How do I get started in digital art?

How do I get started in digital art?

My goal as an teacher is to provide artistically focused individuals the tools to face the obstacles that slowed my progress as I pursed my career in Art and Design. If this sounds good to you send me any questions you might have and I’ll answer them here in a series called Look at My People.

Hiya I've never done illustration. I’ve downloaded affinity designer and been using the trial. I’ve been using it for more image and text designs but not illustration. I also have Photoshop as well. In the past, I’ve used inDesign too but I never touched Adobe Illustrator. The software I have is Photoshop and Affinity Designer currently. How do I get started in digital art?

Let’s first take all the software options off the table. You don’t need any prior knowledge to learn something new. I’m self-taught and learned all I know from books in Barnes & Noble, YouTube, and jumping head first into projects. The truth is there is two sets to learning digital art: developing the skill set and understanding the tool sets.

Skills to pay the bills

Developing the skill set includes starting with the basics by grabbing a pencil and a sketchbook and studying basic anatomy of life drawing. A mistake we all make in the beginning is thinking it’s important to learn the apps first. The app is no different than the paint brush or the pencil, it’s just another tool. You can’t become a race driver until you learn the capabilities of what a car can do at 150mph. Its the same thing with becoming an artist. How can you create a compelling art if you don’t understand how light and dark tones effect the mood and messaging in the work.

When you start focus on the basics: light, shadow, form, composition. These skills carry over into every thing you do just like the knowledge you learned in graphic design carries over into other projects you take on. YouTube has a ton of tutorials on illustration and techniques. I always recommend Stanley Prokepenko He has a ton of videos breaking down the illustration process at a very high level that is really important while studying illustration.

Understanding the tool set

First thing you should do is decide where you want to start. The best way to to do that is by experimentation. Try digital paint (Procreate/Adobe Photoshop), vector art (Affinity Designer/Adobe Illustrator), 3D art (Blender) or many other styles. The key is to find the medium that resonates the best with you then explore it as deep as you can.

Each tool has an extensive database of tutorials that explain what each button, panel, tool does and how it affects your work. It can be really overwhelming especially in the beginning. The technique I used to learn is called Education by Necessity. I would take a client project or create a project for myself (usually something that I didn’t know how to do) then use that project as a way to figure out how to create that project using those tools.

Program Resources

Affinity Designer Basic techniques

The Affinity Designer Pen Tool Guide by Pope Phoenix 

Adobe Illustrator Getting Started with Illustrator

Procreate Learn with Procreate Beginners Series

Blender Blender Tutorial for Complete Beginners

Before I close this note, Just know a couple things. There’s no wrong or right way to learn how to be creative except being open minded and patient with yourself during the process. You can spend a long time studying something thinking its the way only to discover something else along the way and pivot. This is commonplace. We all get excited about new techniques, its the passion growing in you. Just know at some point you gotta choose a path to stake your claim in.

There’s a quote that goes “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes is better than a master of one.” I believe “its best to be master one with a collection of jacks behind your back just for fun.”

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