New recruit with a question about how to get started/set up for digital illustration practice

  • Hello everyone,
    I just joined SVS yesterday, am quite excited, I will have a get-to-know me post at some point later 😉 , but for now, am wondering how I can get started learning about photoshop (or am open to other options).
    I am not very "techie" at all . I have a laptop with Windows 10 (and it took me 10 minutes to figure out what Windows version I had in preparation for this post lol). That's it, all I have.......
    Am I able to purchase something , eg tablet/stylus etc that I plug into this laptop in order to get started? (See I said I was a total newbie!) Also thoughts on digital programs to get started? I am looking to keep it reasonably simple to get started. I am a crossover from traditional painting......looking to do more creative illustration and maybe have a bit more fun. Any advice would be very appreciated on what products might help.
    thanks in advance and look forward to hanging out here 🙂

  • @coley Welcome to the forums! Keeping things simple is a great idea, especially when you're starting out. I know at least one person who has a 4000$ paper weight of a cintiq.

    here's my thoughts on hardware/software


    -Look for a graphics tablet like a Wacom Intuos. They'll range from under a hundred, to a couple of hundred bucks. A tablet like this will let you draw with a stylus. It is NOT a screen like an ipad or cintiq. It's just a slab of plastic. But it's cheap and once you get used to it it'll work just fine.

    -Someday if you have money to burn, you can invest in a cintiq so you can draw right on the screen. There are alternative these days (huion, xp-pen etc) but I've had generally bad experiences with them. Wacom is top of the game for a reason.

    Software options:

    -Photoshop: you can pay a monthly fee and ditch it if it's not working out. There are also photoshop tutorials for EVERYTHING. If you google 'photoshop' and 'whatever you want to paint/draw/do' there's a very good chance you'll get a free tutorial as the first hit.

    -Corel Painter: You can try it for free, but it costs a few hundred bucks to buy. It's geared toward emulating traditional art mediums. I use this, but there's not much in the way of tutorials or lessons on how to use it. Try it, but photoshop's probably a better bet.

    -Clipstudio: Works greats, it's cheaper, but it's more geared toward comics and manga.

    -Free options: Programs like Krita are out there, and they work just fine, but there's not as much support and it's a bit of a coin toss as to whether it'll work with your hardware.

    Welcome again! I look forward to seeing some of the art you come up with 🙂

  • @art-of-b A good art software for beginners is Autodesk sketchbook pro and it is free, I also prefer ClipStudio paint to Photoshop.

  • Welcome to the forum!!

    Another option would be to invest in an Ipad pro and apple pencil. I used to have a Cintiq and sold it after buying my Ipad. This thing is AMAZING. You can buy the procreate app for about 50 $ and honestly, with the recent updates they made, it's getting pretty damn close to photoshop.

    If you want more info on the Ipad I'd be more than happy to answer questions! 🙂

    Welcome again!

  • thank you so much to everyone who answered my questions! I have a guide now for some things to investigate without getting totally overwhelmed by it. I really really appreciate the help 🙂

  • I just started on digital and got the XP-Pen because I like to turn my paper and found the tablets with no screen unusable for my habits. I always reverted to paper with those.
    I think I've decided on corel after doing free trials with several . Painter Essentials is much cheaper than full painter. It feels much better than photoshop to me. I like clip studio too though and will probably buy both in the end.

  • @braden-hallett I am new to digital painting and drawing as well. About a year ago I bought an ipad pro. I use procreate with it and have photoshop on my desktop the only thing is that I am switching from my desktop to a mac book pro and now will have to do the monthly prescription for photoshop. I want to learn more about photoshop beside what I used it for before, croping, sizing and reformatting. My big question is do I just get the basic photoshop version or should I get the next step up which allows you to get illustrator? Can I just have illustrator? It sounds like it is more geared towards what I am working towards. I would appreciate any advice you or anyone might have! Thanks

  • @hugowee

    I really don't know much about illustrator. I suppose you could always get the next subscription up to get illustrator for a month and if it's not for you then ditch it.

    As for whether you can get illustrator on its own it'd probably be best to check Adobe's FAQs or shoot them an email.

    Good luck 🙂

  • @braden-hallett Thanks for your response I guess I will just have to see what works for my my approach. Like I said I have only used it for cropping, resizing, and formatting, otherwise I am learning what else I could do with it for work approach.

  • @thiskatecreates , with an xp pen you are able to turn the tablet? is that correct? thanks 🙂

  • @hugowee I use Illustrator in my day job and it's great if your illustration style is more shape or vector based, or if you're designing collage patterns or type based art. I personally don't like Illustrator for anything but these things as I find it a bit more fiddly than photoshop and takes some getting used to.
    It depends on what your current style is or what you want to learn, I think you can probably do a free trial with Adobe so you can give it all a go and see which you prefer!

  • @coley I'll try tonight. I have been having some trouble with having to disconnect and reconnect the usb cable because it loses connection to the pen and some trouble with wobbly lines, FWIW. I'm not sure if it's the tablet or my relatively old computer though.

  • @thiskatecreates thanks, I realized now that maybe I was confused, you mentioned tablets without a screen in terms of turning the paper /tablet. So that makes sense, I thought it was a difference between xp pen and wacom but I don't think so. I sure wish I could afford an ipad 🙃 maybe later if I stick with it!

  • @hannahmccaffery Thank you so much. I know for so many, the computer side comes a lot more intuitively but it is a huge learning curve for myself. Is the vector part of illustrator better for the end outcome in print? Thanks again!

  • @coley I was holding the tablet in my lap. With the usb cable issues I quit doing that and set it up on a desk. I don't see a rotate option in the settings, though you can rotate the paper in some art software. Clip Studio lets you. With the no-screen tablet I would constantly wind up moving it rotationally accidentally.

  • @hugowee I was the same when I first started my day job back in 2016, I was a traditional illustrator and I was coming into a job that was all computer based illustration and design. But with practice and watching tutorials when you get stuck or want to achieve a certain look is the best way to do it, I found watching timelapses of illustrations being done really helped me with Illustrator and Photoshop as I saw what could be achieved and then tried it for myself, and then it just clicks and you know what you're doing. I still struggle with Illustrator as I don't use it often enough, but there's so much online to help you with it especially when you're just starting out.
    Urrrm I'd say yes, only because when producing vector art on Illustrator, you will be able to scale up your vectors without losing detail, you can do it on Photoshop too, but I find it quicker on Illustrator 🙂

  • @thiskatecreates thanks for the info 🙂

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