I thought I would take the time to compile a list of some common mistakes that fantasy digital artists make, and how you can prevent them. Some of these points may not seem like mistakes to you, however; they are commonly made by artists new to digital art. I hope this article helps you on your artistic journey. Let’s begin!
1. Not Looking At Reference Photos (Or Not Having Any)
Many artists struggle to create good fantasy art, because they are too close to the subject matter—they’ve been drawing it every day for years. These artists only need to change their approach. Making good fantasy digital art is about mixing realism with creativity using a Procreate brush and other tools, not slavishly copying photos or drawing from imagination alone.
One key element of making good fantasy digital art is to use references, particularly when the subject matter is difficult for you. Find a range of images showing your subject, and keep them open.
Of course, some artists prefer to draw only from imagination, but even they use tonal reference for lighting, or maybe a few photos of their subject.
After you’re done looking at reference photos, check out CreativeMarket for Procreate brush pack selections.
2. Not Practicing Enough…
…Or any at all! How many times have you heard this? I can’t count the number of times this is said by frustrated artists—however; digital painting does take a lot of practice. You can’t become a master of your craft by reading another artist’s blog, watching their YouTube videos or checking out their art on DeviantART.
If you find some inspiration from somewhere else online, try practicing with a free Procreate brush yourself—if you do this enough times, you’ll be able to reproduce it for yourself one day.
3. Colors That Don’t Fit Together
A common mistake I see amongst newer digital painters, is colors that are too bright or lacking any sort of cohesion between them—try to think about how colors relate to each other. For example, red and blue are complimentary colors on the color wheel, so adding one color next to another will make the contrast between them stronger.
Another good exercise is to split your digital painting into three or four layers—for example, one for skin tone, shadows, highlights and reflections. You can then build up these layers with colors that complement each other, rather than colors that clash badly!
This simple technique will help you create better fantasy digital paintings, because your colors will always compliment each other—even if they are not the same colors you used in your reference photo.
4. Adding Too Much Detail
Another common mistake made by newer digital painters is adding too much detail, because they think that more detail makes their art better.
However; Making good fantasy digital art is all about balance—so your painting should always be balanced, whether it has a lot of detail or not.
Painting with less detail may seem like it’s easier, especially with a Procreate star brush, but it’s actually very difficult to do well. Using subtle forms of texture and variation is where the real skill comes into making good fantasy digital art—this means purposefully adding less detail than your subject matter needs.
5. Not Working On A Large Enough Canvas
This may not sound too bad at first, until you realize how many pixels you need to create good fantasy digital art. The standard is 3000 x 4000 pixels, and the more detail your painting has; the bigger this canvas size should be.
A common mistake made by new digital painters is creating a small canvas, because they think they’ll make something worthy of said space; but it’s actually the opposite—the smaller the canvas, the less detail you can fit in, even with that star brush Procreate provides.
6. Making Bad Compositions
Another common mistake made by new digital painters is to not think about how the objects in their paintings relate to each other, and create a bad composition that looks boring or doesn’t make sense.
Good digital art always has balance and harmony—so if you want your digital painting to look good, even with a Procreate brush free of charge, the objects within it should always relate to each other well.
7. Not Planning Your Painting…
…Or making a ‘mess’ of it! It’s easy to get carried away with the actual painting process and do things that work against you later on in the piece. Before you start painting and doing some Procreate brush downloads, it’s worth borrowing some composition techniques from classical artists, so you can create a good fantasy digital painting—even if the subject matter is not designed well.
For example, imagine drawing a character with their back to the background; This will make your character feel smaller than they should be, and appear unimportant. To fix this, simply make the background darker to emphasize your character.
Fantasy art is a genre of art that can be difficult to master. There are so many new techniques and skills you need to know in order to produce high-quality work, but don’t worry! With these tips, you won’t make the same mistakes others did.