A beginner’s roadmap on how to get into digital art in 7 easy steps

Embarking on your digital art journey? Discover essential tips on how to get into digital art, including selecting software, mastering the basics, and bringing your digital illustrations to life. Perfect for beginners eager to explore their artistic potential.
how to get into digital art

Digital art by Simon Lee.

Are you fascinated by the vibrant world of digital illustration and eager to create your own digital masterpieces? How to get into digital art may seem daunting at first, but with the right approach, it can become an exhilarating journey of creative exploration.

Whether you’re a complete novice or a traditional artist looking to transition into digital, this guide will walk you through the essential steps to launch your digital art adventure.

How to get into digital art

Getting started with digital art is an adventure that combines creativity with technology. The first step is choosing the right tools. A drawing tablet or an Apple iPad equipped with an Apple Pencil can transform your digital drawing experience, thanks to their pressure sensitivity and ease of use.

Learning the software is crucial; spend time understanding its features and tools. Begin with simple sketches to get comfortable, then gradually experiment with coloring, shading, and using layers. These techniques will add depth and personality to your digital painting. Remember, digital art is about exploration and expression, so don’t shy away from trying different textures, brushes, and styles. Feedback is a valuable part of the learning process. Share your work with the community, seek advice, and use it to refine your art. With each piece, you’ll grow more confident in your abilities.

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Domestika is an online platform boasting an expansive catalog of creative courses led by subject matter experts across design, illustration, photography, and more. Catering to over 8 million users, Domestika delivers professionally crafted courses, enabling learners to advance at their leisure from any location. The platform showcases a wide-ranging roster of courses, each conducted by seasoned professionals globally, fostering users’ creative skill development.

1. Select the ideal tools

The first step on your digital art journey is crucial: selecting the appropriate equipment. This choice forms the bedrock of your creative endeavors, influencing not only the quality of your work but also how seamlessly your creativity flows. Whether your preference leans towards a sophisticated drawing tablet or the sleek functionality of an Apple iPad and Apple Pencil, it’s imperative these tools not only fit your artistic ambitions but also sit comfortably within your budget.

Digital art by simon lee 2

Digital art by Simon Lee.

For artists exploring options beyond Apple’s ecosystem, Wacom tablets or pen tablets compatible with Android offer a fantastic alternative. Their pressure sensitivity feature is nothing short of transformative, making every stroke and line feel as natural and nuanced as those made with traditional art tools. This early decision sets the tone for your digital art experience, ensuring your chosen tools feel like extensions of your own hands.

2. Master your digital art software

After selecting your hardware, the next logical progression is mastering the software that will become your digital canvas and brush. This phase cannot be understated in its importance. Diving into the capabilities of software such as Adobe Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint Pro, or Corel Painter, and dedicating substantial time to understand their features, will undoubtedly elevate your art.

Digital art by Milad Fakurian

Digital art by Milad Fakurian.

These programs are more than just tools; they are gateways to realizing your creative vision. The journey from novice to proficient user is both challenging and rewarding, setting you apart as a serious artist or designer. Your chosen application, be it for its robust feature set or user-friendly interface, will play a crucial role in how you bring your ideas to life.

3. Initiate with basic sketches

The digital canvas can be both exciting and daunting. To ease into this new medium, beginning with simple sketches is advisable. This approach is less about creating finished pieces and more about familiarizing yourself with the feel of drawing digitally. It’s a chance to play, make mistakes, and learn without the pressure of perfection.

Photo by Andrey Novik

Photo by Andrey Novik.

This stage is foundational, allowing you to adjust to the nuances of digital illustration, from understanding layer management to getting comfortable with the digital pen. As you sketch, you’re not just drawing; you’re building a bridge between traditional art techniques and their digital counterparts.

4. Enhance with coloring and shading

With a grasp on sketching, the next thrilling step in your digital art journey involves delving into color and shading. This stage is transformative, allowing you to breathe life into your sketches. The transition from monochrome or flat colors to a full spectrum of shades and tones is where your artwork begins to pop, gaining depth and emotion.

Digital art by Milad Fakurian 2

Digital art by Milad Fakurian.

Digital art software comes packed with a variety of coloring tools and features, from gradient fills to custom brush settings, enabling you to experiment and find your unique style. This part of the process is where your art starts to feel real, jumping off the screen with vibrancy and dimension.

5. Leverage layers and undo features

One of the most liberating aspects of digital art is the ability to make and correct mistakes with ease, thanks to layers and undo options. These features are fundamental to digital art software, allowing for a level of experimentation and flexibility unheard of in traditional mediums. Layers can be likened to transparent sheets stacked upon one another, each hosting different elements of your artwork.

Photo by Rober González

Photo by Rober González.

