If you think about it, it’s pretty amazing just how much you can do artistically with technology. And even if you might have grown up with technology, there is always so much more to learn. While your creativity is the guiding star here, technology can open up opportunities for you that you never imagined possible.
We talk a lot about digital art products on here, giving you insight into which ones are affordable, which ones are powerful, and which ones are well worth the price, whatever the price. And yet, for all of that, it’s still easy to feel confused about what to do after buying the product. That’s exactly what we’re going to tackle in today’s article: digital art ideas for those just starting out.
We’ve decided to be very generous and give you 10 ideas. That way you have some variety from which to choose. By the end, we hope you’ll have a clear idea which kind of project is perfect for you.
And now, without further ado, let us begin!
10 Digital art ideas for beginners
1. Create a Geofilters for Snapchat
Social media runs the world, especially the world of the young. You can be part of it all by practicing your art skills on social media and making stuff that will make others happy. If you’re especially good with typography and overall design, consider creating GeoFilters for Snapchat.
Geo Filters are fun community filters and they cost absolutely nothing to create. You can submit your designs directly to Snapchat, upon which they’ll decide to approve them or not. Project requirements are easy and you can learn more from their website.
Another great advantage of creating Snapchat GeoFilters is that you learn skills related to project management. You’re not just building something for yourself here, but your entire community, which means your work has the potential to impact many people. Since it’s a whole project, you can teach yourself to stick to deadlines, make MVPs, and based on how many trials it takes for your Geo Filter to be approved, you also learn to improve via iteration.
2. Draw fan art
We all have some things which we idolize, whether it is a person or a thing. Consider drawing art related to the stuff you are a fan of. A great result of this is that it will make you happy, because you get to recreate something you like in your own image. I love anime, for example, and therefore get lots of pleasure from drawing fan art of my favorite anime characters or scenes.
Fan art is a great exercise in reproducing something you love, but with your own style. Since you’re doing this for yourself, there is no pressure or stress around it. You’re also not creating anything new, or something that no one’s ever seen before. You’re just re-interpreting something you already know and love.
Since you’re trying to re-interpret an existing design, you don’t have to go through that initial design phase where you really have to rack your brains trying to come up with something original.
In terms of having low pressure and being purely selfish, this is a great project for beginners. It will help you find your style and develop confidence, all while having loads of fun!
3. Designing logos
Designing logos is a great project if you’d like to combine your digital design skills with some printmaking skills. Basically, you’ll start by making monoprinted backgrounds on copy paper. You can then use your favorite design app, such as Illustrator or Photoshop to create logos. Again, this is a low creative pressure project, since you can create your own personal logo.
Once you’re done creating your design, run the monoprinted paper through the copier and your logo will be printed onto it. On top of letting you be creative with your design, this project should also help you get acquainted with using Adobe Photoshop, or whatever other photo manipulation app you fancy. Whether you’ll be doing it on the computer or on a drawing tablet with a stylus, you should walk away with some serious skills.
4. Concept art
Concept art is a great way to get started drawing, especially if you’re the kind with a wild imagination that just can’t be reigned in. You can create concepts for just about anything, including creatures, heroes, props, and landscapes. Again, since you’re doing this for yourself, it has a lot less creative pressure.
The only part you might experience some pressure with is the actual creativity of coming up with something novel. The solution is to not think too much about it. Instead, just put whatever ideas you have on paper without fretting about the end result. When you dump your ideas on the canvas, one at a time, until you have a complete work of art before you.
You can do a simple rough sketch, even if it’s some rough shapes, then slowly refine them over time. It doesn’t even have to be clear what exactly you’re drawing after the first sweep. It could be nothing more than a silhouette.
And this is a principle you will find to be useful in your endeavors as an artist. Rarely do artists have fully formed illustrations in their mind when they commit to pencil to paper, or stylus to screen. You start with a kernel of an idea, and so instead of ending up with something final, you end up with something only partly final. Then you improve and improve until you have something that looks good.
Another thing is that this will teach you to let go. Many beginning artists have a problem where they want to draw something to completion. They want everything they work on to be the magnum opus they envision in their mind. But it does not have to be so. Dump your ideas, as confused as they might be, onto the canvas and then let them go. Move on to the next one.
Over time, after drawing lots and lots of ideas, you will get better and better at it. This is the best and quickest way to improve as an artist.
