Beginner guide to digital art

Digital Art is a wonderful and magical thing – from sculpting and painting to sketching and animation.

In digital art you have unlimited undo’s, you can easily rescale or change the position of your drawing, and you can easily change the hue of any color.. the options are limitless.

Nowadays, it seems that digital art is everywhere on the internet. Have you ever wondered how you can turn your creative ideas into stunning digital art?

But getting started can be overwhelming. How do you begin? Fear not— it’s easier than you think!

By providing an easy-to-follow guide, this article empowers newcomers to understand the types of digital art, choose the right tools and software, and where you can proudly display your masterpieces.

What is digital art?

Digital art is a contemporary artistic medium that encompasses a wide range of creative works produced using digital technology.

It is the fusion of traditional art techniques with the digital tools and techniques made available by computers, graphic tablets, and software applications.

Digital artists use these tools to create, manipulate, and enhance their artwork, resulting in a diverse spectrum of visual expressions.

The fundamental characteristic of digital art is the use of a digital canvas, such as a computer screen or graphic tablet, combined with digital drawing tools like styluses and pens.

This allows artists to paint, draw, sculpt, and design with remarkable precision, flexibility, and efficiency.

The artistry in the digital realm comes to life through the manipulation of pixels, vectors, and layers, making it a versatile and dynamic medium.

Different types of Digital Art

There are many different types of digital art, including animation, drawing, photo manipulation, 3d modeling, and more.

1. Photo Manipulation

Photo Manipulation is pretty simple — editing an image to whatever you want it to look like. Since you’re using photos, this is a pixel-based, or raster, type of digital art.

There are subtler versions of it, like touching up a family portrait and fixing lighting and a few facial blemishes, and more prominent versions of photo manipulation, like combining a picture of a pirate ship and some planet images into a space pirate sci-fi scene.

2. Digital Illustration

Digital illustration, graphic design, and vector art is all around you, even if you don’t notice it. It’s in apps and app icons, websites, manuals and brochures, and even books.

This type of digital art is made of shapes all layered together to create an image like a flat illustration — shape/vector based, not pixel based. It’s often used for branding and logos, and creates clean and crisp art.

3. Digital Painting

Digital painting is probably what pops into your mind when someone says ‘digital art’. It’s raster/pixel-based, like photo manipulation, but unlike photo manipulation, which combines and edits images to bring them together.

with digital painting, you’re creating something from a blank canvas.
It’s basically just drawing/sketching/painting digitally, and usually depicts characters, landscapes, and scenes.

4. Animation

Moving images or a series of drawings that come together to create motion. This includes everything from animated movies to GIFs you see online.

5. 3D Art

3D art is becoming more and more popular — it’s graphics are being used in websites, apps, and interfaces in every category and subcategory.

3D modeling also has a huge role to play in the video game industry, as well as animated shows and movies. 3D models are digital objects that can be rotated and viewed from all angles. They’re often used in games, movies, or product designs.

Choosing the hardware to get started with digital art

First thing you’ll need when you want to get started making digital art, is hardware. There are two main options: computer + drawing tablet, standalone pen tablet.

1. Computer

laptop for digital art

If the art program is heavy, your desktop or laptop may use too many resources and you may end up getting lags while drawing.

This depends on the specifications of your computer; if it is a high-end one with the best in class CPU, GPU and copious amounts of RAM, then no need to worry!

Depending on your software, you would generally want a computer with:

-At least 16GB of RAM

-A discrete GPU separate from your CPU

-At, least an Intel Core i5 or Ryzen 5, or something equivalent

-You can also ignore all of these if you have a apple Mac with the M1 or M2 Processor.

2. Drawing Tablet

You can make digital art with a mouse, But a graphic pen tablet with pressure sensitivity will give a much more natural feel when drawing.

Some things you want to focus on are: Drawing surface size, Pen, Pressure sensitivity, Express Keys, and Price.

There are two main categories of drawing tablets: tablet without screen, tablet with display.

wacom intuos tablet with laptop for drawing

A non-screen graphic tablet have two components: a touch-pad, and a stylus. It works a bit like a mouse and needs to be attached to your PC or laptop.

In order to use the tablet, one needs a good sense of hand-eye coordination. These types of tablets are usually cheaper, but offer everything you would need to draw digital art.

Wacom Cintiq 22 display drawing tablet

Display tablets function like graphic tablets, but with a built-in monitor. You can draw directly onto a screen, which feels more intuitive, accurate and nature.

They are usually $200+ more expensive than graphics tablets, size range from 10-inch to 32-inch. But they still need an extra laptop or computer to plug your tablet into – these are essentially a screen monitor.

There are a number of brands for Drawing tablets, but the good 3 name brands you need to know are: Wacom, Huion, or XP-Pen. Most tablets that these have to offer are really good, some being more expensive than others.

Huion and XP-Pen are brands generally bought by beginners and enthusiasts, because they have really good value for money. Wacom was meant for professionals, hence it has an expensive price.

3. Standalone Pen Tablet

iPad pro for drawing outdoor

You can always use other standalone pen tablets, like the famous Apple iPad Pro (iPad OS), Microsoft Surface Pro (Windows) or Samsung Galaxy Tab lineup (Android).

