Digital Art for Beginners


Digital Art for Beginners

by Karen Bonaker

From a very young age, I enjoyed drawing and painting and was completely content with that until the day I found ®Corel Painter and realized I could create beautiful art on my computer. I turned a deaf ear to my colleagues that told me digital art was not art, something deep inside told me that this was a new frontier just waiting to be discovered.

The next question was where to begin? As I started my research, I found that there were many options for learning how to paint digitally; the hardest part was to find what worked for me and what will ultimately work for you.

For the beginner Painter student, this can be a difficult journey. From the experiences of my own journey, I would like to share some of the best resources for learning how to paint with pixels. Years have passed since I first picked up the stylus. Today, there is so much more available to us, offering the beginning digital artist the opportunity to really discern about how they want to learn to paint digitally and what works best for them.

Online Classroom Training

Digital Art Academy

Online classes vary from site to site but, what you can expect at Digital Art Academy is a personal experience with plenty of support along the way. Classes run six times a year and each session last four weeks. Generally, each week your instructor will give you a written lesson and a video which you can download to your computer and view at your convenience. Your classroom is accessible to you twenty-four hours a day and your instructor is there to support you and answer your questions in a forum venue.

DAA was founded in 2007 as a center of creative excellence; where art, passion and talent converge with some of the best digital artists, nurturing the finest digital artists of tomorrow. The mission is to empower students to realize their fullest potential in the fields of Digital Artistry, Content Creation and most of all, Creative Expression.

Classes are taught by highly qualified digital artists and software professionals. If you enjoy working with other students and a live instructor who offers help and guidance, then this is the place for you. Classes are very reasonably priced and DAA is a Corel Training Partner. Most classes include written lessons and video to enhance the learning experience.

LVS Online:

LVS Online is a pioneer for online training and offers a smorgasbord of opportunities to learn Painter as well as other software. Although not focused specifically on Digital Art; you will find affordable online training for Painter by Elaina Moore-Kelly as well as other creative applications.

Paint box J:

Jeremy Sutton recently launched this wonderful site where members can learn from his techniques and inspirations while obtaining advice from one of the foremost Painter Masters. The site offers video and in-depth articles all about digital art. Most recently, Jeremy added a new critique section where members can learn from each other as well as share. Jeremy takes this opportunity to offer practical in-depth analysis and advice that is relevant to all PaintboxJ members. Critiques are offered on a monthly basis.

Workshops and Webinars

For the student who enjoys a hand on approach to learning, the digital art community is full of wonderful artists who offer hands on workshops on a continual basis. Not only are many of these workshops onsite but, some are being offered over the internet using various webinar providers such as Go To Webinar. For those who have the means to travel, workshops are wonderful ways to learn for the beginner. Here are just a few of the many talented digital artists to help you get started on your journey.

Marilyn Sholin

Jeremy Sutton

John Derry

Scott Deardorff

Helen Yancy

Jill Garl

Ann Carter Hargrove

Karen Sperling

Heather Michelle Bjoershol

Fay Sirkis

Tim ONeill

Forums and Blog Sites

Forums offer a student support and a community which they can feel a part of. There are some excellent forums available to the beginner however, one word of advice – study the forum before you join, make sure it will be a good fit for you, a place where you can grow and not feel intimidated. Look for support from other members and, most of all, make sure that it is a place that offers guidance, knowledge and a little hand holding. This can go a long way to create a comfortable place to meet new friends and learn from the best. There are many excellent forums; here are a few choices which offer the beginning digital artist a great place to learn and to feel supported as they learn.

Painter Factory

Painter Factory is place for all things Painter. The forum is full of useful information and offers digital artists of all levels a high level of support. The forum is moderated by Jinny Brown.

Digital Painting Forum

A fee based forum primarily focused on Painter. The forum offers a wide variety of support for the professional and beginner digital artist as well as the armature and professional photographer. The forum founder is Painter Master Marilyn Sholin. Digital Painting forum offers gallery space to showcase your work.

Painter Talk

Painter Talk is a free forum dedicated to digital art. It is a special place for learning and growing in a supportive and friendly digital art community. Painter Talk offers a Gallery to showcase your work.

Concept Org
A web based community of artists who are focused on helping members learn about art and showcase their work.

John Derry Pixlblog

John Derry is a pioneer of digital painting and one of the original authors of Corel® Painter. John’s authors a wonderful blog to follow with helpful information and resources for the digital artist.

Pixel Alley

Founded by Jinny Brown, Pixel Alley is one of the primary educational forums on the web. Jinny offers support to users of Painter with many interesting and enlightening links.

Books and DVD Training

Perhaps you learn best by watching a video, DVD or reading a book. Artists tend to be visual learners so DVD’s and books are a great alternative to travel or going on the web. There are many wonderful training DVD’s available to you including those that come with the software such as Corel Painter and Painter Essentials.  These products offer a solid fundamental approach to learning the software. I have highlighted some of my favorites for learning Corel Painter.

Jeremy Sutton
Learning Corel Painter X with Jeremy Sutton
Painter X Creativity

Cher Threinen-Pendarvis
Painter Wow book series

John Derry

Painter 11 Essential Training

Tim ONeill

Artistic Impressions DVD’s

Digital Painting Techniques DVD Set

My final advice to the beginner digital artist is to take the time to find what works for you; look for instructors that encourage you to be the best you can be, instructors that challenge you and help you see your full potential. It has been a wonderful journey for me to see the growth in the digital art community and the generous support from many of the finest instructors and artists who give of their knowledge and talent so graciously.

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