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Thread: Teaching Yourself Digital Art

  1. Post Teaching Yourself Digital Art

    I have been interested in 2D Digital Art for a long time and one thing I noticed after searching through university websites and looking for courses
    on the web, is that there seems to be a rare few and it's much easier to find Animation courses (3D and 2D) and various other art related courses
    online. I also noticed that when watching to tutorials, there was a lot to be learnt in this kind of art and there didn't really seem to be much of a
    definitive starting point.

    So I decided to create my own course tailored to my needs and ability as a beginner. Here I have posted the 'home made' course
    in case anyone else wanted to teach themselves with less hassle of scrambling through the web looking for good tutorials.
    It includes everything that I believe a beginner would need to know, leading up to some intermediate skills.

    Introduction (Web extract from: )
    Your brain works in a layered approach, acquiring knowledge and building on that foundation of knowledge. Part of that knowledge base you are
    trying to build is inclusive of your “visual vocabulary.” So what is visual vocabulary? Visual vocabulary is a set of shapes and forms
    that you are able to recall at any time from memory and replicate it on paper or with your preferred medium. It can be a simple curved surface, a sphere, or a cube. Whatever the shape may be, you are able to communicate that shape on paper, without the aid of a reference.
    Ever sit there and wonder why you can’t think of ANYTHING to draw when you see a blank page? You are not alone!That too is due in part of the
    lack of a solid mental visual vocabulary which is your “database” of shapes and forms in your head that you have rationalized.
    So the next question is this…how do you increase your visual vocabulary? How do you get your brain to understand complex shapes and forms?
    OBSERVATION. Simply observe the world around you. This takes more focus than you know. Yet some people don’t do it enough or feel guilty
    for looking at a photo. If done correctly, observation is one of the quickest ways to create your own artwork without having to have the pressure of drawing up something on your own or having to learn perspective techniques quickly.

    Section 1:
    Lesson 1: Introduction to Photoshop Hotkeys
    In this lesson I will learn the basic workflow of digital painting in Photoshop and the useful hotkeys used during the painting process.

    Lesson 2: Basic Painting Techniques
    In this lesson I will learn about Colour pallets, colour theory, shading and 3d shapes/form, lighting,
    (Also learn Overlay, opacity mask, clipping mask, layer mask)

    Assignment 1: Applying Hotkeys to Painting
    In this assignment I will practice applying the hotkeys learnt in lesson 1 while practicing
    Painting basic shapes

    Lesson 3: Creating Form
    Cubes, Cones, Spheres and Cylinder (all objects can be broken down to these basic shapes.)
    In this lesson I will create form from paint techniques (summarising what was learnt in lesson 1&2 and applying to real objects and material rendering, i.e.; wood, clay, matt/ gloss, etc.
    (look for image references when painting these forms/materials online i.e. clay, metal (e.g. chips Monday madness t2g forum)

    Assignment 2: Painting Anatomy
    Practice painting male anatomy using the principles learnt in lesson 2
    Practice painting female anatomy using principles learnt in lesson 2

    Lesson 4: Basic Texture Creation in Photoshop
    In this lesson I will learn more about Photoshop brushes, making them and also Learn about creating textures in Photoshop to use when painting.
    (Digital Painting techniques books and online tutorial resources)

    Assignment 3: Painting anatomy with texture in mind.
    With the new techniques learnt, continue practicing creating anatomy form
    But this time also practice adding textures.

    Extras: Painting, metal armour, leather armour, hair, textures etc:

    Section 2:

    Lesson 5:Perspective Sketching
    (More links at bottom of this web page for different types of perspective.)

    Assignment 4: Using knowledge learnt from the above video tutorials, practice creating 3d shapes in space from different angles.
    i.e. Cubes, cylinders, spheres, cones.

    Lesson 6:Speed painting environments
    (watch all video parts)!
    (watch all video parts)

    (Set new tasks and assignments for myself)

    Take it slow, step by step; create some simplified and basic scenes first before getting carried away.)

    Lesson 7:Character Design Concepts
    Character design: silhouettes with 2 or 3 values. - use image reference if necessary
    Can manipulate silhouettes using scale, flip and rotate tools, without distorting the design

    I hope this helps anyone looking for structure but just doesn't know where to start. If any other budding 2D artists out there or any pros who would like to add
    something that they feel I've missed, please feel free to do so.
    Last edited by Jordan Browne; 02-12-2012 at 03:25 PM. Reason: additional Videos

  2. #2


    Congrats, you made it to the stickies!

  3. Default

    Cool, thanks guys, and thanks for the Sticky

  4. Default

    Wow awesome post I have been a bit slow with tablets and Photoshop of late, and haven't properly drawn something for ages!
    Former Student of T2G

  5. Default

    Hi JokerSushi,

    I hope this helps you, when you decide to get back into it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    Nice finds mate. Good collection of tutorials.

  7. #7


    These are great, thanks Jordan!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Chorley, Lancs UK


    Thanks for this dude, I aim to have a proper pop at this once Im a little further with 3ds max and such, but I have been in a similar position in looking for stuff like this, so great finds!

  9. #9


    Thank you very much! I've been interested and done some 2D Digital art, but have just been using PS as a drawing pad with only basic knowledge of layers and filters.

    I'm looking forward to learning more!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Weymouth, Dorset


    Awesome thread, Jordan

    I've been looking to learn a bit of basic photoshop, since art is an interest and I figure it'll be a step towards helping me communicate effectively with the art team as a designer!

    Good job man, deserves the sticky!

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