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Post Reply Secrets of the Digital Artist
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23 / M / South Bend, IN
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Posted 7/30/13
For my birthday my dad and sister bought me a Wacom Bamboo Create tablet. I am a huge fan of digital artists and have always wanted to put as much detail in my work as they can in theirs. I am an artist myself but I mainly work with traditional methods. I have never used a Wacom before so I was a little intimitated but ready to learn and practice. I have seen phenominal pieces from many artists and I have always been afraid to ask this question.
I know there isn't any "secret" per-say, but I'm really asking is are there any tips (for lack of better terms) or exercises, focuses or anything anyone could offer to help me get my feet on the ground with this new medium. My skills are getting lost in transit and I desperately want to expand my skills further than I ever have before.
My deviant page is: http://masquerade7.deviantart.com/
Please check it out, constructive feedback is more than welcome.
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20 / F
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Posted 7/31/13
the only possible best answer to that is "practice practice!"
i know its probably not the answer you'd want to hear but its true.
I remember the first time i used a tablet and i think it took about a week for me to get used to it.
and by that i mean trying it out everyday as much as i can. The tablet can really grow on you and can easily become your best friend lol
What i like to do is do a bit of a warm up like drawing wide fast strokes and just draw a lot of nonsense. Go crazy!
lol I usually just do a bunch of random swirls all around the page to remind me how much motion translates onto the computer.
Draw fast strokes then gradually go slower in your lines. Dont start with drawing complex things the first time as that can become extremely frustrating. Just get used to the feel of it and youre on your way
hope this helps xD
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34 / M
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Posted 8/4/13
I had the same issue, Practice basic lines and curves, then move to shapes. It does take time so be patient.
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33 / M / Michigan
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Posted 8/5/13
Adjust the tablet settings so the strokes on screen feel more like a real pencil/pen. The standard settings make everything feel too "slippery" or soft. In the "bamboo dock" go to settings, my tablet, pen tablet properties. Increase the hardness to the 3/4 mark and then try sketching again. Keep adjusting it till it feels like the pencils or pens you use. Taping a piece of paper to the drawing area can also help. It protects the tablet surface from wear and cuts down on tip wear/replacement as well. I hated the way my tablet felt as far as the way it felt compared to how the real versions of the media felt. Upping the hardness changed the whole feel of it.
I can go from normal real life sketching or inking to the digital version and they now feel almost the same. Do not settle for the basic settings, they don't mimic the feel at all of real drawing/inking.
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33 / M / Michigan
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Posted 8/5/13
The software you use can also make a big difference. The best free route(software wise) would be the copy of Sketchbook Express that comes with the tablet. There is also a free version of Sketchbook Copic Edition that has a copic marker pallet(72 colors) and marker tools that mimic copic markers exactly.

It can be found here: http://copic.jp/en/sketchbook-ce.html

A free alternative to Photoshop would be GIMP, and it's just as capable.

Gimp can be found here: http://www.gimp.org/

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Posted 8/27/13
what kind of 'secrets'/tips are you looking for??

in my opinion if you're good at traditional art you'll be at least decent in digital art because at least you'll have the basics of linework, values/light and colour down. So if you want exercises for digital work, it's the same exercises you do in traditional art, but maybe get used to using pen+tablet and how i guess the pressure sensitivity might be different to pencil+paper.
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33 / M
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Posted 11/10/13 , edited 11/10/13
Practice, you could scan or use other art as practice tracing layer to get use to accuracy and line value. Create three layers the bottom layer background white. The middle layer piece of artwork you wish to trace (pre drawn traditional art artist that has good line control.)
Set middle layer's opacity lower as desired. third transparent alpha top layer will be the actually practice area where you can practice control and matching line strokes adjusting brush and wacom properties as desired.undoing action if mistake is made or clearing layer in needed.

Be sure if needed in GIMP or other programs to enter preferences to enable tablet input sensitivity, If you have a shaky hand you can also enable
smoothing property yet the higher you set smoothing the slower the pen will stroke.

Other good free programs include.
KRITA www.krita.org
and Mypaint.

Of course since your on D.A you access to many nice tutorials.
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Posted 11/10/13
I wouldn't recommend GIMP, it's fantastic software but RASTER based. Ideally you want to work with Vector based software such as Adobe Illustrator. The reason being that GIMP, and Photoshop suffer from the same flaw, if you make an image thats 64x64 pixels you can't blow it up without losing a lot of detail. The same is true for something produced at 1024x768, or even high resolutions like A4 images. If you try to blow A4 up to A3 or A2 then you end up with a blurry, pixellated image close up.

