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9 Digital Drawing Exercises To Help You Get Better at Digital Art

9 Digital Drawing Exercises To Help You Get Better at Digital Art

Doing the right digital painting exercises or digital drawing exercises will improve your skills.

Digital painting is increasing in popularity now that so many great tools are becoming available for it. While painting in the digital world used to be a bit of a mess, it’s now easy and effective.

You can enjoy a complete experience using the right tools and apps to help you practice drawing. Though it seemed like painting would be a big jump from canvas to screen, the results are pretty amazing.

If you’re looking to try out this fun new medium, you might need a little help and the right digital painting tips. Digital painting is not the same as a real painting.

It’s a lot less messy, but also a lot less physically interactive. Making the jump from paintbrush to Apple Pencil can be a bit of a stretch for some, but with the right digital painting exercises, it is totally doable.

If you’re looking to jump into digital painting, we have compiled some easy digital art exercises to help you get better. With a little bit of these drawing tablet exercises, you’ll be making masterpieces in no time at all!

digital painting

1. Try Real Life Painting as a Digital Painting Exercise

digital painting practice exercises - paint real life
Photo by JTMultimidia

This might sound a little contradictory to the goal, but traditional painting can actually really help your digital drawing and painting.

If you have been spending plenty of time working on digital painting and aren’t seeing improvement, go to your roots

You might notice when you start painting with a brush against that you have been using a weird posture.

This surprises many artists, but it’s actually pretty common.

Something about switching to digital painting is a mental block for many artists.

This block causes them to throw out everything that they know about painting.

In many ways, people struggle to see digital painting as painting at all.

It makes it easy to drop everything you know to try out weird new techniques you would never use.

Sometimes, all you need to see that you have been acting strange is to go back.

When you get a paintbrush in your hand and your posture changes, you’ll know that was part of the problem.

Digital painting is unquestionably different than traditional painting, but many principles still apply.

Making your mind and body remember what you are supposed to be doing can help.

This will bridge the gap in your mind and make it easier for you to commit to digital painting.

You can even use traditional painting with some fun and easy painting ideas as a warmup for its digital cousin.

2. Start With The Basics to Draw Digitally

free drawing course

Learning the basics is one of the best drawing exercises for beginners.

When you first begin to explore digital drawing and painting, you might be shocked by how weird it feels.

For some artists, a stylus simply does not compare, even if it’s one of the paintbrush ones.

To get yourself using a stylus and screen instead of a brush and canvas, you should start with one of the easiest digital art exercises.

Expecting to just be able to grab the stylus and create exactly what you want is an unfair standard to hold yourself to.

This can be limiting for your artwork.

To get more familiar with this new medium, you should try to revert to your basics.

When it comes to painting or drawing, few people started with complex works when they draw digitally.

Start as small as possible to get comfortable using this new platform.

You can draw shapes, houses, or other basic structures in order to get used to the feel of this process.

Try to make simple items, even if it feels insulting to your true talent.

Returning to the basics can help you adapt more easily to this new platform.

A great drawing tablet exercise with basics is to try to make a child’s painting.

We all know what children paint like when they first start.

Do a simple sun in the sky, a house, and a little stick figure.

It might seem silly, but taking this approach can better acquaint you with the process.

It’s a great way to get used to holding the stylus without focusing on making magic happen.

The lack of pressure can be very freeing.

If you don’t know where to start, you can sign up for my free drawing tutorial course that will provide an essential drawing practice for beginners.

3. Use Different Tools

digital painting practice exercises - tools
Photo by Andrew-Art

In the event that you find yourself struggling with digital painting, a great digital painting practice exercise is to use different digital painting tools.

Out of all the learning to draw exercises, you might not think that switching your tool will be a game-changer.

But the thing is that you might be more skilled at using one tool versus another, and most digital art applications offer a variety of tools.

This might include different paintbrushes, pens, and pencils.

If you are trying to familiarize yourself with this process, you can have fun experimenting.

Using different tools is a great way to get more comfortable with the medium and try easy digital drawing ideas.

Sometimes, it can be too much pressure to stick with what we know. 

If you are going to work on getting the most out of your digital drawing and painting, you want to be comfortable doing it.

This means taking the time to explore the medium and its limitations.

There are different tools that can be more effective for learning certain things.

If you want to understand the impact of pressure, using a wide tool can help that.

If you’re looking for tilt, a pen tool might be better for it. What matters is that you are getting used to the process.

Most applications come with plenty of tools.

This is great because it allows you to mix and match forms of art like you might not be able to in real life.

You can use this to your advantage and work on making more unique digital paintings that cross with drawings.

Exploring and creating like this is an excellent way to stay inspired and get great practice.

4. Use Your Fingers

finger painting with acrylics

Though it might seem silly to use your fingers when you have a top-of-the-line stylus, we all have to start somewhere.

Most people finger painted before they did any other kind of painting.

This is why it is can be helpful here and is one of the digital art exercises that will help you go back to your roots.

Using your fingers to smudge around paint and play is just as beneficial in the digital world as the real one.

You can try all kinds of fun things to get more comfortable using the tool.

It’s a great thing to do when getting comfortable with a new app.

Finger painting is a great way to have a little fun and get used to your new medium.

If you’re looking to let loose and just see what you can create, doing this can help.

When you use your fingers, you know you aren’t getting perfection.

This is why it is such a disarming approach to getting used to a new medium.

