Can you teach me digital art

Drawing on the PC - making digital works of art yourself

Professional drawing without pen and paper - that seemed like a dream of the future just a few decades ago. Even paperless drawing, such as on the magic board, rarely gave satisfactory artistic results. So you quickly wiped away the gray drawing on the magic drawing board and drawing on the board to take away is something that children can keep busy on long car journeys.

However, the drawing tablet and sophisticated drawing programs have allowed paperless drawing to penetrate the professional field. Digital artists, art directors, filmmakers and other creative people sketch their ideas and create entire works of art today, preferably on tablets or PCs. The advantages of digital drawing are obvious: the finished files can be sent with a click of the mouse and shared with others on social networks. Photographing, copying, scanning - all of this is no longer necessary.

And the best: When drawing and painting digitally, there are no blobs on clothing, floor or walls. Once you've painted yourself up, you may have to start all over with analog painting. In the digital drawing process, you can undo mistakes with one click or you can save completed work phases on the hard drive.

But if you want to master digital drawing, you have to start first and learn to draw on the PC. After all, it not only feels strange at first to paint on the screen with a digital pen or mouse, it also works very differently.

First steps - learn to draw on the PC

Drawing on the PC has been possible at the latest since the paint program Paint. But with the simple standard software of Windows it is difficult to create real works of art.

An exception here is perhaps the 87-year-old grandmother Concha GarcĂ­a Zaera, who taught herself to draw digitally with Microsoft Paint in self-study and has thus become an Internet star.

However, professional illustrators and other digital artists use high-quality software to draw and paint on the PC, including:

  • Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign
  • Artweaver
  • Corel Painter, CorelCAD and CorelDRAW
  • Procreate
  • Clip Studio Paint

Beginners in particular benefit from so-called freeware, i.e. free programs such as SketchBook and GIMP.

Without the right hardware, even the best software won't do you any good. The second component that defines digital art is a so-called graphics tablet. These high-tech devices react to the contact of a corresponding tablet pen and transmit the signals to the screen and the processing program.

Photo: mirt mir /

Good and inexpensive graphics tablets for people who are just learning to draw on a PC are available for less than 150 euros. The Wacom Intuos Art is particularly popular in this segment. The handy tablet is considered to be the best entry point into digital painting both in German-speaking countries and internationally.

For a professional drawing tablet like the Wacom Cintiq or for the multitouch-capable Microsoft Surface Book, you can spend several thousand euros. In return, there is an almost frameless design, HD quality, feet for an ergonomic incline of the display and plenty of integrated storage space so that you can get all your creations on the hard drive. There are also various ports to connect your graphics tablet to various devices and external storage media.

When you hold your first graphics tablet in your hands, you have to learn to draw on the computer, just as you once learned to use pen, brush and paper. The display will therefore tend not to spit out large works of art at the beginning. Above all, the software and the integrated tools must first be internalized in order to later fully enjoy the creative possibilities of your graphics tablet.

  • Therefore, in the first step, open the drawing software, for example Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. Try out different drawing tools from pencil to brush and make a few doodles. How can I move the pen on the display? Which lines and effects are created with which tool?
  • Then try to write letters and finally make a simple sketch, for example of a geometric body - freehand.
  • Now familiarize yourself with the different levels. What attributes can you assign to these layers to use stencils to improve your creative process?

You can answer all of these questions yourself in the self-taught study through trial and error. Sometimes you just have to do it! If you get stuck at any point, you can also use a video tutorial. Numerous digital artists explain on YouTube how they go about drawing on a PC or tablet.

In their channels you will also often find impressive speed painting videos that show you in fast motion what is possible with digital drawing. Now it's up to you to create great digital works of art yourself.

Analog vs Digital - Four Important Differences

Change of perspective

While your eyes always follow the movements of your hand when working with pen and paper or brush and canvas, your gaze wanders across the screen when drawing on the PC. It doesn't matter what your hand does with the digital pen. When you write on the computer, you don't look at what your hand is doing, but follow the cursor on the screen.

If you only work long enough with digital drawing programs, your own hand can sometimes even be a nuisance when drawing or painting in the conventional way. Somehow the hand always seems to be in the way. It always covers part of the motif and in the worst case blurs what you have just put on paper.

An exception are graphics tablets like the Wacom Cintiq, where you work directly on the display with a digital pen. Professional digital artists in particular usually produce their works with the help of such a drawing tablet and the associated software.

New feeling for drawing

Every drawing or painting tool has its own unique handling and feel. Starting with scratching a pencil on paper, which can not only be felt but also heard, to colors running into one another in watercolor paintings that first need to be mastered, these qualities are lost in digital drawing.

That has its advantages. Finally the color only ends up where it should and doesn't just mix with other colors. You don't have to wait for a layer of paint to dry to apply the brush again.

But somehow the oh-so-familiar resistance is missing, regardless of whether you are working on the graphics tablet or using the mouse on the PC. The digital painting tool glides freely across the screen. That can feel pretty strange at first.

Some digital artists therefore resort to special drawing films for more grip on the "painting surface". Products such as PaperLike films are actually supposed to create a natural writing and drawing experience on the tablet, but have the decisive disadvantage that they reduce the image quality. Somehow there seems to be semolina on the display. Your subject appears fuzzy and fuzzy. On the other hand, the screen does not dazzle when the sun is shining on it, but what use is that if you are now less able to see the subtleties of your picture?

Draw or paint - it doesn't matter, the main thing is digital

In the analog world, it makes a huge difference which technology you choose.

Pencil or charcoal drawing, oil painting or watercolor - you decide which category your work will fall into when you set up your drawing or painting tool.

But with tablet and PC you can choose between the tools in the drawing program and you can even create creative mixed media artworks in no time by illustrating photos or using the digital pen again for picture collages.

Regular caching allows you to take a new direction until the end - not to mention possible filters that most image editing programs provide to give your digital work of art a special finish. The boundaries between drawing and painting are also blurring. Pen or brush - both are possible.

About image composition and image construction


The various tools open up enormous scope for design. But designing on the screen works differently than on a conventional drawing or painting surface. Similar to drawing on cardboard or canvas, you will first sketch your motif in a drawing program. But with the possibilities of digital drawing you will quickly learn that in a certain way you are mainly constructing your picture on the screen.

While you usually get creative - apart from the collage - with an analogue work of art on just one painting or drawing surface, you have several levels to choose from in a drawing program, which you can use for orientation, superimpose one on top of the other as you wish and ultimately merge with one another can.

When you start to learn to draw on the PC, you will get used to the use of such templates.

Other advantages of digital drawing

Are you interested? Understandable. If you need more information about digital art, you will find valuable information on the following pages: