When I started out drawing digitally I was Struggling a lot and for a long time before it finally clicked and I understood, why I was struggling so much. So I am going to tell you, why you may be struggling and how you can Improve your Digital art learning experience fast.
So is drawing digitally hard? In the beginning, it is hard but the learning curve is very steep. Drawing digitally is very similar to drawing traditional but when you start out, it is so much harder because you first have to learn the Programm, that you are drawing in.
The Main differences between Digital Drawing and Traditional
A lot of Drawing Programs try to mimic traditional Mediums like aquarelle, charcoal, or Oil but it is less than accurate. You will always be able to distinguish an actual Aquarelle drawing from a Digital one.
That is because all the digital Programs are doing is projecting a Texture on a Brush or other drawing tool. But textures are basicly just pictures, that are repeated again and again to give the illusion of randomness. But that is all they are. Illusions.
While drawing Traditionally your Brush will lose hairs or the Hairs will Move or twist in different ways depending on how you move it across the canvas and every Brush you use will have its very own personal Random texture. And to simulate this accurately in a Program is not yet possible.
Drawing Digitally also means, that you will have to learn the Program, that you are drawing in. Or at least the basics of that Program.
Drawing Digitally will give you a lot more flexibility. Way more than any Traditional Medium. When you draw traditionally you will have to plan, at least to a certain extend, how you will approach you drawing. That is not that Important when it comes to digital drawing. You can adjust and move or simply completely erase anything with little to no problems.
So witch is better? Drawing digitally or traditionally. Realy, it doesn´t matter and there isn´t a clear winner here. Drawing digitally gives you way more possibilities and room for errors while drawing traditionally will give your drawings a sense of life and soul, that rarely any digital drawing can.
Drawing Programs and how they are structured
There are a lot of drawing programs and apps out there and I won´t go into the details of every and each of these Programs here. I will, however, show you the basic Structure almost all of them share and the bare bone Basics, that you need to start drawing digitally.
Back in the day, the go-to drawing Program to draw digitally was Adobe Photoshop. But not because it was perfect for it but because it was the only Program, that was even able to support digital drawing. Photoshop was originally created to alter and adjust Photos but artist quickly learned to use the tools for themselves and learned how to create digital art with it.
Every single drawing Program, that is out there today, is loosely structured like Photoshop.
So you will always find a Layers Menu on the right side or in this general area. You will always have layer options and layer effects, that you can use.
And you will have the trusty Brushes Menu, where you can customize your brushes and set pressure controls or textures. And you will always be able to select and then either move, scale or form anything on the canvas.
Some of the best Drawing Programms are:
- MediBang (Link here) Free
- Krita (Link here) Free
- Autodesk Sketchbook (Link here) For Tablet and Desktop
- Procrate (Link here) For Tablet
- Photoshop (Link here) Quite expensive nowadays
- Corel Painter (Link here) Very versatile!
For the start, I would personally recommend you to use MediBang. It is free but it is very powerful and more than enough in the beginning. If you are searching for a more “Professional Solution” I would recommend either Sketchbook or Maybe Corel Painter.
The different Kinds of Drawing Tablets
There are three main types of tablets for drawing digitally. The Drawing tablet with integrated screen, one without an integrated screen and a Tablet pc or Ipad.
Drawing Tablet with integrated Screen.
These tend to be more Expensive but they are amazing. I wouldn´t recommend them for a beginner but if you are really serious with learning how to draw digitally I´d say go for one of these.
They basically act as a separate Screen, that you plug in your Computer. Then you are able to draw directly on the screen and the movements and the pressure of the pen will be registered without any delay by the pc. This is a very direct drawing experience and you will get used to it way faster, than with a normal Tablet.
Normal Tablet with no integrated Screen.
These are the cheapest option and I recommend them for any beginner right away. They work similar to the other tablet but you just have to plug in the USB cable and you are ready to go.
Here your mouse is basically replaced by the inputs of the tablet but you have to look at your pc-screen while you are drawing on the tablet. So there is a slight disconnection by drawing this way and you will have to get used to it.
That being said, these kind of tablets are more than enough to be able to Draw amazing digital art and more than enough for the beginning without breaking your bank.
A Tablet pc or Ipad.
The latest trend is to draw directly on your Ipad with the apple pencil or straight out buy a special drawing tablet pc, that is specially built for artists. You can carry them around with you and use them wherever you go, you don’t need a separate PC. This is the complete solution for every artist but, they are very expensive!
I wouldn´t recommend them for any beginner. They are very expencive and in the end, they are not that much better than just a regular old Tablet that you hook up to a pc. Their biggest advantage over the Pc is the ability to transport them easily and draw literally everywhere.
Do´s and Dont´s when it comes to learning how to draw digitally
- Learn the fundamentals!
- Learn how to use every aspect of the Program, it will help you
- Use reference Images
- Use texture sparingly
- Remember to use the atmospheric perspective
- Use the Transform tool to change and try different things
- Don’t trace Images (Reference is good, tracing is bad)
- Don´t obsess over brushes. Just use the standard brushes in the beginning
- Don´t use to much texture or Image bashing
- Don´t try and “cheat” your way to a finished painting. Draw it!
Drawing Digitally takes as much effort to learn as drawing traditionally
In the end, when it comes to drawing digitally, don´t expect it to be any easier or harder than traditional drawing.
You still need to learn all the fundamentals and you have to practice. There is no shortcut to learning how to draw. Just stick with it and have fun with it!
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.