The Photoshop & digital painting challenge

At the beginning of this year, I’ve read an article called 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person. And it got stuck in my mind. In particular, this bit:

…let’s pledge to do fucking anything — add any skill, any improvement to your human tool set, and get good enough at it to impress people.

Which lead to me picking up my tablet, the trial of Photoshop CC from the Adobe site, and watching tutorials, especially Ctrl+Paint’s Digital Painting 101 and Andrei Țerbea’s Beginner’s Digital Art Tutorials (which are awesome and free, because some people, like these guys, are awesome).

Today is day 3 of my digital paintings trials and tribulations and, probably because it’s been more than a week when I failed my pledge to go to bed sooner than midnight, it struck me that I should track my slow progress and frustrations I encountered in the hopes they will help some other pitiful untalented soul like myself to learn a bit of digital painting.


Here is what I accomplished so far:


Here is a list of super useful very n00b tips that I learned. The kind no one will ever tell you, because they are just so basic that any idiot should know them. But I did not know them. Did I mention I am the biggest Photoshop and drawing n00b in the Universe?

1. When you create a new file, you can use an A4 size in pixels by selecting the A4 preset, which will be shown in millimetres, and then choosing pixels.

2. You need to know your shortcuts. Really. And not the ones on your keyboard, because keyboard and mouse is something you will NOT be using in digital painting. So read your graphic tablet manual, I mean it. And then practice like your grandma, looking at your buttons before clicking, going sloooowww. It gets better, fast.

3. Computers help you. A lot 🙂 So you CAN draw straight lines (Shift + click or click+Shift+click for obliques), you can pick and choose your colours (colour picker, the magic key is Alt), you can select and copy/ paste with the classical Ctrl+C/ Ctrl+V, and you can move around bits and pieces of your art using the Move tool. True stuff.

4. Learning from tutorials and other abundant material posted for free by experts helps a lot. For example, tips like what tools to use from Photoshop, because that software has a huge scary range of features and you will only be using a handful,  especially if you are a n00b like me. Also brushes; you have a thousand to choose from, but you only need 3.

5. You will never be perfect, even if you master this skill. So don’t aim for perfection, just doodle. It will suck in the beginning, and you will hate it, and be frustrated, but every experienced artist sais it gets better in time if you practice, and I believe them whole heartedly.

Digital painting is kinda like the gym, you need to pick it up fully aware that it will hurt in the beginning, but also that it will get better fast enough, if you keep it up. And again just like the gym, you have to have fun, so doodle what you really like and let yourself slowly befriend your inner artist.


I might be recording my progress. I believe it would be more useful than expressing this in words.

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