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Taking a stab at digital art

Like all of us, this extended time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a strange moment in our lives. One day I'm cleaning the entire house and pulling weeds in the driveway and the following day I don't even change out of pajamas and just keep hitting "next episode" on Netflix. (Did I even put on deodorant those days? I sure hope so...)

I have, however, spent my non-pajama days this past few months doing some new things at home when creativity strikes me! I'm in the middle of a few cross stitch projects that I designed. I'm now over 70 hours of playtime in Animal Crossing. On the day I'm writing this blog, I'm hitting 40 straight days of studying beginner Japanese on Duolingo (in preparation for a 2021 Japan trip that may or may not happen).

I learned how to create this scene with zero experience in digital art

Digital art

My latest interest has been digital art. Being an active person on Instagram, I have encountered some amazing digital artists. I wish I could create the art that they do! I've always wanted to try it, but I can't draw/paint for the life of me and even the step-by-step painting and wine classes we've done in the past still look awful when I finish a piece.

On a whim one day, after watching someone talk about it as a sponsor on their YouTube video, I paid for a Skillshare account. It's a site with thousands of video lessons on so many creative topics. Last week, I casually typed in "Procreate" into the search and Charly Clements popped up. She teachers three classes on the Procreate iPad app that had the exact style I adore. One lesson was about creating a space using shapes so I decided to take that.

My tools: iPad Pro (original 2015 model), Apple Pencil (original model), Procreate iPad app (it's only $10!), Pinterest (to look for reference images)

My first layer, a horrid "sketch" of what I'd be putting in this piece

I ended up learning that digital art could be for me! You don't have to create something entirely out of your head. Charly's course taught me how to look up reference photos (because you don't have to design an entire chair out of your brain). Since I've never taken art in school before, I was amazed at how helpful having reference photos could be!

The best part about digital art in my opinion? LAYERS. You start with an ugly sketch and then make it slightly less ugly in the layer above it. Continue this process over and over until it's finally something that looks like what you were imagining in your head!

My first Nintendo Switch sketch VS the final version many layers later

I've also learned some great techniques on how to create shapes and use them to my advantage in the Procreate iPad app. The Nintendo Switch from above? I think that whole section had about 8 layers before it was complete and I merged it into the final item you see. One of the most helpful parts about digital art is you only have to make half of the object. You can duplicate and rearrange all day long!

From start to finish

I finished this scene after spending some time on it here and there over the course of four days. The class I took online also teaches how to add animation to your image, but I need a little more time to practice on the static artwork first before diving into that.


Disclaimer: I currently have no affiliation with any of the brands listed in this post. I simply wanted to be transparent about the tools I've used.


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