Digital Drawing for Beginners: How to Get Started in the World of Digital Arts

Digital Drawing

Digital art is virtually everywhere. On billboards, in marketing campaigns and commercials, and in 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 use graphics tablets, computer programs and drawing pads to create true works of art. Digital drawing has become a real hit, which, in conjunction with 2D animation, has already produced one or two successful YouTubers. 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 you quickly improve your own skills?

Digital Drawing

What do you need for digital art?

The fashionable term digital art refers to drawings, but also animations, which are usually created exclusively with technical devices and corresponding software programs. There are now not only classic graphics tablets, but also more and more conventional tablets that can be used for digital drawing. The iPad Pro, for example, is primarily promoted by Apple on its website 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 subtle difference that the software naturally offers a lot more in terms of individualization options 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 want.

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 choose a classic graphics tablet, which is connected to a computer and then used with PC software. Or you can get a digital pad, which itself has a screen and mirrors your desktop from the PC 1:1. Or you can opt for 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 starters. But even if you are looking for a somewhat better drawing pad, you can usually get by with 100-150 euros for the beginning. The disadvantage for many beginners is that you can’t see what you are drawing. Your movements with an appropriate pen on the pad are translated into the computer program. Developing good hand-eye coordination can take a little time. Especially if you have little experience with drawing itself.

Digital Drawing

Graphics tablet for digital drawing.

Graphics tablets with 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 a bit 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’re drawing. Incidentally, if you want to save some money here, it’s worth looking for graphics tablets that don’t have a traditional touchpad, but rather a digital surface that only responds to the included stylus. These models are often cheaper and serve the same purpose when drawing.

Tablets as drawing pads

Especially in times when a lot is 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. Anyone who falls back on cheaper products here can quickly be very disappointed. The most popular drawing pads here are found in the Apple iPads or the Microsoft Surface series. However, the purchase is not really worth it if you only want to draw with it, but is rather worth considering if you wanted to buy a new laptop or tablet anyway.

Tablet for Digital Drawing

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

A popular program for Apple, for example, is ProCreate, which you can buy for 10.99 USD in the App Store. The program is specially tailored for iPads and accordingly uses many functions that only work with the right hardware. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or a professional: 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 open source concept, which means that the platform is constantly being further developed by the users themselves. In addition, the program scores with a good overview and a variety of online tutorials for newcomers.

Digital Drawing

Alternative platforms

Similar to choosing the right device, you also have to decide what suits your way of working best when it comes to software. Especially as a beginner, it’s easy to get lost in the jungle of software applications. In addition to compatibility with your drawing device, the software should not be too cluttered with unnecessary features. Other good free drawing programs for beginners include Autodesk SketchBook, MediBang Paint Pro or Artweaver.

How to improve your drawings quickly and effectively

Many people 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 create 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’ll 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 work with more concentration. You can find warm-up exercises for digital drawing on YouTube, for example.

Which learning platforms help?

Everyone learns differently. And that’s 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 check out self-learning sites 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 blank page all too well. Beginners in the world of digital arts are advised to look to the styles and drawings they know from their favorite artists. Get inspiration on platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. What drawing styles fascinate you the most? What motifs catch your eye? Even though you may not yet be able to draw them in the same quality yourself, it helps to visualize where you want to go with your drawing art one day. Based on this, the search for suitable courses will be much easier if you have chosen at least a rough direction and a rough drawing style.