Digital Art

Digital art includes fun activities such as line drawings, photo tracing, photo painting, coloring and painting line art.  For some these activities are quite easy while for others they can be very difficult and challenging.

Luckily, we have some great software from Adobe and Corel to help those of us with little artistic skill produce some really great results and the gifted artist may even discover something interesting as well.

In addition there are some great line drawing websites where you can download free line art to paint and color - a great activity for kids of any age!

You can do your art work with a mouse or a track pad but it is very difficult and not particularly accurate.  To achieve the best results, however,  a graphics tablet like a Intuos or an Intuos Pro makes life much easier and the end results much better. 


The digital art version of tracing is done by using the brush or pencil tool on a layer and then tracing the image below the layer.  Images can be traced in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro as well as any other software that will load an image and has layer capabilities. 

Jump to Tracing

Digital Inking

A lot of artists will do a rough sketch, scan it into their computer and then do some digital inking.  For our purposes here, the inking is done with the Pen Tool in either Photoshop or PaintShop Pro, however it can be done with any vector program.

It's really the go to for those of us who have difficulty drawing because the results are great!

Jump to Digital Inking

Freehand Drawings

It goes without saying that anyone who can actually draw something can draw an image with a Wacom tablet and their favorite digital art editing program.  Want to see what someone with artistic  talent can do with a Wacom Intuos tablet.  The drawing link includes a video of a great drawing by Sycra .

Jump to Freehand Drawings

Digital Art Coloring

Coloring with a tablet and line art is great fun. You can color and paint on your own and get your kids involved - they will love it!

All you need to do is get yourself some great line art and a search of the web is probably all you need.

Jump to Coloring

Digital Painting

Painting is fun and really effective with the different options available in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Corel Painter.

Jump to Digital Painting

Digital Art Software

This is a typical line drawing that can be downloaded as black and white line art and then colored any way you like.  It's a lot of fun ...

Adobe Photoshop is the premier digital editing program and a skilled user can pretty much do anything with a digital photo.  It is also possible to do some really amazing things with digital art as well given the power of the program and the ability to download an incredible number of different and unique brushes, especially when you're using a graphics tablet like and Intuos, Intuos Pro or Cintiq.

With Photoshop the power lies in the ability to completely control the brushes in terms of size, shape, color and scattering.  Once you understand how to use these dynamics then coloring and tracing are easy and straightforward.  You can produce some stunning results with these dynamics.

Photoshop Elements is the pared down version of Photoshop and may be frustrating to an experienced Photoshop user.  Understanding the brush dynamics in Elements will produce results that rival that of Photoshop. 


The really amazing digital art program from Corel is Painter with the current version being Painter 2015.  It's jammed full of natural media brushes that act just like their real world counterparts.

If you can draw and paint all on your own then this is the program for you.  For the rest of us it is easy to create some awesome looking artwork once you become familiar with the tools and techniques in Painter because it will do auto painting.

Corel Painter Essentials 5 is a scaled down version of the full version of Painter.

Both Painter and Painter Essentials have the ability to automatically create a painting or drawing from a photograph.

The third product from Corel is Paint Shop Pro, their flagship digital editing program currently at version X7.  When you understand how the art tools work in Paint Shop Pro then you can produce some fabulous results.

The three programs from Corel take advantage of the pressure sensitivity of the Wacom tablets. Painter and Painter Essentials have pressure sensitivity built right into each brush and with Paint Shop Pro each brush can be set to react to pressure.  The pressure sensitivity of the brushes is at the core of producing great digital art. 

Coloring With A Gradient

Now here is something interesting - this dragon was colored entirely with Gradients and it looks pretty good, don't you think?

It was easy to do - just select an area with the Magic Wand, grab the Gradient Tool, select a Gradient and click on the picture - then do it again and again ...


Probably the easiest digital art to create is tracing an image with one of the aforementioned programs.

The procedure is to create a new layer, grab a pencil tool, set the opacity to change with pressure and then trace the image on the new layer.

A very similar effect can be achieved using filters in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro.

This image was traced from a picture I took of the front badge of an old Mack Truck.

The tracing was done with Painter Essentials 4 using an HB pencil.  A layer was added between the image and the tracing layer and filled with light gray and a paper surface texture was added.  

The exact same set-up with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro woks perfectly.  There are thousands and thousands of unique brushes available for them which will produce fabulous results.

Tracing is not particularly difficult but it can be time consuming if the image is complex and it is a heck of a lot of fun as well.

Digital Inking

This digital art technique will produce fabulous results you take the time to learn how to use the Pen Tool (Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro).

