6 Best Digital Painting Courses - Learn to Paint Like a Pro (2021)

With the sleek and intuitive tools available today, there’s never been a better time to get into digital art. Here are the best digital painting courses online.

6 Best Digital Painting Courses - Learn to Paint Like a Pro (2021)


Looking to learn digital painting? 


Here is a breakdown of the best digital painting courses online. 


These courses are taught by experienced instructors from around the globe who will help you transfer your creative abilities onto this exciting, emerging art form. 


You’ll dive deep into topics such as digital sketching and drawing, character design, concept art architecture, Photoshop painting techniques, and many other vital skills. 


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What are the Best Digital Painting Courses Online? 

Here the best digital painting courses online to take you from beginner to pro digital painter: 


1. The Ultimate Digital Painting Course - Beginner to Advanced


This best-selling course by Jaysen and Austin Bachelor is the most popular digital painting course on Udemy. 


Even if you have limited knowledge in digital painting and drawing, this course will show you how to create advanced art and build a professional portfolio. 


In fact, the course includes over 60 different projects that will take you from beginner to expert.


There are 18 lessons, during which you will learn: 

  • Drawing fundamentals
  • How to use digital brushes
  • Color & lighting
  • Still life painting
  • How to choose color pallets
  • How to paint textures
  • Environment and landscape painting
  • How to paint the human face and head
  • Photo realistic painting
  • Character Design
  • How to build a social media portfolio

You will start right at the basics, by learning how to use the most essential tool in digital painting - the brush.


Once you've mastered drawing fundamentals you will learn how perspective works and how to incorporate it into your art. 


Color choice can be a very difficult part of digital painting since you have millions of choices, but this course will teach you all about color theory and how to choose beautiful color pallets.


Look out for an interesting section at the end where you will learn how to paint from your imagination. There you will be immersed in several creative exercises that will help you think outside of the box. 


Austin and Jaysen are both successful freelance illustrators and they've also included a section with tips on building a portfolio and what art directors are looking for. 


Key course features: 

  • 27 hours on-demand video
  • 2 articles
  • 68 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

=> Enroll in the Ultimate Digital Painting Course online here


2. Digital Fantasy Portraits with Photoshop


This engaging course on Domestika is designed for professional and aspiring artists who are interested in learning digital portrait techniques, as well as applying a fantasy tone to their work.


The class instructor is Karmen Loh (also known as Bearbrickjia). She is an established fantasy illustrator known for creating a world of delicate, whimsical fantasy portraits on social media.


In this course, Karmen will guide you through the process she uses to create digital fantasy portraits that narrate an ethereal atmosphere.


First, you'll find out how she started out as a concept character artist and pursued her dream to become an independent artist.


Then she'll show you how to use Photoshop and your graphics tablet with precision and skill - so you can confidently configure brushes and create shadows and light with tools such as the smudge tool.


You'll also discover the importance of creating a mood board, how to add fantasy elements to your composition, and how to blend and adjust colors in your portrait to give more life to your characters. 


Course Syllabus: 

  • Introduction 
  • Tools and Techniques in Photoshop
  • Let's Create!
  • Finishing Touch
  • Final Project

What you will need: 

  • Basic drawing skills, with some knowledge in face anatomy illustration
  • A computer with Adobe Photoshop and a graphics tablet

Key course features: 

  • 19 Lessons (5h 46m)
  • 11 Additional resources (6 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available from the app
  • Audio: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, French
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certificate upon completion

=> Enroll in the Digital Fantasy Portraits with Photoshop course here. 


3. Lighting Principles for Digital Painting


Mastering light is a skill that has fascinated artists and illustrators throughout history. 


In this course, visual development artist Samuel Smith shows you how to stimulate light into your work using a simple, logical methodology. 


Samuel has worked as a visual development artist for animations on many commercials, TV shows, and two feature films. Through these projects, he has gained a considerable amount of experience applying Adobe Photoshop to various light settings. 


You'll begin the course by getting to know Samuel, his fascination with light, and the major artists that have influenced his work. 


Next you'll go through the main tools you’ll be using on Photoshop and learn key concepts such as the theory behind reflections of light sources and light diffusion. 


As you experiment with different light directions and color ranges, you'll begin painting your first few scenes - a bright sunny day, a cloudy day, and a moonlit scene. 


By the end of the course, you'll have completed five illustrations, layering what you learn in each module to give your pieces more depth and realism. 


