Digital Art: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Digital Art: A Complete Guide for Beginners

In today’s screen-dominated world, digital art offers artists an incredible medium to express their vision or message. It is an experimental and evolutionary art form that has broadened the meaning of art and increased its accessibility across the world. The digital canvas empowers artists to create works of art efficiently and swiftly, opening up unlimited possibilities for artists to give shape to their imagination. No wonder every artist today wants to explore this medium’s potential.       

Are you interested to know how you can use digital art to create your next masterpiece? This guide tells you all that you need to know about digital art to get started with confidence.

What Is Digital Art?

Digital art refers to artistic work done with the help of digital technology or presented through it. It can be computer-generated artwork, or a scanned image of a hand-drawn picture finished using digital tools and software.

Unlike the traditional art form, this new medium does not require you to depend on paper and physical paintbrushes. Rather, you use a digital canvas (such as a tablet or a computer), painting software, and digital paintbrushes to create compelling artwork.

Types Of Digital Art

There are several types of digital art. Some of the prominent types are as follows:

Digital Painting

Digital painting is the process of creating images using digital tools, such as a tablet, stylus, painting software, and digital paintbrushes.

Dynamic Painting

Dynamic painting refers to artwork that has been created totally or partially using an autonomous system.

2D Computer Graphics

2D Computer graphics is the process of generating digital images using a computer, mostly from two-dimensional models and using specific techniques.

3D Computer Graphics

3D Computer graphics represent the three-dimensional part of geometric data that can be found in almost all structures and models.

Algorithmic Or Fractal Art

Fractal art is a type of abstract art that involves calculating fractal objects and representing the results as animations, still digital images, and media.


Data-moshing is a procedure of manipulating media files to generate the desired visual images or effects on decoding the file.

Pixel Art

Pixel art is created with the help of specific software that enables images to be edited on the pixel level.   

Fine Art Photography

Fine art photography involves using digital cameras, mobile phones, or even tablets to capture and produce shots that express an emotion, idea, or message.

Photo Painting

Photo painting refers to the modification of a photographic image through editing and artistic manipulation.

Digital Collage

Digital collage uses virtual images taken from different sources and collaborated to create new artwork.

Things to know before starting Digital Art

Select the Tools to Get Started

The essential hardware and digital supplies you need to start your digital art endeavours are tablet and painting software. These tools are available at a wide range of prices. You can select them based on your requirement and budget.


You can choose from three main categories of tablets:

  • Graphics Tablet
  • Display Tablet
  • Standalone tablet

Let’s take a look at each of these tablets:

Graphics Tablet

A graphics tablet is a basic tool. It is the cheapest option among the three categories, but good enough to start with.

This tablet comprises two units: a touch-pad and a stylus, aka digital pen. However, these tablets do not come with a screen. So, you will need to connect a graphics tablet to a computer or a laptop using a USB cable. This will enable you to see the design you are creating on the monitor or the laptop screen.

To use a graphics tablet, you will have to get used to drawing on the device while keeping your eyes on the monitor or laptop screen.

Display Tablet

A display tablet is a slightly upgraded tool compared to a graphics tablet. Unfortunately, it is also more expensive.

This tablet comes with an in-built screen and enables you to see what you are drawing. However, like graphics tablets, display tablets are not stand-alone devices either. You can draw on the tablet directly, but you will have to connect it with a computer.

You can work more accurately and make corrections easily on a display tablet.

Standalone Tablet

As the name indicates, a standalone tablet can function alone and does not need to be connected to a computer or laptop. Unfortunately, these tablets are the most expensive among the three categories.

These portable tablets are often equipped with incredible screens that allow you to draw on the go. However, a standalone tablet may not work with all kinds of digital painting software. So, please check whether the model you select is compatible with your preferred drawing app or not.

You also need a pressure-sensitive stylus to draw on this tablet. If your tablet does not come with one, you will have to buy a compatible one separately. Please note that this may further increase your cost.

Digital Painting Software

There are plenty of digital painting apps and software for you to select. They are available in a wide price range, starting from totally free ones to costly options. As a beginner, you can start with free or low-budget software. Please ensure you pick software that is compatible with your tablet.

Most digital painting software and apps come with a free trial period. So, if you are opting for a paid one, opt for the free trial before investing in it.

Here are some of the popular free and paid digital painting software that you can opt for:

Free Digital Art Software and Apps

  • Krita
  • Gimp
  • Medibang Paint Pro
  • Autodesk Sketchbook

Paid Digital Art Software and Apps

  • Adobe Photoshop and Fresco app ($9.99) (per month)
  • Corel Painter ($19.99) (per month)
  • Procreate ($9.99) (one-time payment)
  • ArtRage($47) (one-time payment)
  • Affinity Photo / Designer ($49.99) (one-time payment)
  • Clip Studio Paint Pro ($49.99) (one-time payment)

Get Comfortable With The Software Interface

The software you select will have a toolbox with many little squares. These squares are the basic tools that you will need to use. You will have to concern yourself with just a few of these tools to learn how to draw and erase. The software will include digital paintbrushes as well.

To make yourself comfortable, spend time exploring each tool in the toolbox and know its function. When it comes to digital art, you will primarily be using a drawing tool, a selection tool, an erasing tool, and a transform or move tool. So, get the hang of these tools and learn to operate them smoothly.

Know The Shortcuts

Shortcuts are the commands that are used to perform a specific function. For instance, the hotkey command ctrl + x is used for the cut function.

Are you interested to know how you can use digital art to create your next masterpiece? This guide tells you all that you need to know about digital art to get started with confidence.

Knowing the shortcuts will help you to speed up your work. If you can’t remember them, write them down somewhere and keep them handy.

Warm Up With Simple Exercises

To become accustomed to the task of drawing on a digital medium, start with simple exercises. Engage yourself with drawing circles, squares, or ovals all across your software interface page. Try to make consistent figures to get a grip on the medium and understand how to go about the task.

Pay Attention To The Layers

Layers enable you to refine each element in your painting without causing any risk to the rest of your work. Start by experimenting with the layer menu of your software to know how to leverage it. You can begin by learning how to turn the layers on and off, rearrange them, merge them, and go on to discover how else you can achieve your desired result.

Start Your Creative Journey

Once you understand the functioning of the software and how you can use it to your advantage, it is time to let your creativity flow.

Remember that practice leads to progress, no matter which medium you are using for your art. So, practice regularly and be ready to try new things in your digital art realm.

The Way Ahead

Now that you have taken your first step into the world of digital art how about developing your skills further? The live interactive workshops on GoSocial offer you an easy way to learn more about digital art and improve your abilities. In addition, you can learn from your favourite creators on the platform and be a part of an enthusiastic community of aspiring digital artists.

Join GoSocial’s community of creators and lend wings to your digital art dreams!