Here are our tips for all illustrators, both traditional and digital. If you are starting out, these should help you on the way. If you are experienced, you might pick up a new idea or two.
Tips for all artists:
Number one is to thumbnail your concepts. Keep these rough, you are trying to get an idea down. Once you find something you connect with, explore the idea more by refining it. The time you spend on thumbnails will be tailored to the project brief. It will vary between 5 minutes and much longer, depending on complexity and elements required.
Tips for digital artists:
- Firstly, split your windows. Set up one window for you to work with and another to view, scaled to the size of that window. This way, when you zoom out your artwork, you will have kept what you have drawn to scale.
- Secondly, it is important to check your drawing by duplicating and mirroring it. This will help you check the shapes are even and/or correct to the physicality of the subject. Some illustration programs have a setting to allow ‘canvas flip’. The important point is to do this early and frequently. This tip also applies to branding or icon development in Adobe Illustrator®.
- Layers are one of the handiest tools for digital artists. Make as many of them as you need. If the file processing slows, save a new version of your work, merge and remove layers no longer required.
- When incorporating program effects into your work, keep experimenting and check the effects enhance your visual. Don’t be afraid to try these effects, used with skill they can add great depth to your work.
- Save your work regularly. This cannot be stressed enough. If you are using lots of layers and effects, the last thing you want is a computer freeze or crash resulting in hours of detailed work being lost.
- Create a layer/new document for your palettes. If your art program doesn’t allow you create colour palettes, then make your own. We suggest creating a layer or a new document and place a rough circle of the colour in use. Then if needed again, use the eyedrop tool to pick it up.
Final thoughts for all artists:
- For those who want to improve their skills, spend time practising. This can be a little as 15 minutes or, a couple of hours, per session. Set the time that works for you. Try still life, life drawing, watching a tutorial or visiting an art gallery/museum. These will all help broaden your visual range and experience.
- For life drawing there are many YouTube videos and websites resources. Check out these links we have included: