10 Digital Art MISTAKES You Are Making! 💀

10 Digital Art MISTAKES You Are Making! 💀

hello there and thanks for joining me I'm digital artist Aaron Rutten and these are ten of the worst digital art mistakes these are in no particular order let's start with the first one which is incorrect tablet use you want your tablet to be parallel to your screen and you want to be right in front of your tablet and right in front of your screen if you have a sliding drawer for your keyboard that's a good place to put your tablet because then it'll be right in your lap right in front of you you don't want to be off to the side or have the tablet off to the side and you don't want to have the tablet turn at an angle that'll make a lot harder to get the hand-eye coordination down and it'll make drawing more difficult and less accurate so just make sure that your tablet your screen and your eye level are all parallel to each other the second mistake on my list happens when you don't shift the hue of your color when you're shading so what I mean by shifting the hue is you have your hue ring here and right now I'm on an orange hue and if I wanted to shade this circle and make it into a sphere or make it three-dimensional what I would want to do is decrease and increase the value and put a shadow on one side and a highlight on the other however this tends to look kind of flat if I duplicate this layer and I try a different method of shading this time I'm going to shift the hue so I have my base color here which is this orange hue I'm going to make it darker like I did last time but then I'm going to shift the hue a little bit towards the red then I'm going to put in my shadow I'm going to sample my base color again and then I'm going to select a highlight that is a little bit more yellow and a bit brighter and I'll put that in and now I get a much more natural result when I'm shading generally speaking I'm shifting my highlights towards a warmer hue and I'm shifting my shadows towards a cooler hue mistake number three on my list is not adding enough contrast or enough range of values to your artwork which will make it appear kind of flat or kind of dull and you can see that in this Apple here it looks really flat so we can see that we can add quite a bit more contrast to this piece I'm going to darken some of the side here this is adding a little bit of contrast I could of course do that with a lighter color as well we can do a quick before-and-after and we can see the effect that it had on the Apple we added a lot more contrast which helps it look more realistic mistake number four on my list is not looking close enough at your artwork to see mistakes these are little mistakes like accidental marks strange edges repetitive patterns from brush strokes banding from gradients or transitions in color or even just the proportions being off somewhere so this piece looks pretty good from a distance but it's a pretty large piece so I can zoom into it and I can kind of scan around and I can look for some areas like what do we have here there's some weird little line we can see it very clearly when we're looking at it a hundred percent but if we were painting this much smaller and we never really zoomed in on that area we might not notice that and then when we go to print it later all of a sudden we might notice that there's this weird mistake so there's a number of ways to fix mistakes if this were on a layer you could simply erase it or if it's too late and you've already flattened all your layers down you could do something like paint over it or just blend it I can use the diffuse blur blender and just blend it away or I could just use a brush and hold all the sample my color near it and just paint it away like so now while we're on the topic of zooming in and adding and removing detail that brings us to mistake number five which is adding too much detail you know you could really go in here and zoom in really close and you could add in all kinds of little cracks and crevices or you could you know for instance write a serial number on here if this is some kind of robot or something but then when you go to print this out or you view it from far away suddenly all that detail is lost that serial number that I wrote on the robot looks more like a weird eyebrow now and that little mark that I made on the metal texture doesn't even show up so you want to look at things close and you want to look at things far away but overall you want to kind of wait your judgment towards how it looks far away because most of the time that's where people are going to be viewing it mistake number six is saving your artwork as a JPEG if we go to file save or save as we have lots of options for save file and one of the more commonly known formats is JPEG but that's really not the best format to use nor is it the only format to use in fact it's probably one of the worst formats you can use so why is JPEG so bad JPEG is bad because it's going to compress your image using lossy compression and when we go to save as a JPEG we can see these quality options which represent the amount of compression so if i zoom into an area of detail in my painting and we set this to fair and we reduce the quality you can really quickly see what's happening you may see images on the internet that look really blocky like this and that's because they've been overly compressed you know you could set this quality higher and even if you set it to excellent and you set it to 100% it's still going to compress your image and compression is basically throwing away information to make the file smaller so unless you have to save as a JPEG do not use JPEG if you do have to save it as a JPEG make sure to save a copy of your artwork don't save your original as a JPEG so rather than use JPEG I'm going to go to save as and I'm going to choose PNG or ping now if we go to save it doesn't really ask us anything it's just going to save it as that PNG format if you're using something like Photoshop you might get a few more options but the difference between PNG and JPEG is that PNG is a lossless compression format meaning that it's not going to throw away any information or really harm the image in any way by saving it and PNG is a web compatible format in most cases so a lot of the time anywhere that will accept a JPEG will also accept a PNG it's also worth mentioning that your color stays a little more accurate when you save as PNG versus jpg JPEG can sometimes change the color when you're saving mistake number seven also relates to saving and that is not saving often enough and not saving iterations so I hear a lot of artists talk about how they're working on something for half hour or an hour or longer and then something happens like their computer crashes or maybe their software crashes and then all of a sudden they've lost that information and that isn't very uncommon sometimes things crash or things happen so it's a good to save often I save constantly and I use the keyboard shortcut that way it's really quick and easy you can see I also have shortcut buttons up here when I'm saving I prefer to choose save as and save iterations so as I'm working I'll have painting number one then maybe later when I save again I'll save it as painting number two and then painting number three and painting number four that way I have all of those older copies I can go back to you and if something bad happens when I'm working I don't have to start over from the very beginning I can just go back to an older version mistake number eight deals with resolution I'm going to go ahead and create a new image here and I want this image to be 14 inches by 11 