How To Get Started with Digital Art & 6 Pro Tips!



hey this is Brooks with character design forge you may be completely new to art or you're just looking to move from traditional art into digital art and you probably have some questions this video is here to help so first of all why would you want to create digital art in the first place what are the advantages well for one thing once you become comfortable creating digital art it tends to be a lot faster and more efficient than traditional work you also have unlimited access to art supplies if you will the only limit you have is your storage space and you have unlimited access to colors any color that you can think of no limit to pigments or a–what paints are available digital art is typically created with layers and layers are an extremely useful tool they allow you to stack portions of your image over top of one another and rearrange them however you'd like they also sometimes can modify or affect the layers that are underneath them think of layers like cells or panes of glass that are completely transparent except for what you draw or put on them and perhaps one of the biggest advantages to digital art is the undo key it is powerful so use it wisely as far as disadvantages with digital art a lot of them have to do with the physicality of things so it should go without saying that once you're done with a piece you don't have a physical drawing or painting to hold on to unless you print it out or have it printed and also it can be obtuse too if you're used to traditional mediums there isn't so much the same tactile sensation and there's a lot of things to get used to and sort of a learning curve when you're using new digital tools to make digital art you need two things an input device and software and what you choose largely depends on what you already have how serious you are how much you're willing to spend and what best suits your needs if you're intending to use your finger or a mouse as your input device I would highly recommend rethinking that completely instead the best results are going to come from you using a pressure-sensitive stylus or tablet now you can hunt around for some kind of generic Chinese cheaply manufactured tablets like this your mileage may vary the claw those are not so great all the time or it goes up and down but as far as a pedigree or trusted brand wacom cintiq s– and into au s– tablets are the ones that have kind of stood the test of time you can't really go wrong with those the Intuos tablets that they make are simply pen tablets pressure-sensitive stylus tablets and then there's antiques allow you to draw directly on the screen the cheaper Wacom tablet started around the $80 mark and go up from there I've used a number of their products in the past including a Cintiq display for a number of years however currently I'm happiest with the Apple pencil and the iPad pro reason being that the Apple pencil is the best stylus I've ever used the software that's available for it is great which I'll get to in a little bit and also the portability is a huge factor for me the key thing that you're looking for with a stylus or tablet is pressure sensitivity which means that the amount of force you apply to the surface you're drawing on will be translated into the art so just like the Jedi you're looking for something that's sensitive to force now if that doesn't sound very important here's a line drawn with a pressure-sensitive stylus and here's one drawn with a mouse there are a few styluses apart from the Apple pencil that are available and advertised as being pressure-sensitive for iOS and Android there aren't any that I can really recommend though and I'll say the same about the Microsoft brand of products the surface pro the surface book I've just seen a lot of people really unhappy drawing on those things and the quality just isn't there the software that you plan on using is usually dependent on what you plan to use it on so for PC and Mac Adobe Photoshop is the most popular choice followed closely by clip or manga studio same software two different names for it another few contenders are Autodesk SketchBook paint tool Sai and affinity designer to name a few Photoshop has probably the best versatility overall it's got an array of text and vector tools along with the traditional drawing and painting tools and effects manga studio and clip studio are going to be primarily focused on comic making and line art and then more lightweight programs like Autodesk SketchBook have helpful things like ellipses and guides as you're drawing the app that I use and prefer as a professional using it everyday is procreate on the iPad pro it has all the painting and drawing capability that my previous favorite Photoshop had it's extremely organized and streamlined in its design it automatically records a video time-lapse of the art that you're making and in my experience I have never lost work because the app crashed it always saves and recovers right where you left off plus the entire experience is portable there are a few things that procreate can't do and for