3 Things to keep in mind when you begin with Digital Painting

For some time now I have been painting digitally – with Photoshop and without a Graphic Tablet. I’ve got a notebook with a touchpad at home, and I first wanted to try out digital painting and see whether I would like it nor not, and then think about buying a graphic tablet. I hate buying things and then not using them.

So the first question is: Do I like to paint digitally? Yes, I do. However I’d liked to know certain things before I began to do so. It would have made things easier or less frustrating. But there’s no use crying over spilt milk. But maybe writing down my first experiences with digital painting may be helpful to other people.

  1. Digital paintings are in no way “easier” to create than traditional ones, and they cannot be done in a rush.
    Whenever I have a look at my first creations I hang my head and cry. Okay, I wanted to see whether and how certain things can be done the digital way, so I did things quickly. Fact is, it can’t be done this way. On DeviantART I often read that people are working on their digital art for hours and days.  I was used to be fast when sketching an animal or a building, even a person in a certain pose and tended to get impatient when I was not successful at digital painting in a short time. I had to learn patience. I haven’t worked for days up to now on one picture, but for hours, in order to find the right colour, or the right texture.
  2. Digital painting affords artistic as well as technical abilities. You’ve got to have more than just a basic knowledge of Photoshop. In the last months I learned a lot about layers, brushes, tools and such things, but it still happened to me that I was desperately trying to add a nice background to my dragon picture with the result that everytime I activated the background layer the whole image went grey, and I didn’t know the reason for it. It took me almost one hour till I noticed that I hadn’t cut out the dragon from its white background. After I did that the problem was solved. Duh!
    On the other hand one of the most important questions in Digital Painting as well as in traditional painting is “Where does the light come from?” Without that answer given you may know everything about how to shade in Photoshop with the various tools – your art work will look like c*.
  3. Digital painting is work, but it is also – and for a big extent at least for me – play. It means trying out things, asking myself “What happens if I change that colour to a darker shade of blue?” “What happens if I use a bigger brush when using the smudge tool?” “What happens if I draw things with the pen tool instead of the brush tool?” It means doing things my own way, even if this way is not the “proper one”. It is fun!

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About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

One response to “3 Things to keep in mind when you begin with Digital Painting”

  1. Jess says :

    Thanks for the advice. 🙂

    I’ve actually tried to start making art digitally a few times but the vast array of buttons, menus, and whatchamacallit’s always intimidate me to the point where I give up inside. However, next time I take on this endeavor, hopefully your tips will embolden my willpower. 🙂

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