How to Start Digital Painting: Best Beginner Equipment

How to Start Digital Painting: Best Beginner Equipment

Digital painting has never been more accessible. With free tutorials and even open-source software available, digital painting is now a skill anyone can pursue. As a beginner, you might learn how to start digital painting as a hobby, or maybe you’re launching a lifelong career. In either case, the first steps can feel overwhelming.

When you’re just starting out, the sheer volume of online resources can challenge novice painters. Which free tools are worth your time? Which paid tutorials provide the best value? If you’re just starting out, these can be tough questions. Let’s set your digital painting career on the right track by highlighting the 3 essential tools every budding artist should consider.

Painting Software

Unless you plan to use your operating system’s integrated drawing program, you’ll need to choose a painting application. Here are a few of the most popular ones for beginners:

  1. Adobe Photoshop: The standard by which all other painting apps are measured. Photoshop is venerable, powerful, and deep. While novices may think its price tag is a high premium, few programs come close to its industry recognition and reliability. 
  2. Clip Studio Paint: Geared more toward character and comic art, Clip Studio Paint delivers a flexible foundation for beginner artists to hone their skills. Though it may have a slight learning curve, workflows feel effortless once a user sets up the app according to their preferences.
  3. Procreate: This iPad-exclusive painting program turns your everyday tablet into a complete art studio. Surprisingly deep and robust, Procreate has received rave reviews and thousands of weekly downloads since its debut in 2011. For beginners who already have an iPad, this one is a no-brainer.
  4. Krita: Krita is a free and open-source painting application. Beloved by artists on a budget, Krita makes up for its skeleton customer support with a devoted community. If you’re not afraid to ask for help in a community forum, you’ll feel at home with Krita’s flexible Shape, Smudge, and Particle engines.
  5. Affinity Photo: The go-to Photoshop alternative, Affinity boasts compatibility with PSD files and an affordable price. Though it lacks many of Photoshop’s more advanced features, Affinity more than makes up for it in terms of value and accessibility. 

Of course, getting started with digital painting software can be tough, and the next thing you’ll need is an expertly crafted tutorial or beginner’s guide can make those first steps a breeze. 

Digital Painting Tutorials

Now that you’re eyeing a specific digital art application, it’s time to plot a path to mastery. Even if you’re still wrestling with which painting software to learn, many foundations of digital painting remain constant regardless of which tool you use. Whether you’re tackling the basics of lighting or the robust feature set of Photoshop, a tutorial can help you make the most of your efforts.

Here are a few examples of tutorials and guides that a beginner might want to add to their equipment shopping list:

An Artist's Guide To Photoshop

This is an excellent resource for diving into Photoshop. Demystify the world’s best-known digital art software and maximize your painting potential with this 23-lesson learning track.

Clip Studio Paint: Animation Basics

Did you know that Clip Studio Paint’s timeline feature lets you create 2D animation workflows? Learn how to create stunning animations with this guide.

The Beginner’s Guide to Procreate on iPad

If Procreate caught your eye, this lesson plan will take you from beginner to expert with an extensive, in-depth course designed for brand-new digital painters.

Digital Painting With Krita for Beginners

Open-source painting app Krita can be confusing for first-timers, but this lesson plan provides clear and intuitive instructions. Check out the eight-chapter tutorial to see everything Krita can offer.

Fundamentals of Digital Painting

Nothing beats getting the basics right. This pre-recorded lesson track ensures you’ve got the fundamentals under your belt while offering expert tips for continuing your education.

Art Assets & Resources

Once you’re paired a digital painting application and an accompanying tutorial, we’ll let you in on a little secret: very few artists start a piece with a blank slate. The expert digital painter’s toolbelt contains countless gadgets borrowed from previous projects and other creators.

If you browse any digital art communities, you’ll quickly discover that our secret weapon is the treasure trove of resources other artists can provide. From brush sets to pre-rendered elements, there’s a wealth of assets available to help you along the way. And to find the best-curated resources available, you don’t need to look any further than Cubebrush.

Making The Start of Your Digital Painting Journey a Snap

Cubebrush provides a beginner-friendly platform brimming with content to support you as you learn how to start digital painting. Cubebrush’s combination of assets, tutorials, tools, and friendly expertise will help you throughout your painting career, even when mastering the latest techniques or tools.

Jumpstart your journey with Cubebrush today, and learn how to start digital painting with confidence!