video2brain Focus on Digital Drawing

video2brain Focus on Digital Drawing
For those artists who wish to use PhotoshopR to create a drawing from scratch, you will enjoy this teaching video by Daniel Lieske as he demonstrates how to use Photoshop to create a digital drawing, adapting traditional drawing methods for digital software and a WacomR tablet.

The subject of the drawing, a boy sitting on a park bench, is a good choice for demonstrating digital drawing techniques. But instead of using Photoshop filters and styles to create the shape and texture of the wooden bench and trees, the instructor uses traditional drawing techniques such as scumbling and hatching with the custom drawing tools which he has created for his project.

Lieske begins with demonstrating how to set up the document, answering the most asked questions about document size and resolution. Next he discusses one of the mistakes most beginners make, which is to become overwhelmed with too many drawing tools. He creates only three custom drawing tools, a fine drawing pen, a fat sketch pencil and color brush, which he uses throughout the entire project. Unlike most digital drawing tools that create harsh solid lines, his custom tools perform more like their traditional counterparts, allowing the subtle buildup of values.

Lieske considers perspective an important aspect to any drawing and discusses how to construct a perspective grid layer and determine the horizon and vanishing point. Using this layer as a guide, he begins a rough sketch, demonstrating how to use his custom drawing tools.

The project consists of two parts, the background and the character. Lieske works on the background first. Beginning with the fat pencil tool to draw a rough sketch, he determines the placement and perspective of the main elements, the bench, trees, pavement and the boy. When building the pavement in front of the bench, Lieske demonstrates his digital technique for quickly creating repeat patterns.

Next, he adds a detail layer, using his fine drawing pen to refine the outlines and add details. He demonstrates how a concentration of detail draws the viewer's eye to the point of interest while less detail should be used in the background.

Lieske creates new sketch and detail layers when adding the character to the scene. As with traditional drawing, he first blocks out the shape of the character and then uses the fat sketch pencil to roughly sketch the boy. On the detail layer, he again switches to the pen tool to fine tune the details.

One of the main drawbacks of digital art is that it can be too perfect. Lieske blends both the sketch and detail layers together to create a more organic, hand-drawn effect. However, he uses digital tools to his advantage, such as the Selection, Eraser and Masking tools to clean up the drawing. He also demonstrates how the Liquify and Transform tools can be used to make size and shape adjustments.

The last step is to add color. Lieske first adds a color layer to simulate paper and then uses his color brush to add shading and highlights similar to a watercolor glaze.

For so long, there hasn't been much information about how to use Photoshop as a "traditional" art medium, instead of a photo manipulation tool. It's nice to see that training videos, as well as books, on this subject are finally available.

Daniel Lieske is a digital artist, designer and product specialist for Wacom. He is the creator of The Wormworld Saga ( and can be found at the German forum Digitaldecoy (

video2brain has several subscription plans to choose from. You can view hundreds of their training courses as streaming video or downloads on your computer, laptop or tablet. The project files for this course include both the Photoshop psd files and the custom tool presets.

*video2brain provided a copy of this video to me for review purposes.

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This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.