Complete Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting
4.2 (195 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
8,611 students enrolled

Complete Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting

Learn the basics of Digital Painting,Blending Blocking and beyond.
4.3 (195 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
8,611 students enrolled
Created by Rich Graysonn
Last updated 5/2020
English [Auto]
Current price: $139.99 Original price: $199.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 15 hours on-demand video
  • 9 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Confidently take on any other course or book with a greater understanding
  • Know the fundamentals of digital painting
  • Have a clear sense of how to paint many subjects and create their own paintings
  • Basic drawing skills
  • A Graphics Tablet
  • A willingness to learn

Digital painting is not easy. Especially when you are an absolute beginner. There are so many moving parts . I am here to guide you through the jargon and terms and techniques. Watching videos online can be fun but not very educational. This course is not a "Watch me paint for 3 hours" session. 

I am serious about you finally learning how to paint digitally. In this course you will learn the fundamentals. This is a course around the basics. While it may not teach you how to paint vivid landscapes or cool mechs or beautiful elves it will show you how to make all of your paintings better and stronger.

  • I wanted to create a "What's missing" course. I feel strongly I have accomplished that. 

  • The software you choose it up to you. this isn't dependent on any one specific app.
  • If you are ready to learn the basics and create a strong solid foundation with digital painting then this is the course for you.
  • If you are a traditional artist who is looking to make the jump to digital then this is for you as well.
  • If you can draw and want to start making digital paintings but got frustrated in the past of often felt intimidated then this is for you.
  • I ask that you bring and open mind and a willingness to learn.
Who this course is for:
  • Anyone who is looking to learn the basics of digital painting
  • Any Traditional media artist looking to get into Digital
  • Anyone who has been intimidated by digital art in the past.
Course content
Expand all 96 lectures 15:05:15
+ Introduction
3 lectures 19:27

This is an overview of the course and some "housekeeping".

Preview 10:44

Yes you can use an iPad pro (I have one myself) or any tablet as long as it has a stylus. Mac or PC , it makes no difference. This is a course designed around the fundamentals of painting digitally and not a specific piece of software. 

Preview 01:36

Very Important . Please watch this first.

Getting the Most out of this Course
+ First Time Tablet Users
5 lectures 33:56

Photoshop, Sketchbook pro, Procreate or Clipstudio paint the choice is up to you. Making great art starts with skill and making great digital art starts with skill and great software. Software is such  a personal choice . Its all about what feels right artistically to you. In this video I will show you some of my methods for choosing the right software and how you can make the best decision for you. 

Preview 11:03

Painting on an entry level graphics tablet can be challenging. The hand eye coordination is something that takes time. It does some getting used to and by showing you not only exercises but my actual live hand moving ,my hope is to give you insight into becoming proficient using an entry level tablet.

Painting on and Entry Level Tablet

This is the first tablet exercise . Its perfectly fine if you are having trouble. If you keep looking up and looking at the tablet that's normal. Don't worry it's what many artists have done in the beginning. Try you best.

Tablet Exercise 1

Welcome to the second exercise of painting with you tablet. In this exercise I want you to challenge yourself by not looking at the tablet while you paint . This is not about making a pretty digital painting. This is only about hand and eye coordination. Feel free to do this more than once. It's about practice and not perfection.

Tablet Exercise 2

The third and final exercise for the tablet should be attempted while only looking at the screen. Do not beat yourself up if you are not able to. Everyone works at a different pace. Have fun and if you have questions do not be afraid to ask me. 

Tablet Exercise 3
+ Digital Basics Crash Course
8 lectures 01:12:17

Digital painting , drawing  and digital terms can be scary. Don't know a PSD file from a Multiply layer? Do you get confused at all of the terms people seem to gloss over? Well this entire section is for you. the good news is you obviously have basic computer skills or you wouldn't have found this course. That alone puts you ahead of te millions of people who do not. So I am going to guide you through some of the terms and concepts in the digital realm. 

Preview 07:52

Just as a traditional artist has a studio with an easel or a drafting table and supplies the digital artist has all of that as well. It just so happens to be contained in your laptop or desktop or tablet. this video is meant to show you the similarities of digital and traditional. It is laid out in an easy to understand manner that anyone can follow.

The Digital Workspace

Maybe you enrolled in my course before you actually bought a graphics tablet. maybe you have an older tablet and need a better one. No matter the reason this is a handy guide on picking a good graphics tablet.

Preview 14:24

This video is about the concept of Layers. Layers are found in any good art app or software that allows you to paint , draw and eve sculpt. Layers allow you to make mistakes change the way something looks and many other things. It is one of the cornerstones of digital art creation. It's what makes digital art so special and forgiving.

Basics of Layers

In all of digital art software land there are icons. Icons let you know what tool you have selected. Considering most art software is based off of Adobe photoshop it stands to reason that their icons are very similar if not the same. Once you recognize them you will know them no matter the software you are working on.

Common Icons

This video is all about the types of files you will encounter when working digital. From PSD's to PNG's to Tiff. You will learn all about them and when to use them.

File Types

File sizes are important for many reasons. you may want to work "big" and that's fine but not if your computer cannot handle it. File sizes have many different factors and can behave slightly different from software to software. I attempt to help you navigate through that in tis video.

File Sizes

You can work traditionally and bring the image in. Here are some of my thoughts on doing just that. I do both, I draw and sketch on paper and on my PC or iPad pro.

Importing Images
+ Brush Engine Basics
8 lectures 58:31
Brush Engines at a Glance
Brush Pressure and Sensitivity
Flow and opacity
Brush Tips
Brush Lag
Changing the Brush Stroke
Different Brush modes
Brushes and Textures
+ Blocking in Colors
8 lectures 01:10:43

This video is newer and it talks about what the blocking section is about. I see after feedback and posting lessons some of you are having a bit of trouble with this. I hope this video helps.

