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Thread: Digital artists! How did you learn?

  1. #1

    Question Digital artists! How did you learn?

    I've had a new tablet for about month now and I've been procrastinating learning to draw on it because I want to learn the "right" way. How did you guys learn to make art? I know that it takes practice and the best approach to getting better is to just draw but I'm still deciding what my art style would look like and I'm very picky.

    What sites/artists would you recommend me to check to learn from? Tips on how to practice drawing regularly to improve?

    Also hello ADISC forums its been a while and I think I'll stay a little longer this time

  2. #2


    From what you are saying, it seems implied that you would like to learn from other peoples work. :P I wouldn't advise that. I would reccomend you decide on something to draw, spend a bit of time trying to draw it. If it doesn't look good, save it anyway and try again. Eventually you will have something that you're willing to take further (and you will get there by the way).

    If you didn't know, the general technique for digital art goes like this:
    -Create a layer and sketch on it
    -Create a second layer and ink it in, improving on the lines using the sketch as a base.
    -Create more layers for colouring diffirent sections of the inking.

    As for deciding which art style, it doesn't really work that way. As you draw and get better, you develop your own art style. This applies for both digital and traditional art. If you like, find your favourite artists and look for common details that you think makes the overall picture better. Does the artist use simple or complex backrounds? Do they use soft shading or cell shading? All of these things. Try to experiment with adding these things into what you produce.

    As for motivating yourself, just select a time and tell yourself for that time, every day or week or month, you will sit down and draw for a certain amount of time, even if you dont feel like starting. It can be hard at first, if you don't like what you are producing, but you will start to notice a diffirence if you keep at it.

    Another way to improve your understanding of shapes and drawing techniques is to get a sketchpad and draw from real life, or even from a photo. It may seem monotonus if you just want to draw from your mind, but you can learn a lot this way. Once you're finished drawing, feel free to further develop it by creating tone with pencils, paint, charcoal, Oil Pastel or coloured pencils (I'd reccomend PrismaColour or Charisma coloured pencils). This way you can learn a bit about shading and how light and dark affects objects, plus you have something attractive to show for all your hard work.

    A good website to find art and artists is There are plenty of other sites, but FurAffinity is probably the most popular.

    Some artists that are known for babyfur art are Kalida, TaviMunk (who you may know from this site) and JimmyRumShot.

    So, hope this is helpful and good luck on your quest for improvement. ^^ Make sure to post some of your art on this site if you manage to kick off. It's always great to see. :3

  3. #3


    Just sit back and draw. Draw till your hand hurts. And I suggest starting out with traditional art before stepping up to digital artwork. I've been drawing and painting traditionally for as long as I can remember and I'm still not that eager to make the switch to digital art, even though I own a tablet. I enjoy the tools of traditional painting and drawing far more than using the tools within a computer program, however that is just me.

  4. #4


    Well, most important things have been said.
    Draw whenever you get the chance, use different techniques, donīt imitate other artists, experiment and develop your own style until youīre happy with it (there is no "right" way, only the way that works best for you)...and donīt forget to show us some of your work... by the way:
    "Some" means everything! ^^

  5. #5


    As some said already, start with traditional art, draw, draw and draw, look for real referents in photographs and draw them, search a bit about anatomy, a bit about zoology, and just practice with paper and pencil (try not to erase but to draw over your mistakes, you can use a pen instead for that matter).

    About the digital part... well personally I dropped the tablet, I HATE the tablet, so I decided to do everything with vectors, it's annoying, it's not as fun as drawing, but works for me... so far. Sure I'm not saying you should do the same, but you can develop your own way of doing stuff, practice with the tablet until it becomes second nature, or look for other options. Another thing I used a few times was the iPad's app Brushes, draw in digital with your fingers! there's also a pen for that though.

  6. #6


    I started off drawing when I was very young. I just kept drawing and drawing, eventually finding hints and tips and figuring out for myself some other methods.

    The best thing I can tell you is not to worry so much about learning to draw digitally and just learn to draw period if you don't already do so. A lot of the same methods are used when drawing digitally as when drawing with more traditional materials.

    I also highly recommend these books by Andrew Loomis: Save Loomis! Also some of these might be worth a peek: Drawing Books - Open books for Creative Minds!

    Yes, they're old, but they're still very good sources of information.

    Oh, yes, and EXPERIMENT. Don't get caught up in trying to do your artwork the same as someone else. If you just let it come to you you'll find you have your own unique style.

  7. #7


    Watch some art streams. You can usually find one every 15 minutes or so on FA. Watch any kind of art streams, not necessarily just those with the style you like. It is amazing what you can pick up just from watching someone else draw. You don't have to try matching their talent level or style, but just simple methods.

    I know Tavi has had some tutorial streams before on drawing certain things in his style. Sila has also done some tutorials on how to use SAI (an excellent light weight drawing program. Much better than paint, but not as cumbersome as Photoshop). I learned quite a bit from both of them. If you see Sila on IRC or even sometimes on adisc IRC, you may poke her and ask when she is doing something like that again.

  8. #8


    Draw. I mean /draw/. Whatever, it doesn't matter.

    I've been drawing close to three months now, and I can't keep my hands off the stylus. Look at other peoples art; examine how they did it. I can look at someones' art, and pretty much guess exactly what they did in order to get it. Observe. If streams you watch help, watch others who frequently stream art. Take some pointers from them. Put your art around, and remember, put in your best effort for it.

