Top-5 learning resources to become a digital artist

Top 5 go-to resources for aspiring digital artists

October 11, 2019

Just as Wacom #ComesWith more benefits, becoming a digital artist #ComesWith practice. But how do you know what to practice – and how? Unless you already are an experienced digital artist, we long for tutorials, insights, inspiration, tips and the like to learn from. That’s why we introduce our top 5 go-to learning resources, where the experienced digital artists among us help us find our path to digital art and keep progressing.
They offer tons of free material to get started and once you found your go-to resource, you can usually get more for a small fee. Just a little editorial tip: learning within your comfort zone feels a lot easier. So check out our top 5 go-to learning resources for digital artists, one or two might do the trick for you. Just take your time and limit the resources you follow in the beginning. You do not become a digital artist by following other artists – it takes practice. So here we go.

No. 1: YouTube

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“Haha – good one, I already know that.” You might think. And of course you do. There are so many speed-paints, tutorials, reviews, webinars, tips and tricks on YouTube, that we easily get overwhelmed from time to time. In the meantime, you probably found some artists and channels (like adobe CC) to follow, but have you already checked out these:

Sinix Design

If you want to learn about art theory, anatomy, how to paint faces of just to get some monthly inspiration, you will Sinix Design. He started out with a Wacom Intuos and gives some sound advice on how to improve your art.

Xia Taptara

Xia is a very talented digital artist who wants to deliver good quality online tutorials for everyone at any level to learn at any time and place. Ambitious? Just have a look and decide for yourselves. His go-to device? A Wacom Cintiq.

Nathan Lumm

Nathan is a professional comic book colorist who is eager to share his knowledge with you. Following him will give you some pretty actionable tips and tricks if you want to specialize in comics (or broaden your horizon). Guess what his favorite drawing tablet brand is – yes, you get the idea – it seems quite a lot of digital art experts rely on Wacom products.

Bobby Chiu

Want to learn from the best? How about Bobby Chiu, an award winning (including Emmy) character design and concept artist. With his own art school he provides thorough tips and tricks and also interviews other legendary artists, such as Aaron Blaise, to keep you inspired and help you out.

Aaron Blaise

Yes, this legendary artist provides loads of free educational content on YouTube. So be sure to keep him on your radar. If you really like his way of teaching and you are looking for some art class to take online, just visit and sign up for some of his courses. It is not just more comfy than visiting your local art’s school, it’s also cheaper.

No. 2: ArtStation Learning

ArtStation learning is a great platform with a specific focus on digital art. It basically streams videos from leading digital artists to aspiring digital artists and might be just the right resource for you. Its classes are very well structured, which helps following along at your own pace so much easier. For a small monthly fee ArtStation provides you to unlimited access, so you would have any class available when it is the right time and place. These might be some games industry related classes worth investing in:

From School to Studio

By Becca Hallstedt, a concept artist and illustrator working in the games industry since 2016. She gives some solid tips and tricks on how to get a foot into the games industry.

Environment Design: Graphic Sketching

By Grady Frederick – a freelance concept artist and illustrator. This time, he shows you the first step of concept art, i.e. graphics sketching. Prepare for some practical advice.

Sketching Characters with Energy

By Joel Dos Reis Viegas – art director at ubisoft. He shows you what he does to bring more energy to his characters. Ready for some take away advice? Sign up and watch.

Art of Tabletop Games: Concepting and Art Direction

By Andrew Bosley – a freelance illustrater and concept artist. If you are interested in the creation of tabletop games, this course will be just what you were looking for.

Style Design for Art and Entertainment

By Craig Elliot, a production designer working in the film industry designing film and TV shows. This course will help you a lot understanding style in games, films, illustrations and the like.

No. 3: Skillshare

skillshare logo
Thorough research for good tutorials will also inevitably have led you to skillshare. To those of us, who don’t know skillshare yet: it is an online learning community, that provides hundreds and thousands of classes in business, programming, tech, design, art and much more. If you are hunting for something sophisticated, you could go premium and get the content you were looking for – if this is your go-to learning resource, of course. How to find out? There are a lot of free classes available that help you improve your digital skills in many different creative fields. Here’s just a small sample:

Photoshop Compositing Made Simple

Pete Collins introduces you to his L.E.N.S. system and what to take into account to create some jaw-dropping compositing art pieces. Just sign in for free and learn.

