The obvious answer may well be “I can’t draw”, a resignation that ended most people’s artistic aspirations at school age, literally leaving them with no drawing board to go back to. In the computer coming-of-age, however, with art apps becoming more sophisticated yet less intimidating, not having the aptitude or training no longer needs to be a drawback.
As long as you have the artistic leaning, you’ll find everything you need to spend your spare time practicing and perfecting the skills required to transform those doodles into masterpieces. For those who’ve tried their hand at being arty and failed before (think of all those unopened paint sets clogging up the drawers), you’ll be happy to hear you won’t have to invest in expensive packages in order to trial your inner artist’s abilities. Everything you need can be added to your PC at the tap of a pen.
To get drawing, you’ll want a tablet (most novices who ultimately require a workstation will go for a hybrid device like Microsoft Surface Pro 3, as it can be fitted with a keyboard), and a digital pen. For inexperienced hands, the new Surface Pen is the one to play with. Anyone who has previously tried to scrawl on a computer art package only to see it go haywire will find the way the pressure on stylus translates onto the screen infinitely more manageable.
For beginners, digital artist Ray Frenden suggests getting the new Surface Pro 3 is a “no brainer”. He explains: “It feels like a sketchbook in form, function, and potential capability. It’s easy to transport, has a stout battery, and runs full featured art applications.”
Oh, and unlike old-fashioned illustrations, if you make a mistake, you won’t have to screw up your piece of paper and start again – the eraser tool magics them away at a click.
Now, it’s quite likely that during your research into the digital art world, you’ll come by expert graphic artists singing the praises of how well the Photoshop and Illustrator CC works on Surface Pro 3, while others will be discussing complicated ways on how best to create art with Kinect, but don’t let all that intimidate you.
The two apps you need to brush up your skills with are Fresh Paint and SketchBook Express. Respected by professional artists, beginners will find them easy to use, fun and absolutely free. Here’s a quick look at how they work:
Once you’ve got the hang of the basics and want to learn more specialised techniques, again, for free, sign up to Ctrl+Paint, an excellent learning resource site that literally draws you step by step guides on how to create your own digital paintings. After becoming more confident, you’ll start to appreciate the wealth of other exciting art apps available, such as Manga Studio, Clip Studio Pro, ArtRage, Painter 2015, Sketchable and Paint Tool Sai.
Any problems, you’ll easily find someone willing to show you how it’s done. Digital artists are a friendly bunch who love to share their expertise and encourage others to try their hand at it. You'll find a great community at Surface Geeks and Surface Pro Artist. There are also plenty of fellow aspiring artists sharing ideas and promoting their work on online platforms like Surface Forums. And of course, there's never a shortage of inspiration, advice and ideas on YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr and Pinterest.
So get your pen and tablet at the ready and start drawing. Once you feel you’ve got what it takes and ready to exhibit your masterpiece, be sure to plug it using #Icreatedthis.