    Personally, I do two things when I start a new piece. One, is to create a new layer. Then, choose a color (I like to use bright colors) for sketching out my picture. If it helps, do it with a pencil on regular paper outside of the computer, then take a picture or scan it. I've heard of people doing that, and recently, I've been doing that for sketches from way back in the day, so I wouldn't have to do it over.

    Thereafter, I add a color layer (leave that alone for now) and then a lineart layer. However you do lineart is up to you, though. Certain things and details will need their own corresponding layers, so it's easier. Beware of having a lot of layers. A lot is good, but too many can suck up your workflow.

    Painting is only a little bit different though, but you can still follow the same route and mostly tools, just adapting them to what you want to do with your style.

    Good luck!

  9. #9


    Thanks everyone for so many replies within the day o.o

    Here's a little summary first to keep conversation going: I have a wacom intuos 4 (small) tablet to work with and it wasn't cheap but I'm personally challenging myself with the goal of making art good enough that I'll be commissioned, so I went and bought a top of the line tablet intentionally. I'm determined to make it pay for itself one day. One specific question: I'm learning Sai but I have trouble drawing circles and ovals and I can't seem to find a tool that does this and I'm thinking of switching to learn with Photoshop for this very reason. Does someone here know of a tool that I speak of? I don't mean to copy artists' work but it would be nice to find artists that make tutorials of how they do it. I'm also looking for a good website that maybe has a database of available tutorials out there. Does anyone know of a good one like that worth mentioning?

    @SleepingBlueWuff I didn't mean to imply I want to learn by copying others' work but there are some general aesthetic art styles that I think I'd like to pick up on. But these are generally more intricate things like how other artists make detailed eyes. We're kinda on the same page of what I mean by art style but I sort of disagree with how you said there's no such thing as deciding your own style. As I learn to draw things different I'm sure I'll decided I'll want to draw images in one particular type of way over another. We all develop our own unique style individually yes but if I drew purely out of the images that come to my head I'll probably never come across some art methods that others have picked up on and I don't want to miss out. I definitely don't want to pick someone to mimic their way of making art but at the same time I am interested in being influenced by others so that I can draw the art that best appeals to me. I'm very aware of FA thanks, I have a profile there ^^ What I'm more seeking is like I said, artists that give out tutorials and tips.

    @wambly Thanks for the tips but I sort of see myself having the opposite dreams in mind. I have a sketch pad and great pencils and books and tools and I'd much rather have all that collecting dust while my tablet builds up more and more scratches from being used all the time. I personally prefer digital art and I'm much more of a logical person than a creative one so I like being able to fine tweak and adjust and endlessly erase the art that I "build" till it gets to be perfect the way I like it. I see making an image right now as a project that I will set out to do till its down the way I like it. Once I'm good at doing that maybe then I'll pick up a paper and doodle around for fun more.

    @ShadowBunneh Thanks I'd love to share my work but ADISC isn't really a place to share art isn't it? I have an FA by the same name, feel free to look up my stuff there, nothing much is there yet though. Of course I'd love to have more conversations about art, maybe this place could use an art discussion sub forum? o.o

    @NieveKitty I'm personally determined to go against this mantra actually, of learning to draw physically first then digitally. I understand that making lines on a tablet is iffy and awkward and I'll probably use a vector tool a lot to assist me with that but I like the various benefits of making art digitally more so than the difficulties to overcome. I have a pretty good, highly sensitive, pen tablet to work with that I waited a good while to invest in. I'm determined to make my art good enough to get commissions from it and make the tablet eventually pay for itself, in the long run. It wasn't cheap so I'd better draw good

    @CuddlyWoozly I never really did draw all that much at all when I was young. I never doodled. I've always been super picky about what I draw when I did because I don't like to make bad art but I never practiced to make it better. I got over this discontent in my heart with lots of video gaming in my youth instead. x3 But I think drawing art is a better pastime than playing Dota 2 all day so I'm determined to get into the habit of drawing everywhere for fun...once I practice formally first and make my art good. Thanks a whole bunches for those links! Definitely the kind of stuff I'm looking for.

    @ABCalex Oh I know Sila and Tavi but I am lazy to catching streams, I definitely need to lurk around for those more. I suppose I do have a lot I can learn from them if I want to draw. I've messed around in Sai and I'm not sure if there is a tool to assist with making circles and ovals, this is kinda the deal breaker for me at this time and I think I'll be learning photoshop for this reason unless I'm mistaken.

    @CrypticTako I'm having difficulty figuring out the difference between a sketch layer and a line art layer but I get the general idea that I need layers yes and I'm sure I'll figure it out as I learn more and watch streams.

  10. #10


    As far as I se it, it's not necessary to start at traditional, the tools doesn't matter, the important thing is the artist. Just keep in mind the difference of the medias. :3
    Anyway, a way to improve, is to do a lot of life drawing and to study 3 "basic" concepts: Shape, perspective and lighting, you can also try to copy drawings from different artists, even tracing is ok as long as you do it to learn, and don't upload your copies. Draw often, and if you get an artist block, just turn on your computer, select a black brush with pressure regulated opacity, and scribble shapes; NO DETAILS, just shapes and silhouettes. Sooner or later, a shape will get your attention and something will come to your mind :3
    Some more tips: if you gonna be doing digital DO NOT BE AFRAID, play with the software, mess around with the settings, filters and brushes. It's easy to come by creative ways to do stuff if you keep playing with the tools..
    When drawing, do not fear. If your confidence lacks, your hand will stutter and the result will be way below the result you might have gotten with a positive mindset.
    Don't be afraid to do fast, long lines instead of slowly building one with short traces.
    And finally, don't be afraid of trying new things, to evolve, you have to keep constantly learning ;3

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