inches if I were to print it resolution is going to control the amount of detail in that image a standard resolution for printing is 300 the standard for the web is 72 pixels per inch so since I'm going to be printing this and this is going to be a piece of artwork I want to use a higher resolution like 300 that way if I go in here and I start painting doodling scribbling I have lots and lots of detail I can zoom in really close to this and these lines are nice and smooth if I create a duplicate of this canvas and I only make the resolution 72 but I still keep the dimensions the same 14 by 11 and I use that same brush when i zoom in now there's going to be a lot of little jagged pixels you can really see these here when i zoom in that's because there isn't as much detail or as much resolution mistake number 9 is a very common one and that is a destructive editing what if you have something where you don't know what size you want it to be and you need to kind of experiment and make it maybe bigger or smaller and go back and forth what you would want to do is use something like Photoshop to turn that layer into a smart object so I'm going to right click on that layer and choose convert to smart object and what that's going to do is that's going to lock in the original resolution so even if I scale it down really tiny and then scale it back up again as long as I don't go bigger than the original it's still going to look really good so I'm going to call that layer smart let's make a duplicate of that layer let's call this dumb and we'll make this not a smart layer so to do that I'm just going to roster as it back into a regular layer and on that dumb layer if you will want to scale that down really small I'm going to commit to that change then I'm going to transform it and scale it up again now you can see what happened here you can't even see what it is because I made it so small that it was only just a few pixels and then when I tried to blow it up again that information was thrown away so the computer just had to try to guess where the detail was and it didn't do a very good job if you don't have smart layers in your application you could also just right-click on the layer and duplicate it hide one of your duplicates to keep it as your original and then you could experiment with the copy and then that way if you make it bigger and smaller and bigger and smaller and it gets degraded that's okay because that's just a copy you can get your size and position correct and then you can reveal your original layer take it over there move it scale it down then they'll look nice and clean if we look at these side-by-side you can see the difference that it makes one is still nice and sharp the other one's all blocky because we transformed it too much so when you're throwing away information or permanently altering your image that's called destructive editing you want to try to use a non-destructive editing which means you're not going to throw away any information or risk messing anything up another example of destructive versus non-destructive editing is using the eraser the eraser is destructive if I erase this person's arms and then let's say I do something like I make a few more marks with the eraser and I exceed the number of undos I have available if for some reason I wanted to go back and bring the arms back and I try to use undos I can only go back so far so now those arms are gone and I'd be forced to have to redraw them that's not so bad if you're just dealing with a stick figure but there's a smarter way to non-destructively erase and that is to add a mask so I'll click on create new layer mask I'll select black and I'm gonna select the airbrush this time and if you paint within a mask basically what you're doing is you're concealing those pixels so you're not really erasing them they're going away but they're just becoming invisible they're not really getting removed so I've masked away or concealed some areas of those arms but what if I decided I wanted to bring him back rather than redraw them I'll select white and I'll paint on my mask and I can reveal or bring those areas back so that's a non-destructive way of erasing another example of destructive versus non-destructive editing happens when you're creating effects so for example I could go ahead and go to effects tonal control adjust colors and I could shift the hue and make this planet a completely different color however this is a destructive edit meaning that if I keep changing the color it might be really difficult to get it back to its original color or if I apply too many color changes it might start to kind of subtract detail from the overall color in the piece so a better way to do this is to duplicate that layer I'm going to select all with control a and then copy and paste I have a duplicate here and I can apply that same effect to the duplicate so I've changed the color but I still have my original besides making it easier and less risky to experiment you can also take advantage of things like the different blend modes if you want it to blend things together to experiment with different effects and finally mistake number 10 on our list is not using layers believe it or not a lot of digital artists don't use layers and that's easy to understand because if you're used to working with traditional media you have to start from the background and work your way forward because you can't move layers around so if I was painting I'd have to put in my leaves and stem first then I'd have to put in my petals like so then I'd have to put in my Center on top of that and then if I decided that I wanted a background I would have to very carefully go and paint around all of the edges it might have made sense to put in my background first I guess but I was just doodling and I didn't know that I wanted a background and now that I do have to spend a lot of time very carefully correcting mistakes and even if I'm very careful I'll still have to go and add in more pink here to fix my mistakes and so on and it's a really difficult way to work because if I decided I don't want my background to be blue I want it to be red then I have to go and I have to select a red I have to paint over that blue again and I have to spend more time now that's just how you have to do it when you're working with traditional media but if you're working digitally you don't have to do it that way you can use layers layers are your friend so for example I have my Center on a layer I have my petals on a layer I have my stem on a layer and I have my background on a layer so if I wanted to go in and paint in a background I can choose a blue I can paint behind those layers and if I don't want that layer to be blue I want it to be green I can select green and I can quickly fill that layer with green or I could fill it with red if I want it to be red and I can quickly change it if I decide I don't want a background I can either hide that layer or I can delete that layer it also helps me to move things around if I want to reposition my whole flower here I can reposition it I want to transform the petals make them bigger I can transform the petals if I want to change the color of the stem I can change the color of the stem so layers are your friend you want to make sure that you always use layers and use as many layers as you need to so there you go those are ten of the worst digital art mistakes if you found this information helpful take a look second to like this video and if you're new to my channel I'd love to have you subscribe I have a lot more digital art tutorials for artists like you thanks for watching and I'll see you next time


