7 common mistakes in creating fantastic digital art

I figured I would take the time to compile a list of some common mistakes great digital artists make, and how you can avoid them. However, some of these points may not seem like mistakes to you; they are generally made by artists new to digital art. I hope this article will help you on your artistic journey. Let’s get started!

1. Do not look at the reference photos (or not have any)

Many artists find it difficult to create fantasy art because they are too close to the subject – they have been drawing it every day for years. These artists just have to change their approach. Making fantastic digital art is all about mixing realism and creativity using a Procreate brush and other tools, not slavishly copying photos or drawing just from the imagination.

A key part of creating good fantasy digital art is using references, especially when the subject is difficult for you. Find a range of images showing your subject and keep them open.

Of course, some artists prefer to draw only by imagination, but even they use tonal references for lighting, or maybe a few photos of their subject.

Once you’re done looking at the reference photos, check out CreativeMarket for Procreate brush pack selections.

2. Not practicing enough …

… Or not at all ! How many times have you heard this? I can’t count the number of times this is said by frustrated artists, however; digital painting takes a lot of practice. You can’t become a master of your art by reading another artist’s blog, watching their YouTube videos, or discovering their art on DeviantART.

If you find inspiration elsewhere online, try practicing yourself with a free Procreate brush. If you do it enough times, you will be able to reproduce it yourself someday.

3. Colors that don’t go together

A common mistake I see among newer digital painters is that the colors are too vivid or lack cohesion between them – try to think about how the colors relate to each other. For example, red and blue are complementary colors on the color wheel, so adding one color next to another will make the contrast between them stronger.

Another good exercise is to divide your digital painting into three or four layers, for example one for skin tone, shadows, highlights and highlights. You can then create these layers with colors that complement each other rather than colors that strongly oppose each other!

This simple technique will help you create better, fantastic digital paintings because your colors will always complement each other, even if they are not the same colors that you used in your reference photo.

4. Add too many details

Another common mistake new digital painters make is adding too much detail because they think more detail improves their art.

However; making fantastic digital art is all about balance – so your painting should always be balanced, whether or not it contains a lot of detail.

Painting in less detail might seem easier, especially with a Procreate Star Brush, but it’s actually very difficult to do well. Using subtle forms of texture and variation is where real skill comes in to creating fantastic digital art – it means deliberately adding less detail than your subject needs.

5. Do not work on a canvas large enough

It might not seem like too much of a big deal at first, until you realize how many pixels you need to create some good, fantastic digital art. The standard is 3000 x 4000 pixels, and the more detailed your painting is; plus this canvas size should be big.

A common mistake new digital painters make is to create a small canvas because they think they will be doing something worthy of that space; but it’s actually the opposite: the smaller the canvas, the less detail you can fit into it, even with the star brush that Procreate provides.

6. Make bad compositions

Another common mistake new digital painters make is not thinking about the relationship between the objects in their paintings and creating a bad composition that looks boring or doesn’t make sense.

Good digital art always has balance and harmony – so if you want your digital painting to look beautiful, even with a free Procreate brush, the objects in it should always relate well to each other.

7. Not planning your painting …

… Or make it a “mess”! It’s easy to get carried away with the painting process itself and do things that go against you later in the room. Before you start painting and downloading Procreate brushes, it is worth borrowing some composition techniques from classic artists, so that you can create a good, fantastic digital painting, even if the subject is not well designed.

For example, imagine drawing a character with your back to the background; this will make your character smaller than it should be and seem unimportant. To solve this problem, just darken the background to highlight your character.

In closing

Fantasy art is a kind of art that can be difficult to master. There are so many new techniques and skills that you need to know to produce high quality work, but don’t worry! With these tips, you won’t make the same mistakes everyone else does.

Christopher S. Washington