7 Steps to Creating Your Own Digital Art: A Beginner's Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Choose the right digital art tools
  2. Learn the basics of your software
  3. Start with simple sketches
  4. Practice coloring and shading
  5. Experiment with different styles and techniques
  6. Create your first complete digital artwork
  7. Keep practicing and learning

Imagine being able to transform a blank canvas into a piece of art that reflects your unique vision. Yes, that's right — you can create your own digital art! This beginner's guide walks you through seven simple steps to craft your digital masterpiece, making the process as easy as ABC. Whether your aim is to share your artwork with the world or simply to enjoy the process, this guide will set you on the right path. Let's get started!

Choose the right digital art tools

When you're just starting to create your own digital art, the vast range of digital tools can seem daunting. But fear not, here are some pointers to help you make the right choice:

  • Software: The digital art software is your canvas and brush combined into one. Some popular options include Adobe Photoshop, Procreate, and GIMP. As a beginner, you might want to start with a free software like GIMP before investing in a paid tool.
  • Drawing Tablet: Unlike a mouse or trackpad, a drawing tablet gives you the precision and control that's closer to traditional drawing. Wacom tablets are well-known in the digital art community, but brands like Huion and XP-Pen also offer quality tablets at a more affordable price.
  • Stylus: A stylus is your digital brush. Most drawing tablets come with their own stylus, but you can also buy one separately. Look for a stylus that's comfortable to hold and has pressure sensitivity — this will give your lines a more natural feel.

Remember, the best tools for you are the ones that suit your needs and comfort. So, don't hesitate to try out different options and see what works best for you. After all, creating your own digital art should be an enjoyable journey, not a stressful task.

Learn the basics of your software

Once you've picked your digital art tools, it's time to familiarize yourself with the software. This might seem intimidating at first, but hey, every artist has to start somewhere, right?

Start by understanding the user interface. Look for the toolbars, menus, and panels that are part of the software. These will house essential tools like the brush, eraser, fill, and layers. Next, try out each tool and see what it does. Don't worry about making perfect strokes at this point. The goal is to get comfortable with the software.

Most digital art software also has features like layers and blending modes. Layers allow you to draw on different "levels" without affecting the rest of your art, while blending modes can change how colors interact with each other. These features can greatly enhance your digital art, so make sure to explore them!

There are plenty of tutorials available online for specific software. Use these resources to your advantage. Remember, the goal here is not to master the software in a day, but to learn enough to start creating your own digital art comfortably. Patience is key in this step. Soon enough, you'll be navigating the software like a pro!

Start with simple sketches

Now that you're familiar with your software, it's time to put pen to tablet—or mouse to mousepad—and start to create your own digital art. But let's not rush into complex compositions just yet. We're going to start with simple sketches.

Think back to your first art class in school. You didn't start by painting the Mona Lisa, did you? No, you started with basic shapes: circles, squares, triangles. It's the same with digital art. Start by sketching these basic shapes. Get a feel for how your stylus or mouse moves on your device. Try different pressures and speeds. Notice how these changes affect the lines you draw.

Once you're comfortable with basic shapes, start combining them to create more complex objects. A circle on top of a square can become a house. Two triangles can become a star. Experiment and have fun with it. Remember, these are just sketches. They don't have to be perfect. The goal is to get comfortable with sketching in your software.

Don't be discouraged if your sketches don't look the way you want them to at first. Digital sketching can feel different from traditional drawing, especially if you're using a stylus or tablet for the first time. Keep practicing, and remember, every great artist started with simple shapes!

Practice coloring and shading

Now that we've mastered simple sketches and made our first steps to create our own digital art, let's add a little color to our creations! But, don't just grab any color from the palette. Instead, let's explore the fascinating world of color theory first. It's a lot easier than it sounds, promise!

Ever wondered why fire trucks are red or why nature is so often green? It's all about color theory. In a nutshell, it's the science and art of using color. It's about combining colors together and understanding how they impact the emotions and behavior of the viewer. It’s the reason why blue can make you feel calm, and yellow can make you feel happy. Cool, right?

Now, let's put it into practice. Start by choosing a color for your simple sketches. Don't worry about shading yet. Just fill in your shapes with solid colors. See how different colors change the mood of your sketches. Play around with the saturation and brightness, too.