that I just export as a Photoshop document and bring it into Photoshop for things like text and vector tools now what you choose is completely up to you however I will recommend even if you're just starting out don't purposefully skimp on the right tools in other words don't just choose something because it's free now I can already see the comments coming in I completely understand not having money I've been there myself but there's a huge difference between the cheapest tool and the right tool so if you're serious about making digital art if you have the circumstances to save for a little while maybe put off the purchase of a few video games and invest in yourself it makes a difference now no matter what software or input device you choose there's a few Universal things that can help you so here are 6 Pro tips for making digital art if you have control over the resolution of your image make sure that the resolution the DPI or PPI which stands for dots per inch or pixels per inch whatever your app calls the level of detail in your image is at least 300 pixels per inch or so depending on your purposes so sometimes these are set at a default of 72 dpi which it works for images online but it's way too tiny to print or use anywhere else I tend to work at double that at 600 dpi but the files are bigger and your machine needs to be able to handle that so as a rule of thumb an 8 and a half inch by 11 inch document like a standard piece of paper at 300 dpi will work out to be two thousand five hundred and fifty pixels by three thousand three hundred pixels second thing now that you have access to layers make sure that you use them for example you can draw a line art like you would for a comic and then go back and color in underneath if you sketch something out with pencil and want to ink over top start a new layer now layers are usually transparent but be careful because at times the first layer is actually white as if it was already filled in with white paint not transparent and this is especially the case in Photoshop number three like I said digital art gives you access to literally every color now you may be tempted to get a few rainbow colored drawings out of your system at first but after that it's important that you know how to make good color decisions now if you haven't seen it already my video about color goes into detail on how to use vibrant colors in good taste and not make them look garish generally you want any colors that you choose in the ultra saturated and bright range of your chosen apps color picker like sugar or salt if you use too much it's going to be overwhelming number four some of the most helpful tools found pretty universally throughout digital art programs are ones made for selection now whether you want to trace an area with a lasso or click out some straight lines or drag out a rectangle or a circle selecting isolates an area of the layer that you're working on you can then delete move around copy draw and only that area or transform the selection you can also use selection in your art as well like to create a hard edge on one side while you use a soft brush on the other number five one thing that helps out a ton in digital art is locking transparency now what does that mean well remember that our layers are all transparent to begin with and then we're adding on to them with our drawing but most apps have an option to then lock what you've made on that layer now I could draw all over the screen but it will only affect what's already there this is great for keeping the same shape or silhouette in Photoshop and I believe in most other apps you can even nest layers over top of others by holding the Alt key on a PC or the option key on a Mac and clicking this little line between layers that's in Photoshop specifically when you do that all layers above are beholden to the shape and opacity of the layer beneath now finally number six the kinds of layers that we've been talking about are all normal layers when you stack them on top of each other they cover what's underneath them completely but you can do a lot more by playing with the opacity of your layer and by playing around with various blend modes making your layer a multiply layer for example means everything on the top layer will make the ones underneath it darker overlay layers tend to play with the contrast making light things lighter and dark things darker a lot of blend modes are helpful for adding light and shadow to your image as well I hope that these things have been useful if you have any questions at all feel free to leave them in a comment below this video and I'll try my best to get back to you I'm making new videos every week on character design forge and I'm earnestly trying to turn that into two videos a week subscribing on YouTube lets you know when new videos are made available my user name is bagel Dennison across Twitter Instagram and twitch and if you're interested in getting some cool stuff in return for supporting this channel including a personalized video critique of your artwork from me you can go to patreon.com/crashcourse

