Photoshop: Quick & Easy Digital Painting Like a Professional
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Photoshop: Quick & Easy Digital Painting Like a Professional

Create professional-looking digital paintings using powerful brush tools in Photoshop, even if you "can't draw."
4.3 (62 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,289 students enrolled
Created by Kristen Palana
Last updated 6/2017
English [Auto-generated]
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Current price: $10 Original price: $75 Discount: 87% off
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 5 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Create powerful digital images that can be displayed online or in print, presented as unique gifts, or as part of your own freelance design business.
  • Harness the power of intelligent brush and eraser tools to mimic the unique qualities of paint on the computer.
  • Understand how to create effective images that use original or copyright-free photographs as a starting point.
  • Gain intermediate to advanced illustration skills based on simple tools and easy to learn techniques
  • Have a solid undertsanding of basic digital painting methods to create images used as stills or later in multimedia and animated projects.
View Curriculum
  • Bring an open mind, a willingness to learn new tricks, and a copy of Photoshop. Free trial versions are also available at Adobe's site.

This quick and dirty course will help you make original, custom digital paintings and illustrations using Adobe Photoshop (or any similar program) in just a matter of minutes that look professional and can be used online, in videos and animations, or for print purposes such as on a poster, letterhead, even a T-shirt or other products.

*Please note that free 30 day trial versions of Photoshop are available for download from Adobe's website.

Save money making your own unique digital images and illustrations (and stop paying others to do them for you) and develop skills that can help you start making money creating professional-looking images for others. You can also use these simple techniques to make unique images and illustrations as free gifts for friends and family.

You also don't need to know how to draw. There are actually a HUGE number of graphic designers who CAN NOT draw... but they make up for it by using techniques like the ones in this course and naturally, learning more about layout design, composition, color, typography, and other fundamentals of visual literacy.

You can decide how much time you will spend on each image which will then affect your end results. As you do more and more, you can be cranking these out in a matter of minutes and could actually make a little illustration/digital painting business creating these for others on websites like Fiverr, Elance, and other freelancing websites.

What Students Are Saying:

"A great course by a great instructor. It was amazing to see the making of an image, with all the techniques, attention to detail, and also to hear the thinking process behind each decision. I found it stimulating and inspiring." -Robin Scanlon


I'm a practicing award-winning multimedia artist and a former tenured Associate Professor of Digital Media and Program Director of Film & Digital Media at The American University of Rome (2006-2016). I'm currently a Visiting Associate Professor of Digital Media at the brand new American University of Myanmar in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). 

Since 2000 I've been teaching students all over the world using my tried and true custom approach (turning complex information into something simple, memorable, easy-to-understand in as short amount of time as possible) to ensure that you get the most important, relevant, and useful information that can be applied immediately.

New bonus lectures and resources will continue to be added and timely advice will be provided in the discussion forum. I love to help and always respond to inquiries and discussions ASAP.

Please Note: All students who enroll in this course also will receive periodic free and discounted access to my other top-rated current and upcoming courses.

You have a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee with no questions asked so you have nothing to lose. I make myself available so you will have access to me if you have questions or need specific feedback along the way.

Empower yourself now by enrolling in this digital painting course and join our growing learning community!

Click the "Take This Course" button in the upper right corner and let's get started building your digital painting, software, and design skills today.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for anyone looking to add new tricks and techniques to their artmaking toolbelt.
  • This course is for traditional artists who would like to learn to make digital work, illustrators, as well as so-called "non-creatives" who think they "can't draw."
  • This is NOT an in-depth Photoshop course. A selection of tools and techniques are discussed in depth for creating digital paintings but this course doesn't cover EVERY feature available in Photoshop.
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Curriculum For This Course
23 Lectures
Introduction and Welcome
3 Lectures 07:28

Welcome to this course! Please take a moment to learn how I can help you, who the course is for (pretty much anyone regardless of experience or skill level), and what you can expect to gain after having taken this course. Are you ready to add new professional-looking images to your portfolio, website, and social media pages? Let's get started!

