To start drawing digitally, it is necessary to know how to draw in pencil. You need to make sketches by hand in a traditional way. Having the basic knowledge of drawing by hand will make it easier to pass them to the screen. For experts, traditional drawing is more difficult than digital.

Knowledge is very important in traditional work and then passed to digital work.

The first thing you should have is a pencil and paper so that you start making the initial sketches and strokes.

You can start your digital drawing when you have the sketch drawn by hand. You need to know the illustration drawing techniques.

Also, you should look for references for positions and movements using a drawing mannequin for example and ideas to define the drawing you want to create.

Then you must adjust Photoshop brushes and prepare the appropriate format.

What Is Digital Illustration?

It´s drawing made on a computer using the applications that are currently available. Before, the drawings were by hand, but with new technologies, designers made digital illustrations.

Currently, many people use digital illustration in many aspects of graphic design: 

  • Animations
  • posters
  • web designs, etc. 

Digital illustration is not always fully digital since designers combine traditional and digital illustration. This way you can create amazing images and unique styles.

The traditional illustration, as mentioned above, is the hand-painted drawing.

The function of digital illustration

People use Digital illustration in different sectors, such as:

  • Brand creation, today many companies use illustrations instead of traditional logos.
  • People use Graphic design to produce images of the product, to develop messages, etc
  • Preparation of advertising materials, creating brochures, posters, leaflets
  • Create calendars, magazines
  • Create animations
  • Create comics
  • And much more

Pass a hand drawing to a digital drawing

A computer will not be enough to achieve an illustration. You must have the necessary knowledge that allows you to make the drawing. You must have the idea and be able to draw what you have in your mind. To do this, you must follow the illustration drawing techniques and the following steps:

Make The Sketch

To make an illustration drawing, you should always start with a pencil and paper. Drawing will allow you to create ideas, and more aspects of the character you want to create will emerge.

The designers sketched the first design or stroke to make a drawing or an illustration. With that step, the artist or designer can materialize the idea. It is the work plan to establish everything that the illustration should carry.

Doing Research

This point is one of the most important. You should check what textures and colors will fit well to sketch. If you draw a wood or the skin of an animal, you should look for the right texture to make it look as real as possible. Google Images can help you a lot in this part.

Prepare The Brushes

Having your brushes will be an excellent idea. Many programs or websites offer brushes with different textures to use in Adobe Photoshop. Taking into account the sketch, you will know what you want.

You can use paper towels, oil pastels, coal, among many other things. Keep in mind to clean your scanner frequently.


Upon reaching this step, you should scan the sketch, textures and everything you have created. Save everything you have done in a library; you can use it for future illustrations.

Many designers set their scanner to 600 DPI in millions of colors. If your scanner has a Focus setting, you must turn it high. You can also scan the black and white sketches at 1200 DPI or grayscale.

When you have everything scanned, you must open a folder in Photoshop. If you scan in black and white, you will not need to adjust the levels.

Define Brushes In Photoshop

They always recommend making a file for each of the brushes separately. You can raise the resolution to 2500 x 2500. You should go to the menu and click on Edit and then on Set Brush.

When you have created the brush, you can put a name and add it to your brush palette. If you want to see your brush palette, you should go to the brush tool. You will see the miniature brush, and when you deploy, you can see your entire palette. You can save the brushes in the Photoshop Presets / Brushes folder.

Select The Color Palette

When you have the brush palette tidy, it’s time to start painting. You can investigate the color teachers Alice Provensen and Mary Blair. It will depend on the colors you want to have if you want more muted colors or vivid and intense colors. You should look for colors that resemble those you used in your sketch.

Make Shapes And Paint The Drawing

At this point, you should use the Pen tool to be able to establish the shapes in the sketch. You must open the sketch and select the Pen tool and choose the New Route option from the Route menu.

digital illustration

digital illustration

Here you must draw your shapes, start painting the shape you will use in the background. You can create a selection on the menu, display on the right, and look for the Make Selection option.

When you have a selection, you can create a new layer; this layer will be determined for this form. Then you will have many layers for each of the shapes that will allow you to edit whenever you want.

When you have a new layer and the path, you can use a brush to make way for the colors. Start painting in a new layer. You will have the opportunity to paint more textures and try. After painting many layers, you will end up with an image that you are painting digitally.

Following the steps above, you can have a unique and original illustration drawing.

Realistic Illustrations

This is a technique that unites the digital with the traditional. Many designers prefer realistic illustrations, and it takes more time because it takes more details.

Here you must start with the sketch by hand and then pass it to the digital program you are going to use. The most popular is Adobe Photoshop and AbodeIlustrator.

You can find many techniques and programs that can help you make digital illustrations. This way, you can do amazing jobs by hand and then scan them to get an illustration drawing.

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