What’s a good starter digital illustration class?

  • There are a few classes that seem like they would be good starting classes for digital painting and I’m not sure which one is the right pick. I’m particularly interested in learning to draw and paint without exact reference which I understand is a bit of a separate thing.
    So just any classes that you think might fit the bill here let me know!

  • Moderator

    If you're interested in learning digital tools, Will Terry has several courses: Beginning Photoshop, 10 Step Digital Painting, and iPad pro Painting in Procreate. Lee White also has a Creating Custom Brushes in Photoshop class.

    But they're not really going to help you learn to draw without reference... Drawing from the imagination is a skill that's peppered all through practically every course... I, too, struggle with exactly what you're talking about. I want to be able to create great work that doesn't look like I'm simply copying reference, and I constantly struggle to find the correct reference for what I need. Three classes that really helped me imagine how to use my visual reference better and not be trapped by it were Stylizing Human Characters and Posing Characters both with Jake Parker, as well as Shane Hunt's Effective Vehicle Design.

    I also found How to Draw Everything to be particularly helpful, and it is the first class in the SVSLearn Course Curriculum, which is a great sequence of courses.

    But honestly, the best thing I've personally heard about how to draw from imagination is that we aren't making things up but actually drawing from our memories... That an artist's capacity to draw from imagination comes from learning how to "see" what's important and remembering from repetition/studies what things are supposed to look like and the logic behind it... So in a way, you're still using reference but it's in your head...

    I'm slowly learning (OMGitssopainfullyslow) that I can't draw something until I reach an internal level of understanding about it in my head. And then I just draw that understanding. And it leads to some weird looking stuff that I inevitably have to stop drawing so I can go look up reference, because I didn't have a sufficient understanding of what I was drawing in the first place. And that level varies depending on what it is.

    For me, drawing humans and faces are the worst. Some people can draw things and hide inaccuracies in "style", but the best imaginative drawers seem to omit rather than hide, which implies they know what they're hiding.

    I don't think there is a single "this is how you do things digitally" class at SVSLearn, but there are lots of examples of how individuals use digital tools to accomplish what they want. I know that's not helpful. I'd urge you to follow the suggested curriculum and see how your imaginative capacity grows... It might render some interesting developments? 🙂

  • I found the beginning photoshop class to be the most helpful since I wasa complete newbie a year or two ago.

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