All these tablets have pen input support, in-built computer and screen, This makes them very portable – you can take them anywhere, such as sketching on the couch or out in a cafe.

The downside is that they are more expensive, and you have a very limited selection of software available to you.

Choose a digital art software that suits you

This can be drawing software, or it can be 3D modeling software, or even animation software. Whatever works for you.

Each program has its unique strengths and features that can enhance your ability to create your own digital art.

Also, the choice of digital art software depends on your hardware and operating system, because not all software is compatible with all devices.

1. Photo Editing Software

image Editing in photoshop

To get started with photo manipulation, you need a photo editing software. While the industry standard is Adobe Photoshop, it’s monthly recurring fee can be a bit steep for those just starting out.

Affinity Photo is a powerful and affordable image editor that is directly competing with Photoshop for enthusiasts and professional users.

A great free alternative that still has great function and a good amount of online tutorials is the desktop software GIMP.

Photopea, Canva or Pixlr Editor is perfect if you want to have a browser-based, online way to edit your photos.

2. Digital Illustration Software

Digital Illustration in illustrator

As for Digital Illustration software, the most popular digital illustration app is Adobe Illustrator, but as with Photoshop, it’s monthly cost isn’t all that appealing to beginners.

Coreldraw is another popular Illustration software for print ready graphics and illustrations, the UI is very user friendly and easy for graphics designers.

In terms of function and style, Affinity Designer is an impressive, low-budget alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

Good free alternatives to Illustrator is Inkscape, great to draw beautiful drawings, very fast and light weight.

3. Digital Painting Software

Digital Painting in clip studio paint

Many artists use Photoshop for digital painting because of Photoshop’s wide range of brushes and tools, but there are also some other great alternatives with a cheaper price tag.

If you want to get into digital painting without spending a few hundred dollars every year. This includes Clip Studio Paint, Procreate, Corel Painter, Paint tool SAI, Sketchbook, and free drawing programs like Krita, Medibang Paint, Firealpaca, Mypaint, Artweaver, etc.

4. Animation Software

Harmony for 2D Animation

For those who like drawing and creating 2D animation, Toon Boom Harmony, Adobe Animate, Moho Pro, Synfig Studio, Opentoonz, Pencil2D and TVPaint are all well-known and high-quality animations tools.

For 3D animation, Start with any of the software – Blender , 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Modo, Daz Studio, Cascadeur any one of them .

5. 3D Modeling Software

3D Modeling in Blender

Maxon Cinema 4D, Autodesk Maya and 3DS MAX are three of the most famous 3D modeling software which artists and studios often use in many fields.

Pixologic ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modeling, texturing and painting.

Blender is the most popular 3D creation platform which is free, open-source and powerful. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

How to start Digital Art?

If you guys are a complete beginner with no art experience you should start with drawing by traditional methods first(pen and paper method).

We know that this is not the thing you were expecting but at least do some basic exercises which will give you the flow to draw in the drawing tablet or a iPad or any other gadgets you name it and it requires the skills.

Practice the Art

After getting comfortable with the basics, hardware and software, start your art journey by practicing art.

First choose your Niche or art of your interest and start working towards it. because in the field of art you will improve only when you practice daily or at least practice two to three days a week.

Once you started practicing you will see the results as time goes by and trust us guys it will give you a satisfaction which makes you happy and gives you motivation to draw more and practice more.

Best Digital Art Sites to Share Your Artwork

Behance creative platform

In the digital world, authenticity and connection are key.

Are you ready to show the world your artwork? These well-known online art sites are the right places to share and explore new digital art Ideas:

DeviantArt: The place to discover millions of works of art in every shape, size, and style. You can also join art tribes and make your voice heard.

Behance: Here you can exchange ideas with other digital artists, show off your portfolio, and let the community boost your creative ego.

ArtStation: For professionals and aspiring artists alike, especially those in gaming, film, and entertainment. Show them what you’ve got!

Dribbble: If you are interested in digital design, illustration, or animation, this is your stage to shine. It’s also a place where you might land a gig.

Pinterest: Here you’ll find an endless treasure trove of ideas and inspiration for all your digital art projects. Create boards, save pins, and unleash your creativity.

Medium: Not just for reading, but also your platform for sharing your stories, especially those related to digital art. Immerse yourself in the world of Blogging Guide, Digital Art, and Pixel Vision.

In addition, Utilize social media to your advantage. Share your art on platforms like Youtube, Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Engage with your audience, and post behind-the-scenes glimpses into your creative process.


We hope our post gave you a better guide on digital art. Enjoy the process and not the destination so that you will feel the satisfaction guys.

Getting started with digital art can feel like an overwhelming task, but don’t let the stress get to you.

Adjust your expectations, and watch some tutorials. Your goals won’t seem so formidable once you get the hang of things.

If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to mastering a new skill set.

Anyone can be an artist in this digital age.

About the author : Clinton Kane

A technical content writer, passionate about sharing high-quality knowledge of pc technology, software, and creative workflows.