Digital Drawing.

Digital drawing has been stealing the hearts of creatives as far back as the 1960s. And it’s easy to understand why – just swap your pencil and sketchbook for a stylus and tablet and let your imagination run wild. 


Whether you want to bring your doodles to life or add flair to your digital portfolio, learn how to draw digital art with Adobe Photoshop.

A top-down view of a man working at a desk with a laptop, notebook, sticky notes, and stylus and digital drawing pad, with swatches of different colours.

What is Digital Drawing?


Digital drawing is a form of digital art that uses a stylus and digital canvas to create images. It focuses on linework, whereas digital painting uses patches. 


Drawing digitally involves producing lines to form an outline of a structure, before adding patterns, shading, and shape. Meanwhile, the digital painting process involves experimental patches and sculpting these into shapes. Digital art creations often use a fusion of both techniques.



Benefits of Digital Drawings vs Traditional Drawings.


Some of the key advantages of drawing digitally include:


  • Saves time. Digital sketches can be quicker to produce compared to traditional physical drawings. The nature of drawing digitally means that you can replicate and clone parts of the design to speed up the creation process.
  • Easy to editYou can edit your digital illustrations throughout the creation process. This means that as your ideas develop, so can your work. It’s easier to digitally erase parts of an image than it would be to use a physical rubber to erase pencil etchings from a sketchbook.
  • Replicable and sharable. The beauty of drawing digitally is that your digital drawing becomes sharable. Send copies of your designs to your friends and family or build a portfolio of digital sketches for professional work. You can also replicate your art and scale it for different purposes, from an A1 wall poster to a logo for a business card.
  • Document work in progressDigital drawing software like Adobe Photoshop allows you to work in layers. This means that you can save different elements of your piece as separate layers. With these layers, you can easily go back and adjust specific elements without affecting the overall design.
  • Limit recurring cost and wasteWhile buying the equipment you need to start drawing digitally can be expensive, this is a one-off purchase. Once you’ve bought your tablet and stylus and set up your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, you’ve got everything you need to create a digital sketch.


With traditional drawing, you’ll need to buy another sketchbook when you run out of pages and replace your drawing equipment once you’ve used it up.


Digital drawing considerations. 


When you take the leap into digital drawing, you’ll need to invest in the right equipment. While this can be expensive, in the long run, you’ll be able to save money from not replacing physical supplies.


There is also a learning curve involved. But luckily, Adobe Creative Cloud have helpful guides and tutorials to help get you started.


Ultimately, digital drawing is a very valuable skill in a range of industries, from architecture, graphic design, engineering, and many more.

Things You’ll Need to Draw Digitally.


Once you’re ready to make the leap into digital drawing, there are a few things that’ll come in handy. To get started with digital drawing, you’ll need:


  • A device to draw on. This could be a computer or laptop, tablet, or smartphone. When it comes to learning how to draw on a computer, you can use either a Windows or Mac system. You can even use your smartphone – you’ll just need to download an art app first. But if you’re a beginner to digital art, you may find it easier to invest in a tablet and stylus.
  • A stylus. Swap your HB pencil for a sleek stylus to make drawing on your digital device easy. While you can use a mouse or your finger, you may struggle to get the precision you need for finer details.
  • Adobe Photoshop. This creative software unlocks a range of tools to help you bring your vision to life. From the brush tool, where you can replicate any drawing medium, to vectors, the possibilities for digital illustrations are endless.
  • Flash drive or memory card. To keep your digital drawings safe, it's a good idea to invest in a flash drive or memory card to back up your designs. This way, you’re covered if anything was to happen to your device.
  • Scanner. A scanner is useful to upload your physical artwork into your illustration programme, where you can digitally edit and manipulate the image to suit your design.



How to Draw Digital Art in Photoshop.


Luckily, Photoshop has lots of handy tools to help you get into digital art as a beginner. There are two main ways to draw in Photoshop – pixels and vectors. Pixels are individual points that contain colour data, whereas vectors are lines are shapes created by mathematical formulas.


Don’t forget, you can also draw on your mobile with the Adobe Fresco app. Just start a new project, select your brush, and bring your vision to life, no matter where you are.




  • Brush tool – explore the wide selection of brush options at your disposal. Adjust the size, opacity, and the smoothness of the line with ease. You can also create your own brush for an even more personalised digital sketch.
  • Pencil tool – the pencil tool can help you to create detailed digital drawings with pencil-like precision.
  • Paint bucket tool – bring your digital drawing to life with this tool and add a splash of colour to your design.
  • Smudge, blur, and sharpen tools – add some personality to your piece by working into your digital drawing. Soften or smudge the lines and sharpen details that you want to emphasise.




  • Pen tool – create paths that you can fill to create exciting digital illustrations.
  • Shape tool – produce vector shapes quickly and easy with the shape tool.
  • Line tool – produce lines of different thicknesses, colours, and angles. You can easily adjust them afterwards to suit your digital art piece.

Digital Drawing Ideas.


The world’s your oyster when it comes to digital drawing ideas. From daydreaming doodles to fan art, the possibilities for creating digital illustrations are endless.


If you’re wondering how to get started with digital art for beginners, why not test the waters by creating fan art? You could design your ideal character that’ll fit right into the cast of your favourite animation.


If you’ve got a flair for graphic design, you could practice your skills by creating a logo. Or, if you just want to let your imagination run wild, try making some concept art. Don’t think too much about it and start with a simple sketch that you can refine later. The main thing is to let your creativity do the talking.



Top Tips for Professional Digital Drawing.


The demand for digital art is growing, so digital illustration is a great skill to have under your belt. Not only does it allow you creative freedom, but it also opens doors for career development and freelance work.


There are various careers where digital drawing skills will come in handy and proficiency in this area could set you apart from other applicants. Here are some professions that use digital drawing in their day-to-day role:


  • Digital artist
  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer
  • Animator
  • Engineer
  • Digital developer
  • Architect
  • Video game designer


Here are some tips on how to start a career using digital drawing:


  • Research hardware to find the right option for you.
  • Have fun sketching ideas.
  • Try out a range of different digital drawing ideas.
  • Gain confidence using Photoshop drawing features.
  • Save pieces to a portfolio.
  • Seek feedback from others.
  • Network and attend events.
  • Follow digital artists on social media and Linkedin.
  • Develop a signature digital illustration style.
  • Be patient and stay passionate about drawing digitally.

Start your digital drawing journey today.

Enter the world of digital art with Adobe Photoshop and bring your digital drawing vision to life with professional tools.