December 2, 2022

Want to Get Started In Digital Art? Beginners Must Know This!

From understanding to tips on getting started with digital art, beginners should know the ins and outs of it here!

Do you guys often see digital artwork on social media? Recently, digital art is very existent and favored by art connoisseurs. Moreover, digital art that appears on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest always attracts our attention.

Actually, digital art is a new type of art that comes along with the presence of technology and computers. Digital art certainly has a prominent difference from other traditional arts, such as painting, sculpture, etc.

As reported by Artland, Digital art is any creative practice that uses digital technology in its artistic process. Similar to traditional art, digital art can take the form of creative media and styles to express the artist’s work.

Many terms are used for this process, for example computer art or multimedia art. In fact, there are also those who call it “image or photo manipulation techniques” where artists can scan images or take photos directly with a camera, then edit them again in the application.

Usually, digital art uses the Adobe Illustrator application, Corel Draw, Blender, Canva, and others. Digital art forms are also diverse. These can be in the form of animation, 3D renderings, sound, video, images, films, games or the web.

If you have an interest in digital art, it’s a good idea to get to know its history. Check out the following explanation!

History of Digital Art

Digital art was first introduced by Joan Shogren of San Jose State University who wrote a program based on the principles of art. His artwork was displayed as the first computer art in San Jose, California on May 6, 1963.

This is one example of a digital artwork created with a computer program called Sterling Fractal by Joan Shogren.

photo source: wikipedia

[Read more: Joan Shogren, Computer Ar Pioneer]

Then, another early experiment of art with computers appeared around 1965. Frieder Nake, German artist and mathematician, created a computer algorithm that made a computer machine draw a series of shapes that produced a work of art.

Another history, one of the first pieces of art to be truly digital art was created in 1967 by Americans, Kenneth Knowlton and Leon Harmon.

Both are engineers at Bell Laboratories, an American scientific research company that develops various revolutionary technologies, one of which is the laser.

The two of them took a photo of a naked woman and turned it into an image made up of computer pixels called Computer Nude. Pixel is the smallest element of an image. When the pixels are combined, these will make a bigger and perfect image.

Drawing on a computer is a method of creating works of art that is perfect for multimedia as we can see digital art works that appear in various events, including television or animation.

Advantages of Digital Art

Digital art has its own advantages when compared to other arts. For beginners, it is a must to know the advantages of digital art. Here are the explanations.

  • Save time and doesn’t put too much effort and thought,
  • If you make a mistake when drawing on the computer, then you can use the undo command or go back,
  • If beginners know the basic techniques of using an application program, then they can definitely design anything freely,
  • Typefaces for more complete and diverse design support, just choose and add to your design,
  • The size and shape of the work will fit and be accurate, you only need to set the desired size,
  • The more design innovations that can be developed from each program or application, the more diverse the digital artwork will be,
  • No need to bother buying art materials and equipment, just one device is enough to produce various digital artworks.

Common Mistakes that Beginners Digital Art Activities Make

As beginners in digital art, we tend to make mistakes. However, mistakes are important to learn so you can fix them.

Reporting from, below are the common mistakes that beginners often make.

1. Starting Without having Ideas

Beginners usually like to feel scared to see a blank white canvas. When painting begins with no idea and no direction in which the painting will take it, it is very difficult to start filling the canvas.

You will be easily stressed and frustrated. Therefore, you must have a rough idea and brainstorm it first in your design concept.

2. Too Many Details

Another thing that beginners usually do is add elements everywhere and make it full in their digital designs. Others, beginners also make designs as detailed as possible, even placing elements in the corners of the design to make it look attractive.

However, if the audience sees your design with a large amount of detail, then they will judge your work as less than good.

Therefore, you have to think of a concept, story, composition, lightning, contrast, elements in each design. Just focus on one point of view in your design.

3. Not Using Color Theory Effectively

Color theory is a crucial aspect in digital art. To get the right and suitable color, you should indeed study and practice a lot of time.

Fyi, there are many professional artists who still do not understand color theory perfectly. So, this error is not a problem you should be afraid of.

And the important point to understand is that you must be able to use cold and warm color theory to make your digital paintings look more alive and stand out.

