digital illustration

The Beginner’s Guide to Create Digital Illustration

Drawing has evolved in many ways over the years from the traditional pencil art blending to digital art. Digital illustration is essentially the use of digital tools, such as a PC or tablet, even on phone, in combination with drawing software, such as Procreate, Sketchbook, and many more to create an illustration.

ProCreate: Procreate is the most powerful digital illustration app available for the iPad. It comes to quick and easy freestyle drawing, sketching, and painting, ProCreate is great !!

However, is not accessible to every artist who wants to shift from traditional art to digital. Since it is an app for iPad, artists who use Android tablets or computers may not be able to use it.

Instead, you can still make illustrations using other apps available today. One of the apps I’m using is Autodesk sketchbook.

digital illustration

APP I use to create Digital Illustrations

Autodesk Sketchbook is a popular drawing app for any platform devices and it delivers quality work. It is available on all devices, both Android and iOS and, also Windows. Sketchbook has over 190 customizable brushes. Like most drawing apps, you can also choose from a selection of pencils, inks, and markers, among others.

It also features the exclusive Copic® color library, which is a favorite among illustrators. Sketchbook also allows you to export your work as PSD, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and BMP.

I’ve created this little video tutorial to show you the basic principles of creating a digital illustration in Autodesk Sketchbook. This is definitely more of a beginner level of work, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t crack it straight away. All it takes is practice and perseverance. Below is the video tutorial along with a short written summary of the main steps.

Happy drawing!

Becoming a Digital Illustrator is no easy task. It takes building out your talent and skills, and most significantly passion. Before starting your journey make sure you are on the right path. In this article, you’ll learn all the basic steps to create a beginner-level digital illustration.


Autodesk SketchBook

THE EYEDROPPER TOOL: The eyedropper tool will come in handy a lot during your drawing. For example, I use the tool to select exactly the same color for the skin, dress color, or background color. To do this, select the shape you wish to color in, click the eyedropper tool, and click the shape with the color you want to copy. Now you can precisely match various colors across the canvas.

Coloring SketchBook digital illustration

PAINT BRUSH: This is the main tool that I use throughout the drawing. Brushes & erasers are tools used to add and remove color, respectively.

The varieties of brushes used in digital illustration are unlimited you can use the brushes according to your art. But in this video, I used just a paintbrush throughout the drawing to fill the large areas. You can even adjust the size, opacity, softness to create that unique brush strokes.

Paint brush SketchBook

FELT TIP PEN: I use the Felt tip pen to fill smaller areas and it also has the soft edges. So I really like this pen to fill the smaller areas as shown in this video I used for lips and eyebrows. You can even adjust the size, opacity, softness to create that unique brush strokes.

Autodesk SketchBook

LAYERS: Layers can be one of the most useful features of digital illustration if you know how to use them. These Layers separate different elements of an image, such as clothing from a model,  a highlight or a shadow, and work together to create an image without risking the rest of your work.

The most important thing to remember about layers is this: the order that layers are listed in your Layers panel is the order they will show up on your canvas. Layers that are higher up will be placed on top of layers underneath them. You can drag and drop layers to change their order in an instant. Once you finish with all the layers merge them together and save it.

Here you can see the layers before and after drawing in the image below.


Autodesk SketchBook


Related post, Drawing made easy | How I draw

First, select the image you want to use from your computer/phone using file->open.

digital illustration

Then create multiple layers like I shown in the video. Different layers for different elements of an image.

BACKGROUND: First, draw the outline of your background then choose the color of your choice from the color palette or use the eyedropper tool to select the color from the picture. Then fill the background with the Paintbrush.

IMAGE: Similar to the background draw the outlines of the different elements of your picture and fill the color matching to your dress and skin with the help of the eyedropper tool. To fill the color use the Paintbrush for large areas and felt tip pen for smaller areas.

Once you are done with everything merge all the layers together and save it. Sketchbook also allows you to export your work as PSD, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and BMP.

digital illustration

Once again remember it is a beginner-level digital art since I haven’t added any shadows, and highlights of the image.


Done With Your First Digital Masterpiece!

If you’ve made it this far, then congrats! You’ve made your first digital masterpiece.

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