Digital Art For Beginners - Getting Started
 By T W I   •   11th Mar 2010   •   17,359 views   •   8 comments
Welcome to my first lesson in digital art! Today we are going to work on the basics of digital art as well as getting started in our painting.

My view of digital art:
First of all, a digital painting and a lineart are completely different things. A lineart is where you take a brush and draw the outline of the horse, adding details as needed, like the nostril, the eye, muscles, etc. Sometimes it is just the frame of the horse (Pictured below). Other times it is colored it. This is still a lineart. Then what is the diffence? First let me get into basic lighting. Where the light is blocked out, or somewhat blocked on the horseís body there are shadows. Not pure black, but a deeper, darker shade of the base color. In linearts, black lines are used to represent these shadows as well as encircling the horse. With a digital painting, there are no lines used. Hopefully you will be able to see what Iím talking about when you look at the images below.

Horse Lineart

The reference:
A reference photo will make your life much easier. All I paint are horses, so we will study how to do that. For your first attempt, a head-shot will be easier than trying to do the full body of the horse. Choose a reference photo off of a stock site, such as DeviantArt. The easiest pose to draw that Iíve found is side-view. Make sure there are not any unusual shadows on the horse and for beginners itís usually a good idea not to choose a reference with markings or dapples. Some people use pre-made linearts, but I prefer not to, even if the general shape does match with your reference.

Horse Lineart

I use Photoshop Elements 7, but any version will do. Gimp works well too. MS Paint can also be used, but only for linearts. Any type of tablet will help you an unbelievable amount, but if you donít have one, thatís okay.

Letís get started:
You have your reference photo selected, you know what a digital painting is or isnít, so youíre ready to get painting! Well, not quite. First you will need to draw yourself some lines. What I do is I take the reference and put it as the bottom layer. Once thatís done, I make a new layer on top of it. This I name ďLinesĒ. At that point, you can decide whether to trace it or draw freehand. If you prefer tracing, just draw over top of the horse with a black brush until you get the outline and some details. If not, then good luck with deawing it! Tracing is defidently easier, but people tend to appreciate freehand ones more. Iíve done two of mine freehand and I just refer back to the reference frequently.

Once you have your reference done, you can finally start drawing. One of the biggest mistakes I made while doing my first digital painting was to use the lines layer as my painting layer too. BIG mistake! If you do that, you will not be able to delete the lines when youíre finished, so your finished piece will not look near as good.

Horse Lineart

Stay tuned for part 2 of my Digital Art tutorial!
Interesting. I do not have any programs though.
  Mar 12, 2010  •  9,583 views
Esmeralda Elites  
Wow, Twi! Your painting are really good. about an eye-drawing tutorial? xD
  Mar 12, 2010  •  9,602 views
I like this :] But I can never figure out how to do a drawing without the lines.. still. Could you send me a message? Nice drawing by the way :D Good job!
  Mar 13, 2010  •  9,658 views
T W I  
Thanks guys! HuntJumper. It's all a matter of practice and skill. :) Hopefully I'll get part 2 out this week. :)
  Mar 15, 2010  •  9,586 views
Estella Noire  
Your things are great! Theres only one thing I don't understand... How do I start? Do I have to go onto a website, can I do it on PB, do I have to buy it and do I have to download anything?
  Apr 12, 2010  •  9,582 views
T W I  
EY - sorry for the late reply. You have to download or buy special photo editing software. :)
  May 4, 2010  •  9,583 views
Love Forever  
Will have to try...
  Jul 20, 2012  •  9,629 views
Sweet Brook Meadows  
Now how do you make it so realistic? :P
  12 days ago  •  5,138 views
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