expression. Artists have been using line for centuries to convey messages and create imagery.
In this article we will go over some basic concepts of line aesthetics, learn how to draw with a pencil, and then progress onto other ways to build linework into your images.
Digital artists often begin by practicing tight lines before moving onto more organic or fluid forms. Take your time to experiment with different length, thickness, texture, and pattern variations!
If you’re looking to take your art career to the next level, learning how to add lines to your artwork is a must. You can start today by picking up a good quality set of graphite or mechanical pencils.
Learn how to use patterns
When creating illustrations, there are many, many pattern types you can use! These include geometric shapes like squares, hexagons, or triangles; circle designs with different styles; fun animal prints and cartoons; and so on.
Digital artists often start by picking an easy shape such as a square box or circle and developing it into a full illustration. You could choose something simple like a flower or a complex gecko!
The easiest way to learn digital painting is to pick an existing design template and add your own touches to it. There are endless free templates online that anyone can edit for no cost.
You do not have to be trained in art to try this! Many people create their own style through experimenting with colors and textures, and adding their unique touch to the artwork.
Learn how to use colors
Color is one of the most powerful tools in digital illustration. There are many ways to learn color theory, but for beginners we will focus on using only two colors.
In this article I will be going over some easy steps to learn basic color schemes with Adobe Photoshop. These are things like choosing your palette, making palettes, and mixing and matching colors within a palette or between several different ones.