Did you know digital art emerged in the 1980s when personal computers were introduced? Since then, it’s transformed and revolutionized the art industry. Anyone with a computer and ambition can now create impressive digital art pieces.
If you’re interested in starting a digital art career, it can feel overwhelming. There is a lot of competition and knowing how to stand out amongst the crowd is important. Luckily, this guide is here to help.
Keep reading for seven tips on starting a successful digital art career.
1. Have the Right Tools
Although all you need is a computer to be a digital artist, there are additional tools necessary to make a career out of it. You can begin to play around with a computer, but if you’re looking to make anything outside of vector art, you’ll want to utilize the whole precision of your hand. Using a mouse isn’t enough.
The most dynamic and beautiful lines are created with the motion which a mouse cannot create. You can either click or not click. Using a pencil allows you to make more substantial work.
If you’re looking to draw on your computer in the same way you would on paper, the right tools are needed. The first thing you’ll need is a graphics tablet—this is a pad with a stylus that allows you to draw digitally.
There are different options: you can use tablets connected to your computer and displayed on your monitor, or there are tablets with the screen built into the tablet. You should get the latter if you want the traditional feeling of drawing on paper.
No matter what your budget or style is, there are a variety of brands that produce both screen and non-screen tablets. Even the most basic graphic tablet is superior to using only a mouse.
2. Programs Make a Difference
Although the tools you use can process your artwork, the software turns them into something you can use. There are many programs out there; some are free (MyPaint, Krita), others are cheap (Manga Studio, Autodesk SketchBook Pro), and there are expensive options (Adobe Photoshop).
Each of these options does the same thing; they add texture and color to your work. Photoshop tends to be the most popular option because, in addition to drawing and painting tools, it can also be used for photo manipulation.
The good news is you can make great art out of any software that utilizes pen pressure.
Almost any computer you have will work when you’re getting started. Just look at how simple it is to make digital art on Mac.
Don’t worry about getting the most expensive and advanced tools if you’re starting off. These are convenient, sure, but the most important method of creating great art is drawing skill.
3. Fine Tune Your Traditional Art Skills
As magical as creating digital art seems, especially with its undo command and ease of use, you won’t get very far if you don’t have the right art skills. Digital art programs are simply a canvas with digital brushes that simulate a real canvas with actual brushes.
This means that you’ll need to know how to draw with a traditional pencil because a digital pencil won’t magically infuse artistic skills. You can understand technical differences, but generally, you’ll want to fine-tune your traditional skills before making the switch.
Everything from shading, gesture, anatomy, and so forth should be well understood. The programs don’t know the basics of these skills; only the user knows. Remember that the tools don’t make the artist; practice does.
4. Understand Your Mistakes
Improving and honing your skill doesn’t come from doing the same thing over and over again, hoping that the problem fixes itself. If you’re looking to be a digital artist, you’ll need to understand your mistakes and learn from them.
As you begin to learn how to be a digital artist and make money from it, you’re sure to make a handful of mistakes. Use this as an opportunity to assess what you’ve done wrong and find a way to make it right. Errors show you what areas you need to work on, and instead of feeling frustrated or ignoring them, use them to your advantage.
5. What Type of Digital Artist Are You?
To best sell your artwork, you’ll need to understand the type of digital artist you are. Knowing yourself, your brand, the kind of art you’re making, it’s all part of your blossoming art career.
There’s a variety of techniques and types of digital art, from matte paintings to portraits. To be an impressive digital artist, you’ll need to know what you specialize in. If you’re constantly switching around, it’ll be more difficult for you to improve, and your potential customers will have a hard time pinning down your brand.
If you’re only beginning your career as a digital artist, it can be tricky to know what type of artist you want to be. To help make this decision easier, you’ll need to think about the kind of art you are interested in creating and what the current market is missing.
After all, being wonderful at line art is not going to be profitable if the market is oversaturated with talented minimalist artists. Find the right blend of art and business, learn how to market yourself on social media, and you’ll be climbing the digital art ladder in no time.
Kickstart Your Digital Art Career
As technology improves, the job market for digital artists appears promising. Although you may be ready to kickstart your art career, you’ll need to do some research beforehand. Knowing how to sell art online and how to improve your skillset is crucial to success.
Following these tips can help take you from beginner to professional. At the end of the day, enough practice and motivation will take you further than expected.
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