  • Aaron Rutten says:

    Admit it. Were you guilty of any of these? If so, you should subscribe to my art channel for free #DigitalArtSmart tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=anatomyofrockthe

  • -Xsarai _master says:

    Well im use my phone,not tablet.cause i dont have one :')

  • Xialyu says:

    Very good video! Clean, clear, really good!

  • henrik khachatoorian says:

    Hi, I have a serious problem with using digital graphic tablets. How to choose the suitable stroke thickness when you are working freehand to have the desired thickness in the final output? During working you have to zoom in and out so the stroke thickness we see depends on the zoom level and the display resolution and document resolution.

  • iiTurtleStars x says:

    Im getting my first tablet for my birthday! My birthday is in September. I also heard that you can also use vector layers which are I think the same as smart layers. I will definitely use these tips when I start my first digital art piece! Thank you again, my colors look really good when switching the hue which is something I've been doing for almost a year after watching this. Thanks! uwu

  • Niculae Livia Cristina says:

    I'm working in Photoshop CS4, if I didn't finished my artwork I save it as psd. And when is finished I save it as jpeg. You wrong here about saving it as "png".
    What? I keep my tablet how I want and feel comfortable! I hold it on my legs.
    Till now I keep making layers on my photos with my artworks and I'm very good with that honestly to be.

    What I saw is only for PaintSai users. NOT Photoshop users.

    Depends to every artist's style how is making the process in a digital artwork.

  • Adrienne Dupree says:

    What art program do you draw from?

  • 饺子 says:

    im not agree with the first one

  • Blackmist #defenitio of art says:

    What if you draw on your phone?

  • Aquartzy says:

    Next time if there are two options and u don't know what they do, the least you can do is Google the difference that way you'll avoid making the same mistake like saving it to jpeg

  • RandomArts areSavage says:

    I kinda wasted my whole time (not being rude!) just seeing this vid even though I’ve never made these mistakes…. at least i know what not to do at least!

  • Emmett McClain says:

    The clickbait title tho.

  • Mia says:

    I worked on a digital art peice for 2 hours, and i wanted to continiue tommorrow so i saved the drawing. As a JPEG!! So the next day i went back to my drawing, but all the layers had become 1 layer… it might not sound that bad, but remember that it was still unfinished.. so i started all over..

    Yes, i cried

  • Ananya Shetty says:

    Woah. I will use png anymore! Thank you!!! Also that shading yup is a huge help! I always wondered why my shading was so dull

  • Z T says:

    Yo what if my tablet isn't tilted but shifted to the right for my hand?

