Digital Art for Beginners: How to Get Started Quickly


Hello there and thanks for joining me.
I’m professional artist Aaron Rutten. This video is a guide for artists who
are completely new to digital art. I’ll show you what tools you’ll need to make
digital art. And I’ll answer some
commonly asked questions that beginners have
about getting started with digital art. (woosh sound) First, let’s start with the tools
you’ll need to create digital art. Digital art is made on a computer, so
you’ll need a computer. You probably have one
if you’re watching me right now. Your computer can be a desktop, a laptop, a mobile device such as a smartphone, or a tablet computer like
the iPad or the Surface Pro A desktop or a laptop
computer is better because you’ll be able to work on larger images, store a lot of artwork, and because desktops can be
far more powerful than a phone or tablet . So there won’t be as much
lag while you’re drawing. The advantage to
working with a mobile device is that you aren’t tethered to your home or office. Now in addition to your computer,
you’ll also need some art software. This is also
known as a program or an app. There’s a few different categories of art software. There’s free art software and there’s paid art software. There’s also software for desktop computers and software for mobile devices. Now I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail about all the different art applications because there are a ton of them. But I do have several videos which I’ll link to that will show you the different programs
that I recommend, depending on whether you’re looking for
free, paid, desktop or mobile art applications. But I will say that out
of all the applications I’ve tried, Corel Painter is definitely my favorite and that’s the one that I use for the majority of my work. I don’t do a whole
lot of painting on my phone, but when I do, I like the Infinite Painter app and the ArtRage app And I’ll also mention that some drawing tablets come bundled with free or trial art software. Drawing tablet? What’s a drawing tablet? I’m sure if you’re at the point of searching
for digital art videos, you’ve probably
at least dabbled in Microsoft Paint using your mouse to make crude drawings that could be put to shame by any three-year-old. And I’m sure that you
notice that drawing with a mouse feels a lot like drawing with a rock. And that’s really about how sophisticated
drawing with a mouse is. Now I don’t mean to
sound like I’m knocking rocks… Rocks were very popular with prehistoric artists, but eventually we invented the pencil and things got much easier. The mouse is a rock. It’s crude and it’s difficult to use, but you can draw with a mouse.
And some artists are quite good with it. However, I wouldn’t recommend it because
a tablet is much easier to use and you can do more with a tablet
than you can do with a rock. But I also know that not everyone has access to a tablet so I don’t want to discourage anyone
from getting into digital art if their only barrier is owning a tablet. People made amazing artwork
throughout the 1980s and 1990s, using only a mouse and continue to do so to this a day. If you must draw with a mouse,
that’s perfectly fine, but you should consider getting a vector
program like Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape or Microsoft Expression Design because it will be much easier to control with your mouse. So third on the list of things that you’ll need is
an input device. That could be a mouse, that could be a tablet, that could be a mobile device that has a
pen built-in… That could be your finger on your tablet Regardless of which of these you choose,
you’ll need something that can function as your pen So I’m going to break this down into two categories, desktop and mobile. Let’s
start with desktop. If you’re working on a desktop you’ll be using a drawing
tablet, also known as a graphics tablet. You may have heard them referred to as
Wacom tablets. Some popular models are the Intuos and the Cintiq. A Windows or a Mac operating system are required for these kind of tablets. Linux is also supported if you’re computer savvy enough to install the special Linux driver. The advantages to working on a tablet
are that you’ll have way more control over your
pen pressure sensitivity and opacity… using the pen to change the width of your line
or the opacity of your stroke, rather than
having to constantly change sliders to choose the size of your brush
and the opacity. You’ll also have a much larger drawing surface, a better quality pen, a tablet is more comfortable and more intuitive
to draw with, and in some cases, you might even have
other features that are very handy like express keys
that you can assign to commonly used shortcuts. So a drawing tablet will work
really well if you have a desktop or a laptop computer, but what if you have a
mobile device? As mobile painting is becoming more capable, a lot of artists are drawing on a phone or a tablet computer such as the iPad. These devices
have their tablets built-in, so you don’t need to purchase one separately. However, not all tablets and phones
support pen pressure detection. And that’s really important
for getting a natural drawing experience. You can do all of your
painting with your finger, but that’s barely a step up from a rock. I recommend choosing a mobile device
that recognizes pen pressure and comes
with a pressure-sensitive stylus. Some tablets like the iPad (not counting the
iPad Pro), do not support pen pressure by default. But you can purchase a stylus
that can sense pen pressure, such as the Wacom Bamboo or the Wacom Fine Line. Not all styli — yes, “styli” not styluses, can sense pen pressure. So make sure to read
the specs for your stylus to make sure both your device and your art app are
supported. Now let’s talk a little bit about drivers. Drivers are the software
that tells your computer how to make the tablet work. If your drivers are missing
or incompatible with your computer, your tablet probably isn’t going to work. It’s best to choose a newer tablet if you’re using a newer computer because older tablets may work on newer computers, and newer tablets may work on older
computers, but there’s no guarantees. There are lots of new and old drivers
online, so do your research first before choosing a tablet. If the tablet you’re
considering has a description or a specifications area, look for the supported operating systems to make sure that your operating system
will work with that tablet. In the past, drivers used to come on a CD, but since a lot of newer computers
don’t use CD drives anymore, typically, you’ll download those drivers from a website. You’ll want to go to
the manufacturer’s website for your tablet and look on their Drivers page. And make sure that the drivers are available for your operating system before you purchase your tablet. It’s also worth mentioning that, at a certain
point, companies stop making drivers for newer versions of Windows and Mac, so you will want to keep that in mind. You may find that your tablet was working fine
with Windows 8, but then you upgrade to Windows 10 and suddenly the tablet doesn’t work. And the company doesn’t bother to put out a new driver for that operating system because that tablet is no longer supported. Now generally speaking,
Wacom is really good about updating their drivers all the time for new
operating systems. And it’s pretty easy to find older versions of their drivers. I can’t say the same for other companies. In my experience, most tablet driver support
isn’t nearly as good as Wacom’s is. Now let’s talk about some optional things
that you really don’t need, but they will make your life much easier. The first is a secondary monitor or screen. Having an extra screen will make it much easier to work because you can distribute your work across
multiple screens. I use three screens. I have my digital art
application on one screen, a reference image on another screen and if I want to have some notes or my email open on another screen, I can do that. The second option is a computer that is
optimized for digital art. Optimizing your computer for digital art
isn’t very hard to do if you have a list of what you need. I have a great PDF guide that I will link to
in the description of this video. That will tell you
about all the different parts that you’ll need to optimize your computer
for digital painting. And the last set of tools that you’ll need
to make digital art, are tutorials. And fortunately for you, you know a guy who makes tutorials… (Clears throat)
That’s me. You’ll want to watch some tutorials that will teach you how to draw on a tablet, tutorials that teach you how to use your software, and you’ll want to learn some
of the important fundamentals for beginners. I have a ton of videos for beginners. The fundamentals that I would concentrate on
starting out would be: Layers, how to choose color, image size and resolution, basic sketching with primitive shapes, and saving, backing up and file
management. So those are all of the tools that you will need to make digital art. Now let’s answer a few commonly asked questions that beginners might have
about getting started with digital art. First, how much does it cost? Well, prices can vary quite a bit
depending on what your needs are. If you’re on a really tight budget, there are lots of free digital art apps. You might be able to find a used tablet online, or locally at a used computer
store, on Craigslist, or at a thrift store for under $50. You might also be able to
find a used computer. I don’t think anything running an operating system
older than Windows 7 would be a good choice, but I’ll leave that up to you If you do buy a used tablet or a used computer, just make sure that the
operating system you’re using on that computer is compatible with that
particular tablet. You may need to download the tablet drivers online to
make the tablet work on your computer. Now if you’re not on a tight budget, but
you don’t want to spend a ton of money, at a minimum, you’ll probably need to
spend about $80 for a decent entry-level tablet. Free software is fine to use and
