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How to Get Started With Digital Illustration

Do you love comic books or animation and want to try your hand at creating digital illustrations? With the advancement of digital art tools and software, getting started has never been easier. Whether you are 13 or 30, you can become a master of digital illustration. This article will provide a guide on how to start on the creative journey of becoming a digital illustrator.

1. Choose the Right Tools

Drawing Tablet: A good-quality drawing tablet is essential for a smooth drawing experience. With graphics tablets, you draw on the surface with a stylus, and your movements are mirrored on the screen. They are more affordable but require some time to get used to since you are not looking directly at your hand while drawing. Pen display tablets combine the drawing surface with a display. They offer a more intuitive and natural drawing experience. A good idea is to look for the best cheap drawing tablets with screen for beginners, as this will likely be the most cost-effective option.

Software: Many software options cater to digital illustrators, including Adobe Photoshop, Procreate, and Clip Studio Paint. Some of these are free, and others require a subscription or one-time purchase. When choosing software, consider the features and tools that suit your artistic style and preferences. It is worth experimenting with a few to see which works best for you. Most paid software will have a trial period, so take advantage of that to test them out before committing to a purchase.

Hardware: Finally, ensure your computer or device can smoothly run the software you choose. Check the software’s system requirements, including the processor speed, RAM, and graphics capabilities. Most modern computers can handle digital illustration software, but it is always a good idea to make sure. If you plan on using a standalone drawing tablet, like the iPad Pro with Procreate, ensure it will have enough storage for your art and apps.

2. Learn the Basics

Although it is fairly modern, digital illustration is built on the foundations of traditional art techniques. Understanding the principles of drawing, perspective, lighting, color theory, and composition will greatly enhance your digital illustration skills. Look for online tutorials, guidebooks, or free courses at community college that can help you develop a strong foundation in these fundamental areas.

3. Get Comfortable with Your Tools

Like any form of art, digital illustration requires practice. Spend time getting to know your drawing tablet and software. Practice using the stylus, explore pressure sensitivity, and experiment with different brushes and tools. The goal is to make the digital canvas feel as natural as possible. Start off with simple projects that allow you to experiment with basic shapes, lines, and colors. Gradually move on to more complex compositions as you become more comfortable with your tools.

4. Develop Your Style

One of the most exciting aspects of digital illustration is the opportunity to develop your unique style. While this can take time, you can explore different techniques, genres, and influences to discover your unique style. You can try studying the works of other artists, experimenting with different brushes and effects, and incorporating your interests and aesthetics into your artwork. Create a lookbook of inspiration and ideas, and continuously challenge yourself to push your artistic boundaries.

5. Join the Community

The digital art community is vast, with countless forums, social media groups, and platforms where artists share their work and exchange feedback and ideas. By connecting with fellow digital artists, you can learn new techniques, receive constructive criticism, and even find collaboration opportunities. However, be sure to choose supportive communities that foster a positive and inclusive environment. Your peers should accept you as a beginner and encourage your growth as an artist.

6. Build a Portfolio

As you create more artwork, you can start building a portfolio of your best work. A portfolio is a must to showcase your skills and style to future clients or employers. With a strong portfolio, you can demonstrate your abilities as an artist and attract potential clients or employers in the digital illustration industry. Online platforms like Behance, ArtStation, and Instagram are some great places to share your work and connect with other artists and opportunities.

7. Keep Learning and Being Inspired

The tools, techniques, and trends of digital media change by the day. Dedicate time to expanding your skills and learning new software and styles. As you engage with the vibrant community of digital artists, remember to stay curious and willing to learn from others. Remember that inspiration can come from anywhere—the natural world, architecture, cinema, literature, and beyond. Keep your mind open and allow diverse experiences and perspectives to fuel your creativity and artwork.


Digital illustration allows artists to bring their visions to life. You no longer have to have a traditional art background to express your creativity or pursue a career in art. The key is to gather the right tools and knowledge, practice consistently, and continually seek inspiration and learning opportunities. With time and dedication, anyone could create breathtaking artwork that captivates and inspires others. So grab your stylus, fire up your imagination, and dive into the exciting world of digital illustration!

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