How To Make Digital Art

How To Make Digital Art

How To Make Digital Art, A Tutorial..  This page is a rough tutorial that will skim the basics about how to make digital art. I will talk about how to add overlays to an original digital image and then edit to create artwork.

I’ll add to this page as it comes to me, there is so much I have learned in the last two years. If you want to know about anything other than what I talk about here, email maryzenx@gmail.com or pm me here art by Mary. I still have much to learn, teach me here Mary Clanahan.

I create my artwork using computer software. I prefer to use PicMonkey as it has the effects I like and is by far the easiest program to use for me. My eyesight is slowly dwindling down to darkness. PicMonkey’s buttons are easy to understand and it has an intuitive layout. I do use Adobe Photoshop for some edits but mostly for sizing and print color settings.

The most important thing I can teach you about How To Make Digital Art, is to prepare your images, overlays and backgrounds first by accessing the back-end of each. Add your information, copyright, tags, titles, subject and a comment if you like. Remember, when creating digital images for the web, use a typical RGB color setting but when needing to print your images, choose an appropriate color setting like CMYK.

You can easily follow along by visiting PicMonkey.

To learn more about how to prepare your images properly before creating your digital art, visit Learn How To Create Digital Art

Lets begin with the first steps of how to make digital art..

I started this piece with a white background image, titled and tagged for internet and print. I sized it to 2500x2500px then added my first overlay.

An overlay is another image laying over the original image. You may add as many as your computer will allow, some do become bogged down and too slow. The program will ask if you want to save your work at a size and quality level less than what you will need for art, tell it no thank you. You should save your work at the highest size file possible. PicMonkey will only let me save up to size 4000x4000px. I then re-size my artwork to print standards with Adobe software.

To add an overlay simply click Overlays then choose Your Own. Remember to edit your overlay beforehand to indicate title, tags and copyright info. You should also give your overlay appropriate edits first if needed, so that it blends with the overall artwork nicely. Once, you have added your overlay, you may then choose how the overlay will be displayed. When your overlay is chosen, you will notice blend mode options in the edit box, arrow through them to see what effect each gives to your overlay. Once you find the effect you like, you may change color or add a fade. You may move the overlay to any position you like,  you can also grab the corner of the overlay to move in and out which resizes. There are as many different options and outcomes as you can come up with on the fly.

Remember to note the pathways that got you to a look that you would like to repeat or keep as a tool for future use. It would be nice if PicMonkey would offer a way to save a particular pathway or group of choices made to get to a certain look but it is a free service and you get what you get. I choose PicMonkey for its simplicity and ability to create so many different looks with one very small change. All of these looks can be created using other software like Adobe Photoshop CS6 which I LOVE but I find that PicMonkey can get me there in half as many clicks. The only downfall for me is the lack of sizing options and color settings. PicMonkey is not suitable for print options. The sizing only goes up to 4000 x 4000 px which is pretty small in the real world but once you begin editing and adding to your image in PicMonkey with overlays, it slows down the editor a great deal. After I create my artwork with the Monkey, I open it with my free version of Adobe Photoshop Elements, I resize large for print and reset the color setting from RGB (for web) to CMYK (for print).

Okay much more detail about how I make digital art..

My first overlay for this work was an image of a sullen child. I found her placement and I then erased parts of the image where I want other overlays to show through. I was careful to edit each image I was going to use as an overlay before starting the piece. Makes the creating process go much smoother and quicker if I have prepared overlays ahead of time. For this piece, my overlays needed to be black and white with an orion softening, light and shadow enhancements and a partial fade. Except for the fade, these are things I can not change once I have added an image as an overlay.

How To Make Digital Art

My next overlay is of a second child. I positioned it on top of the first in the best artistic way my eyes could see. I erased parts of that overlay to let the previous and subsequent overlays show through. Before turning it into an overlay, I added light and shadow enhancements, gave it clarity, sharpness and a fade.

The third overlay of this piece is an image of a crowd of people. I want this overlay to show through only parts of the final piece so I choose a hardlight blend. I didn’t need to erase what would I did not what to show through the final piece as the following overlays will cover and hide those parts. I wanted the crowd to show on the first child’s face.
My fourth overlay was of the building of the Hindenburg in 1937. Before the fiery crash, when its maker was still a proud inventor and traveler of the world, the Hindenburg was a sign of the times. Flight was the future and the more people who could experience it, the better. Things changed not long after this photo was taken, an adventure crashed to the ground in a ball of red-hot questions that would never be forgotten and forever asked. I include this image in lots of my artwork, I am enamored by the hope of it all.

Learn How To Make Digital Art

After adding all of my overlays, I move on to edits, adjustments and enhancements. I move the overlays around to get them just right. I add depth with shadow and light and I enhance those effects with some orion brightness. I gave the Hindenburg overlay an extra move to position it perfectly, I want the idea of hope and future endeavors to be obvious. I left the Hindenburg’s maker in the image too. It gives just a bit more depth to the subject.

I was very happy with the outcome and only needed to add final edits to the overall for added color and texture. I choose the new PicMonkey theme of zombies for my additional edits. Crackle and ooze texture worked well, especially set with a multiply effect. I then added the hardlight effect for depth and movement.

Learn How Make Digital Art
I finalized the piece with a blue hue for the texture. The blue is much more appealing than the dull oranges the crackle and ooze created. The blue shines and helps to tell the story I had in mind. The idea that we can all start over at the point of hope again and again.

Well, I hope you did learn something with the How To Make Digital Art post.. All artwork by Mary Clanahan. To see more of my digital art visit the galleries. To learn more about how to properly prepare your images for digital art, visit Learn How To Create Digital Art.

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