Vector graphics are scaleable, this means if you make it small, you can streach it out to any size, and you won't lose any detail. The lines, fills, textures, colours, shades, and all other aspects of your image will scale down to 1024x768 and up to A0 resolutions without losing quality.

Even better than that however, is that vectors can be more easily deployed in animation. This means if you want to make your 2D Image move in a flash video, you can, and you'll be able to bring in your SVG files to do it.
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21 / F / In My imagination.
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Posted 11/11/13

berries-382 wrote:

in my opinion if you're good at traditional art you'll be at least decent in digital art because at least you'll have the basics of linework, values/light and colour down. So if you want exercises for digital work, it's the same exercises you do in traditional art, but maybe get used to using pen+tablet and how i guess the pressure sensitivity might be different to pencil+paper.


totally agree with this.

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29 / F
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Posted 1/2/14
well... you'll also find out with having a tablet, you also have to be mindful of its surface. My old tablet had so many scratches before I realized you can change the nibs :O

depending on the software you're using to paint, orienting yourself to its workspace (or arranging it to your comfort), just grab its tools open a new document and dabble with them. Knowing the right tools and techniques do help out a lot when it comes to digital painting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blend_modes

additionally, when you're experimenting on one tool, try holding down the alt, ctrl or space bar or even shift click, shift right-clicking, they have several uses and options. In photoshop, pressing the space bar brings out the 'hand tool' which is helpful when panning across your canvas,

for brushes or pencils and similar tools there are tool presets that can introduce you to their settings, and you can adjust or tweak the quirks of the brush until your satisfied using the brush options panel, then save the preset so should say...your little niece accidentally messes your workspace, you can retrieve the presets and resume working.
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31 / F
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Posted 1/3/14
I remember the first time I picked up a tablet. Like you, I only had experience with traditional media and working digitally was completely foreign to me.

I would agree with a lot of the other comments you received - there is no real secret, you just have to keep working at it. One day it just clicked for me, but it took some time. Honestly, I think it's a matter of working a different part of your brain. When you are drawing on paper, you're looking straight down at it, and you have direct hand-eye coordination. With a tablet, you're drawing with your hand but looking at the screen - it's a different feeling and technique. And I think this ties in to what a few others have mentioned - your existing talent and experience are not gone, but you're learning something new here - like learning how to drive a car. Once you get the hang of it, all the stuff you know will start to kick back in.

I remember that I was often frustrated in the beginning, so if you're feeling that way I think that's normal. ^^ But don't worry, you'll get it, and you'll get better at it - at the end of the day it's no different than any of the tools you're accustomed to using, and will get better with practice.

I would personally keep things simple. Pick one tool that you're most familiar with - the pencil or ink pen tool, maybe. Don't worry about stuff like color and shading and whatever - I think worrying about all this stuff at first and trying to create a masterpiece from the get-go is just going to get frustrating. Treat it like you would treat a sketchbook, just loosely doodle a few things each night.

Good luck!! I look forward to seeing your first digital sketch online 8D
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It doesn't matter.
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Posted 1/6/14 , edited 1/6/14
If you use MS Paint, always save as .png to avoid corrupting the image.
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26 / M / Mission Ctrl
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Posted 1/11/14 , edited 1/11/14
If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!

Seriously though, whichever program you use, save. save A LOT, as multiple files if you feel it will help. I do that all the time, sometimes in excess of 20 updates. If there's a history function (see; photoshop) even better, use that too. Update the history often when you are happy with your works current progress. It's much easier to go back a few steps, that to try and fix things on the fly.
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Posted 1/13/14 , edited 1/13/14
For the programs, I think it's all depending on which one you like and feel comfortable to use the most. You can try them all and keep continuing the program that makes you want to paint more.

From I have seen in your DA, you have some experience in traditional and I think it's not too hard for you to transit to digital work.
I understand your frustration because I also felt the same way when I started digital painting before, so what you should do now is just use it everyday. You can draw anything and it's better to copy work from artwork or photo reference, or even better if you can study from life study. To do this you will start to get accustomed to the program and tablet. In the future, by then you will have more confident and used to the tools, you will be able to start your own artwork easily. Just practice and work hard! I hope it's helpful.
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Posted 1/15/14
Hey Palidin,

It's been a while since your original post - have you tried doing some computer coloring with your tablet yet? You have a lot of nice grayscale renders up so it may be cool to try colorizing one of them. First step though is to actually get a program you can paint digitally with. You can just do a quick google search on "free digital paint programs" and start from there. If you don't feel like downloading stuff you can try your hand at painting on a free online drawing board first too. Good luck!

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