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Hi everyone! I'm so happy so many of you enjoyed my tutorial!

Tutorial - Common Digital Painting Mistakes by natasha2808

Thank you for all your +favs and comments -- it's been awesome :). A lot people have been asking similar questions which weren't answered in the original tutorial. Here's some FAQ that will hopefully clear things up:

1. How do you do this in Paint Tool SAI?

Unfortunately, I don't have Paint Tool SAI so I don't have an exact answer for this. However, I've heard that it's similar so you should be able to translate most of the Photoshop tips into SAI. Also, most of the tips are conceptual and function in traditional work as well as digital, so the program you are using shouldn't hinder you too much in applying them. :)

2. What size should I make my canvas?

This has been a really common question and the answer is that it depends on the complexity of the work and the amount of detail you are trying to achieve. I make my canvases in the thousands of pixels at least. A rule of thumb that I use is I take the part of my piece that I want to be the most detailed (like an eye, or a necklace or something) and make sure that at 100%, that part of the piece fills the whole screen. This way, you will be able to paint in the details without straining your eyes and use a lot more brush sizes and colors. Take advantage of large canvas sizes because they allow you to get more detail than traditional art usually can. Another advantage to this is when you size down the canvas to upload your work to a website like DeviantArt, your work will look much finer and neater than at 100%, but still retain a lot of the detail you put in at full zoom!

3. What's the difference between dpi and pixel size?

Dpi is used for printing – the standard setting is 300dpi. If you plan on printing your work, MAKE SURE this is the resolution as you will not be able to easily change it after the piece is done. Pixel size is how big the canvas is on the screen. A 100px by 100px canvas at 300dpi will not help you paint with more detail than the same canvas size at 72dpi, so make sure you pay attention to both settings.

4. Do you have any tips for non-tablet users?

This is a tricky one since I've always used a tablet. Your best bet is to take advantage of functions that don't require pen pressure like the opacity and flow of the brush. However, even a small tablet is a great investment and will help you avoid a lot of frustration. Invest in a tablet if you can and your art will thank you in the long run!
  • Listening to: The Reckless and the Brave - All Time Low
  • Reading: The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
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:iconkandaharuka:
KandaHaruka Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for the tips.
Reply
:iconasharani:
AsharaNi Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Professional General Artist
Excuse me, where would you recommend me to find texture practices for everything?  Also, could you give me a bit more advice on colour, like what colours pair well so that they don't look raw, or if I draw a desert (random example)  I suppose only yellow and dark yellow won't do, so-how would you paint something that is initially one colour-how to make it better?
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:icongreatyu:
greatyu Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'd say you use this to determine the colours:
www.colorhunter.com/
Reply
:icondream-and-believe:
Dream-And-Believe Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
For the copy/paste, is okay to use it for things like posters?
Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I wouldn't use it for anything especially something as big as a poster because the duplication would be more apparent. If anything, smaller images where the details are more obscured would probably be the best if you absolutely HAVE to.
Reply
:iconsilversummersong:
SilverSummerSong Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
What kind of tablet do you have?
Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I have a wacom intuos i think..it's really old from like 2007 or something?
Reply
:iconsilversummersong:
SilverSummerSong Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahh great. I have an intuos pro.. so I'm hoping it's a good brand :D
Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
i really like it and mine has lasted me forever! 
Reply
:iconadworld:
AdWorld Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2013
i have very important question might change my whole art process and technique ^^ ..

1 - : what is blending  is it used to add light and shadow ? 

2 - what are the base color to paint value mode ? 

3 - i use gimp but i can not  paint in detail when zoom  is it because of the software or technical problem 
my page size 1080\900 resloution : 72ppi RGB color 

* i add base color e.g red and for light i add white change opacity the same thing for shads add black .. 
i couldn't get blending in my mind i know it's my card to overcome painting problem  .. 

thank you  very much for the greatest simplest tuts ^^  ..  
Reply
:iconjpmneg:
JPMNeg Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014

I use Gimp also and you should double the page size. You can get better details.

Myself I used to work at the default size and it makes a big difference working larger. 

The blending I think you are talking about is blur in Gimp.  

Watch the rate setting the higher the more it blurs and keep the brush small.

