Nature-Inspired Digital Art: Tips & Techniques
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Find inspiration in nature
  2. Choose the right digital art tools
  3. Use colors effectively
  4. Create textures inspired by nature
  5. Draw animals and plants
  6. Design landscapes
  7. Use light and shadow
  8. Add depth to your art
  9. Finish and refine your artwork
  10. Share and promote your art

Bringing out the beauty of nature through the tip of your digital pen can be a rewarding experience. The world around us is full of fascinating patterns, forms, and colors waiting to be explored and expressed in your digital art. If you're interested in creating stunning nature-inspired digital art creations, you're in the right place. This blog will guide you through tips and techniques to help you capture the essence of nature in your digital art, using simple and relatable language that even a 6th grader can understand. So grab your digital pen, and let's get started.

Find inspiration in nature

The first step in creating memorable nature-inspired digital art creations is to find your inspiration in the natural world. Here's how you can do it:

  • Observe: Start by closely observing the nature around you— the shape of leaves, the colors of flowers, the texture of tree barks, or the way light filters through the trees. These details can serve as a rich source of inspiration for your digital art.
  • Photograph: Carry a camera or use your phone to capture the captivating moments in nature that you come across. These photographs can later serve as the base for your digital art creations.
  • Sketch: Sketching directly from nature is a great way to understand and capture its intricacies. These sketches can later be used as a reference while creating your digital art.
  • Immerse: Spend time in different natural settings - forests, mountains, beaches, deserts, or even your backyard. The more you immerse yourself in nature, the more ideas you'll get for your digital art creations.

Remember, inspiration can strike at any time, so keep your senses tuned to the beauty of nature around you. Happy creating!

Choose the right digital art tools

Choosing the right tools can make a world of difference in your nature-inspired digital art creations. With the right tools, you can easily bring to life your vision of the natural world. Here are some factors to consider when choosing your digital art tools:

  • Software: There's a variety of digital art software available, each with its own strengths. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are popular choices, offering a wide range of features. For a more natural drawing experience, you might prefer software like Procreate or Corel Painter.
  • Hardware: You'll also need a good quality graphics tablet or a digital pen and tablet combo. Wacom and Huion offer some reliable options. If you're on a budget, you might consider XP-Pen or Gaomon. For those who prefer to draw directly on the screen, an iPad with an Apple Pencil can be a great choice.
  • Brushes: Most digital art software provides a choice of brushes that mimic different natural drawing tools. You might prefer a soft airbrush for creating smooth gradients, or a textured brush for creating the rough texture of tree bark.

Remember, the right tools for you are the ones that you feel most comfortable with and that allow your creativity to flow freely. So, don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you in your journey of creating stunning nature-inspired digital art creations.

Use colors effectively

One of the most remarkable aspects of nature is its color palette. From the fiery hues of a sunset to the cool blues of a tranquil lake, nature offers a wide array of colors that can inspire your digital art creations. Here's how you can use colors effectively:

  • Observe and Learn: Take a closer look at nature. Notice how colors change with light, weather, and seasons. A single leaf can have an array of colors — greens, yellows, browns, and even reds. Capture these nuances in your art to add realism.
  • Color Theory: Understanding color theory can help you create more balanced and harmonious art. For instance, using complementary colors can create a vibrant look, while analogous colors offer a more harmonious feel.
  • Experiment: Don't be afraid to tweak colors in your nature-inspired digital art creations. Want to paint a pink sky or a purple tree? Go ahead! Art is all about self-expression and creativity.
  • Use of Gradients: Gradients can add depth and dimension to your art. For instance, using a gradient for the sky — transitioning from a deep blue at the top to a lighter blue or even pink near the horizon — can make your landscapes come alive.

Remember, the right colors can breathe life into your art. They can set the mood, evoke emotions, and tell a story. So, harness the power of color to create more impactful nature-inspired digital art creations.

