Hello, yes, hi, I recently found your art and account and I love what you do. I'm turning 14 in April and I've asked for a drawing pad, but I have no idea how to use one as of yet. Have you got any tips or anything? Because I've wanted to try digital art for a while and your art makes me want to even more lmao. Thanks! - B.A.
BOI OH BOI DO I GOT SOME TIPS FOR U <3
(I’m not sure what kind of comp you’re going to be using, so I’ll list for both.)
FIRST: Drawing Programs; the free and the great.
-Firealpaca: Lightweight drawing program. I draw Recovery using this! It’s easy on the RAM if you have a weak comp/are paranoid about yours like I am, it is mainly for basic comic making, and has all the basic brushes you need (pen/pencil/airbrush/symmetry/etc). You can add your own brushes as well but they’re p basic settings. Has basic Animation/Gif making as well using Onion Mode! Layout is a piece of cake. Please note that If you leave it open for a week it’ll crash on you, even if you haven’t anything on it at the moment, and sometimes the brush sensitivity just stops working so you just have to close and then open it again. (Also I have no idea how to update it aside from deleting it completely and just downloading the new version from scratch, so thats a thing.) Mac/Windows
-MedibangPaint: This is basically FireAlpaca But Better. Has tons of screen tones, brush patterns, and tools. I don’t use it much because I’m used to FA’s layout and get confused with the the placement of tools in here, so if you can I highly suggest just going with this first. Also has basic animation/gif making! Has storage for the website as well, and you can upload more preset brushes. It’s v anime. This program has waaay more in terms of basically everything, so it just takes more RAM. NBD, you don’t have to have every brush downloaded from the storage ^u^. Mac/Windows
-Clip Studio Paint: Okay this one isn’t free, it’s a pricey one, HOWEVER once a year they take the price way fuckin down by at least 75%. Sign up for the email list and it’ll let you know when that precious day comes. It’s how I got it @u@, around christmastime? This program is basically MedibangPaint On Steroids. I do all of my digital-yet-tradition-style-painting on here! The brushes all have some neat af settings to play with, you can make your own brushes, has tons of screen tones, pre-made panels, and settings. You can save projects as basically anything you need, is a hardy program that almost never crashes, and It’ll take a nice chunk of space on your comp depending on how much memory you have but hey, its worth it. It’s much more complex layout-wise than the other two here, but you get used to it after playing around and watching tutorials haha.
-Mischief: It’s a 25$ app, has like four brushes and five layers only but is vector-based with an endless canvas. Not really worth having unless you like the vector thing. UP TO YOU. I spent forever with this one doing all that homestuck stuff, so it’s not really bad so much as it is a basic bitch. Mac
-MyPaint: I used this a bunch when I still did digital art on my windows laptop before I upgraded to a Mac. It’s easy on the comp and has plenty of brushes and settings. You can also get brush packages if you don’t feel like you have enough that comes with the program! Also has endless canvas; pretty sure you can just select an area and then export as is. I barely remember the rest but It’s pretty great. Windows/MacPorts(which I hate)
-GIMP: I hate this thing. I cannot figure it out for the life of me. It’s got loads of shit though, can handle layers, has plenty of brushes, and can do basic animation/gifs if you ever figure it out. Windows/mac
***You can always pay through the nose/use a student discount for the photoshop series and pay that shit monthly, those fuckers have literally everything, but I am a cheap college kid making minimum wage with a car payment; I’d rather just pay once/not at all.
TABLETS: treat that shit like a newborn babe 24/7
-I have literally only ever owned a Wacom Intuos4. It has lasted me six years, and at least five moves across many miles. I broke one of the cord ports the day I opened it by holding it wrong, have one left, and now treat it like it’s going to die if the cord moves badly. Please be aware that if you break both ports, you better either sodder it back together yourself or upgrade to smth else because it costs about as much as the tablet itself was bought at to be fixed. Good news, though, it comes with at least six extra pen nibs, has programable buttons on the side (that I have never bothered to use) and a scroll bar in case you’re too lazy to use the keyboard (…I don’t really use that either unless I’m just scrolling through tumblr LMFAO).
-I would die for a Cintiq.
HOT TIPS: its useful.
-most of the programs listed use the same keyboard shortcuts. MEMORIZE THEM. It’s pretty easy, since you’ll use em a lot. [cntrl/cmmd+T] lets you resize what you just drew on that layer, and [cntrl/cmmd+z] is undo. I use those the most, for obvious reasons.
-vector-based programs are pretty great because when you resize an image it looks prefect. You can’t do that with a program that isn’t, so I just resize the base roughdraft and draw the lineart again on the layer above so I don’t get weird JPEG quality lines.
-You can use a ruler with your tablet, just slap it on and go, but honestly most programs have settings for that. just use those.
-You can also trace stuff on your tablet, so long as the paper isn’t too thick. I just scan/take a photo and then open it up in the program, though. much easier.
-SAVE CONSTANTLY. Art programs like to crash on you, even when they’re hardy and you have a good comp. make it a habit to quick save your work.
-Use a desk and have good posture. You’ll be able to draw a hell of a lot longer if you do. I personally keep fucking up my knees by sitting on my legs as I work out of habit, and don’t actually have a desk chair. Keep your screen at eye level and at a fair distance to prevent eyestrain and also neck-strain haha
-Chances are you won’t be used to the tablet right away. Most places you buy from say it’ll take a couple of months to get used to how weird it is to draw while not looking at your own hand, so don’t be frustrated If your drawings look a bit off at first.
-if you draw at least one thing every day, by the end of the year you’ll have improved exponentially. I literally made this blog to make myself draw once a day.
-don’t be afraid to check out speedpaints and tutorials. It’s always good to get more familiar with the program you’re using and new techniques previously unconsidered.
-get familiar with clipping layers. They are insanely useful; you clip one layer to the one below and then when you draw it only shows up on the drawing of that layer below. Shit is a godsend if you’re bad at coloring in the lines/lazy. The bucket tool is also really useful, and you can adjust the expansion by pixel so you don’t miss anything between the lines.
-experiment with your brushes, shit be fun af
-warmup your wrists before and after drawing. prevent swollen veins and such. dont want hand pain/numbness, its reaaaaally bad.
—basically if your hands hurt stop for the day.
-PNGS are for internet, JPEGS are for printing/fucking with quality (cough hack homestuck)
-resolution doesn’t have to be much more than 350 dpi if its just going to be on a webpage. Maximize that shit if you’re going to be printing, though. Especially if you put stuff on redbubble.
-DeviantArt has this thing called Sta.sh where you can dump art, keep it in perfect quality and just share it with certain people with a link instead of all of the website. Great for storing commission pieces, its the only reason I have DA in the first place.
-you get a different audience depending on what site you use for posting art, so keep that in mind for the kind of feedback you want.
-after awhile of drawing using a tablet, you may lose patience/forget that in traditional art there isn’t an undo button lmfao It’s cool; you don’t have to choose one over the other or anything.
-Honestly you can work around almost anything. You just invent new ways and techniques for yourself and you’ll do just fine.
Aaaaand that’s all I got for today! Thanks for sticking around <3