Digital Time

With all my projects, digital illustration has always been my strong point as you can tell if you go through this website and see all my work. Although I have a clear style, you can see I’m very limited in what I know about digital illustration. Transferring blending techniques from analogue to digital is something that I have always struggled with. Over the past few weeks we have gone more in depth about how to create more dynamic and eye-catching illustrations. By adding depth through blending colors together I have learnt a lot more about how to achieve more complex illustrations.

Where to Start

Like any job whether it be manual work like analogue, your brushes, paper and other supplies need to suit you and the task at hand. This isn’t different for digital painting, here is a list of tools and programs that I use. Remember when starting out to try it all out, what may suit someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to suit you too.

To start off I use a MacBook Pro, although I prefer using the bigger monitors at SAE with drawing, this is what I have, and it works good enough for me. With this I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create my projects.

Next up is a discussion between what suits you better, on the left I have my iPad pro with programs such as;

  • ProCreate, this is app made for iPad Pro where I have produce all of my digital drawings to date. It’s got different brushes and can be used as well as Photoshop.

  • Astropad, this app provides a mirror for your computer, allowing you to draw directly to the programs mentioned earlier.

On the right you can see my Wacom tablet, although I have used this less since getting my iPad pro I have recently gotten back into using this. Its fluidity with the screen can be easier sometimes for longer and better pressured lines. It can be hard to start, with the fact you’re not looking down at your hand drawing, it takes some practice but ultimately is one of my favorite tablets to use.

New Techniques


Above is a video from Ctrl+Paint YouTube channel that perfectly explains how to blend in Photoshop. A few tips taken away from this is to make sure you have the opacity pressure sensor on your Photoshop when using the Wacom, this helps the blending mode. Make sure you have a soft edged brush and you’re ready to keep blending. One thing that took me a while to get used to is changing the size of your brush for a smoother look.

Below I’ve made an example of the different brush size. Ball one is the original flat colors used for this example. Ball 2 is using a smaller brush, as you can see it isn’t as smooth but still a cool look. Maybe if this is the style you are after or want to make a planet surface.

Ball 3 is using a bigger brush, by using this it is clear to see what will give you more smoother transitions between colors.

Below is a tutorial used to help you create your own brush but is also worth a look at the start as it also goes into great detail in adding light. This helps add depth and realism to your artwork also. The same technique can be used during the blending process

My tip: When blending it is better to be freer and not worry too much on the detail as much when you’re starting out. Just get used to big strokes and playing with different opacity’s.

Making your own brushes:

Although you can download brushes for what you need, it’s good practice to learn how to make your own brushes. Making your own helps make brushes helps make your artwork unique to you, this can also have some fun and different outcomes. Above is the tutorial we used in class, and really goes in-depth on how to create your own brushes for hair. Although you don’t need to just use it for hair, you make brushes to create grass, leafs, carpet anything with a more natural and unpredictable texture.

Here are my first efforts at producing the hair with a custom brush:

Adding Texture:

In analogue unless you apply your paint or other medium to a specific material, you will struggle to have some unique textures to your art work. This is another perk of digital art, when you want to add some interesting effects to it. You can see the previous technique of blending used in my moon man below, and then a moon was added to him by masking it into the face layer. Once this is placed on top you go to Layer-Blending moods. For mine here I have the texture on Multiply.

How I Draw

Considering this is a blog about digital illustrations and I have said that’s usually my style, here’s a time-lapse of a recent drawing I did. This was made using ProCreate on the iPade pro. Since I have learnt more about digital painting and how light works, you can see I’m trying to transfer that over to my drawings. With practice I might even be a pro in no time. For now I hope you enjoy this and I look forward to sharing more in the future.

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