Create textures inspired by nature

Textures add a tactile dimension to your nature-inspired digital art creations, bringing them to life. From the rough bark of a tree to the smooth surface of a pebble, nature is full of interesting textures. Here are some ways to create textures inspired by nature:

  • Observation is Key: Start by observing the textures in nature closely. Feel the bark of a tree, study the patterns on a leaf, or examine the intricate details of a seashell. It's these details that can make your digital art feel more real.
  • Use Brushes: Different digital art tools offer a variety of brushes that can be used to create textures. For instance, a chalk brush can give a grainy effect, while a watercolor brush can create a soft, diffused look. Experiment with these tools to recreate the textures you see in nature.
  • Layering: Layering can add depth and complexity to your textures. For instance, you can create the texture of a bird's feather by layering different colors and using different brush strokes.
  • Use of Filters: Some digital art tools offer filters that can help create textures. For example, you can use a noise filter to create a grainy texture or a blur filter to create a soft, fuzzy texture.

Incorporating different textures can make your art more visually interesting and engaging. So, use texture to your advantage to create more realistic and compelling nature-inspired digital art creations.

Draw animals and plants

Animals and plants are the heart of nature-inspired digital art creations. Drawing them accurately can bring authenticity and liveliness to your work, capturing the spirit of the great outdoors.

Start with the basics: You don't have to be an expert in biology to draw plants and animals. Start with simple shapes and lines to create a rough sketch. For example, you can start a tree with a simple trunk and branches, then add leaves and details later.

Study real-life references: Photos, nature documentaries, or even your own backyard can serve as excellent references. Pay attention to the shape, colors, and patterns of the animals and plants you want to draw. Remember, it's the small details—like the veins on a leaf or the spots on a leopard—that can make your work stand out.

Use nature-inspired colors: Nature has a unique color palette, from the bright green of new leaves in the spring to the fiery red of a sunset. Use these colors in your art to make it more vibrant and true-to-life.

Keep practicing: Drawing animals and plants can be challenging, especially if you're new to it. But don't get discouraged. Keep practicing and over time, you will improve and your nature-inspired digital art creations will come to life.

Remember, the goal is not to create a photo-realistic image, but to capture the essence of the animal or plant in your own unique style. So, go ahead and give it a try. You might surprise yourself with what you can create!

Design landscapes

Landscapes form the backbone of any nature-inspired digital art creation. They set the stage for your story and breathe life into your artwork. They can be as simple as a serene lake reflecting the sky, or as complex as a dense jungle teeming with life. But, how do you design compelling landscapes for your art?

Start with a sketch: Before you dive into the digital tools, spend some time sketching out your landscape. You can start with a pencil and paper or use a digital sketchpad. Sketching helps you plan out your landscape and gives you a roadmap to follow when you start creating your digital art.

Observe real landscapes: There's no better teacher than Mother Nature herself. Take some time to observe real landscapes around you. Notice the way the trees cluster together, how the mountains fade into the distance, or how a river winds its way through a field. Incorporating these details can make your digital landscapes more believable.

Use a wide color palette: Nature isn't just green and brown. It's a riot of colors! From the vivid hues of a sunset to the subtle grays of a foggy morning, use a wide color palette to bring your landscapes to life.

Don't forget about perspective: Perspective is key in creating depth in your landscape. Elements that are closer to the viewer should be bigger and more detailed than those in the distance. This creates a sense of depth and makes your landscape more immersive.

Designing landscapes for your nature-inspired digital art creations can be a fun and rewarding process. Remember, the sky's the limit (literally!). So go ahead, let your imagination run wild and create landscapes that take your viewers' breath away.

Use light and shadow

When it comes to nature-inspired digital art creations, the clever use of light and shadow is a game changer. It's what breathes life into your artwork, giving it depth, dimension, and a sense of realism. But how do you effectively use light and shadow in your art?

Understand the source of light: The first step is to identify your light source. Is it the sun, a lamp, or maybe the moon? Knowing where your light is coming from will help you determine where to place shadows and highlights in your artwork.

Play with contrast: Light and dark areas create contrast, which is vital for showcasing the different elements of your art. Use a strong contrast to draw attention to your focal points, and softer contrasts for less important areas.

Use shadows to create volume: Shadows are not just for hiding things. They can also give a flat image a three-dimensional look. By adding shadows to the sides of objects that are away from the light source, you give them volume and make them pop out.

Experiment with colors: Shadows aren't always black, and highlights aren't always white. Depending on the lighting conditions, shadows can have hues of blue, purple, or green, while highlights can be yellow, pink, or orange. Don't be afraid to experiment with colors when it comes to lighting your scene.