  • Marbo Beatz says:

    awesome bro. I usually don't listen all the way through. very simple very easy to follow and listen. Subbed

  • C says:

    More videos like this please 🙂

  • Gamers says:

    Thanks about the tip on shading it's my biggest hang-up. I draw a lot of comic book characters so I can manage just about anything but puting shadows on armor characters is a bit of a problem.

  • Sushii Gacha says:

    #7 literally just happened to me 😔

  • Recyclable Glass says:

    Me, a mobile user, using IbisPaintX: stonks

  • Daniel Taylor says:

    tip #1: Get a pen display

    I very much prefer pen displays to tablets. Drawing on something but having the marks appear somewhere else is just something that my brain can't comprehend apparently. I got a pen display – problem solved. It's just like normal drawing then, my art improved dramatically.

    The list was filled out a bit with some things that are just general art tips, though… shifting the hue is something that traditional artists do all the time, mostly because you have to use a different color when using certain kinds of media like pastel. You can't just grind some charcoal into pastel and just hope it looks OK. I mean, you can, but… with some colors it's going to come out looking like garbage. Though, I suppose it can be tough limiting art advice specifically to digital media.

    I think the real question about layers is can one have too many layers? 🤔

  • Completely Happy says:

    I can’t do the first… my tablet doesn’t work if it isn’t tilted.

  • Mable Anne Smith says:

    Unless you have penup where uh, there are no layers :(((

  • remytv says:

    I love these tips! I've been a graphic designer for 13 years and juuuust got a tablet for drawing. I feel like a total half newb.

  • Cindy Klenk says:

    Aaron – this is GREAT! As I am sub-novice (novice novice??) with your suggestions I am building my work flow CORRECTLY! You are teaching me concepts and work flows in the digital realm that prevent what could/would become dumb or unnecessary mistakes going forward. "Save as" often and layers layers layers. These are 10 mistakes that will NEVER be built into my workflow, to be corrected later. THANK YOU!

  • Russ Richter says:

    14:38 Shrek would be so proud

  • Ray Kami says:

    For those of you just starting digital art, you don't need expensive supplies. I started with a 50$ no-screen tablet off of Amazon and my 7 year old laptop, I'm still using those 3 years later. (Well, same kind of tablet, been replaced once. And currently working on saving up for a new laptop, she's about done her part.)

  • Ampotato says:

    What software is that?

  • HanieP says:

    But the first one is like a good thing to me

  • Gabriel Avalos says:

    If you going to print PNG is a RGB format, JPEG and PDF are CMYK and RGB formats, for printing you use CMYK, PNG is useless for that.

  • Iz Smurda says:

    had to replay the destructive editing part because i was focused on stickman and his commentary. sorry, my guy..

  • Jaide says:

    Great video! Glad to see I already knew most of this, but the contrast part was great advice for me.

  • ArtWithBex says:

    "Then your run out of undo's" well I use a program with unlimited undo's sooo

  • Onik says:

    Damn I wish I had drawing software like that I it looks good I have a crappy one and it’s giving me a lot of trouble and it’s annoying

  • Pringles Can says:

    What if I'm right handed and never knew putting the tablet off to the side was a mistake and got used to it?
    Is it time for seppuku.

  • McAir _ says:

    I would LOVE some art feedback, but, I have no idea where to post my art to get any! Anywhere I think, will never get feedback. Help. :c

  • Ellen Souza says:

    My whole life is a mistake, why my digital art wouldn't?! LOL

  • MiniJellos TV says:

    I keep my tablet and monitor paralleled and use the rotate shortcut more than necessary. And I think that's okay. There's really no right or wrong way. You find what's comfortable for you, that's it.

  • Hey Eaglet says:

    that stickman is hiding quite alot of pain behind that smile…

  • Chaosium says:

    I disagree with the first most comment with saving as a jpg, primarily due to all the art theft that goes on, when on a gallery, compressing is a great way not to get your HQR images stolen and put on things without ruining them with a gaudy watermark while still having the ability to keep the HQ images in your portfolio.

  • Nocturnal Aura says:

    when creating a layer mask, my graphic design teacher taught me: black to conceal, white to reveal.

  • Portal dos Designers NTA says:

    Muito bom suas explicações, eu entendi algumas e as outras só estudando inglês para entender.

  • Heaven-ReProgramed says:

    Another mistake is using too many layers and not naming them propely. That can get confusing af

  • family friendly content says:

    i'm making all of those lol

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