9 Digital Art Skills You Must Master
You no longer have to use a paintbrush and paper canvas for you to be an artist. In fact, the technological advancements that have been made in this digital era have led to an entirely new form of art known as digital art. Across various industries, there is now a high demand for digital content creation, management and distribution.
For those interested in a career as a digital artist, you may be wondering how to elevate your work. Don’t fret, you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading to find out what digital arts skills can help you land your dream job.
What is digital art?
Artists who are involved with digital art use modern means to bring their ideas and creations to life. Digital art merges technology such as digital imaging editing software and drawing programs with art-making. Some digital art can even combine multiple technologies to create animations and 3D virtual sculpture renderings. The use of these digital technologies allows the arts to manipulate video images and still images for multimedia.
The images designed by a digital artist can either be hand-drawn, created on a computer, or drawn on a tablet with a stylus. It is important for all digital artists to have both non-digital skills needed for art, as well as a deep understanding of software programs. One way to ensure you are prepared for a digital arts career is by earning an online graduate certificate in digital arts essentials from NJIT — you’ll gain the critical foundational skills and knowledge needed to get you started in just 5 courses!
9 Digital arts skills you must master
Regardless of which digital medium you currently work in or are hoping to work in, you’ll elevate your artistic abilities with these digital arts skills.
Sketching is a foundation skill that everyone should practice to be a well-rounded artist. It doesn’t matter if you only ever work digitally, you should still regularly sketch to maintain and improve imperative basic skills. Sketching also gives artists the space to experiment with new techniques, mess up, and try again. This promotes growth and encourages you to take risks.
Sketching doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Sketch at a park, on the subway to work, or draw the city landscape from your apartment window. Don’t forget to incorporate the basics into your sketches as well. Make sure to continue practicing faces, figures, and maybe even some fruit!
2) Character drawing
Although character drawing and sketching overlap, they should actually be looked at as two completely different skills. Character drawing is a core component of digital art and takes a lot of time and practice to master. While the perfectionist in you probably wants everything to look phenomenal on the first try, don’t let it hinder it. Try not to think about making it perfect until later. Before you even start drawing, consider how the character may talk, walk, what their interests are, who they hang out with, and what their personality is.
Once you have a backstory for your character, everything will start falling in place. How do they express emotions? The eyes are one of the most important features of a character as they can tell a story by themselves. Keep on experimenting with position, size, shape, and color until you get an expression that truly feels right.
Digital art has a multitude of areas you can choose to concentrate your talents in. However, animation is a skill that you should understand and be familiar with even if you aren’t looking to have a career in animation. Having the ability to do basic animation gives you better knowledge regarding the limitations within a digital medium. Because every form of media is different, you should be aware of how animated characters, animals, and other objects can move around, talk, and interact with their surroundings.
4) Creating original concepts and ideas
Storytelling through digital art is often a collaborative process. Depending on your company, role, and responsibilities, you may be asked to join the brainstorming session. To keep your conceptual digital art skills sharp, check out what others are doing around you. Many artists draw inspiration from online blogs, portfolios, and even tutorials. Have a few favorite artists? Look at their work and see what you can do with similar shading, textures, lines, and colors.
User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) refers to the way customers interact with online media to purchase products and services, as well as how they feel during the experience. The way in which a website is designed from it’s clickable buttons to images all impact the overall impressions of the user.
One factor that largely sets the stage is the style and look of the website. If the site is not appealing to look at and interact with, users are less likely to reach their end goal. As a digital artist, being able to understand UI/UX — especially on mobile devices — can help you create with your audience in mind. At the end of the day, you want the user to have a pleasant experience.
6) Shading and lighting
When it comes to digital art, you have full creative freedom to create something imaginative, whimsical, or realistic. No matter what you decide, you’re going to be using shading and lighting to add depth into your work. While shading and lighting can be a tricky task, it’s a crucial part of establishing a scene, defining an object, and creating the illusion that the image is “real”.
7) Color usage
Another fundamental digital art skill is knowing how to refine your color usage. Believe it or not, you don’t need to use every color in your palette to create details, realistic, and beautiful images. In fact, sometimes less is more. Try to limit your color palette before you begin illustrating. Afterward, you can use Photoshop or other photo editing software to adjust hues and saturation to create the shade you’re looking for.
In every type of art there is one fact that remains the same — composition is key. Composition refers to the arrangement of elements in each scene of art. When each element is done in a way that complements one another, the overall design creates a sense of harmony. Even if you’ve been an artist for quite some time now, it’s always a good idea to refresh your knowledge on the golden rule of composition.
Familiarize yourself with these composition digital art tips that will help bring your artwork to life:
The rule of thirds
Balance positive and negative space
Knowing these rules can elevate your artwork, but don’t be scared to experiment. Sometimes you’ll find that breaking the rules can open your eyes to an entirely new way of designing something beautiful.
When thinking about art, it can be easy to forget that there are elements that aren’t images and pictures. Typography for example is a form of digital art that can make or break your entire project. With the right font, the message you’re trying to convey can be powerful, inspiring, and even help the user take action. The wrong font, however, can completely change the mood and impact you want to achieve.
Design your career path with NJIT
From video game designing to designing art for websites, a digital arts career is an exciting and thrilling area for you to use your artistry skills. To help get you started in this career, you should consider pursuing an online graduate certificate to ensure you’ve mastered all the critical skills.
At NJIT, when you earn your graduate certificate in digital arts essentials, you’ll be training for your digital arts career with experts in the tri-state area. The digital arts essentials graduate certificate will not only prepare you for your future job, but it can also be used to advance your education. You can stack it with other design and animation certificates, and even use it towards an MS or MFA in digital design. What are you waiting for? Apply today!