This organization enables you to edit components individually without affecting the rest of your piece. The undo option, meanwhile, is your safety net, letting you backtrack steps and make changes without fear. Together, they empower you to push the boundaries of creativity, safe in the knowledge that your explorations can be refined or reversed at any click.

6. Experiment with textures and brushes

The digital realm offers an unparalleled playground for creativity, especially through the use of textures and brushes. Each drawing application provides its unique set of tools, enabling artists to mimic the look and feel of traditional art materials or to venture into entirely new, fantastical stylistic territories.

Photo by Crystal Y

Photo by Crystal Y.

Whether you’re looking to create the roughness of a canvas or the smooth flow of watercolors, the right combination of brushes and textures can achieve it. This exploration not only enhances the visual appeal of your artwork but also injects a personal touch, making each piece distinctly yours.

7. Grow through feedback

The culmination of your initial digital art journey is the pursuit and acceptance of feedback. Transforming traditional sketches into digital masterpieces and sharing them with a community opens up avenues for constructive critique.

This step is invaluable, fostering growth, confidence, and a deeper understanding of your art. Feedback, whether from peers, mentors, or online communities, serves as a mirror reflecting your strengths and areas for improvement. Embracing this input is a testament to your commitment to your craft and your willingness to evolve as an artist.

Photo by charlesdeluvio

Image credits: Adobe.

By navigating these steps with dedication and an open mind, you’re not just learning the technicalities of digital art; you’re embarking on a journey of personal and artistic growth. The digital art landscape is vast, filled with opportunities for innovation, expression, and connection. Regardless of the tools or software you choose, the essence of this journey is exploration. Start today, and let your digital art adventure unfold in ways you’ve yet to imagine.

Digital art software

Choosing the right digital art software is pivotal in how to get into digital art. For beginners, free programs might be a good starting point, but investing in paid software like Adobe Photoshop or Clip Studio Paint Pro can significantly enhance your capabilities.

These tools offer advanced features tailored to professional artists, graphic designers, and comic artists, including customizable brushes, extensive color palettes, and sophisticated layering systems. Whether you’re working on concept art, digital illustration, or animation, finding software that fits your creative needs and workflow is essential. Remember, the best digital art software is the one that feels intuitive to you and supports your artistic journey.

By embracing these steps and tools, you’re well on your way to mastering how to get into digital art. The digital canvas awaits your imagination and creativity. So, grab your tablet, fire up your chosen software, and start creating. The world of digital art offers endless opportunities to express yourself, tell stories, and connect with a global community of artists.

1. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud stands as a holistic assembly of creative applications and services furnished by Adobe, tailored for graphic design, video editing, web development, photography, and beyond. This suite encompasses celebrated tools such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, and a plethora of others, addressing the versatile needs of creative mavens and aficionados alike.

adobe creative cloud
adobe creative cloud 2
adobe creative cloud 3

Image credits: Adobe.

Adobe Creative Cloud introduces a subscription-based gateway to an extensive array of creative software and services, ensuring subscribers receive ongoing updates and novel features to enhance the creative workflow. It facilitates effortless teamwork, cloud storage for project data, and the adaptability to operate across a variety of devices, empowering users to actualize their creative ideas with efficiency and prowess.

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2. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop, a premier raster graphics editor engineered by Adobe Inc., caters to users on Windows, macOS, iPadOS, and Android platforms. Birthed in 1987 by the visionary Thomas and John Knoll, it has ascended to become a pivotal tool for digital art, particularly in raster graphics manipulation.

adobe photoshop
adobe photoshop 2
adobe photoshop 3

Image credits: Adobe.

Adobe Photoshop equips users with the capability to edit and layer raster images, offering support for masks, alpha compositing, diverse color models, in addition to rudimentary functionalities for editing text, vector graphics, 3D graphics, and video. Utilizing its proprietary PSD and PSB formats to back these functionalities, Photoshop integrates smoothly with other Adobe applications like Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and After Effects. Available via the Creative Cloud subscription, it guarantees users access to perpetual updates and new features to amplify their creative endeavors.

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Create gorgeous photos, rich graphics, and incredible art. Get the full version of the Photoshop app for desktop and iPad.

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3. Domestika

Domestika emerges as an online platform boasting an expansive catalog of creative courses led by subject matter experts across design, illustration, photography, and more. Catering to over 8 million users, Domestika delivers professionally crafted courses, enabling learners to advance at their leisure from any location. The platform showcases a wide-ranging roster of courses, each conducted by seasoned professionals globally, fostering users’ creative skill development.

domestika 2
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Image credits: Domestika.

Domestika champions community interaction, offering students the opportunity to showcase their projects, engage with instructors, and secure certificates upon course finalization. With a commitment to high-quality content and user accessibility, Domestika has cemented its position as a go-to resource for individuals aiming to enhance their creative prowess.

