Bemmygail is an award-winning illustrator and animator. She produces creative projects targeted for children, and the general audience.

By Bemmygail

Great Digital Art Techniques and Styles You Need to Know

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So you decided to become a digital artist? Well me too! What is it really about digital arts that made you decide to continue exploring its beauty? For me, I guess, it’s about the freedom to make anything possible in arts using digital things like the computer, tablet, camera, etc. Digital arts is purely creativity, sometimes digital artists make digital drawings or paintings just straight from their imagination only, and no other references. It’s just so free to make anything, especially with using the latest technology.

Everytime I make an artwork, I sometimes just draw from what I can imagine, and also sometimes I use references. References like pictures of real people, and read books and blogs, listen to music, and etc. These references are also called inspiration. And with inspiration, you can learn, and it can even make your works more innovative, because it is normal that we add our own style or touch to our artworks if we already have an inspiration. So I decided to list some styles, or techniques that we can follow, or use as references or inspiration to make our own artwork. As artists, editing an artwork is simply cheating, so we make our own, and one step to make our own original work is to view other works and get inspired.

Take a look at some of the techniques I’ve learned so far in this industry. I couldn’t really say that I know how to do these styles, but these are just unique styles, and very different from our traditional school learned techniques. I guess the original artists of these artworks are pretty geniuses to invent/discover their own style. I am not saying that we are required to make our own style, because I think almost every style has been done already, and we designers/artists will just simply add our own character/touch/feel to our artworks to make it look original. But, anyway, I think it’s also good to have your own style, something that will become your trademark as an artist that whenever people see your artwork, they will immediately know who the artist is. It is great to have your own special identity as an artist. And I am sure it will naturally come out.

Okay, here we go.

The first technique that will always pop out on google when you type digital arts is – digital painting! And not just simple digital painting, this one’s really incredible style. I think every digital painter knows this girl from Canada. She’s Sakimichan with her deviant profile:

She has very superb digital painting style, and until now I am still learning how to enhance my own digital paintings, and it inspires me whenever I view her works. They’re just so beautiful, and it feels like I’ve just eaten a lot of food everytime I check her artworks. The way she uses lights in her paintings are so very genius. One artwork I like is this:

See how the lights are done? And where she puts the brightest colors, and the darkest ones? Very beautiful. When you zoom in the picture, you’ll see the brushstrokes clearly, and it’s just very amazing to view the entire picture so balanced, realistic, and fastastic. Her paintings are very interesting because I think she combines the disney styles with love and gloom themes together. She also exchanges genders of the well known characters like Queen Elsa of the movie Frozen from Disney, and Jack Frost of the movie Rise of the Guardians from Dreamworks. I have high respect to passionate people like her.



This next style is very famous in comics, but the coloring is way more glorious than most artworks I’ve seen. So far, this is the best coloring technique I’ve seen. But I am sure there are many of them on earth, alive. Haha. This is a work by Mr. Stanley Lau from Singapore. He actually has a school already, and teaches his techniques to students. You might wanna check that out! See how smooth his work is, very smooth, clean, perfect proportion!




Another style that is mostly used in advertising, and graphics, and I usually call these as “graphic icon style”. I know, it doesn’t sound right, but maybe you’ll know what I mean when you see this artwork by RainbowRose912

Commission: Palette by RainbowRose912

This is really cute, very neat, and looks perfect. It’s another undying style used in most advertisements, and any media graphics today. I also see this “graphic icon style” in most stickers when I was still young, stickers, and cartoons on notebook cover. If you master this kind of style, I think you can have a lot of work these days. It’s a very beautiful, passionate work, that will never age. Maybe the challenge in this kind of style is the time it takes to make every line look perfect, shadows are on their right places, and making sure that the edges are not looking like hand drawn. The thickness of the strokes I think also helps make the drawing look more neat. And also, it’s challenging to decide where to place hard edged shadows and softer ones.

