Things no one told me about Digitally Drawing (And now I'm sharing with you)

2019-04-10T21:24:23.000Z Honest Cash

It's just as the title says. I'm telling you what no one told me when I started drawing digitally, and wish they had, but later found out on my own. It's late for me, but if this post can save ~~two years of~~ your time, then I'll be glad.

Here we go!

Your first attempts will inevitably ~~Royalty, Majestically, Epically~~ suck

Yeah, sorry for being such a party popper, but that's the truth: drawing digitally difers a lot from traditional art. It is not a walk in the park, you'll have to adjust and it'll take time (how many depends, it's different for everyone).

However, do not mistake this for an 'you have to drop one to master the other' sort of advice. In reality, I mean quite the contrary: keep drawing traditionally, it'll only help you to improve.

You can personalize your tablet pressure and shortcuts.

Not gonna lie: the type of tablet and software you use have heavy influence in your performance. To me, it's more the software than the tablet itself, but I can assure you: if you don't personalize your tablet it'll come to bite you in the rear.

Why is that? Because just as everyone has their own type of letter, everyone has their own type of pressure when it comes to write or draw. I, for example, am a light-pressure type of writter. So light that my tablet gave me a hard time for a year and half, until I tinkered with its settings and adjusted the pressure to matching my irl one.

I swear to god: I whole-heartly believed that my tablet running program bugged my laptop before I did that. I felt so stupid back then.

Turns out, all tablets have this feature and some even allow you to re-adjust the pressure depending on the program you're working (because some run faster than others). Please, don't be masochist and do this, it'll spare you lots of frustration.

Photoshop DOES have an option that allows you to perform THE Infinite Undo ™

Mindblow, I know. But it's true, and it works.

Go to:

Menu > Preferences > Performance

Look at the right side of the pop-up, find HISTORY STATUS. Now change it up to 1000.

Presto! Even though it's not as "infinite" as I said, I'm sure as hell this will help you for the rest of your life.

DO NOT stick to one particular program in the beginning

I mean, do it if that's what you want, but I personally don't recomend it.

Some are comfortable enough with the first program they try, ant that's great! But there are people who don't. I clearly belong to the latter group. I first tried photoshop and while I love it for editing, it's far from my first choice for drawing. So don't be afraid to test out different softwares, give them a chance and you might find one that feels even better than the one you're currently using!

Universal shorcuts you will use for the rest of your life

I'm not even joking in this one…

Ctrl + Z (UNDO)

Ctrl + T (Transformation tool)

Alt + Click (Will help you to re-size your selection proportionally, also drop tool depending on the program)

Ctrl + Alt + Click (if you can't draw symmetricaly to save your ass, this was made for you)

Ctrl + Click (drop tool)

Ctrl + D (diselect tool)


Bonus: Photoshop Only

Ctrl + G (makes a new folder to group up these wild layers)

Ctrl + J (duplicating has never been so easy)

Two words:Clipping. Masks.

You can't color inside a line to save your life? Well, neither can I! :'DD

Fortunatelly, for people like me these beauties do exist. Find if the software you use has clipping masks, try them out, ~~and start using them.~~

Ohana means family and family means NO ONE IS LETTING THESE FILTERS GO, BRO

Picked colors that are too bright? Or too dark? Well, that's why nearly all illustration softwares have filters nowadays. You won't be 'cheating' if you use them, you know? They're only there to make your work easier.

Trust me, the developers know we ain't Michelangelo.

You won't know what tf are you doing half of the time

It's not encouraging, but you'll learn to say 'fuck this' and roll with it. So, if anyone asks you for advice and you don't know what to say, because not even you know what you're doing, don't panic: it's normal.

Note to self: do your stuff in separate layers, also: name and organize these F layers

Being messy ain't fun when you have a mistake to fix, but can't because you drew everything in one single layer. Also, it's EVEN LESS fun when you have over 9999 layers with NO NAME and they're all over the place. So many tears of blood I've shed to see the truth behind this statement.


At least once every half an hour you should take a break. The only thing you'll get is a headache if you don't, as well as being unable to see the mistakes made in your illustration.

In fact, if you take a break, you will notice almost inmediately the mistakes made when you come back. Sure, it'll be as eye-opening as it will be embarassing, but look at the bright side: no one will ever know!

And that's some of the stuff I've learned so far, and wish someone told me before. Hope it was useful to you!