Try Domestika for free

Domestika Free Plus: Try over 1000+ courses for Free

Enjoy over 1,000+ courses for FREE and get a certificate per course. Access now to thousands of courses for free on marketing, photography, illustration, crafts, design, copywriting, architecture, and web design.

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4. Procreate and drawing tablets

Procreate, an acclaimed digital illustration application exclusive to iPad, is crafted for sketching, painting, and artwork creation. It is equipped with an array of artist-friendly features, including an extensive collection of handmade brushes, a sophisticated layer system, and the swift Valkyrie graphics engine. Procreate enables the crafting on ultra-high-definition canvases, art exportation in multiple formats, and the generation of vivid sketches, paintings, illustrations, and animations.

procreate 2
procreate 3

Image credits: Procreate.

Its intuitive interface, cutting-edge tools, and compatibility with Apple Pencil render it a favored tool among artists desiring a dynamic digital art studio for use on the go. Procreate further supports pressure sensitivity, iCloud Drive, and allows for the import of thousands of brushes, significantly enhancing the creative journey.

5. Clip Studio Paint Pro

Let’s conclude our massive guide on how to get into digital art talking about the last design software. Clip Studio Paint Pro emerges as a comprehensive digital illustration tool, accessible on Windows, macOS, iPad, iPhone, Galaxy, Android, and Chromebook.

It is designed with a focus on artists and creators, offering features for multi-page comic creation, animation tools, customizable pen and brush tools, vector layers, an abundance of over 10,000 free downloadable brushes and materials, 3D models and drawing figures, PSD compatibility, alongside RGB and CMYK support.

Clip Studio Art Pro
Clip Studio Art Pro
Clip Studio Art Pro 3

Image credits: Clip Studio Art Pro.

Known for its user-friendly interface, extensive toolset, and device versatility, Clip Studio Paint Pro is widely acclaimed among comic artists, illustrators, and animators for producing high-quality digital art and animations.


How do beginners get into digital art?

So, how to get into digital art? Beginners can dive into digital art by first selecting the right hardware and software. Starting with a basic drawing tablet or an iPad can make a significant difference. Explore free programs like Autodesk SketchBook or Krita to get started without a financial commitment.

Following online tutorials, practicing regularly, and drawing daily are key steps. Beginners should focus on how to get into digital art by mastering the basics of digital drawing and painting, experimenting with different tools and brushes to find what best suits their style.

How do I start being a Digital Artist?

To embark on your journey as a Digital Artist and learn how to get into digital art, you’ll need to equip yourself with the necessary tools and software. A reliable laptop or computer, along with a drawing tablet, will serve as your primary equipment. Choose software like Adobe Photoshop to create your artwork.

Build a solid foundation by learning the basics of digital illustration and animation, then gradually explore more complex concepts. Engage with the digital art community, share your work, and be open to feedback. Consistent practice and experimentation are crucial for growth.

Can I teach myself digital art?

Absolutely! Many digital artists have successfully taught themselves how to get into digital art. Utilize the wealth of online resources, including free tutorials, video lessons, and blogs dedicated to digital art. Start with understanding the basics of your chosen software, then move on to drawing techniques, coloring, and shading.

Practice is key, as is learning from mistakes and being persistent. Self-teaching how to get into digital art requires discipline, but with the vast resources available online, anyone can enhance their skills and create stunning digital illustrations and animations.

How do I turn myself into digital art?

Turning yourself into digital art involves creating a digital illustration or animation based on your image or persona. Begin by selecting a photo or idea of yourself that you wish to convert. Using your drawing tablet and software, sketch the basic outline, then add details, colors, and textures.

In this journey on how to get into digital art, experiment with different styles and techniques to capture your likeness in a unique way. This process not only enhances your digital drawing skills but also allows you to explore creative ways to represent yourself in the digital world.

Executive summary

Embarking on “how to get into digital art” journey opens up a world of creativity and expression. From getting started with basic tools and software to mastering advanced techniques in illustration and animation, the path to becoming a digital artist is filled with exciting challenges and endless possibilities. Remember, the key to success lies in practice, experimentation, and a willingness to learn from errors.

As you explore digital drawing, painting, and animation, you’ll discover the joy of bringing your ideas to life on a digital canvas. Whether you’re saving your first simple sketches or creating complex illustrations, each step on this journey enhances your skills and confidence.

For those looking to dive into digital art, remember that the resources, tutorials, and community support are abundant. With the right hardware, such as a drawing tablet or laptop, and software ranging from free programs to professional-grade applications, anyone can start their adventure in digital creativity.

Embrace the process on how to get into digital art, enjoy the journey of creation, and watch as your digital artwork transforms from mere ideas to captivating illustrations and animations that share your unique vision with the world.

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