4. Overusing Pure White

Pure white and pure black are colors that beginners always use. In fact, pure white is rarely used for digital artwork about nature.

This color only occurs when you look directly at the sun, moon, or very bright lights. So, pure white in your artwork should be accompanied by light sources and effects.

If you use too much pure white or black, your artwork can be judged as “blown out.” There is no source from where the color will appear, instead making your digital art less valuable.

5. Using Too Many Saturated Colors

When just starting out, most beginners are facing a problem with color, so they often improvise and end up using too many powerful and combating saturated colors.

If you don’t balance between saturated colors and contrast in your digital art, it will look too abstract and unreal.

The solution is that you can use a suitable color palette. There are many color recommendations for you to choose from, so there would be no colors which are too saturated, light, or even dark.

[Read more: 11 Website Color Schemes to Help You Find The Perfect Palette ]

Tips to Start Digital Art for Beginners

After knowing the mistakes that beginners often make, you can start learning with digital art skills.

There are many skills that you must master in order to be proficient. However, an important key in designing is the ability to transfer your creative soul into attractive designs.

Quoted from various sources, here are the tips that you can do as a beginner.

1. Start with Design Goals and Plans

It’s better if you know what you want to paint. So, try to make a rough sketch before starting. This method can save time and of course avoid frustration.

You can do this by drawing manually with pencil and paper. Don’t forget to caption the sketch with color ideas, patterns, and other elements.

2. Know the Appropriate Design Composition

Quality digital artwork is work that has the right composition. Of course, this composition must be able to attract the attention of the audience.

The composition can depend on the purpose of the art you want to show. As with traditional art, there are several guidelines you can use to improve your composition, such as rule-of-thirds, leading lines, and balance.

Rule-of-thirds  is one of the compositional techniques in dividing the field of work into three equal parts, both horizontally and vertically.

Leading lines is when you draw a line that directs the audience’s eye from one part of the painting to another.

The last, balance  which refers to how balanced an object or element is in a particular work.

3. Choose the Right Canvas Size

It is very important that you design on the right canvas size. If you want to print a painting on an A3 sheet of paper, then you must adjust your digital canvas size to the same or larger size.

If you want to publish digital art online or on social media, using a canvas size of at least 1024×768 is a good start.

[Read more: The Best Size and Resolution for Digital Art]

4. Get Comfortable with Basic Tools from the Application

Tools are various menu options designed and stored in any program. When it comes to designing for beginners, there are usually a few things you need to know if you want to draw or erase.

When you open a digital art app for the first time, you inevitably have to spend most of your time learning its design tools.

You should know how to use drawing tools, eraser tools, transform tools, layering tools, and more. Make sure you learn how to work in each design application to make it easier to design.

5. Try Different Types of Designing Techniques

Try to start designing with various techniques to find the technique that you like the most and fits. Of course, to find it, you have to try all the techniques.

Don’t be afraid to start, because you will learn from your mistakes and fix them!

6. Learn from Other Artists

Increasing references from other artists’ works will enrich the ideas and works that you will produce.

Try to learn the design techniques they use and copy as many as you can. However, you need to bear in mind that it does not mean that you are free to copy other people’s work. You can use the ATM/OIM method (Observe – Imitate – Modify).

It is great to learn about how to create certain digital art techniques and styles. You can also be more motivated to make better work.

8. Don’t Stop Practicing

Creating digital art is the same as creating other works of art. Practice is an important key in the success of producing interesting work.

Painting digitally takes a long time, so with frequent practice you will find it easier to create works. Don’t feel like a failure at the beginning, you will certainly get better by continuing to practice.

Well, those are the important points you should know about digital art. If you are interested in it, just keep practicing and pursuing digital art so that your skills would be more advanced.

Writer: Violita Zarkasih S


Bravic, Lucija. 2021.”A Short History of Digital Art: Between New Technologies &  Innovative Artistic Practices”. “Digital Art”.

Dee. 2021. “How to Improve Your Digital Creations | 22 Digital Painting Tips”.

Feghali, Walid. “9 Common Digital Art Beginner Mistakes”. 2018. “Pengertian Seni Digital”.

Suharyanto. 2019. “Seni Digital dan Penjelasannya”. 2020. “12 Drawing Tips for Beginners – Digital Art”.

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