Digital Art



  • Dear fellow SVSers,
    I am new to the group and have never worked in digital art before. I am hoping for your input as I consider how to go about this. Is photoshop more common or better than procreate or is it the other way around? Is the iPad and apple pencil a better route or is the wacom tablet/pen the way to go? Any other thoughts/ideas/input would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!


  • Pro SVS OG

    If you are new to digital art and want a quick and easy access that can bring you all the way from beginner to pro, nothing beats the iPad + Apple pencil + Procreate in my opinion.
    ProCreate combines a relatively intuitive interface with all the flexibility and power of a professional tool. It has very few limitations and you can ignore them at the start and for many years to come (and in a couple of years it may have overcome whatever small distance it has from Photoshop).
    The new update also has loads of new brushes that are uncannily close to traditional media - which can offer a nice transition if you’re more used to traditional. And an iPad is still cheaper than a Cintiq, for sure (I would not recommend a non-screen tablet, as the learning curve for those is very steep).



  • @smceccarelli Thank you so much!



  • If you're a PC user and already have a suitable PC. Photoshop can be purchased as a subscription (creative cloud) for abour 52.00 per month. For that price you get to use all the other Adobe packages, such as illusrator, InDesign etc. Then, there are other graphic display tablets that are much, much less expensive than the Cintic. For example, the X-Pen, which I know several of us have. I am very happy with my 15.6 inch. You have to make sure you get the up to date one with the better screen. I've been doing this for about four months now, I only spent about 300.00 on my graphic display tablet and I feel my only limitation right now is me 😊!



  • @Reem-Kabbarah Both @smceccarelli and @deborah-Haagenson are quite right. I suppose it all depends on a few of your personal factors.

    Do you want to be mobile and take your workspace with you while oot and aboot? Get an ipad. Do you have a computer with photoshop already and want to stay home in your warm cozy studio while you work? Buy a cintiq or alternative (I'd stay away from plastic slab tablets).

    As for the software, it's a lot like any other medium. The right one is the one you know how to use. All the different programs can offer little perks in one way or another but, for the most part, they can all do the basics. There's very little wrong with any of them for the most part.



  • @deborah-Haagenson @Reem-Kabbarah It's also worth noting that if you don't want the full Creative Cloud for $52/month, Adobe has a Photography package (includes Photoshop) which is $10/month.


  • Pro

    @deborah-Haagenson I get the photography plan (just Photoshop and Lightroom) and that's only $10 a month. I really don't think a beginner needs the whole Creative Cloud suite.



  • @NessIllustration Neither do I. I contacted them recently and I didn't know I had a choice. Thank you for letting me know that!



  • Hey! When I was new to digital art, I didn't know where to start either, so I went the route that seemed to work best with the equipment I already had. I went with a cheapie Wacom pen tablet + Photoshop purchased with a student discount. It had relatively low start-up costs...and it worked out. I didn't hate drawing with it, and I upgraded to a Cintiq when I had the money to. That was years ago, and I don't think Photoshop the best solution for people new to digital art now. Especially since Photoshop has a LOT of brush lag on a range of different tablet computers that would be appealing to digital art beginners. For example, Photoshop + a Surface Pro 6 can be an affordable package, but Photoshop is nightmarishly slow for me on my SP6. There are plenty of other drawing apps for windows if you want to go that route.

    What I'd suggest, if it's possible for you, is to head to a nearby tablet seller, and just see if you can draw on any/all of the tablets that you can get your hands on. Best Buy is my suggestion if you live in the states. If they don't have any pens out on the floor, see if you can get a sales associate to help out. It's a great idea to see what you might enjoy drawing on before you pick out what to buy. Drawing with an Apple Pencil on an iPad is a much different experience than drawing with a Surface pen on a Surface Pro/Surface Book, which is much different than drawing with a Wacom pen on a Cintiq. They all have different form factors, screen textures, pen/pencil types, programs, etc.

    You won't be able to test out drawing programs in-store, but you'll at least get to handle the device you want to buy, and can be more confident that you'll enjoy drawing on whatever you choose to buy!



  • Hi @Reem-Kabbarah, I second what @smceccarelli suggested! That’s exactly what I did.

    I use procreate exclusively, but only because it’s convenient with my iPad Pro. Unless I can earn more than a subscription in photoshop costs, I don’t think I’ll be transitioning to photoshop anytime soon.



  • Thank you all for this valuable input. So grateful that I posted the question. Things make more sense now and it was wonderful to have you all chime in 🙂



  • I personally recommend Photoshop and a small Wacom tablet to start. While the Adobe subscription is expensive, it's much easier to try out for a bit compared to investing in an iPad Pro (there are also cracked versions of PS that you might be able to find for free). That being said, I have heard good things about Procreate and that's it's more intuitive at the beginning, but there are so many Photoshop tutorials online that I don't think it's too hard to learn.

    But the biggest reason to go with Photoshop is really that it's the industry standard. If you're ever planning to get an in-house art job at a company, they'd be using Adobe programs and a lot of people you're working with in a freelance setting might also prefer you to just send them the full layered Photoshop file.

    If it's just for you to use then you're probably fine either way and it depends on your personal preference/style of working 🙂



  • I think I agree with @Melanie-Ortins . I tried using a different program and just could not get the quality I am with Photoshop. It did take me almost a year to get comfortable with it. The videos online and @Will-Terry 's basic Photoshop video helped a ton. I finally was able to do more professional work with a wacom tablet (not an expensive one, either)than with just my Surface book 2 and surface pen alone.
    I think it really depends on your level of commitment. If you are serious about illustration, learn Photoshop, since it is the industry standard. It would be better to be overqualified than under. If you are a student you can get it relatively cheap.


  • SVS OG

    When I switched to digital all I used was a wacom intuos small and an old free version of photoshop from school. After using it a year and causing me hand problems, I decided to upgrade to an ipad pro and procreate. My ipad pro helped me tons in working with colors. However, as I worked more on professional projects, I encountered Procreate’s limitations when in comes to print. Especially since my illustrations in procreate are in RGB and my clients need them in CMYK. Just this month, I bought a cintiq pro 16. I’m still to upgrade my desktop but I have a strong feeling things will go smoothly. So I guess my suggestion to you is to start small, spend small at first, and when you’re comfortable with digital art then perhaps you should consider upgrading.



  • Thanks again everyone! Was away due to schedule changes!


Log in to reply