Preview 01:55

Take a moment to see how to best use this course for your skills, experience level, software access, and interests.
Preview 00:41

In this lesson, we'll have a look at the kinds of images you can make in Photoshop using simple tools and techniques. Whether you prefer to draw from memory, observation, or to use a photograph as your starting point, you can use the tools and techniques covered in this course to make images for yourself or others quickly and easily at your own pace and in your own way.

Preview 04:52
Diving Into Photoshop and Its Painting Tools
4 Lectures 18:22

In this lesson we will set up a new file. I'll discuss choosing settings for print or the web and which I recommend and use personally when creating my own images in Photoshop.

Learn or Review Setting Up a New File and Choosing Important Document Settings

In this lesson, (optional for those who already are familiar with Photoshop,) I'll go over tools like stylus pens you might consider using if you have access, essential windows and panels you will need, and talk about the basic brush tool and its various settings.

Get the Rundown on Important Windows, Tools, and Brushes in Photoshop

The Mixer Brush Tool is by far my favorite addition to the newer versions of Photoshop. For years I used other programs trying to best get the paint mixing effect you would get in an actual painting studio. No longer! Photoshop's Mixer Brush Tool will get you painting without the toxic fumes and mess to clean up ASAP.

I'll also discuss a few other settings and tips that affect regular brushes as well.

Preview 04:25

Most of us have used eraser tools in imaging programs but have not given much thought to how to use them in a more painterly way. What does this mean? Let me demonstrate in this lesson! 

Not Your Average Eraser. Painterly Ways to Use This Common Tool in Photoshop

This quiz will reinforce what you learned (or reviewed) in Section #2.

Setting Up Basics and Brush Tools Overview Quiz
6 questions
Time For Action. Let's Make a Digital Painting Together!
7 Lectures 29:54

In this lecture I'll let you know what you need to get started according to your preferred way of taking this course, by either copying what I do exactly or by choosing your own unique image to work with and just using the techniques I cover.

Start By Choosing an Image to Work With

In this lesson I'll show you how to bring in a photo, scale and adjust it, modify it with the filter gallery (the non-cheesy way), and how to use "Save As" to preserve the various versions of your budding digital painting.

Ready? Let's Start By Placing a Photo, Modyfying It, and Saving As

In this lesson we will finally get started painting in a layer just below our photo's layer.

Time to Add Our Underpainting. Let's Roll.

In this lecture I'll make a new layer and starting painting OVER my photograph. When I get really absorbed in my illustrations, at times I may have up to 10 or more over and under paintings where I adjust and play around with the opacity settings. You can be as simple or complex as you'd like. In this course, I'll keep it simple.

Now Let's Add an Overpainting (You Can Have as Many of These As You Want)

In this lesson I'll show you how to add a black line drawing layer if that is the kind of look you are going for. Otherwise, if you want your image to look more painterly and less like a comic, stained-glass window, German-Expressionist piece, etc. then you can skip this step.

Line It Up! Adding a Black Line Drawing Layer to the Mix

In this lesson I will "eat away" at my photograph with a "spluttery" eraser so that the under-painting will begin to show through. You can control how little or how much this is the case as well as the opacity settings of all your layers. The combinations and variations are endless!

Deconstruction Time. Erase and Eat Into the Original Photograph

Now we will have some fun with three very useful tools: dodge, burn, and sponge to create some finishing touches.

Polishing and Finishing Up: Using Sponge, Dodge, and Burn Tools to Finalize
Intermediate and Advanced Ways You Can Use These Techniques (Case Study)
3 Lectures 19:10

In this lecture I'll show you a slightly more complex way to work with the techniques discussed in this course. In particular I'll show you a selection of images I illustrated for the childrens' book, Lori Leak Travels to Paris by Barrett Clemmensen Powell.

