Getting Started

Everything you need to make some digital artwork!

Computer

If your computer or laptop does not lag and runs software or games nicely, then you don’t need to spend money on a brand new one. Got a gaming computer? That’ll do! If there are minor issues, consider upgrading some parts. I understand not all artists are tech geeks so I will break down what these parts do. You can also do digital art on an apple iPad with some drawing software! 

Computer building

You’re an artist, I get it, not a computer wiz! Sometimes building your computer really helps make running your softwares perfectly. Here are a few resources to build or purchase your computer!

Micro Center

Micro Center is like the toys r us for computers! if you are really new to computers or lost on an issue, talk to one of the employees there, they are masters and are always down to help you! You can also custom build your computer on their website.

Best Buy

There’s a Best Buy everywhere! It’s another great place to ask some experts about prebuilt computers or specific issues, and a place to pick up some parts for your computer. Thanks Geek Squad for all of your services, we’d be lost without you!

PC Part Picker

This website is one of the most recommended by other people when you want to build a PC. It may seem like a lot of PC gaming stuff going on but this is a great website overall to build a computer that fits your needs! Online PC building websites are great to customize your parts at your own pace and compare prices. Try it out, and read reviews on certain parts!

Desktop vs Laptop

The ultimate battle! Really its with your preference. Desktops invite you to custom build the inside of your computer; need more ram, buy it, need a new SSD, buy that too! With a laptop however, its pretty much you get what you get, but the portability is awesome! If you can afford it, get both! If you are a traveling artist, bring that laptop with you! If you are a stay at home pj wearer, station yourself at your desktop computer.

Memory

You need to store all of your stuff don’t you? The memory on your computer is called RAM. They’re these long chips that are actually pretty easy to install. Another is getting some drives. Solid state drives can hold up to Gigabytes or Terabytes of memory so these are very good to install in your computer. Having a flash-drive (aka. memory stick) is helpful to store some projects and even take them with you.

Tip: Put your software into your solid state drives. They will run way better than ordinary hard-drives. Then, use the hard-drives to store your work.

Cloud Storage

Online storage is your best friend! In case you lose the physical drive, and if computer gets into wacky situations, its best to have your work backed up on an online drive that you can access on any computer with your private login information. These examples are very similar in terms of storing files such as word documents, videos, psds, pngs, zips, and more. You can even access your cloud storage through your mobile phone and share with others! 

Google Drive

Have a gmail account? Then you have Google Drive! Your first 15 GB is free with your Google account.

One Drive

Cloud storage powered by Microsoft, the same company that made Word and Powerpoint. Your first 5 GB is free! 

iCloud

Apple’s cloud storage software! It should already come with your apple products such as iPhone, iPad and mac computers. Everyone gets 5 GB of space free.

Tip: Don’t want to pay for more storage? Just make more accounts! Put the personal stuff in your personal account and your artwork into your art account. Just keep track on that login information!

Graphic Tablets

Ah yes… the tablet, the ultimate tool for a digital artist. There are different types of tablets you can choose from.

Graphic Tablets are more affordable, where you can draw upon and your creation shows up on your computer monitor.
Example shown: Wacom Intuos

Display tablets you can draw on the screen and your creation shows up on the display, but needs to be hooked up to a computer.
Example shown. Wacom Cintique

All-in-one tablets you can bring around with you with no need for a computer.
Example Shown: Microsoft Surface Pro

Wacom Intuos

Wacom Cintique

Microsoft Surface Pro

The really cool thing about tablets is that the pen is pressure sensitive, so the harder to press the bolder your lines, and the faster and lighter you draw and press, the gentler your lines. This will give you a realistic drawing experience as if you drawing with physical pencil and paper materials.

 

Now some digital art don’t even require a tablet, such as simple video editing, web designing, etc. Basic 3D modeling involves a lot of clicking around too. However, if you want to 3D sculpt, a tablet would be a good idea. If you are doing any of the type of digital art I listed earlier, a cheap tablet might be a good idea just in case you want to make your own assets and drawings.

Tablet Retailers

Time to get your first pen tablet! Here are some popular retailers that sell some great products for digital artists. There are more tablets out there, but these are the most popular retailers that you may know of already. 

Wacom

Probably one of the most famous pen display and tablet company out there! Lots of digital artist get their very first pen tablet from Wacom and there are so many different ones!

Apple

Look into Apple iPads for a on-screen drawing experience! Apple products are great for portability, and cloud sharing. 

Microsoft - Surface

Microsoft’s surface products are real neat! Very portable, light, and you can even detach the screen from the keyboard, fold it, and use it as a touch screen or pen tablet!

Samsung - Tablets

Samsung tablets are great too for art and design! Drawing pen is included in their tablets so you don’t have to drop in extra money unlike the others.

Tip: Some tablets come with free software! An example is the Wacom Intuos with Bluetooth, which comes with Clip Paint Studio and a trial of Painter Essentials! Again, do your research, you may hit a good deal!
Printers

Printers are great too if you plan on making your work as prints, stickers, posters, and more. 3D printers are the most expensive, where you can print your very own 3D models and paint them by hand! If you are planning to sell your art, research some printers! 

Printer Retailers and Brands

Basically check your local Walmart, Best Buy, Micro Center, Amazon, etc for these printer brands! Scroll through their sites, compare printers, and read reviews. Most of their printers look the same but some companies may have some better deals than the other. All companies pretty much have the same “about us” section and goals… to give their customers a great experience with their printers. Some cool examples of printers are wireless, inkjet, all in one and portable printers.

Espon

Printers, Ink, Projectors, Scanners, Paper, Smart Glasses, Robots and More. Innovative Products. Free Ground Shipping. Apple Compatibility. HD Ink.

Canon

Another famous printer and electronic retailer! I suggest looking into inkjet printers to get more sleek and beautiful results. Some printers also have wireless capability! 

HP

HP is also a retailer for computers and other electronic accessories.
Software
Heard of Photoshop? Well that’s one example of some art software! Software is the program or application on your device that you use to create your art. Here is a table of some popular software below, along with their prices. Digital artists have their own personal preferences on what they like to use, and you will find yours! And if you’re a student, take advantage of professional software’s student deals.
Software Name
Uses
Price
Free Trial
Student Version?
Adobe Photoshop
Photo Editing
Digital Painting
Illustration
Animation
Graphic Design
20.99/mo (single app) or 52.99/mo all creative cloud apps
7 Days Free
Adobe Creative Cloud $19.99/mo first year
Adobe Illustrator
Illustration
Vector Art
20.99/mo (single app) or 52.99/mo all creative cloud apps
7 Days Free
Adobe Creative Cloud $19.99/mo first year
Adobe After Effects
Video Editing
Animation
Motion Graphics
20.99/mo (single app) or 52.99/mo all creative cloud apps
7 Days Free
Adobe Creative Cloud $19.99/mo first year
Krita
Digital Painting
Illustration
2D Animation
FREE
Clip Studio Paint
Digital Painting
Illustration
Comic/Manga
2D Animation
$49.99
3 Months Free
Paint Tool Sai
Digital Painting
$50.81
30 Days Free
Autodesk Maya
Professional
3D Modelling and Animation
Realistic Simulation
Rendering
$1620/yr or
$205/mo
30 Days Free
2 years FREE for students
Blender
3D Modelling and Animation
FREE
zBrush
Professional
3D Sculpting, Texturing and Painting
39.95/mo
30 Days Free
zBrush Core Mini
Entry Level
3D Sculpting
FREE

Tip: Try to avoid pirated free versions of art software. Protect yourself from viruses and illegal action! There are always a way to get software at the most affordable price, so please follow your research!

Then just practice!

You got everything you need, just brush up on those art skills and learn to draw and create! Practice everyday, draw something, watch videos, familiarize yourself with your new tech. Soon your fingers will remember all those hot keys, menus, and eventually your own art style! You won’t be a master right away, so understand everyone learns at a different pace. Take your time, and have fun too!

https://line-of-action.com/

Improve your figure drawing techniques! Draw during a time counter, challenging yourself to capture a readable moving figure on your paper. Practice from nude models, animals, expressions, hands, environments and more!

https://www.pinterest.com/

Start making an art board pining references for your art! Pinterest generates things they think you will love and add to your boards.

https://figurosity.com/

Reference from a variety of 3D models. Each are their own character with their own pose styles. You can even change the perspective of the 3D model when you subscribe to special memberships.

https://youtube.com/

Duh, I had to list Youtube! Learn from other artists around the world, watch tutorials, comment and look toward to new uploads. Simply just search what you want to learn about … “how to draw”… and poof! Psst.. and also make. a playlist of your favorite tutorials.

Now if you’re really serious about digital art…

School! Look up online classes; there are some out there for free. Even your local tech school or community college may have some programs you can sign up for. Learning from a professional who experienced working in the digital art career field and has years of experience definitely helps. Plus, you will be around other students who are willing to learn like you. Plus, school is fun, and the chance to make professional connections! 

Digital art is very do-able with the most affordable equipment! I started digital art by drawing in Microsoft Paint and animating frame-by-frame with Windows Movie Maker… that’s all I had access to when I was like 8 years old. Eventually I upgraded to way better software like Paint Tool Sai and Adobe products. I took a digital art course in high school that introduced me to many different software that I still use today. Also, I personally had my first tablet for over 12 years and I still use it (Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch)! I did buy a new affordable tablet since the driver of my old one does not work for my new MacBook for school… it was time for an upgrade anyways!