It allows you to not worry about making something nice and instead worry about functionality.

As you flip from one tool to the next, don’t hesitate to make an ugly piece of artwork.

5. Recreate Basic Images

drawing dog from reference

As you start to get more comfortable with the medium, you can start experimenting a little more.

When you begin to get more serious about digital drawing and painting, it can help to start with simple tasks.

Doing these digital art practice exercises will help you, and recreating basic images is a fantastic sketch practice for beginners.

After you have spent some making incredibly basic things, you can focus on the next step up.

Think about the painting that you might do for a warmup or when you were first starting.

Painting simpler things, like detailed settings or animals, can help you refine your new motor skills.

Using basic images to help guide your process can get you that much closer to fine detail.

You can even try focusing on making art that just isn’t the real world.

Paint a cartoon wall or furniture set.

These won’t require you to make it perfect, but still, help you build your new skills up.

As you get better, you might find that this is an effective way to move towards more detailed paintings.

Continuously using these methods can help you add a little more detail every single time.

If you’re interested in digital painting, check out my other related content:

6. Make Bad Art On Purpose

bad drawing of car

There is a huge case to make for intentionally creating bad art.

Making art that you know is going to be bad completely absolves you from putting too much pressure on you.

If you go into it with the goal that it will be awful, you can do anything.

That feeling of being able to do anything is what you can use to fuel your exploration and is one of the digital drawing exercises you can do to lift a lot of burden off your shoulders.

You will give yourself permission to just make chaos, and this is where the magic happens.

In this mindset, it’s easy to find new ways to use your tools because you’re not trying to make a masterpiece.

A big issue for people converting to digital painting is the fact that they generally feel less skilled there.

This drives a lot of people to resent the medium as if it doesn’t work.

There are plenty of successful digital artists who also do real art.

Digital artwork is a growing trend, but it takes a little work to get used to.

Instead of berating yourself for not making the Mona Lisa, try to have a little more fun.

This digital painting exercise will open you up to possibilities and help you connect with the medium more.

7. Practice Painting In The Lines

free adult coloring book

For people who are struggling with control in their digital painting, painting in lines can be helpful.

Using templates, images, or coloring book pages, focus on your control.

As children, we all played with coloring books before making fine art, so let yourself try it again.

You can use this to get used to the friction of the device and tool.

You can also use it to help you understand your different tools and their limitations.

Using existing patterns is a great way to practice having complete control over your stylus.

It will force you to keep control in a specific way.

This can be helpful for sharpening those fine motor skills.

You’ll find that the more you do this, the easier it will become to use your painting tool as if you were drawing.

After you have managed that, you can experiment with freestyle more effectively.

8. Use A Different Stylus

digital painting practice exercises - stylus
Photo by Matthew Henry

There is a huge case to be made for practicing with a different stylus, as one of the quickest digital art practice exercises you can do.

This might seem counter-intuitive if it won’t be your primary one, but it can help.

Sometimes in order to understand how an app works, we need to find out where it is consistent.

While styluses can offer different effects, the application is designed to work in one way.

Using a different stylus can help you get a more concrete understanding of what is happening with the app.

Gaining insight into how it reads two styluses can help you understand the platform.

Unless you’re made of money, you won’t want to buy two nice styluses.

For this digital painting exercise, you can easily use your primary stylus and then a cheap one.

At an office supply store, you can find styluses for as low as $1. The point isn’t to find another nice stylus.

It’s just to see how the program interacts with it so you can understand it better.

This is another reason why the finger-painting method works. At the end of the day, it’s all about seeing how the system reacts.

9. Improve your Digital Art by Drawing Parallel Lines

draw parallel lines

Drawing parallel lines is a great way on how to practice digital art.

It’s an exercise you can do with pencil and paper, and it works incredibly well when you practice digital art.

You want to take your stylus and fill up a page with short parallel lines.

Start by drawing the lines slowly. Then, as you get more comfortable you want to increase your speed.

This will help you with your hand control, so it will be effective in both drawing and painting.

You can also try different types of digital brushes.


Making the leap to digital painting doesn’t need to be a point of stress for you.

It’s fine to toy around and experiment and not take it seriously.

If you want to continue to improve, exploring the application that you use and do these digital painting practice exercises and digital drawing exercises to help.

These sketching exercises for beginners allow you to find out what works for you and what you’re capable of.

As with any craft, practice makes perfect.

Take some time to build yourself up as you have never painted before. It is okay to mess up your experiments.

Your goal should never be to make a masterpiece on day one.

You’re trying something completely new, and it makes sense that you’ll need time to adjust.

Digital painting is not the same as regular painting, and that’s okay too.

What are some digital art practice exercises you are doing to continuously improve your digital paintings?

Digital Painting FAQ

Is digital painting easier?

Digital painting requires the same skills as traditional painting; however, it is more forgiving, convenient, and cheaper.

How do you get great at painting fast?

Paint every day but don’t just paint random things. Have a plan of what you need to improve on and work on that. Keep practicing that until it becomes muscle memory. Use these digital painting practice exercises in this article to improve much faster, too.

How much time should I paint?

Painting consistently is more important than the specific number of hours you paint. For example, it’s better to paint 30 minutes a day every day instead of 8 hours for one day a week. In general though, the more dedicated time you spend on it, the faster you’ll get results.

How can I get inspired to paint?

A great resource is 15 Amazing Creative Sites for Inspiration. It curates different inspirational websites that are worth bookmarking.