I am by no means a skilled artist but I know the program well

Feel free to drop a note if you have questions

 

Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
1. blending is just the use of gradation from one color to the next to create the illusion of three dimensionality, so it would be used to add light and shadow.
2. not really sure about the question but I would say that there is a different base color for everything you are trying to paint - it's just the first color you start with and build on top of.
3. I think that your resolution is too small. I don't use gimp but try setting to 300dpi and you should be able to zoom in for more details.
Don't necessarily think that adding white or black is the only way to get darker shades of a color -- most shadows and highlights are not actually these colors so it will look less realistic if you just add black and white to try to render them. Try using purples, blues even greens to get a full range of tone in your work. Hope this helps!
Reply
:iconadworld:
AdWorld Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2013
thank you aloot .. now i got it .. so no more black and white .. 
Reply
:iconcynicalcoyote:
CynicalCoyote Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I have a question ^^ Im trying to draw realistic fur and I was wondering if you had any tips
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:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013  Student Digital Artist
i would say first look at references for the kind of fur you are trying to draw since there are so many types of textures. then i would focus less at first on the individual strands and more on larger areas of lights and darks, and where the highlights are, building up detail slowly from blocky general shapes to finally smaller strands and details. if there is a print on the fur like leopard i would look at how that print conforms to the shape of the body and how it changes in different areas. I think it's pretty much like drawing hair on people but pay more attention to the direction of the fur and the way that it might change textures depending on what part of the body it is on.  Hope that helps!
Reply
:iconnekogirl29:
NekoGirl29 Featured By Owner May 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
How do I go about using the advice in your tutorial for programs like MyPaint, The Gimp or Krita? (I use Windows, by the way). mostly blending and tone work.
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:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner May 12, 2013  Student Digital Artist
most of the tips are more conceptual things so you can apply them to any program - even traditional art too. I don't know anything specific about any of those programs like which tools would be equivalent to the smudge tool though :(
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:iconnekogirl29:
NekoGirl29 Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, well thanks for clearing that up for me. I actually have a lot a trouble working with digital art so I'm glad I found your tutorial.

Thanks.
Reply
:iconmechatikal:
MechaTikal Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have a question that's really bugging me. What size is a finished .psd file?
I am always shocked when my files get bigger than 1MB, but I suppose this is actually really small, right?
Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013  Student Digital Artist
yeah thats way too small. check ur dpi - you're probably in 72 if you get single digit MB. Mine are usually from 10 to up to 30MB
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:iconquanticevo:
QuanticEvo Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Hey great tutorial and faq, helped me quite a bit. :D I still have a question and maybe you could help me out, do you have any tips for creating straight lines? I'm having trouble and I don't know how to approach it well.
Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
If you want really straight clean lines you could try using the pen tool. It's a little difficult to master at first but there's a ton of tutorials online. That will give you more of a lineart/outlined feel though if you use the pen tool to actually draw the lines. So...another thing you could do is draw whatever you want with a roughly straight line and then erase out the flaws to make it smoother. I would do this by making a smooth path with the pen tool where you want the straight line to be and then closing the path around the messy part of the area outside that line. When you're done with this, right click "make selection" then just hit delete to get rid of the rough, jagged edge.
Reply
:iconquanticevo:
QuanticEvo Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thanks natasha. :)
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I do straight lines with
- either the magnetic lasso tool
- or the line drawing tool and then "rasterize" them,
- or if they need to be hand-drawn, I QUICKLY and CONFIDENTLY draw, erase and re-draw the line until it's nice and good

:)
Reply
:iconquanticevo:
QuanticEvo Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for the tips! :)

I guess its much better to trial and error one confident straight line than trying to sketch it in and erase it messily like I was doing earlier. I will give these a try, thanks again. :D
Reply
:iconpaintingadream:
PaintingADream Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a really great tutorial, and these FAQ answers really helped with some inquiries that popped into my mind at well! I do have a question about the process of making a painting though ... I have always had a difficulty starting my paintings. When I sit down with an idea vivid in my head, I'm not sure where or how to start. I know that you can use a lineart or you can just start blocking basic colors for a more realistic effect. How do you start your paintings, and what is the best way that you can suggest to amateur digital painters? Thank you in advance!! :)
Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Starting is the hardest part! Lineart can help create a "coloring book" for yourself, but it tends to give your drawings a particular style that you may or may not want. On the other hand, if you use no lineart, you might feel like you have no roadmap. There's a couple of tricks that might be helpful get over that initial hurdle of starting a painting:

- scan in sketches and paint over them on a new layer. You can make the sketches as detailed as you want, but they won't feel as constraining or final as lineart
- start by "toning" your canvas. This might sound dumb at first, but I find the white paper is the most intimidating thing to start! Add some sort of midtone, like a deep green, a brown, a grey, grey-blue, anything you think will go with your painting (this doesn't have to be permanent) and start painting on top of that. This helps me feel like I'm actually building on top of something instead of starting out of nowhere.
- do more than one sketch to develop the composition before you hit the tablet. You want the outlines of whatever you're drawing to be really strong before you start coloring so you don't have to concentrate on accuracy of form when you're onto color and value. A more developed sketch makes it easier to start. Also, sometimes people need to just remove the pressure to create THE MASTERPIECE haha so sketching can provide a more loose and informal environment to concentrate on the work.
- remember to give yourself time - I know the feeling that you have this idea in your head and you see it so clearly, but the second you put anything on paper, you feel like its not getting translated the way you want. I think this is because when we see it in our heads, we don't work out all the little details, but when we start to put it down on paper, we have to consciously make all the decisions that we take for granted just "look right" in our brains. Most of the time it takes longer to work this out in real time, and that's normal. Start with very basic shapes and build up detail slowly to give yourself time to work out all the issues. Whatever you do just keep going.
Reply
:iconpaintingadream:
PaintingADream Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for your tips, they really help me in starting my paintings! :la:
Reply
:iconlucaalverez:
LucaAlverez Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
Thank you so much for all of this - ImagineFX retweeted this and it popped up on Twitter for me which was very exciting for me. I realize I have a lot of practice still and I don't use Photoshop anymore, but a lot of elements themselves are still accurate.

To the people who have asked about Paint Tool Sai in relation to this? Here are some general thoughts I had in my head as I translated:

Blur Tool = Photoshop Airbrush. This can far too easily be used to overblend things!

Multiply / Screen / Shade / Luminosity - these are NOT the same as the Burn/Dodge tool of Photoshop as they're very layer specific. If you're cautious in their use, at first, they can be used to produce a very nice result - the more you get used to them, the nicer to effect will be, and they will allow you to incorporate the exact coloured shadow / coloured light effect that is mentioned in the 'monochromatic tones' section. This can also help you with the "white highlights" section to add some appropriate colour. BE RESERVED IN USING THESE LAYER SETTINGS when you're first beginning to use them!

The others are pretty self-explanatory. There is no 'smudge tool' in Sai, the closest thing being the Brush tool which is quite a bit different in any case as it will vary in a few ways and has a sharper edge. Be aware that the Brush Tool IS MONOCHROMATIC IN NATURE and that if you wish to add other colours and create a proper shade, you'll want to incorporate other colours in there!

Sai also doesn't really have brushes that are specialized in the same way as Photoshop, which I think helps to limit that.

=) I hope that can help your FAQ at least a little bit!
Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Student Digital Artist
awesome! thanks I'm sure that's will be helpful for people in SAI:)
Reply
:iconz-in-your-hair:
Z-In-Your-Hair Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hi there! I think this is a really REALLY fantastic piece! I know I struggle with one or two of these myself. I thought I would add to this font of information, if that's okay. This is a website that a friend sent to me that contains a veritable MASS of information. Instead of being a lesson in specific techniques, it is an overall look at art in general. Thought I would pass it on!

[link]
Reply
:iconnatasha2808:
natasha2808 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
wow thank you! this is very helpful!
Reply
:icondemoniccriminal:
DemonicCriminal Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have always been drawing with a mouse (a pretty precise one). So, will a tablet improve my precision to the point of my skill with a pen?
Reply
:iconkristinagehrmann:
KristinaGehrmann Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Painting with a mouse is sort of like eating soup with a fork. Once you've tried using the spoon, well, eating is more fun. :D
Reply
:icondemoniccriminal:
DemonicCriminal Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was the awesomest line i have ever heard... _I actually got a graphic tablet a couple months ago, a cheap one i guess. It does have a superiority over the mouse and a few extra features, even though my experience with a mouse is enough, the tablet is indeed the recommended instrument of destruction... Too bad mine's broken :D
Reply
:iconchrizesu:
Chrizesu Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012
Another thing to consider...

This is something that also slightly changes from person to person. I known plenty of people who have gotten worse when switching before they got better.
Reply
:icondemoniccriminal:
DemonicCriminal Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You mean it wont be easy using it at first, understandable. As long as a tablet is, in general, better than a mouse then i'll go for it :)
Reply
:iconreflective-sentinal:
Reflective-Sentinal Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I will take a shot at answering this.

The difference between a mouse and a stylus is sort of hard to describe. Its a combination of being easier to move, and faster to move. Complex curves become easier, and because of pressure sensitivity you are able to make more kinds of marks with fewer repetitive strokes . There is a significant adjustment between drawing with a pencil on paper and drawing with a stylus on the computer. There are two main differences: First you don't look at your hand. Second you are drawing on plastic, that has unique slipperiness (for the stylus) and stickiness (for your hand).

Regarding precision, it is a relative idea. The stylus will become more precise the more you practice with it. It is slightly less precise than a pencil due to the hand eye slightly odd hand eye coordination. But it is more precise than a mouse because it is able to move quicker.

I would recommend getting a tablet. My suggestion is to have a read through this link [link] It has a more detailed and concise description of how and why to pick one model over another.

Hope this helps.
Reply
:icondemoniccriminal:
DemonicCriminal Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah alright thanks!
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