hopefully you already have a computer. If not, you’ll have to spend a little bit
more for the computer. If you want a more professional set up, you’re looking at
about $500 to $4,000 dollars, depending on what you buy. And that’s including the tablet,
the software, and whether or not
you have to buy a computer. Now I know the next question on your mind is, “What tablet should I buy?” First, let me say that I get this question multiple times a day. And it kind of irritates me
because I’ve put so much time into creating videos that help
to answer that question. So, please, do not ask me which tablet to buy… ever. Because, honestly, I can’t really answer that question. Only you can decide what is
best for you. So you’ll need to do some research and decide for yourself which
tablet is best, based on your needs. Fortunately, I make that research easy
because I have several videos that recommend tablets. If you watch those videos, you’ll have a much better idea of what to buy. There’s also a store on my website which lists all the digital art products that
I recommend. Here are some quick tips you can use
when shopping for a tablet. Don’t buy the cheapest tablet. There are lots of imitation brands that are
poor quality, buggy,
and frustrating to install. And they may not work with your computer. If you can afford it, buy a Wacom tablet. Wacom makes the best quality tablets and
has excellent customer support. And they update their drivers often. Buy the largest tablet you can afford, if you have the room for it. because a large drawing
surface is much easier to draw on. Don’t be fooled by all the numbers that are
thrown at you. You’ll see numbers for the tablet resolution, pen pressure levels,
the report rate, all of these different things. And these specs are slightly
important but not as important as the
size or the quality of the tablet. Obviously larger numbers are better, but don’t let that be the main reason you’re
choosing that particular tablet. You would have to pay really close attention
while you’re drawing to notice a difference between a tablet with 1024 levels or
2048 levels of pen pressure. If you can’t afford the tablet that you want, get something similar or less expensive to use until you can afford something
better. If you’re new to digital art and you’re not sure that it’s something
you’ll stick with, consider getting a small or less expensive tablet. And then upgrade later
if you decide to continue working digitally. So now you have a good
idea of what to buy, where can you buy a tablet? You can buy them online which
might be the easiest, on Amazon or on eBay. Or they are sold in some retail stores, for example, Best Buy
carries Wacom tablets. The next commonly asked question is, “How long does it take to get used to
drawing on a tablet?” Everyone is different, but I would say about 2 weeks to 2 months
of consistent practice will get you on track with
drawing on your tablet. It really isn’t that difficult, but it does take a little
bit of practice. If you want a little bit of help
building up your hand-eye coordination, consider tracing over images
because that works really well. The next question is, “How is it working digitally
different than working traditionally?” There’s no need to replenish your materials and art supplies, it’s easy to begin work with minimal setup, there’s no messy cleanup, it’s easy to take a break and resume work on your painting later, you can correct mistakes more easily, there’s less risk of messing
up your art when you’re experimenting, and it’s easier to make prints because
you don’t have to photograph or scan anything. Another question
that I get asked a lot is, “Do I have to choose between digital or traditional
or can I do both?” No. You don’t have to choose.
You can do both. Digital art is just a medium. Chalk is a medium, watercolor is a medium, pencil is a medium. And you don’t have to choose
between one or the other. you can use any medium you want to make
your art. You can even combine digital with traditional art, which is really fun. And the last question is, “Do you have any tips for getting better at drawing in
general?” Yes, I do.
I have two great videos, one is called ’10 Drawing Tips for
Digital Artists’. And the other is called ’10 Mistakes Digital Artists Make’. Those videos will be very helpful. Alright,
so that brings us to the end of this video. I hope by now you have a better understanding
of what you’ll need to make digital art
and how to get started creating it. If this video was helpful to you, please return the favor by buying your
tablet and software from the store on my website. I get credit for all sales made
through my store or product links and this revenue helps me continue making
free videos like this. And if you’re new to my channel,
subscribe now for more digital art tips and tutorials. Thanks for watching and I wish you the best on
your new journey as a digital artist. (large rock hitting the ground) you

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