In them I used combinations of photographs arranged in a collage before beginning the painting and drawing techniques.

Advanced Illustration Techniques (Children's Book Case Study)

In this lesson you will tour all the layers that went into a Lori Leak illustration. I'll talk about my image-making process and give you hints so you can get started making more intermediate to advanced digital paintings using similar methods.

Under the Hood: Inside a Lori Leak Illustration (Case Study)

I can already hear you ask your next question. "How do I cut, paste, and collage photos in Photoshop like you did in the Lori Leak illustrations?" This lecture will walk you through the process step by step. Make sure to click on the downloads/resources tab to get the blog post with all the free images you can use.

How to Easily Cut, Paste, and Collage Photos Into Your Images in Photoshop
Extra: Start Promoting Your Work Online By Starting a FREE Online Store
2 Lectures 13:19

In this extra bonus case study lesson, see how easy it is to display and sell your favorite finished digital paintings and illustrations by creating your own FREE online store. See how an online store can make you more discoverable, and how it can cause new fans and future freelance clients to find and contact you later.

This is a sample lesson from my full, in-depth course, Freelance Success For Artists -A Quick and Easy Guide.

Extra: Take Your Best Digital Paintings & Start Selling Them Online (Case Study)

In this extra bonus lesson, see how easy it is to link up your new online store to your website and social media pages and how they all work together to generate web traffic, make you more discoverable online, and how it can cause new fans and future freelance clients to find and contact you later.

This is a sample lesson from my full, in-depth course, Freelance Success For Artists -A Quick and Easy Guide.

Extra: Link Your Online Store to Your Website and Social Media Pages
Appendix: Resources/ Credits
2 Lectures 00:52

Here is my big list from my website of 75+ Resources to Get FREE Images, Music, and Videos For Your Projects.

The images, music, and videos on this list are from the Public Domain or have Creative Commons licenses. Make sure to double check the terms on each site and for each image to ensure you are using them correctly. In some cases you may need to provide attribution (credit) to the creator (for many Creative Commons licenses), though for Public Domain works, no attribution is needed.

Happy Painting!

75+ Places to Find FREE Images, Music, and Videos For Your Projects

Thanks to Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech for providing such a great variety of royalty-free music samples. This is where I list the titles and the CC3 license. I highly recommend you look up his work if you need music for your own projects. 

Music Credits from Section 3 (*Kevin MacLeod Rules the World!)
Conclusion, Thank You, and Bonuses
2 Lectures 02:36

Thanks so much for taking this course. I hope to see you in my online classroom again soon. Best wishes and please stay in touch! Kristen

Thank You For Taking This Course!

This lecture will point students towards freebies and discounts, other courses and books, as well as show how to stay in touch.

Bonus: Freebies and Discounts
About the Instructor
Kristen Palana
4.4 Average rating
1,211 Reviews
31,820 Students
20 Courses
Professor, Award-Winning Artist, & Digital Do-Gooder

My goal is to empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Since 2000 I have been teaching graduate and undergraduate university students and adult learners in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. I currently live and work in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) and am an Associate Professor of Digital Media at American University of Myanmar

I also lead dynamic workshops and master classes locally and internationally. Recent clients include The UN's World Food Programme (Myanmar), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Mango Group (Myanmar), and The American University of Rome (Italy).

I'm an American/Portuguese multimedia artist and educator and a former tenured Associate Professor of Digital Media (2006-2016) at The American University of Rome where I also co-founded and directed its Film and Digital Media Program.

Besides teaching tens of thousands of students at Udemy and other online platforms since 2014, I'm also a Course Facilitator for the UN-mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica) through their Centre For Executive Education.

My work is exhibited internationally and online and has received a number of awards. I received my MFA from Pratt Institute in Computer Graphics and Interactive Media and also hold a BFA in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

I love taking complex topics and making them simple. 

What can I help you with today?