34 Replies to “How To Get Started with Digital Art & 6 Pro Tips!”

  1. i know this is an old video, but do you have advice for someone who is not getting used to drawing on a tablet? I'm so used to drawing and looking right at the paper and my hand that my lines come out all wrong. It's super frustrating. I know the only way to get used to it is to keep trying but I'm wondering if there are some tips or exercises

    love your channel and your art btw!!!

  2. I knew most of these already, but I did come in handy to have you explain more about these things and what they do as well as where to find them in photoshop.

  3. Another great tablet brand is Huion; they have a lot of high quality products that easily compete with Wacoms mid-range for much cheaper.
    The Huion Inspiroy Q11k is $130 but has better specs than anything under the $400 Intuos Pro. Ive used multiple Intuos tablets and the Huion is just as good and in some cases much better.

  4. If you can't afford a wacom here are some good brands from China with good quality:
    1)Huion
    2)Artisul
    3)XP-Pen

    My brother is a bit of a hippie but he's created great artworks with two free softwares; Krita and Medibang paint pro. Both are (according to him) as good as Photoshop.

  5. I've just started doing digital art and personally, I'm pleasantly surprised at what you can do with just a mouse. I didn't want to get a tablet since I wasn't even sure I would like digital so I only have my mouse and even though it's not perfect, it's still very usable and much more manageable than I thought it would be. I use FireAlpaca (a free drawing program) and it has brushes that mimic pressure sensitivity as well as a feature that smooths out your lines as much as you like. If you're just starting out and don't want to spend a lot of money on something that you might not even end up using frequently, I think using a mouse is perfectly doable.

  6. Another great thing about digital canvasses: the ability to flip the canvas horizontally and see flaws in your drawing!

  7. The tips are ok but I have use a mouse and I refuse to try to use a digital note pad because I can do way better with a laptop mouse and then I do not have to worry about the pen not working for no reason. I have use a mouse for drawing for 7 years and have not had any issues also I can get a free program for that ha. Thank you for the advice though.

  8. Do you think I could get away with using a mouse if I was using it to draw over an already drawn irl picture?

  9. Is the surface pro really that bad? I was just about set on buying it until I saw this because I have a really old and slow computer and a lot of the reviews I saw said the iPad is best used as a companion to a desktop and art tablet set up that is already good on its own. I was pretty convinced on the IPad at first as well until I saw that because I want a system that is self contained and since the surface pro is a good art tablet (I thought) and a laptop that can carry heavy art programs I figured it was my best choice. Now I'm not so sure, if you could shed some light on this I'd be thankfull. This is my first art tablet and it's obviously not a small purchase.
    P.S. I know a of people say I should start out cheap if I'm new to digital art but I don't want to spend 50-100 dollars on something that I'm going to upgrade soon anyway, also my thinking was that since the surface pro is mainly a laptop it'll still have a purpose if digital art doesn't work out because I need a new laptop any way.

  10. What do you think of Firealpaca? It’s one of the free digital painting software, but a lot of people say that it can be used as a substitute for Photoshop.

  11. Getting a free art program (like krita or medibang), or maybe a trial version is a great way to test if you would be into digital art if you've never done it before tho. Also I'm pretty sure you can rent wacom tablet, so you can decide if it's right for you and if you wan't to commit to buying it.

    Also if you're not going to be printing your artwork (I suppose most beginners won't), DPI doesn't really matter only Resolution does.

    Overall it's a pretty solid video, wish I had it when I was starting out!

  12. You did make a point of not picking art programs/etc just because its free/cheap, but i just wanted to mention that FireAlpaca functions a lot like Photoshop and might be a good idea to get because investing in overly expensive tools might not be the best choice untill youre really sure about what you want. (Note, i dont know anything for sure im not a professional sorry ack.)
    Also, when I was starting with Digital art, I got Clip studio paint/Manga studio from my parents because it was suggested by a friend. But, it was too overwhelming, and at some point i just got tired of it because it was so hard to actually make something when nothing made any sense.

  13. I’ve had Clip Studio Paint for over a year now! I use a mouse to draw. When I graduate, I want to get a tablet so I can practice drawing with pressure sensitivity. Does anyone have any advice on what tablet is relatively cheap and works well with Clip Studio?

    (Also, do you know how much it costs to upgrade to animating more than 24 frames? I want to animate longer things, but I’m still a poor artist and I don’t know if it’s worth it.)

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