Digital drawing for beginners: how to get started in the world of digital arts

Digital art is virtually everywhere. On advertising posters, in marketing campaigns and commercials, as well as the artist scene online and offline. Many companies hire their own digital designers to keep creating new visual content for their brands. However, there is also a large community of hobby artists on the Internet who create true works of art with graphics tablets, computer programs and drawing pads. Digital drawing has become a real hit, which, in combination with 2D animation, has already led to one or two successful YouTubers. has produced a successful YouTuber. But where do you start if you want to enter the world of digital drawing? What hardware and software do you need to create digital drawings?? And how can improve his own skills quickly?

What do you need for Digital Art?

The fashion term Digital Art refers to drawings, but also animations, which are usually created exclusively with technical devices and corresponding software programs. Yet there are now not only classic graphics tablets, but also an increasing number of conventional tablets that can be used for digital drawing. The iPad Pro, for example, is promoted by Apple on their website primarily as a tablet for illustrators. Paired with the appropriate software, you can draw on the devices as you would on a piece of paper. With the small but fine difference that the software of course offers a lot more individualization possibilities and special effects than analog with pad and pen. As with drawing on a drawing pad, there are of course no limits to your imagination and you can draw whatever you like.

Comics created through digital drawing

Digital drawing can also help you create your own worlds

Digital art has different styles

The right hardware

Before you as a beginner can really start drawing, you should be clear about which hardware you want to work with. In principle, there are three options: You can opt for a classic graphics tablet, which is connected to a computer and then used with PC software. Or you can get a digital pad that has its own screen and mirrors your PC desktop 1:1. Or you can decide to buy a convertible or a tablet on which you can draw directly.

By the way, many professional draftsmen and draftswomen swear by the graphics tablets with their own screen, because you can see directly where you are drawing. In addition, the pads are available in all possible sizes and designs. But they are also more expensive than the standard graphics tablets. You can get a standard drawing pad for as little as 20 Euros, if you don’t place too much value on high quality for the beginning. But even if you are looking for a better drawing pad, you can easily get by with 100-150 Euros for the beginning. The disadvantage for many beginners with drawing pads, however, is that you can’t see what you’re drawing. Your movements with an appropriate pen on the pad are translated into the computer program. Developing a good hand-eye coordination can take a while. Especially if you still have little experience with drawing in and of itself.

Graphics tablet for digital drawing

This is what a standard graphics tablet looks like when you work on it. – Image by bonkarn via adobestock.

Graphics tablets with a screen for beginners

The graphics tablets with their own screen are especially suitable if you absolutely want to work with a program on your PC. Most PC programs are even more extensive than their app versions, which you can use on tablets. Also, the PC screen is projected directly onto the graphics pad so you can see where you are drawing. If you want to save some money here, it is worth looking for graphics tablets that do not have a traditional touchpad, but a digital surface that only reacts to the included stylus. These models are often cheaper and serve the same purpose when drawing.

Digital drawing pads with their own bidl screens are particularly popular with professionals

Graphics tablets with their own screen can be of all sizes and price categories. – Image by MclittleStock via adobestock

Tablets as drawing pads

Especially in times where a lot of things can be done on the go, more and more visual artists own a tablet which they use for digital drawing. Here, too, there are of course a wide variety of models, but many tablets that are suitable for drawing are very expensive. If you fall back on cheaper products here, you can quickly be very disappointed. The most popular drawing pads can be found here with the Apple iPads or the Microsoft Surface series. However, it’s not really worth buying if you only want to draw with it, but rather worth considering if you wanted to buy a new laptop or tablet anyway.

Tablet for digital drawing

More and more conventional tablets can also be used for digital drawing. – Image by rh2019 via adobestock

Digital drawing: Finding the right software

The software used by professional illustrators is quite expensive. For Adobe Illustrator you pay a little over 23 euros a month. But there are also free alternatives. Depending on which device you want to use to start creating digital art, you will also need to adapt to different programs. Not all operating systems are compatible with all software.

A popular app for Apple, for example, is ProCreate, which you can buy for $10.99 in the App Store. The program is specifically designed for iPads and uses many features that only work with the right hardware. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, many artists praise the comparatively inexpensive drawing program for its versatility and ease of use.

For computer or Android users, the free program Krita is a good choice. Krita is based on an OpenSource concept, which means that the platform is developed further and further by the users themselves. In addition, the program scores with a good overview and a variety of online tutorials for newbies.

Alternative platforms

As with the right equipment, you’ll need to decide what software best suits the way you work. Especially as a beginner, it’s easy to get lost in the jungle of software applications. Besides compatibility with your drawing device, the software should not be too overloaded with unnecessary features. Other good free drawing programs for beginners include Autodesk SketchBook, MediBang Paint Pro and Artweaver.

How to improve your drawings quickly and effectively

Many think that you are born with the talent to draw. But the opposite is true. Of course, there are some people who find it easier to make a solid drawing from scratch than others. But actually the key to "talent" lies in daily practice. It’s best to pick a fixed time frame in which you want to draw. The more often, the better. Ideally, you should set aside 20 to 30 minutes each day to practice your skills on the drawing pad.

In addition to routine, it’s also important to warm up. To get into your workflow, you should do at least a few warm-up exercises at the beginning of each drawing session. These usually consist of drawing simple plastic figures or tracing something to warm up your fingers and wrists a bit. This will also help you to work more concentrated. Warm-up exercises for digital drawing can be found on YouTube, for example.

What learning platforms help?

Everyone learns differently. And this is even more true if you want to teach yourself a new skill. Depending on what you want to draw, you can look around YouTube for appropriate tutorials. Or you can check out self-learning websites like Skillshare for online courses. But what if you don’t even know what exactly you want to draw?? Many artists know the fear of the white sheet only too well. Beginners in the world of digital arts are advised to use the styles and drawings they know from their favorite artists as a guide. Get inspiration on platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. Which drawing styles fascinate you the most? Which motifs catch your eye? Even though you may not be able to draw them in the same quality, it helps to keep in mind where you want to go with your art. With that in mind, finding suitable courses will be much easier if you have at least a rough direction and drawing style picked out.

Image by jackfrog via adobestock

Leonie Werner

is interested in everything that has to do with media. In particular, they are open to topics in the digital field and are always up to date on gaming issues.

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