Light and shadow are powerful tools in your digital art toolbox. Used effectively, they can turn your nature-inspired digital art creations from good to great. So, go ahead and play with light, cast shadows, and watch your digital art come to life.

Add depth to your art

So, you've mastered the use of light and shadow. Great! Now, let's move a step further and add some depth to your nature-inspired digital art creations. Depth brings a sense of realism to your art and makes it more engaging. Here's how you can do it:

Use perspective: Perspective is a technique that helps create an illusion of depth. You can make some objects appear closer by making them bigger and others appear farther by making them smaller. Remember, things in the distance tend to be lighter and less detailed than things in the foreground.

Layer your elements: Layering is another effective way to add depth to your art. You can have several layers of trees, for example, with each layer getting lighter and less detailed as it recedes into the background.

Use a depth map: In digital art, a depth map is a grayscale image that shows the distance of objects from the viewer. Darker areas are closer, while lighter areas are farther away. Using a depth map can be a bit technical, but it's a powerful tool in creating realistic depth.

Explore with textures: Different textures can also give a sense of depth. Rough textures tend to stand out more and can be used for objects in the foreground, while smooth textures can be used for distant objects.

Adding depth to your nature-inspired digital art creations is like opening a window into a new world. It invites the viewer to step in and explore. So, why not give it a try? With practice, you'll find it's not as difficult as it seems.

Finish and refine your artwork

As you near the end of your nature-inspired digital art creations, it's time to add those finishing touches that can really make your work shine. Here's how you can refine and finish your artwork:

Review your work: Take a step back and look at your artwork as a whole. Check if the colors, textures, and depth are working together harmoniously. Don't be afraid to make changes if something doesn't look right. Remember, it's your creation, and you have the power to improve it.

Refine details: Details can make or break your artwork. Spend some time refining the details of your scene, whether it's the texture of the leaves, the patterns on the animal's skin, or the ripples in the water. Small details can bring a lot of life to your artwork.

Adjust colors and contrast: Sometimes, adjusting the colors and contrast can give your artwork a fresh look. Try tweaking the saturation, hue, or brightness to see if it enhances your artwork. But remember, less is often more when it comes to color adjustments.

Smooth out rough edges: Digital art tools can sometimes leave rough edges. Use the smoothing or blurring tools to soften these edges, and give your artwork a more polished look.

Finishing and refining your nature-inspired digital art creations might seem tedious, but it's worth the effort. The devil is in the details, as they say. So, take your time, be patient, and you'll be rewarded with a piece of art you can truly be proud of.

Share and promote your art

Once you've added the finishing touches to your nature-inspired digital art creations, it's time to share them with the world. And why not? Your art deserves to be seen and admired. Here are some tips on how to share and promote your artwork:

Build your portfolio: A portfolio website can be a great place to showcase your artwork. It's like your personal gallery where viewers can appreciate your talent and creativity. You can describe the inspiration behind each piece, and even share your creative process.

Join online communities: The digital art world is full of vibrant and supportive communities. Websites like DeviantArt, Behance, and Dribbble offer platforms where you can share your work, get feedback, and connect with other artists. Don't forget to interact and support other artists too — the art community thrives on mutual support and engagement.

Use social media: Social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook can be powerful tools to promote your nature-inspired digital art creations. Use relevant hashtags, engage with your followers, and post regularly to increase your visibility.

Enter competitions: Art competitions can be a great way to gain recognition and exposure for your artwork. Winning or even just participating can be a big boost to your confidence, and motivate you to create more.

Sharing and promoting your artwork might seem daunting initially, but remember, every artist starts somewhere. Believe in your work, be consistent in sharing it, and gradually, you'll start to see your audience grow. And who knows? You might even inspire someone else to start their own journey in nature-inspired digital art creations.

If you're fascinated by nature-inspired digital art and want to explore more about the connection between nature, photography, and mindfulness, check out the workshop 'Using Nature and Photography as a Form of Meditation' by Louis Bever. This workshop will help you discover how to use nature and photography as a form of meditation, enhancing both your creative process and your connection to the natural world.