Once you're comfortable with solid colors, it's time to add some depth to your art with shading. Shading, in digital art, is the technique of adding varying levels of darkness to your art to create the illusion of depth and dimension. It can make your flat-looking sketches look like they're popping right off the screen!

Start with a simple sphere. Draw one, and pick a light source direction. Now, color the sphere as if the light is hitting it from that direction. Sounds tricky? It definitely requires practice, but before you know it, you’ll be adding depth and dimension to all your sketches!

Coloring and shading are like salt and pepper to your digital art. They add flavor to your sketches, making your creations more vibrant and lifelike. Remember, practice makes perfect. So keep experimenting and soon enough, your digital art will start to come alive!

Experiment with different styles and techniques

Now, we are getting somewhere exciting. You've managed to create your own digital art with some solid colors and shadings. But, let's not stop there. It's time to dive into the vast ocean of styles and techniques available in digital art.

Think of digital art as a buffet. There are so many delicious dishes to try and you don't have to stick to just one. In the same way, there are countless styles and techniques in digital art. There's realism, where you try to make your art look as lifelike as possible. There's also pop art, where you use bold colors and simple shapes to create art that pops. And don't forget about manga and anime, where you can create characters with big, sparkling eyes and exaggerated expressions.

Spend some time exploring these different styles. Try to recreate a piece of art in each style. Notice how each style has its own rules and quirks. But also notice how breaking these rules can lead to something completely new and exciting.

There are also many techniques to try out. Have you ever tried stippling? It's a technique where you create a picture using small dots. Or what about cross-hatching? This is where you use intersecting lines to create shading and texture. The possibilities are truly endless.

Remember, the key to finding your own unique style is to experiment with different styles and techniques. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. In fact, some of the best art comes from happy accidents. So go ahead, get your digital brushes dirty and see what amazing art you can create!

Create your first complete digital artwork

Are you ready? It's time to create your own digital art — a whole piece from start to finish! Yes, it might feel a bit daunting, but remember, every artist was once a beginner. So, take a deep breath and let's get started.

First, decide what you're going to draw. It could be a landscape, a portrait, or even a bowl of fruit! It's completely up to you. However, it's a good idea to start with something you're familiar with. This way, you can focus more on the process of creating digital art rather than worrying about getting the subject just right.

Next, sketch out your idea. Don't worry about making it perfect. This is just a rough blueprint for your artwork. Once you're happy with the sketch, start adding color. Remember those coloring and shading techniques you practiced earlier? Now's the time to put them to use.

After you've added color, take a step back and look at your work. Does it need more detail? Maybe some shadows or highlights? This is the stage where you refine your artwork and add those finishing touches.

Finally, save your work. It's a good idea to save your work in a format that preserves layers, like .PSD for Photoshop. This will allow you to go back and make changes if you need to.

And there you have it — you've just created your first complete digital artwork! Give yourself a pat on the back. Remember, creating art is a journey, not a destination. So, keep exploring, keep experimenting, and most importantly, keep creating!

Keep practicing and learning

Creating your first piece of digital art is a huge step, and you should be incredibly proud. But, as with any skill, the key to becoming a master is to never stop learning. The digital art world constantly evolves, and there's always something new to discover. So, what's next?

Practice, practice, and more practice. This could mean revisiting techniques you're already familiar with or maybe diving into something entirely new. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. In fact, some of the best learning experiences come from trial and error.

Explore different software and tools. Maybe you started with Photoshop, but have you tried Procreate or Illustrator? Each program has its unique strengths and features that can enhance your ability to create your own digital art.

Learn from others. The internet is full of free resources and communities where you can share your work, get feedback, and learn from other digital artists. Participate in online challenges or tutorials, and don't be shy about asking for advice or tips.

Finally, remember to enjoy the process. Creating digital art should be fun, not a chore. So, take your time, experiment, and remember — every piece you create is a reflection of your unique journey as a digital artist.

If you're inspired by this blog post on creating digital art and want to learn more, check out the workshop 'Procreate Basics: Making Digital Art' by Sameera Maruvada. This workshop will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the Procreate app, allowing you to create stunning digital art with ease and confidence.