What is Blocking about.? (4/01/18)

The first step to painting digitally is the block in.It sets the tone of your painting. There are many ways to block in your color. Through time and experience you will figure out how and what methods you will use personally and professionally. In this video you will learn this simple yet important step.

Blocking Simple Shapes

This is the first of four blocking exercises. I'll explain and then you are to use the worksheet provided in the zip file

Exercise 1

This is part 2 of 4 in learning how to block in your colors.

Exercise 2

Part 3 of 4 adds a bit more complexity and if you do happen to get a little frustrated it's okay. Just take a break if you need to and approach it fresh.

Exercise 3

In this final video of blocking I will explain one of the many processes in mixing colors on your block in.

Exercise 4

Just a quick video based on student feedback for those that are having trouble blocking.

If you are Having Trouble Blocking (3/11/18)
DEMO : Using subtle change for better paintings
+ Painting Forms
8 lectures 01:31:37

Understanding form in art is important. Understanding form is painting is very important. No matter the digital painting app you decide upon, form is still form. How you get there will and can vary. This video will guide you in your first steps in not just understanding form but creating it when you paint.

Understanding Form

As in traditional media the concept of "dark to light" also can apply to digital. In this video I will show you how I approach it. Don't be afraid to experiment and try something different on your own. 

Dark to light

Using the airbrush can be simple and very rewarding. It quickly can create a smooth form. It is possible to overuse the airbrushing technique in digital.

Airbrushing Form

The is a form exercise. It may look simple but achieving a nice clean form is important. it is the basis of your painting. take your time and do not overlook this step.

Form Exercise 1

This the second of the form exercises. the same rules apply.

Form Exercise 2

In this video I go a bit deeper into painting boxes. Boxes make it easier to see form and light and shadow.

Painting Boxes

Ovals and spheres are also key to form. They can be deceptively simple. 

Painting Ovals and Spheres

In this video we will build off of the previous lesson and show you how to create organic forms from a box.

Painting Organic Boxes
+ Blending
8 lectures 01:37:08

In this video I talk about using the blending sheets.I am using them to take the pressure of trying to both draw and then blend an object.

Using the Blending Sheets

I find it good practice to have a specific brush to blend with. I will give you some tips on making a blending brush.

Blending Brushes

Blending with a softer touch can be achieved with an eraser and an airbrush.

Eraser And Airbrush Blending

If you have attempted to paint digitally in the past or seen a video you are familiar with this "blending tool". I use it but I use it sparingly. It can give your work a very "plastic" look if you overuse it.


Mixing colors is a big part of blending. In the traditional art world it is a must to mix colors. Digital does not make it easier but there are benefits. 

Mixing Colors part 1

This is part 2 . Feel free to experiment with mixing colors. Have fun.

Mixing Colors part 2

This is part 3 of mixing colors. if you have questions please post them in the "Q&A section".

Mixing Colors part 3

The gradient tool is very powerful. It can create some instant and stunning blends. Use it wisely.

Using the Gradient Tool
+ Using Color
8 lectures 01:02:02

Starting with the basics of value seems appropriate. Value is simply how much dar (or black) and how much light (or white) a color contains. In this video you will learn the basics of High, low and middle key pallets. 


Just a brief introduction to color and why you should not be afraid of it.

Intro to Color

Shade and saturation goes a bit hand in hand to me. So I teach them side by side. 

Shade and Saturation

Complimentary colors are a staple in art and I use them with less saturation . Sit back and relax and enjoy learning about the colors on opposite side of the color wheel.

Complimentary Colors

Monochromatic pallet is simply many shades and tints and saturations of one color.

Monochromatic Color

Taking a look at where color can go and what it can do. this is a bit advanced but I think it is important for the beginning student so be able to begin recognizing complex pallets. You may not use them at first but still pay attention to them. It can give you a roadmap to many possibilities.

Advanced Color

In this video I discuss artists color pallets that you can use and how to use them. It is a tool to jumpstart your learning.

Color Pallets

This is a simple video on using the provided worksheets contained in the zip file right here.

Using the Worksheets
+ Edges
8 lectures 01:18:14

There are no edges in life. that is true but in digital painting there is edge work. This is an introduction to that concept. It will give you art that "finished" look.

Introduction to Edges

This video is about choosing or creating a specific brush to do edges with.

Edge Brushes

Hard edges are the crisp edges you see or don't see in art. this video is about how to use them.

Hard Edges

The opposite of hard is soft and this video is about what i call soft edges in digital art and how to achieve them.

Soft Edges

Using my very basic humanoid shape you will learn the concept of a broken edge . They are very effective and this is a bit more on the intermediate side so please be patient with yourself and take you time.

Broken Edges

Even though it's lighting I firmly believe rim lighting is a form of edge work. 

Rim Lighting

Putting dark against light is what I call a contrasting edge. I don't believe I have ever seen a video or a book that contains this concept lately but you can see it over and over again in digital art.

Contrasting Edges

This video is about depth in edge-work which I feel is a concept often overlooked. 

+ Introduction to Lighting
6 lectures 49:49

This is my introduction to light. I paint light on a separate layer. This is my introduction to why I do it this way.

Introduction to Light

Overcast lighting is best describes as the light you have on a cloudy day. this video makes you aware of that.

Overcast lighting

Showing real world examples I explain in detail direct light.

Direct Light

You will recognize part of the cover image and this is how it was created. It uses bounced or reflected light in the shadow area.

Bounced light

I covered the concept of rim lighting in the edge work section but I believe its very powerful seeing it in real life.

Rim Lighting

Occlusion or ambient occlusion is when there is no light. It exists ans deep shadows or "lines". this video will familiarize you with that.