Digital Art 101: Everything you need to know

Lately, many artists are diving into the imaginative world of digital art because of the comprehensive opportunities that it holds. Trying to switch to a digital medium is not an easy task. For an aspiring beginner, becoming a digital artist from scratch may seem a like a daunting endeavor. But with some practice and skill, the pen tablet can turn into your wand in no time.

Learning the basics

Even if you’ve been exploring art as early as childhood, you will need to become familiar with the techniques of painting digitally.

Because it is significantly different from traditional art.

Firstly, you need to get an overview of the different tools and brushes that exist and how to go about using them. From personal experience, I would suggest experimenting freely with all of the brushes until you start to understand how things work. And of course, there are millions of tutorials online that can help you get a head start.

Debunking the age-old myth

I hate to break it to you, but no. Drawing digitally is not “easier” than drawing on paper. No matter how convenient it may seem, it does come with a lot of complications, so don’t go into digital art thinking it’s going to be a walk in the park.

You don’t have to stick with Photoshop

When people hear the words “digital art”, they automatically associate it with Photoshop. Many assume that it is the only program available to draw with. While learning Photoshop can be great for you in the long run as an artist, it is not the most user-friendly software for beginners. You can explore a variety of other programs like Clip Studio Paint, Krita, Autodesk Sketchbook (did I mention this is free?), MyPaint (also free), Corel Painter Essentials, etc. All these new programs have truly made digital art a lot more approachable, so try a bunch of them and see which one works for you the best.

Use photo references

Let’s be real, it is unrealistic to expect that you’ll know how to draw everything and anything in this world, and that’s why photo references exist. Using hand drawn sketches or photographs as a photo reference can really ease up your creative process. Additionally, there are plenty of stock websites that solely exist to help you with this, so go on and scour the Internet for whatever you need. But remember, the idea isn’t to completely recreate these images; it is only there to help you start off so you can add your own intricate details to it and eventually be able to draw without the help of references.

Pro tip: When you’re struggling to find the accurate photo reference of a figure, just make your friend pose accordingly and use that instead!

Using layers

I cannot stress how important it is to understand how layers work when it comes to digital painting. It is a magical feature that will make your creative process ten times easier. Knowing how to use layers according to your own advantage will give you a lot of power as a digital artist. Because then, you’ll be able to edit your art without any restrictions. Even though layers might seem confusing at first, it is really is a no-brainer once you start using it.

Investing in a tablet

One of the cardinal tools for digital art is a graphic tablet. Using a mouse will hinder the quality of your work immensely while also making your fingers numb (I kid you not). The number of options out there can make it seem like an impossible task to choose the right tablet. The truth is that there is no one right tablet, and it all comes down to your own requirements and affordability. Some of the most popular manufacturers right now are Wacom, Huion, XP-Pen, Ugee, etc.

The important part is to spend some time researching. Maybe watch some videos on YouTube, and figure out how much you’re willing to invest in this. Some important things that you want to keep in mind are the size, pressure sensitivity, pen, accuracy and of-course, the price. Not all of us can afford the really fancy, expensive tablets, especially beginners, so you can consider going for a modest one to help you get started.

Tip: Wacom Intuos is one of the most recommended graphic tablets of all time at an affordable price and is great for entry-level artists. It also comes with three 3 free drawing software.

Try again and again and again

Most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP.  One of the biggest eradicators of creativity is our own self-doubt. But as a creative individual, you have to push through it and start believing in your own work. Keep striving to improve every day and don’t be disheartened by comparing your progress to other artists who have had years of experience. Remember that they also started off somewhere, clueless, just like you.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

Only a few works can be compared to the new release of Netflix titled as Love, Death, and Robots. It was expected that a series produced by David Fincher and created by Tim Miller would be pretty good. But no one expected that it would be this amazing.

This anthology series has crossed boundaries among genres like Comedy, Animation, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction etc.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

If you are still wondering whether to try out this gift or not, then here is your spoiler-free review.

