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Painting pixels
August 19, 2012 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Looking for advice, tips, links, book recommendations etc about getting into digital art.

I've done a bit of art off and on for most of my life and now I want to get into digital art/illustration. I can draw and paint reasonably well (though I'm a bit cack-handed with a brush and prefer 'dry' media like pencil crayons and pastel etc) so it's more about moving into a new medium than art in general. I'm pretty much up to speed with Photoshop, but I've only used it for photography and a bit of graphic design so far not art/painting/illustration etc. I've a got a reasonable spec pc and a basic graphics tablet but is it worth forking out for something like a Intuos?

Any advice, tips, links, book recommendations etc appreciated.
posted by fearfulsymmetry to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you be more specific about what style of art you want to do most/first/right now? (If you could link to a few examples of the styles you like, that would be great.) And what tablet do you currently have?

My gut feeling is that it's worthwhile to upgrade to a Wacom tablet if you've currently got an off-brand tablet, but not worthwhile to immediately upgrade to the Intuos from most of the other tablets in the Wacom line... But it is somewhat dependent on what you want to do with it.

In general, the best artists I know use more plain art skills and fewer secret computer skills than you think (actually I know a lot of amazing digital artists who can barely figure out how to reply to an e-mail, but they only use about three tools in Photoshop anyway). If you watch time lapse videos of digital painting (random example) you'll notice the trend is mostly: default round brushes, pencil/paintbrush/airbrush, eraser, color selector/wheel, and some layers. That's it as far as technology goes.
posted by anaelith at 10:19 AM on August 19, 2012


There are good resources at the CGtalk forum. There are magazines like ImagineFX and Digital Artist, they are mostly focused on tutorials and profiling of artists.

In terms of learning, most of it comes down to what you would do on paper but digitally. A big Wacom is helpful if you plan to spend a lot of time doing digital art, but until you are certain you are going to get a lot of use out of it I would stick to a small one.

For painting in photoshop it's helpful to learn some shortcuts like [ and ] for brush sizing and CTRL+OPTION+CMD (on Mac) for bringing up the color wheel - CTRL+ALT+Drag for sizing/brush sofntess etc.. This way you don't have to switch between mouse and pen all the time.
posted by wolfr at 10:29 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very much an amateur here.

I'm fairly well proficient with Photoshop, but I found I liked Corel Painter better for actually digitally painting with a graphics tablet. You can also save it right over to Photoshop for any thing you need to do there.

It's not super cheap, but it's got a free trial you can check out.
posted by PlutoniumX at 12:24 PM on August 20, 2012


I'd suggest following one or two illustration blogs to see what's possible:
http://fuckyeahillustrativeart.tumblr.com/

I'm guessing you're doing stuff more like matte painting than more vector illustration, but it may be worth grinding though a copy of Graphic Design - The New Basics from the library.

I also recommend conceptart.org's forums and tutorials.
http://conceptart.org/forums/


I've a got a reasonable spec pc and a basic graphics tablet ...

You may work better with scanner->tablet than pure tablet.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:51 PM on August 20, 2012


Thanks for those (sorry for the delay in posting/best answering anything)

Can you be more specific about what style of art you want to do most/first/right now? (If you could link to a few examples of the styles you like, that would be great.)

I'm probably going to be trying a few different things - in the area of fantasy/sf illustration.

And what tablet do you currently have?

The current tablet's an old bamboo that they don't make any more, basically the most basic model at the time I think. I definitely going to upgrade after starting to use it more seriously for art - not least because the smallest of the tablet area (and the thickness of the pen) gives me hand cramps (well makes them worse)

Thanks all for the links, I'll be checking them out in due course. One site I found that looks good is (for the really basic stuff)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:09 PM on August 28, 2012


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