Course Syllabus: 

  • Introduction
  • Preparation and Theory
  • Let's Paint
  • Details, Reflections and Translucency
  • Final Project

What you will need: 

  • Basic knowledge of how to work on Photoshop, as well as basic digital drawing skills
  • A drawing tablet and a computer with Adobe Photoshop installed

Key course features: 

  • 15 Lessons (2h 22m)
  • 18 Additional resources (7 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available from the app
  • Audio: English
  • Captions: English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, French
  • Level: Beginner
  • Certificate upon completion

=> Enroll in the Lighting Principles for Digital Painting course here.

4. The Digital Painting w/ Procreate Guide | Grayscale method


This Udemy class is one of the best digital painting courses that focuses on using Procreate. 


The course is taught by Kurt Michael Russell, an art instructor and professional comic book colorist with over 10 years of experience.


In this course, Kurt teaches an easy-to-follow, step-by-step method of digital painting from grayscale to color. 


The aim of the course is to show beginners how to focus on the important parts of digital painting ( i.e. value and contrast) without having to worry as much about color at first. 


What you'll learn: 

  • Uncommon tips, tricks, and shortcuts for navigating the Procreate app
  • Creative ways to use selections, layer masks, filters, adjustments, and more
  • How to properly paint colors over a black and white value painting or greyscale painting
  • Art techniques you'll be able to apply immediately to polish up the fine details in your work

Course requirements: 

  • iPad (the newer, the better)
  • Apple Pencil (or a stylus compatible with your tablet)
  • The Procreate app and basic knowledge of app functionality 
  • Basic drawing skills to get you started successfully 

Key course features: 

  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 2 articles
  • 6 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

=> Enroll in the Digital Painting with Procreate online course here


5. Concept Art for Video Games


This course by Michigan State University will show you how to create a fully finished environment concept for video games.


The class will also dive into composition and digital painting techniques to help you bring your art skills to the next level. 


Course Syllabus: 

  • Introduction 
  • Compositional Studies for Concept Art 
  • Intro to 3D for Concept Art
  • Modeling and Exporting 
  • Painting the Concept 

This course fulfills one requirement in the Art for Games Specialization on Coursera, which is a four-course program designed to build your knowledge and experience in the creation of high-quality game art assets.


You can take the course on its own or as part of the specialization, depending on your goals.


Key course features: 

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Approx. 6 hours to complete

English

  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese (European), Russian, English, Spanish.

=> Enroll in the Concept Art for Video Games course online here.


6. Digital Landscapes: Painting Environments with Photoshop


If you are a student with plans to enter the field of conceptual art and illustration, or you already work in the business and want to improve the marketability of your work, this course is another great option.


In the course, professional concept artist and illustrator Hardy Fowler takes you through the process of creating an amazing digital landscape illustration step-by-step using Adobe Photoshop.


Hardy has designed and painted hundreds of characters, creatures, machines and scenes for numerous entertainment industry clients, and has featured in elite digital art annuals such as Exposé.


By applying what he teaches in this course, you will gain the skills required to work within various exciting industries, including film, video game, print and fine art to name a few.


Here are the topics that will be covered: 

  • Defining Success - Learn the key features that all successful environment paintings possess.
  • Sketching – Discover the basics of sketching, including the right way to get started.
  • Blocking in Color – Learn appropriate ways to use color to define mood, create the illusion of depth and add drama and intrigue to your landscape.
  • Painting and Polishing – As the final step of the course, your project will be given final touches and the painting completed.

Throughout the class, you'll master skills such as sketching, rough color, basics of perspective and painting skies, refined color, photo texturing, detailing and other techniques that will make your landscape shine


Requirements: 

  • Photoshop and a pen tablet (Wacom Intuos 3 recommended)
  • Fundamentals will be covered, but a general understanding of art fundamentals and a basic knowledge of Photoshop is recommended

Key course features: 

  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 4 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

=> Enroll in the Painting Digital Landscapes online course here. 


Final Thoughts


Thanks for checking out this post on the best digital painting courses online. Of course, the course(s) you decide to choose will depend on your particular learning goals. 


As you learn from these top instructors, you'll learn to optimize your existing digital painting skills or develop them completely from scratch. 


When you consolidate your knowledge and put pen to paper - or in this case, stylus to tablet - the opportunities are endless.


Happy learning!


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