You can do this with adobe illustrator, or adobe photoshop. But with adobe photoshop – maybe you’ll have to make sure the size of the file will be huge enough for you to save it in any kind of size or form, and maybe you’ll need to make sure to have enough backup file. My suggestion is to master adobe illustrator when making this kind of artwork. I also heard people use Paint Tool SAI, it is a good software, and makes very fine lines and colors, but I don’t really recommend it to artists who are planning to continue their art career to a higher level, because Paint Tool SAI has very few options, and has very limited things you can do, although you can’t deny it’s good drawing quality.

Anyway, let’s move on to another style:

Magi - Sindria, Maharagan by moonu17

This is a work done by moonu17

And this one’s pretty neat. It has a combination of digital painting, and graphics. So maybe I can call this as “graphic painting”, lol. Haha, But seriously, the style is very neat, like graphic icons, but also has the use of painting technique. The only difference I think with this from “graphic icon style” is that this doesn’t have thick strokes. I often see this kind of style in anime wallpapers, or cute chibi drawings.

As I view more drawings every day online, I have this desire to know the right style to make an artwork that looks cute, and has very light colors and light strokes used. Then I saw this very cute work by cherriuki –

Pink Bunny by cherriuki

This is a kind of style that I very often see nowadays. It looks like it has used watercolor, with bread used as brush in coloring. The colors are very light, not so strong, not so weak color values. The drawing looks fun, and cheerful, and it nicely uses the principle of design. If you look closer, you’ll see the brushstrokes, they’re very visible. But how the artist managed to make the brushstrokes appear normal, and part of the entire drawing, that without this visibility of the brushstroke, the artwork becomes useless, that is very cool. I really love this style, and I am still wondering, until now, how to do this style. If you know how, maybe you can post a video tutorial?  Maybe photoshop could do this, but I prefer the traditional one then scanned.

Here’s another one – I’m very fascinated by his works recently. First, I thought his works are easy, but when I saw his youtube tutorials, my thought changed. Gosh the details.

This is an example of his work, He’s deviant ID Ry-Spirit

It’s like a cute realistic graphics!

It’s very original, and he uses very nice colors. The work looks fun, and the colors and the values are so perfect. The concept is also very cute, I love it! He uses strokes to his works, but he managed to make the painting look realistic, and at the same time, cute like chibis. The shape he uses are mostly round ones, and maybe that makes the work look cute. And I think his works are very saleable. He sells prints with this kind of style.

Another style I just saw today. It’s a realistic anime style by KR0NPR1NZ

Sailor Mercury by KR0NPR1NZ

I’m in awe with the way the artist uses lights perfectly in this drawing. The strokes are not smooth and are very visible, but it makes the painting look beautiful. And the blur background, such a good use of options available. Proportion is also very good. The body of the girl, and the size of the head, very balanced!

The last I would love to show is a landscape or scenery category. I’m not so good with landscapes in digital painting so this painting is very beautiful for me. The artist is very passionate to finish all the details of this painting. The challenging part of landscape painting for me is to think of many things. You need to think about the position, where the trees will stay, the mountain, where the colors should be, as well as the shadows and highlights. It’s disturbing for me, so I guess landscape artists are very very talented and passionate people. Landscape is as important as the characters of a story, and sometimes we take it for granted.

Here’s an artwork by dawnpu

tea garden by dawnpu

And I almost forgot, the rocks look so realistic too.

So far, these are the styles that I think are really good to use in your future artworks. I hope you’ll get inspired by these works and the artists. I made sure to place the artist’s profile links so that you can go check out their other works.

I am sure there are so many other styles of digital art out there, these are just few of them. There are styles that are good for advertising, picture book designs, picture book drawings, notebook covers, icons, poster designs, and many more. Maybe we’ll just need to know where we’d like to work with to know the styles that fit perfectly for us.

If you have any suggestions, comments, or links of other artworks and styles to share, please comment below.

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