What better way is there to express yourself than through art? And since it is 2023, digital art is all the rage. It is such a versatile field with many opportunities.
Digital art is very different from traditional art in some ways. But it also allows you to do things you cannot do in traditional art. In addition, good digital art can evoke emotions just like traditional art can. So, how do you go on about creating your very first digital art? Here’s how to start your journey as a digital artist.
How to Start Your Journey as a Digital Artist
If you are creative, digital art will be right up your alley. It is a fulfilling role that will satisfy your creative itch. However, if you need help knowing where to begin, this guide is for you. Here is the most effective way to start your foray into this field.
1. Start with the Why
Before everything, you need to start with the why. Ask yourself why you want to create digital art. What is your goal? Setting a goal for yourself will give you a framework.
You can use this framework to make strategic decisions to achieve your goal. Pick it up as a hobby or professionally. Therefore, starting with your ‘why’ is very important.
2. Pick a Software
You are going to need software to do digital art. For your first digital art, it is better to pick a beginner-friendly one. Procreate for iPad is a fantastic tool to start with.
You can learn how to use Procreate pretty quickly. Do not be fooled, though. While it is easy to pick up, you can do much with it. It has tons of features.
The best part is as you gain more expertise, Procreate will keep up with you. It is a tool that both beginners and experts can use to create jaw-dropping art. It also gives you a realistic feeling of drawing on paper, which is a bonus.
3. Hone Important Digital Art Skills
A beginner tutorial will get you up to speed with the basics. The sky’s the limit from there. You need to have a growth mindset. Expose yourself to the digital art world. Look at works done by another artist for inspiration if you need to.
You need to keep honing and improving important digital art skills. Layering, brush types, pen pressure, blending, and opacity are important.
In addition, you also need to understand key artist concepts. Things like lighting, tone, perspective, and composition will elevate your skillset.
4. Pick a Niche
The riches are in the niches. So find your niche and specialize in it. First, however, you may need to figure out your niche. A good way of figuring it out is to start with something you are interested in.
If you like food, for example, you can start by illustrating food. Or, if you like animals, you can make digital art of animals. Here is a cool idea, you can offer to make digital art of your friends and family pets. It might even become a side gig of a full-time job.
5. Practice, Practice, and Practice
Practice makes perfect. This could not be truer when it comes to digital art. The more you practice, the better you will get. Moreover, you can develop your unique art style to help you stand out.
Initially, you can start by imitating your favorite artists. Also, be open to feedback. We say actively seek it. Getting someone else’s perspective will help you improve much quicker. But ensure you take feedback that is constructive.
What Skills to Master to Become a Digital Artist
Knowing the basics will only take you so far. If you want to become a master digital artist truly, there are some key skills you need to improve. Focusing on the following areas will make you become a well-rounded digital artist.
Composition is everything in art, be it traditional or digital. You need to improve your composition skills to become a better digital artist than you were the day before.
Every element in your art should be in the right place. Doing this will give your piece more cohesiveness. Composition is not something you can improve in a single day, though. It will take time and practice. You can always check out tips to improve your artistic composition.
Another skill you need to master is sketching. Do not limit your sketching only digitally. Sketching on a piece of paper will help you improve your fundamentals.
Moreover, the best thing about it is you can do it anywhere. If you are on a bus and have some free time, whip up your sketchbook and sketch something you want. Of course, you can also carry your iPad and practice sketching on Procreate.
Learning how to draw characters will ultimately benefit you. It will enable you to create very engaging art with personalities. Character drawing is not something you can only improve in a day or two.
Learning to draw expressive and creative characters will also help you in other areas. For example, you could draw a character with a specific backstory. This exercise will build your imagination.
Then you can bring those characters to life. And if you keep at it, you can even land a gig as a game character designer or foray into animation.
Lighting and Shading
Proper lighting and shading give your drawings more depth. With it, all your pieces will look more varied. You will know something is off.
Some people spend their entire careers becoming experts in lighting and shading. But those are very niche and special fields. Since you are beginning your journey into digital art, you need to know at least the basics of shading and lighting. Good lighting and shading will make an image seem ‘realistic.’
Typography is very important nowadays. Look at all the luxury brands ditching their old logos and opting for simple type-based ones. Type evokes emotion – there is no denying this fact.
Good typography helps you portray the mood you want through your digital art. That is why it is very important that you also practice typography.
UI and UX
Good UI and UX will either make or break the user’s experience. UI and UX are mostly used in the website or app design. However, you will benefit from good UI and UX practices as a digital artist.
It will teach you to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. If you are doing digital for a website or app, think of how the user would interact with it. Where should each element be, and how must they be designed? These are important questions you must ask yourself when learning UI and UX.
Learning animation will take your digital art skills up a notch. Digital art is a vast field. While it is true that not everyone will be interested in animation, basic animation skills are helpful to learn.
As a digital artist, it will help you understand your medium better. You will become intimately familiar with what is possible to do and what is not.
Moreover, animation touches on other areas – character design, shading, and lighting will come up a lot. Therefore, if you master animation, you will become a better digital artist.
Difference Between a Digital Artist and a Graphic Designer
Many people believe that a digital artist and a graphic designer are the same. Although there are some similarities, these two are not the same.
A digital artist will first and foremost focus on the art itself. They use the digital medium to evoke emotion – just as any traditional art piece would use the canvas.
On the other hand, a graphic designer’s primary goal is to communicate a message. Therefore, you will find graphics designers, mostly working in advertising, who may be tasked to create logos, social media creatives, and more.
However, digital artists and graphic designers might use the same tools. It is what they use it for that is the difference. A graphic designer’s job will be following a client’s brief – a commercial purpose exists since they are working with or for a brand.
Whereas a digital artist might not necessarily be working for a brand. They are creating art, which can be for any reason. Digital artists might also work in advertising; however, an artist’s primary focus will be the art.
Defining digital art is complex. It is a loose term. We define it as art in the digital form. This captures the essence of digital art perfectly.
Digital Artist Job Outlook in 2023 and Beyond
If you want to start creating your first digital art with the chance of it eventually becoming a career, there is good news. A digital artist job is pretty lucrative.
As technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous in our daily lives, digital artists are in high demand. However, there is quite steep competition for entry-level job digital artist roles.
The good news is since these are skill-based jobs, you are not tied down in any way. If you have the skills, you will find work. And with good skills comes high pay as well.
Moreover, you can also go the self-employed route and sell your art yourself. Or you could freelance as well. Since it is a very versatile skill (and industry), you will find plenty of ways to earn from your art if you want to.
Is digital art hard to learn?
Digital art is not hard per se. But it is very different from traditional art. Apart from artistic intuition and creativity, you will also need to learn different tools. But it is really fun once you practice and get the hang of it.
Can I sell my digital art?
Yes, you can! Being able to sell your digital art is what makes it such an entrepreneurial hobby. You do not have to create digital art to make a living from it. But the option is always there.
Can beginners learn digital art?
There are many beginner-friendly tools and tutorials that will teach you the basics of digital art. You will also learn the tools of the trade. If you are a complete beginner, do not worry. There are tons of resources out there.
A digital artist is a good title. And if you want to take it up as a hobby, there are fewer things as fulfilling and creative as it.
If you want to start creating your digital art, the only thing stopping you is getting started. So start with a simple beginner-friendly Procreate tutorial. The moment you get started, the whole world opens up.