How to Get Started in Digital Illustration
- Pixels - Drawing with pixels, or units of a digital image, can be a very organic, additive process and truer to traditional painting when you just want to draw. Adobe Photoshop uses large amounts of pixels to create images you draw or paint. Pixel-based images are made up of a set number of pixels and the detail of the image is limited by the number of pixels available because each pixel can be only one color. A sketch or painting in Photoshop is the results of lots and lots of pixels working together to create the image.
- Vector - Setting out to create a vector illustration is a very intentional process. It is one where the artist creates and arranges several different vector shapes which work together to create the final image. Adobe Illustrator is a dedicated vector drawing program. In addition to it’s distinct style, the beauty in vector is that once your image is complete, you’re not restricted by the number of pixels and can resize your image without any loss of quality. Vector-based images do not have the limitations of pixels in terms of the amount of detail they can contain. This makes vector the best possible format for things like logos that must be able to be resized.
- Resolution - Resolution relates directly to pixel-based images and the number of pixels they contain. Files that contain larger numbers of pixels are capable of capturing more detail and are considered to be higher resolution but take up more space on your hard drive as well as system resources. Since adding resolution to an illustration after it’s been created is typically a bad idea, it’s important to understand how much resolution you need before the project is started. This way, you’ll be able to create all the detail you need for your illustration.
- Layers Panel - Layers separate different elements of an image, such as clothing from a model, and work together to create any image, vector or pixel-based.
- Brush Panel - This is an extension of the brush tool in Adobe Photoshop, here you can configure brushes with varying sizes, shapes and orientations to work differently for your needs.
- Layer Masks - In Adobe Photoshop, these masks allow you to hide specific portions of a layer.