Digital Concept Art: Designing Creatures

Learn from Justin Goby Fields how to use the ZBrush to create super realistic creature designs. Create something to stand out with.

Learn ZBrush Basics

You’re into sculptures and 3D art? Or maybe you want to specialize in it? Then this class will give you some in-depth insights into ZBrush.

Premiere Pro CC Basics

We all love good tutorials & videos, right? Will Barlett gives you some basics for beginners using Premiere Pro CC. Have fun.

Illustrator CC Masterclass

Martin Perhiniak shows you to how to design vector illustrations for several use cases, such as logos, product packaging, patterns etc.

No. 4: Udemy

udemy logo
If you have not heard of Udemy before, make sure to keep it on your radar. They claim to improve lives through learning – and they do – not just for creatives. There are many free classes and tutorials to dive into, to get a taste of Udemy, just check the filters. When you love this way of learning, you might want to consider investing a bit in more elaborate courses Udemy offers. They also offer business subscriptions for teams as some sort of bonus for their employees. Is this for you? Just get to know Udemy – here is just an exemplary quick pick:

Art Fundamentals – Building Blocks of Digital Painting

Hardy Fowler breaks down what you need to know to create digital art professionally. Students would spend semesters at universities to learn this – save time and money now.

Cartoon Drawing: For the Absolute Beginner!

Don’t copy other artists, learn how to draw your own ideas and in your own style. Kavin Gardin empowers you to do so with this course.

After Effects Essentials: Complete VFX and Motion GFX Guide

You want to give your artwork some sparkle using after effects? Ruan Lotter has created some tutorials with spot-on and actionable advice for both, beginners and advanced users.

How to Make Epic YouTube Thumbnails – and Get More Views

If you are just starting out and you want to share your progress with the rest of the world on YouTube: congrats! Did you know that more views will generate more advertising income for you? Well, here is an example what you could do, to increase this number.

Logo Design Process from Start to Finish

Stephen Looney walks you through the complete process of logo design so you could outperform competition and generate future business with that client.

No. 5: Ctrl+Paint

Just in case you’re lost in concentration when watching elaborate classes, tutorials and webinars, Ctrl+Paint might just be the right alternative for you. Just like the above, except for YouTube, it offers premium content you could purchase – but it also provides a huge library of free short tutorials for any digital creative level. When you open this link, you will directly be presented with a video and some additional tiles below, making you think “Is this it?”. The answer is “no”, just scroll down a bit – è voila – you’ll get to the overview of their entire (free) library taking you from a traditional painting apprentice level to fully fledged digital art expect level (at least using PhotoShop). We’ve picked these videos to give you an impression:

Ctrl+Paint Unplugged Road-Map

This video gives you a rough outline on what you can expect from the tutorials at hand – starting at the very basic “unplugged” level of drawing (like) pen on paper.

Welcome to Composition Basics

Matt Kohr tells you how crucial a good understanding of design principles are, why you need them – and how to learn them with the videos provided. Makes you want to learn more right?

Welcome to Digital Tools

If you actually follow the complete course, i.e. watching all the videos in their library in chronological order, this video is where you move to digital painting.

Panels You Don’t Need (to use)

In the previous video Matt talks about “de-cluttering” your workspace. It takes quite a lot of videos until he gives some tips on panels you do not need. So we figured this might be of interest to you.

What is a “Study”, anyway?

You have probably encountered this term a couple of times wondering what it is. You will do studies too. Sometimes along the way, but also when you are already very experienced in digital art. Studies help you improve at art. Matt demonstrates that quite well in this video.

We share to inspire, challenge and excite your imagination.

And if just one of you found some actionable tutorial, or maybe even your go-to learning resource, this post was totally worth creating. Now it’s up to you – dare to practice, dare to learn, dare to be creative. Just take your time, don’t get too overwhelmed. These are just some of the options out there. Try to focus on one thing at a time and you will progress a lot faster, than trying to learn it all at once. Maybe one day you will not remember anymore how long it took you to get to where you are – or do you remember how you learned to talk?

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