This article will give you ten tips on how you can improve on digital illustrations on Adobe Photoshop. These are intended for beginners and people with mid-level Photoshop experience.
We hope this serves as a source of inspiration for those wanting to get better at their digital illustrations.
1. Begin with a Hand Drawn Sketch – If you were a manual artist, you would no doubt start with pencil and paper to get a basic sketch before you start filling in details. Why make digital illustration any different? It is much simpler to get the outlines right on paper, before you add the magic on Photoshop!
2. Smoothening – The brushes in your Photoshop pallete provide smoothening options. The enable you to provide a nice smooth finish, making your digital painting look more realistic. Start with the splatter and chalk brushes!
3. Brush Size – The square bracket keys on your computer’s key board are a quick shortcut to increasing or decreasing the brush size without going into menus. You will use this very often, so make a mental note of these keys.
4. Brush Imports – You can find many free downloads on the Internet that give you a variety of brushes to choose from. For instance, you could look at the Photoshop support site (Adobe) as a start.
5. Layers – Layers are one of the most useful tools on Photoshop. Try and avoid painting over the original sketch. Use layers instead. This way, any mistake you make could be corrected with minimal wastage of time and effort.
6. The Pen Tablet – If you are serious about digital art, you need to get hold of a pen tablet. One could argue that you can replicate pen effects with a mouse, and that is true to some extent. However, if you use something like the Intous4 tablet (Wacom), I can guarantee you will never regret it!
7. Painting – Start with a light source option and fill in the entire background. You will probably end up with a few white dots. Do not worry about these, use your brush to go over these dots and remember to do so on a new layer. Experiment with layer opacity to get the desired effects.
8. Flow and Opacity – Opacity is pretty easy to figure out – it changes the level of transparency of a layer or a brush stroke. Flow on the other hand replicates the effect of a certain amount of paint deposited on the brush. The more the flow level, the longer will the paint last, as you move the brush over a particular area.
9. Swatches – You can access the Unique Swatches Palette Edit from the Preset Manager on the menu. Choose your swatch options from the preset types. You could select a color, shift-click on the last one to delete the swatch. Next you could click on the foreground color to select the desired color. If you move the mouse over an empty area on the swatch palette, it switches to paint bucket mode, and again you simply need to click to add a color. Do this over and over to pin point your color scheme.
10 Save Your Swatches – Save the swatches by using the palette menu. Photoshop saves this as a library file format which can be reloaded into any other project on a later date.