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Tutorial - Common Digital Painting Mistakes by natasha2808 Tutorial - Common Digital Painting Mistakes by natasha2808
A guide to common digital painting mistakes that I've either seen or done myself...hopefully it helps :)


If you have questions please visit my journal for a list of FAQ first, you might find them answered there.


Otherwise, ask away!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-06-22
Also suggested by *FrozenTempest , =Rooncakes and several other deviants; Tutorial - Common Digital Painting Mistakes by ~natasha2808 covers a wealth of tips for beginner and intermediate digital artists. ( Suggested by Lulie and Featured by Elandria )
Narore Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2016  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
You summed it up pretty well.
I challenged myself to draw small detail studies on paper with pencil, starting with eyes and planning to move on to other parts of the face like noses and mouths, drawing as much detail as I could. I noticed something different on the pair of eyes I drew every time even though I only drew like 6 or 7, and then I had an idea for a portrait so I started to work digitally, drawing my first digital work of that scale. The eyes were no problem at all but I had difficulties with the nose and the mouth since I didn't get to that part of my studies yet. I never thought it would be that much of a problem because I am a photographer too, I see and work on a lot of faces and I have had my fair share of traditional art with pencils but I never took the trouble of making studies before like two months ago. So besides agreeing with you that practicing traditionally can really help I'd like to give this one last advice to whoever is still reading: always have time to go back to the basics and do studies. It helps A LOT. If the great painters of the renessaince were not shy to do studies before their biggest creations, I think we can safely do the same :)
Lu-Di Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2016  Student Photographer
Thanks \ o /
Silverheart-Nine Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Student General Artist
:nod: I'd say you nailed it.
animegirl007 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2016
Thanks for the help :nod:
hurmeArt Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2016   Traditional Artist
This is wonderful, thanks :)
SixPixeldesign Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Excellent Tutorial.
wolfsjourney Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Student General Artist
This definitely needed to be done. For every artist, beginner or not.
kiwii-marshmallow Featured By Owner Edited Sep 2, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Kind of cynical and derogatory at times, but very helpful and informative. If you want to publish this, be sure to remove the comments in parenthesis, they seem a bit unprofessional and immature. That aside, this is a good guide for beginners.
Sara-Matta Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2015
thank you thank you thank you
Eriskigal-the-Lion Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Definitely stopped me from making some mistakes before I even made them! Wonderful tutorial ^-^
Aerite Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! This is an awesome tutorial. ^_^
cprl94 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you so much for this!
roseliza2 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015
great tutorial :D
roseliza2 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2015
Ive ben trying to digitally paint, and its so hard and time consuming, I think this turoial helps :D
YOU-AheHe Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you so much for this tutorials!
Blackheart7x Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you so much for this guide! It's very helpful and I can't wait to try everything!
SporeDiatrymisss Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I love this tutorial! :D There's just one thing I'd like to add...
One common mistake i see sometimes is soft shading with black color or with just a simply darker shad of the original color, which makes the piece look dirty.
Djeroon Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That is a wonderful list of things to avoid! I wish I had found this 5 years ago ;) It should be in every digital coloring tutorial/book.  And in a photoshop manual. I've been doing digital coloring for years and still do some of these things >.<
greatyu Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is very enlightening- thank you so much!
dcomeback Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thanks for the tips! ^^
Drixtina Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is very helpful!
Artich0ker Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
damn it, I do all those mistakes XD
Tianera Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thumbs up, this one will help me a lot, as I just started with digital painting and don't want to stay with flat colors/looks :D
ToriNatsu Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Super helpful :D
BleedingThorn95 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014
Thanks for the tips!
Markuma Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014
Extremely helpful, Thank you! :D
passion-aesthete Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
very instructive, thank you :heart:
NovaMarek17 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
This is helpful for people like me who can't seem to paint worth squat. Thank you for doing this for us and for people like me, we appreciate it.
Rozairo Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thank you very much!
Piratezombi3 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay... the most useful "tutorial" I've come across so far.
JPMNeg Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014

Guilty of most, stopped using dodge/burn almost altogether now.

Being color blind I didn't realize how it changed color until someone told me.

Thank you for posting this

ytegg99 Featured By Owner May 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
very helpful.
i made all the fatal mistake you listed in here, time to fix from top to toe
Onyxoasis Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very helpful!
Ferdrimmler Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2014
I've regularly done 6 of these. :|
Stay-Crunchy Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2014   Digital Artist
Woow ! Thank you so much ! :) (Smile) 
Rad-Puppeteer Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful! I've made several of these mistakes!
shiro-hane Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Student Digital Artist
very helpful ! it's like a check list of what not to do while doing a digital painting :DDD
Ikaax Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you <3
Nina-Frost Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thank you so much!!!
SManship Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014
This is excellent, thank you.
Paleclaw Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Though the comment about smudging is completely right with the default settings on an average digital art style, it's a very important tool in digital watercolor if you edit it to become a blender tool rather than smudge. Gives very nice watery looks and some texture, so long as you use the right settings and brush.
retrofuturist Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
Smudge tool with default presets gives horrifying results, that's true. But I use a custom brush shape with a custom setting and it creates lovely gradients with a grainy texture! Sometimes it's too smooth though.
TexMexChexMex Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
hmm see it remember most of these when i do traditional. for some reason when its digital it goes out the window. i think i need some practice from still life's and some real life photos for more practice. hmm thanks for the reminder. hopefully it will stick next time i go to paint digitally
valeriemary309 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you, this was very helpful!
Blanbahn Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I want to ask, Should i turn on the Color Dynamics for every painting or just specific? IF specific can you give me an example of it?

Pardon me if i asking thins
ShayGar Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2013  Student
Good to know stuff right here.  Thank you! :)
LWSkybones Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2013  Hobbyist
I somehow managed to teach myself smooth blending by murdering using the eye dropper + opacity. :D
I actually hated the effect of the smudge tool and gave up on it in one day xD (it was only used to "blend"my old MS Paint drawings and it made it look meh.)
I personally found it hard to use other brushes, so I'm sticking to default for now.

Most of the other things such as contrast and palette selection, I gathered from other extremely helpful tutorials on deviantART. Art at school helped as well :thumbsup:

This tutorial really clarified things for me. Thank you very much!
Frodofox Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Who this is going to help me a lot! I just got my tablet and now I figured how to draw with it, I couldn't figure how to color with it. I just learned the basics of how artists do 'palette brush' looking paints like this…
Foolhed Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2013   Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
sheldonsquirrel Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013
This is awesome. Especially considering I just watched a video where someone used all sorts of shape brushes to paint elements. :)
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Submitted on
June 6, 2012
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