5 Tips For Beginning Digital Artists

5 Tips For Beginning Digital Artists

No matter your skill level when it comes to art, switching to a digital medium is no easy task.

No matter your skill level when it comes to art, switching to a digital medium is no easy task. There seems to be a common misconception that digital art is cheating or easier than traditional art methods. While there are features that make creating art easier, (using layers, opacity, unlimited color options, erasing, etc.) it still falls on the artist to put effort into their creation. You aren't having a computer create your piece; you still have to draw it.

1. Use layers

One of the first things you should learn how to do in your art program is how to create new layers, and how to use them. It can be incredibly beneficial to break down your piece into different parts and separate the parts. When you have to make changes to a specific part, it'll be set aside from the rest of your work, making it easier to edit.

2. Invest in a tablet

If you start out using a mouse to draw, you'll start to compare yourself to other artists. There are some things that impossible for you to do with a mouse, such as pen pressure sensitivity. It'll make your journey in learning how to draw digitally a lot smoother if you get a tablet as soon as possible. I personally don't recommend investing in the most expensive tablet right on the get go. It's possible to find cheap starter tablets that are under $100! Just make sure to get one that has positive reviews. Once you're more comfortable with the transition to drawing with a tablet, it won't be as daunting to invest in a more expensive tablet.

3. Try a variety of programs

A lot of people seem to think that photoshop is the only program to draw with. PaintTool Sai is also a popular drawing program, but it isn't free (legally). While having knowledge of photoshop is great for a career, if you're drawing for fun, it's not necessary to drop money on it. There are lots of other art programs available online for cheaper, or for free, that are simplified/more streamlined for artists. Start out using free use programs as you learn, such as GIMP or Fire Alpaca, to avoid sinking more money.

4. Save multiple files

As you get used to drawing, be aware of how you're saving your files. Having an organized naming system and folders is great, although most artists have a hard time keeping up with it. If anything, I recommend making sure you know what types of files you're saving your pieces as. Make sure to save unfinished pieces as a .psd/.sai/.mdp (usually whatever the default is in whatever program you're in) so you can go back and edit. This way, the layer information will be saved, and you can pick up where you left off. If you're unsure if you want to go back to a piece, it doesn't hurt to save multiple versions, either.

5. Don't quit!

When I first started digital art, I had a preconceived expectation that it would make me a better artist. I was discouraged when I realized it was going to take me a while to adjust to drawing with a tablet. Drawing digitally versus traditionally doesn't automatically change your skill. It's simply another method that you can use as an artist. You'll grow as an artist from trying any new medium, but it takes persistent practice! Even if it seems difficult, the more you try, the more you'll learn!

Below, I'll attach a few images showcasing my progress as a digital artist over the years. I didn't catalog my art over the first few years, but the first few images are from 2011, 2012, and 2013. The last image is from the current year, 2017.

Cover Image Credit: Jennifer Morrow

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Things To Do When You're So Bored All You Want To Do Is Cry

Do something artsy


Everyone has times when they have nothing to do and boredom strikes way too hard. From experience, I have found some top things to do when you literally have nothing else to do!

1. Clean

Not super fun, but will keep you busy.

2. Netflix

Find a new show to binge watch. Watched them all? Rewatch something you haven't seen in a while!

3. Shopping

Retail therapy can always keep you busy.

4. Make a home cooked meal

Spend some time in the kitchen and make something yummy! Even invite some friends.

5. Visit friends/ family

Pop in on some people you care about that you haven't seen in a while!

6. Write

Writing is something we all do and is a great way to express ourselves!

7. Exercise

Hit the gym or go for walk, do something to keep you nice and fit.

8. Volunteer

Go to an animal shelter, food bank, museums, or anywhere in your area that needs help.

9. Look for a job

If you're bored, maybe getting a part time job will keep you a little occupied. Plus it's extra money in your pocket.

10. Draw/ do something artsy

Even if you think you're a bad artist, drawing is something fun to do! You'll get better in time.

11. Join an Odyssey Team!

Writing articles through the Odyssey is an amazing experience and can always keep you busy!

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