TGIPF everyone! Today I want to give you a taste of one of the coolest things you can do with Photoshop: painting! There are so many videos out there of talented artists making Photoshop do what we imagine that only canvas, fancy paint, and real brushes can achieve.  In this post I’ll help you get started on your own digital painting adventure.

Getting Started

The ‘painting-look’ is one of my favorites in digital art because it reveals the reality that a flesh and blood person is the artist, rather than a machine.  The most critical thing I’ve learned from Photoshop painting tutorials is that, just like in analog art and painting, you cannot start without a well composed sketch. If you have not developed your drawing skills worry not! You can paint over existing line art, photos, or outline a sketch by digital tracing an image you’d like to practice painting on.

The only other thing you need is to know your way around a few of Photoshop’s tools: brushes (and particularly brush settings), the eraser, layers (especially opacity), and the color picker. Because you’ll be aiming for a hand-painted look with this approach you don’t have to bother with filters, paths, layer modes, and most other tools available in PS. Of course if you want to use the other tools and capabilities you can, but that is entirely optional.

Hints and Tips

* A tablet (I have the entry-level Wacom Bamboo) makes digital painting much more nuanced and enjoyable but isn’t necessary.

* Knowing Photoshop’s keyboard shortcuts will save you millions of work hours.

* When in doubt work in a new layer. If you end up disappointed with what you’ve been working on you can just hide or delete the layer rather than lose the work.

* As with ‘analog’ painting: avoid overworking! Know when your piece is done and step back.

Step-by-step Tutorials


You can check out these and more resources on my PF Pinterest board. Now that you have the basics of digital painting under your belt you can get to making some art! And be sure to share it here if this post was helpful to you :)

Photoshop Friday: Start Painting in Photoshop

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