Digital Painting Tips For The Complete Beginners

Read about digital painting tips for the complete beginners, if you are a traditional painting artist or want to know more about digital painting experience using just a smartphone and s-pen.


I would not claim that I am a professional digital painting artist or an expert in giving digital paintings tips. But, definitely I am a complete beginner myself. I look at digital painting as a hobby and would like to share my experience of using smartphone screen as a digital canvas to learn new techniques in painting.

Painting is one my hobbies and I enjoy the feel of real paper using watercolors.

Why do I paint?

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. — Pablo Picasso

My perception about techniques used in traditional art paintings changed a bit when I saw few artists using smartphone for creating digital art. Inspired by those smartphone paintings I decided to give it a try and share the beginners digital painting tips here on euphonic space.

Attached below are my first few digital paintings that I painted using my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Note 3) using the digital s-pen.

Attached below are few traditional paintings I painted using watercolor on real paper.

When I compare both traditional and digital painting techniques, I could say that the joy of creating paintings using both art forms is the same. Only thing that changes is the approach towards the painting materials & equipment used to create the artwork.

I enjoyed myself creating the digital paintings but the process of getting started was not that easy. For me, it was like learning a new hobby or new art form.

Here are 10 digital painting tips for complete beginners

Digital pens cannot to replace actual brush or pencil

Digital pens converts the pressure signals into electrical signal to create a specific pattern on digital screens. Yes, we can write and draw naturally, just like a pen or pencil, but the easy and comfort of traditional brush cannot be matched with digital pens if you are trying the digital painting for the first time.

As a complete beginner, the experience of using a digital pen on my smartphone was not that awesome as compared to traditional painting techniques. I had to learn new ways of creating artistic stroke lines using digital pen.

Texture of the canvas affects the learning curve

Digital canvas or smartphone screens are friction-less and doesn’t have that comfortable rough texture as compared to the paper or real canvas. This makes the learning process a completely new learning activity for the complete beginners.

Once you start and practice regularly, the stroke techniques and hand movements techniques would evolve.

Digital painting techniques could affect your creativity

Various types of creative brushes are available in almost all digital painting software. We can combine all our brush requirements into one single box using our digital painting software. We can re-size the brush, change the opacity and color – but everything is digital here.

There is no room for nurturing painting skills as compared to traditional way of learning to use different brushes and pressure techniques to bring similar effects in your artwork.

With digital painting your primitive techniques become less important as the digital software handles it on your behalf. For example, I used a comb brush to create the fine hair line texture used in one of the paintings. Remember, digital devices and software cannot bring creativity in your art making process. They are just the medium to take your creativity to next level.

Size of the digital painting canvas matters

As a complete beginner, I started with the smartphone. So, the screen size was limited to an 11 inch smartphone screen. It was really difficult to zoom in and zoom out while creating a painting of fairly large resolution. You have to understand the resolution of the digital canvas as well as the maximum pixel size of the brush you are using.

Things could get better if you use other digital painting tablets with fairly large screen size or connected to a photo editing tool with large visible area on your computer screen.

Trust least on color combinations used on digital screen

With recent technology advancements we are able to see millions of colors through various screens like super-amoled, LED, LCD and plasma screens. This is one of the important digital painting tips, since the computer representation almost change the intended colors on your artwork.

While learning to paint digitally, I noticed that the color combination looked completely different on my laptop screen. See yourself for the color difference below.

Digital painting tips
Color reproduction on normal desktop/TFT screens Vs Super AMOLED Smartphone Screens. Colors on Portrait in left hand side will appear different on normal screen.

Size of brush and pressure matters

Digital paintings software empower people to use digital techniques to create artwork. However, that doesn’t mean that road to creating digital art would be easy.

With up to thousand levels of pen pressure, I enjoyed the sensitivity that might be required while painting. But the overall experience was never close to painting on real paper.

Digital painting tips
Basic brush types and stoke variations in SketchBook mobile app

Think about digital painting canvas as a layered concept

Everything that we do in digital painting software can be structured and organized on different layers. Furthermore, layers maintain the drawings so that we can change the color and resolutions as per our needs and requirements.

I hope you find above digital painting tips quite helpful. Probably, I would soon come up with tutorials about digital painting on smartphones. Please share above tips if you find it valuable.

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Published by Bharat

Hi, I'm Bharat. An artist, blogger, musician and digital marketing professional dedicated to sharing musing and stories about music, art and mindful resonance! Follow me @bharatpc