5. Draw based on a theme
The concept of theming is very important. Basically, by choosing a theme, you restrict yourself to a certain direction, which then restricts your creativity. This helps you narrow down your project and helps you focus on a particular kind of drawing.
So, for example, if you wanted to draw a dragon, you could theme up. You might draw a water dragon, or a dragon in hell, or a simple cartoon dragon. That is what theming is all about.
And that’s the main point behind theming. You let a very specific idea drive your project from beginning to end, and then you stick to that theme. Heck, you might decide to do a still life drawing, and that would be a theme in itself.
Theming can help you reign in your mind to create great works of art without feeling bogged down or overwhelmed by all the ideas swimming in your mind.
6. Try to create your own characters
Many artists aspire to get to the point in their career where they create their own character, and many do. As a beginner, you can easily give it a shot and learn a lot from it too.
Part of the allure of creating your own original character is that you get the opportunity to create your own character with a set of unique characteristics. This gives you a wonderful opportunity to really use your imagination to its full potential. Also, you are in full control of the process.
You can approach this project by taking some time to think about it. What world and time period does your character live in? Also, what makes it so interesting and unique, as opposed to any other old character? How does your character dress and accessorize?
The whole process is quite fun, of course, but might also be one of the toughest projects you will undertake, simply because you will need a massive amount of imagination and creativity. However, as long as you don’t mind putting in the work, everything should work out just fine.]
7. Draw creatures
You don’t have to draw just characters. You could still put your imagination at work by drawing creatures. It can be a fun process, and you are just as free to create a creature in your own image here as you were with a character above. Your creature can have some crazy colors, as many limbs as you wish, and even super powers. Again, your creativity is the only thing that defines the limits of what you can do.
You should remember, however, that whatever creature you draw must have some realistic anatomy to it. If the creature stands, then its anatomy needs to reflect that it has bones and muscles to support it.
For that reason, you will have to do lots of research. Pick some reference animals and then collect images of that animal to ground your process. Start by trying to copy the reference images, then transform your copies into whatever you want.
8. Draw a robot, mecha, or cyborg
Now things are getting interesting! Often we like to draw people and creatures of flesh and blood, or landscapes and the like, but what about drawing mechas? Paradoxically, this is both simple and difficult. It’s simple because you can add lots of details without causing the final drawing to lose meaning. Things that would look weird if added to a creature of flesh and blood make perfect sense when added to a mecha because you can always say they were meant to be there.
The process is also difficult because you need to put in work to make your mecha look interesting with the details you’ve added. If you’re making a Mecha-Godzilla type drawing, for example, you need to make it look strong and intimidating, as well as believable.
Drawing mechas is also a great way to really get into the study of anatomy. In essence, a mecha is a rigid, graceless version of the flesh-and-blood thing, so you need to understand the original anatomy to draw the imitation. I would advise trying this project only after trying the creature and character projects to learn more about anatomy. Once you’re comfortable with that, drawing a mecha is as simple as adding details to make the thing both complex and beautiful.
9. Draw a background or landscape
Landscapes and backgrounds are another option for a beginner looking to build their drawing skills. It could be cartoon ones, or anime ones, or something realistic.
Landscapes and backgrounds give you a different way to express your artistic ideas, especially if you find yourself typically drawn to drawing characters. It can be quite uncomfortable if you’ve never done it before, but that’s the point, isn’t it? You only learn and grow when you step out of your comfort zone.
But drawing landscapes and backgrounds is also a fantastic opportunity to let your creativity flow in a different way. It will be something you’ve never experienced before if you’re used to doing characters and creatures. You might come out of it with a newfound appreciation of the work it takes to create a beautiful landscape.
10. Draw a portrait
Finally, the best project we can suggest is to draw a portrait. This is a great exercise in learning to draw faces and upper bodies. It’s also a great project because you are trying to draw a real thing. So there your creativity already has clear boundaries for you to stay within.
You start by thinking about the hairstyle, facial expression, and mood of the character you’re drawing. While you’re drawing an existing character, you can also create your own original character in a way.
Better yet, you can go the extra mile and draw a self-portrait. What better way to get acquainted with drawing than to get acquainted with drawing yourself?
And with that we come to the end of our little article. As you can see, ideas abound for beginning digital artists. All you have to do is let your creativity flow naturally and follow it. Hopefully, your head is brimming with ideas right now, and you’re ready to get to work. So let’s not waste any of your time and let you get to it. Until next time, happy drawing!