Digital Painting Lesson 1: The basics of using a graphics tablet

Picture of Digital Painting Lesson 1: The basics of using a graphics tablet
Computers have brought change to every corner of modern society. One of these corners is art. The internet is full of concept art, desktop wallpapers and many other kinds of image that have been drawn by some user at a computer.

When I bought myself a graphics tablet (roughly a week before this ible was published), I was dissapointed to find there are no beginner tutorials to digital painting. They either assume you have previous experience in some form of art (I suck at painting and drawing), or are so basic that they leave out the art.
So the aim of this little series of tutorials is to provide a few tutorials to teach people how to use their graphics tablet, but perhaps more importantly, leave the creative aspect in the drawers hands.

This is the first tutorial in a small series (I haven't decided how long). Other tutorials are:
Lesson 2: A feather
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Step 1: Requirements and Tools

Picture of Requirements and Tools
In traditional artwork, the artist has to draw every single thing, but in digital artwork, we are not constrained by physical tools. Through the use of various filters and brushes, what would have taken a painter hours, can takes us a few strokes of our digital pen. For this reason, I'm going to ignore software that focus' on emulating traditional media (eg artweaver) and instead use a digital image manipulation program. I'm cheap, and can't afford photoshop, so I'll be using Gimp.

- A computer (with enough specs to run Gimp properly)
- A graphics tablet (with drivers etc)
- Gimp (or photoshop if you can translate to the tools there. Note that I'm using v2.6 because v2.8 has some issues with my tablet)

- An hour or so
- Some proficiency with gimp, or the ability to use google
- The ability to move your hand
- The ability to see what's on the screen
- Some creativity.

So sit down at your desk, get comfortable, put on your favorite music, and let's start.

"On the gimp main box, click Windows -> Single Window Mode"

OMG I looked for this option for ever!! That one sentance makes the whole tutorial perfect!

I've been out of the loop doing any kind of art for a long time. And countless times lately I have picked up my pen and sat frustratingly staring into a blank canvas and end up either scrapping the drawing within a few strokes or just turning photoshop back off.

With this little tutorial it has made me think differently when drawing now AND you actually take into account the different layers and what modes they are in. (being self taught I had no understanding of this and many tutorials overlooked it)

Thank you for making this tut :) It makes the difference

I am impressed. as far as beginner digital painting tutorials go ctrlpaint is an amazing resource for beginners and pros alike. its run by a very good artist that teaches basic drawing and painting techniques in a series of free videos. concept cookie is also really good. a lot of their stuff is free too. One more thing, most of the tutorials you'll find are for Photoshop which of you are a gimp expert you'll not have much of a problem with, but if you're new to Gimp and don't want to pay for Photoshop, look up "Gimp Shop" its a version of Gimp with a more Photoshop like interface. I've heard great things about Paint Tool Sai which I believe is abandonwear. I've not used it however. I have also played around with Krita which is another opensource painting program, it looks awesome but therr is no stable Mac version (windows and Linux work fine though).
Thanx Tyler!
sdfgeoff (author)  tylerwhitworth1 year ago
I'm actually more comfortable working with Gimp. I've used it for making textures for 3D models for several years, and know the ins and outs of the program. I see no reason to change for any other software at this stage.
davea05113 months ago
Great info thanx!
Taptotweet1 year ago
Fantastic tutorial! Really well written.