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Digital Painting – How to Get Started

Exploring Digital Painting

Technology has revolutionized virtually every area of our lives, including how we create art. While digital painting isn’t necessarily a new concept, its accessibility and the fun creative options it provides inspires a lot of new and experienced artists to jump on the bandwagon.

What Is Digital Painting

Digital painting is the process of creating art digitally using a computer or a tablet. By using painting software, artists can create different effects using a variety of application and blending tools.

Digital painting is becoming a popular pastime for several reasons. It requires fewer materials than its traditional counterpart, making it affordable in the long run. Even basic computers and tablets are fast and powerful enough for accurate brush strokes, more accurate pressure sensitivity and large file sizes without lag time.

This type of art is also considerably more portable than traditional painting. It’s a lot less messy and you can do it even in tight spaces, so it’s easy to create even when you’re away from home.

How to Get Started

To get started, you really only need two tools, including a graphic tablet and painting software.

Choose Your Hardware

The most basic graphic tablets don’t have screens but connect to a desktop or laptop computer using a USB cable. They have two components, including a touchpad and a stylus. You can get these tablets for less than $100, and while they take a bit of getting used to, they’re perfect for beginners.

If you’re an experienced artist or have a bigger budget, you might consider a display tablet. These tablets have built-in monitors, which you may feel more comfortable with if you’re used to drawing on paper or a canvas. The most expensive options are all-in-one tablets (think iPad Pro or Microsoft Surface Pro). While they’re portable, they’re considerably more expensive. Some models may require that you purchase a special pressure-sensitive stylus.

Choose Your Software

There are lots of different programs available for digital painting. Some programs have modest monthly subscriptions, some are available for a one-time payment and others are free. If you’re dabbling and you’re not ready to spend a lot, check out Krita, which is a free and open-source painting program with a ton of features.



Modern painting software lets you use digital layers for your work, a time-saver that you can’t achieve with traditional mediums. With layers, you paint or draw on imaginary layers that stack on top of each other to create the final image. This lets you delete or revise one layer without starting the whole piece from scratch.

Brushes and Erasers

Just as in traditional media, brushes and erasers are used in digital painting to apply and remove color. Most painting programs have a lot of options for brush tip, shape, size and softness. Erasers can be configured in the same way in terms of size, softness and shape.


Most painting programs have a variety of blending tools, making it easy to create a smooth, three-dimensional effect. There’s a bit of a learning curve, so it’s best just to try out a few different tools and decide which one best fits your style.


As with any artform, mastery takes time and patience. Fortunately, online step-by-step tutorials abound, making it easy to explore different styles and understand how to use the tools available to you.

Mike LaTour - Co-founder Mike LaTour  Soundwave Art
2019 Finalist - Digital Innovation In Art Award

I spent 17 years in the music industry and have always had a love of art. Combining music, sound, and art was a perfect fit.

I’d like to thank you for visiting us and invite you to have a look around. Express your creativity and record a sentiment that will last for generations!