Pretty much any image can be inked with Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro - from the very plain to the very intricate. 

This one was a line drawing on a white background that was inked in black, turned to white on a black background and then the moon was added (circle selection, filled with yellow and then Render > Clouds).

It was a fun project and there is no way that I could've done this freehand, even tracing on a new layer with my trusty Intuos Pro Medium tablet.  If, however, I did the best job I could do with the tracing it could be digitally inked to finish it off!

Take some time to learn about the Pen Tool included with your software - here are the links ...

Freehand Drawing

Freehand drawing with Photoshop, Elements, Paint Shop Pro and Corel Painter will produce some amazing pieces of art if you have the skill.

I don't!

I'm stuck with tracing but that's OK - I can still marvel at and appreciate the skill of people who can draw.

For your enjoyment and amazement here's a drawing video by a fabulous artist named Sycra of a face (one side male, the other female) using a Wacom tablet.


Coloring line art is just flat out fun and it doesn't matter if you have any artistic ability or not.

The brushes in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro have the ability to do far more than just paint lines with a round, soft brush.  By setting a few simple dynamics it is possible to bring your coloring alive. 

Coloring With Photoshop

Coloring with PhotoshopColored with Photoshop

You can do some amazing things with the brushes in Photoshop.

In this tutorial you will learn about Jitter and the really cool things you can do with the Brushes Palette.

The tutorial also makes use of multiple layers as well as the Layer Blend Modes.

Click here to learn about brush dynamics, jitter and coloring. 

Photoshop Elements Coloring

Photoshop Elements has both Tablet Options and Advanced Brush Options.

What these options do is allow for some wonderful and creative uses of the brushes in Photoshop Elements.

The advantage of this is that a piece of line art (like the thumbnail) can be colored using more interesting brushes than the soft round brush.

Click here to find out about these really cool and creative brush dynamics and how to use them in a coloring project.

Paint Shop Pro Coloring 

Paint Shop has this absolutely enormous Brush Variance Palette.  It allows a Paint Shopper to create some amazing brush dynamics, especially when using a Wacom tablet (Bamboo or Intuos).

The dynamics are particularly useful when one is involved in a coloring project like the little fish line art thumbnail.

Follow this link to find out how to use these great brush dynamics with Paint Shop Pro.

Coloring A Mandala

Are you familiar with mandalas?   The term has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically,  a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective.

Coloring a mandala with Photoshop,Elements or PaintShop Pro is a really rewarding experience.  At its simplest it's an easy activity - choose a color and start painting.

To create a more interesting work of digital art it's useful to use a Wacom tablet, understand the software brush dynamics and work with lots and lots of layers.

This is where you'll find the instructions ...

Digital Painting

Digital art by photo painting really works well for those of us who have very little facility with real paints and an easel.

All you really need is one of the quality software packages (Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter, PaintShop Pro or Corel Painter Essentials) and a great graphics tablet such as an Intuos, Intuos Pro or Cintiq and a picture to turn into a painting.

The following links demonstrate how to photo-paint using the aforementioned software.

Photoshop's Art History Brush

Photoshop has this really cool brush called the Art History Brush.

With this brush you can turn any photograph into a really nice looking painting.

The actual painting is easy and quick, however the set up may take a bit more time.

Photoshop Mixer Brush

These brushes were new additions to Photoshop CS 5 and it they're quite amazing!  

With the Mixer Brush you can paint a picture from scratch or create a nice photopaint (paint a photograph).

There are a lot of really unique options available so follow this link to discover the power of the Mixer Brush.

Photoshop Watercolor Conversion

Converting a photograph to watercolor is a rewarding and fun experience.  This particular technique uses layers and masks and blending modes and a lot of painting with a tablet.

Here's where you can learn how to do a watercolor conversion.  

Photoshop Elements Impressionist Brush

Not to be outdone by Photoshop, Elements has the Impressionist Brush available for you.

What this brush does is turn a photograph into a painting with a variety of different and interesting options.

Click here to discover more about the Impressionist Brush.

Corel Painter Essentials

Digital painting with Painter Essentials is fun, effective, and a very rewarding activity indeed.

Consider this - there are 95 different brushes available in Essentials covering every possible artistic situation from pencils to soft sponge cloners.

You can create a wonderful work of art for your own pleasure and you can create a work of art to surprise a friend or family member.

Here's how you create a photo painting with Painter Essentials. 

Digital Art is rewarding and a lot of fun no matter what your skill level.  Grab a Wacom tablet, load up your software and have some fun!

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