“The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs. Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.” Austin Kleon
So if you want to embrace the digital side, where do you start?
You need a decent flatbed scanner (Mustek or Brother brands - look for tabloid size 11x14). It also it really helps if you have a Wacom tablet and digital pen. Trying to draw with a mouse is difficult to say the least, and you risk injuring your wrist. You can buy a cheap second hand tablet off of Craig’s list if you don’t initially have the money. You will want a tablet with a decent amount of sensitivity points to obtain various levels of shading in your mark-making. The Wacom Intuos Pen is a good start, as it has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and a resolution of 2540 lines per inch.
The next step is obtaining graphic software. Adobe Photoshop is used by many in the industry. There of course are other products such as artRage, Mischief, CorelDRAW, and Manga Studio – to name a few. You can usually download a trial version of the software and test these products out before committing to anything. In the end, it’s a personal choice of what works best for you, tour artistic needs and your budget. If you purchase a new Wacom tablet, the pro versions come with software. If you are a student, or with a non-profit organization, check out Studica for deals on tablets and software.
There are many digital paint brushes that are now available. Many brushes are free to download and import into your graphic software (check out You the designer: Brushes).
Once you are set up with your tools, there are great tutorials such as Neil Fontaine’s digital painting video tutorial for beginners, and illustration tutorials on BlogSpot . Once you master one program you’ll find similarities between other programs as far as icons, and use of terminology. This makes learning other programs easier as you build on your skills.
The thing to remember is that learning new techniques is constant. The digital world is fast-changing. The upside is that things are getting faster and easier to do.