Different people seek different things in a series. Some, care for the story while some carefully scrutinize the animation. We’ll cover it from different angles.

Ratings

There are people who think the series quality is solely tied to its ratings. If you’re one of those people, then here are some of the fresh ratings for you.

IMDB: 9.1/10 –

There is a high chance that you might not take this rating seriously. This much distrust is legit I believe. So, let’s move onto the next rating.

Rotten Tomatoes: Average Tomatometer: 75% –

Although it is a bit early to rely on the Rotten Tomatoes ratings still 75% on the average Tomatometer is pretty decent. Moreover, 94% of the users have rated it over 3.5 out of 5.

Metacritic: 8.6/10 –

Based on 61 ratings Metacritic gave it an 8.6 out of 10. Only two critic reviews have landed till now. Of these two one is positive, and one is mixed.

Heaven of Horror: 4/5 –

Heaven of horror covers horror, thriller and sci-fi movies & TV shows. They are more like an expert in reviewing the creations of these genres. So, when they give it a 4/5, you should consider watching it.

Animation is outstanding

Each of the 18 shorts from this series has its signature animation style. While watching the first episode you will discover yourself watching gameplay. On the episode titled as Beyond the Aquila Rift it is easy to get confused. In fact, the super realistic animation of this episode will easily bewilder you.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

In one subreddit post, one animator cleared out the mystery behind this hyper-realistic animation. Everything on this episode is motion captured. All the body and facial motions were first captured form the actors and then transformed into CGI. In fact, the performers had to wear helmets and other gears that could capture their motions.

Besides this episode, there are other notable animations in other episodes. On the third episode, the animation is more like comics strips. Remember the animation from Into the Spiderverse? Well, here you will see something close to that. In other words, frame rates are manipulated to show speed in this episode.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

Like me, many people have agreed on the fact that the best animation of this season was on the episode ‘The Secret War’.

Moreover, there will be times when you won’t be able to differentiate between motion captured animation and VFX. Even the hand-drawn episodes are pretty stunning. In truth, no matter which episode you start watching, it is inevitable that you’ll be in for a surprise.

Story quality varies a bit

The creators have rounded up some great flash fictions. These stories have explored the sci-fi as well as supernatural genre. In some episodes, characters are well built in spite of the short duration. Even though the stories are sci-fi, you will be able to relate to the characters.

John Scalzi, Joe Lansdale, Ken Liu, Claudine Griggs, and Alastair Reynolds. These names belong to some of the most prominent writers all around the world. These writers were the source of some of the best episodes of this series.

John Scalzi is the former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Joe R. Lansdale has won the British Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, and several other awards. Ken Liu has won in the World Fantasy Awards. Alastair Reynolds is a former space scientist who has now published over sixty short Sci-fi stories.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

The adapted screenplays from the flash fictions of these writers have generated something really ‘Cool’. Furthermore, many episodes have given tribute to other great movies and tv shows. With one episode you will find the resemblance of 127 Hours. Similarly, In one episode you’ll find easter eggs from Dr. Manhattan. Also, the name of Rear Window (1954) has come up in the discussions. Many have reviewed that this season is a mini version of Black Mirror, but we think this goes more with The Animatrix

In fact, the episodes are well organized throughout the season. If one episode gives you dread, the next one will lighten up the mood with absurd humor.

Ranking the best episodes

Just like any other Tv shows this too had great and average episodes. Here are our ratings for 5 of the best episodes out of 18 shorts.

  • Beyond the Aquila Rift – 9.7/10
  • Good Hunting – 9.4/10
  • The Witness – 9.3/10
  • The Secret War – 9.1/10
  • When the Yogurt Took Over – 9/10

Verdict

In short ‘Love, Death, and Robots’ is an out of the world experience, thanks to its awesome storyline and animation.

David Fincher and Tim Miller’s latest masterpiece easily gets 4/5 from us.

If you are still confused about watching it, please don’t be. Take a leap of faith and experience what both modern technology and creative mind have accomplished by working together.