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Getting Started with Digital Art

Getting Started with Digital Art

Compiled by: Chark Jen Wei

Art is one of those skills that are accessible to just about anybody. Almost anyone can create art.

Today, art has become more accessible and cheaper, so here are some tips to get started;

1. Free Software

For image manipulation and vector designs, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator have been the industry standard for decades. Their hefty price of RM87.33 might be a turn off to many.

Due to this some resort to pirating to get their hands on the software. Ethics and legality aside, pirating adobe software comes with a downside of having unreliable software due to its constant updates in accordance to Windows and Apple operating systems. This means that older versions of pirated software will not be updated and may cause problems when the operating system of the PC updates. However, open source software has given the public free tools for creating art which are on par or even better than paid software!


You don’t even need to download anything, just log on to and it will load in your browser. Photopea has virtually all the essential functions of Adobe Photoshop but lacks only the most advanced and rarely used functions. Photopea also allows the modification of Adobe software exclusive files such as PSD. and AI from Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.



Inkscape does everything that Adobe Illustrator can do and the best part about it is being absolutely open source and free! Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator specialise in vector design which are essential in the creation of logos, package design, website design, etc. For the browser version, one can use although its functions fall short in comparison to Inkscape. Nonetheless they are reliable and free software that can do just about anything that a premium software such as Adobe Illustrator.



Krita is free open source software that is similar to Photopea and Adobe Photoshop. It has the capabilities to edit and manipulate images. However, Krita’s true strength is its drawing and also to some extent, animation. Photopea and Adobe Photoshop have drawing capabilities as well but they pale in comparison with both the ease of accessibility of Krita and its functions. 

Due to its open source nature, do not be surprised to find out that it will be the industry standard for animation one day after dozens of updates!

2. Drawing Hardware 

The industry standard for drawing tablets is Wacom which is the cheapest non-display unit at RM200. However, 2 major brands have improved and innovated to the point they can compete with Wacom not only in terms of quality but also price. You do not need a fancy and expensive drawing tablet to create wonderful art; Youtuber Brad Colbow demonstrated in this video (Brad Colbow's youtube video) that merely using an affordable RM90 Huion tablet it is possible to create professional and industry level art.

3. Learning Resources is a free online learning resource that has garnered positive reviews. It teaches the very fundamentals of drawing such as forming lines and spatial awareness of shapes. This learning resource is recommended, however one can search for thousands of free tutorials on YouTube.