The cheapest way to start digital art
Starting digital art without breaking the bank
You can start making digital art with dirt cheap devices or even not spending a dime at all. I and some of my family members started with cheap devices and even earned some cash using those. I started with a budget Chinese brand tablet to an entry level Wacom tablet and my cousin started with her smartphone.
Were carrying cheap devices that are capable of making beautiful works of art. From your old mobile devices to that old office laptop you use for your nine to five job, you can use pretty much anything. If you really want to, I recommend buying a cheap entry-level Intuos Wacom tablet.
- WHY GO DIGITAL ART
- WHEN WOULD YOU START
- HOW CHEAP IT IS TO START
- THE DEVICES
- SOFTWARE OR APPS
- MY RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE
WHY GO DIGITAL ART
Why go all the trouble if you can just draw and paint the traditional way?
- Has more room for growth
- You can save money with art supplies
- Easier to travel
However, If you are still not sure if you want to go this route here are my thoughts when I started.
Art is evolving, especially sketching and painting. There is no harm in learning some software or two to draw and paint. In some aspects, it is much easier if you use a computer. In a click of a button, you can put layers of your art and change your painting’s color with a click of a button.
HAS MORE ROOM FOR GROWTH
Digital art expands the possibilities of what you can do! I can make mistakes all I want without worry. More mistakes, the more you learn while running out of art supply will restrict your growth.
YOU CAN SAVE MONEY
I remember spending almost all of my allowance to buy different graphite grade pencils and watching my oil pastel get shorter and shorter with every stroke.
You already have a smartphone, a tablet or maybe a laptop with a cheap drawing tablet. If you are good enough, you can use those to start earning money.
Not only that you could even earn money if you play your cards right. With enough commitment and passion, you can earn money with your hobby.
EASIER TO TRAVEL
Traditional art can be clunky especially painting supplies.
Yes, you can pop out your tiny sketchpad on a train or bus, but what if you want it colorized? I can’t wait until evening to finish my artwork.
Thank god I was born in an era where you can have all the art supplies you need in your pocket.
WHEN WOULD YOU START
You don’t need fancy pieces of equipment and a high-end computer to draw and paint digitally, so feel free to start right away. You already have the right equipment right now If you just stop and look, furthermore by trying to learn digital drawing or painting earlier than later can be beneficial.
By just starting earlier, you can do a lot of things; Building an audience, get better faster in digital art and make money. yes, earn money. my cousin, for example, She did a lot of art commissions for 30 USD each by just using an old cheap Samsung smartphone and all she did was just start drawing digitally.
Unlike my cousin, I started drawing digitally with a Chinese brand drawing tablet and a 5-year-old office computer.
HOW CHEAP IT IS TO START
- SMARTPHONE/ TABLET
- DRAWING TABLET (SMALL ENTRY LEVEL)
- LAPTOP OR COMPUTER IF YOUR TABLET IS SCREENLESS
In total, I spent around less than 200 USD on my first set of devices. all of the devices I purchased were entry level and I was surprised they did well.
My advice to younger readers is to start with what device you have on right now, especially your smartphone or tablet. If you saved up enough cash, you should buy an entry level drawing tablet, either screenless or with a screen.
It depends on what are your goals and how much you are you willing to spend. But there is a sweet spot, where spending more is unideal so please watch out for that.
The sky is the limit if we are asking how expensive digital art devices and gadgets can get. The good news is, the gadgets and devices for entry level are not as expensive if you just want it as a hobby. The cheapest smartphones are sensitive enough to make accurate lines. You might already be using the right equipment at this moment.
You don’t have to mimic some famous digital artist. Those famous digital artists already built up their reputation and credibility. You are not a famous artist yet, so chill and build your client base first.
SOFTWARE OR APPS
- ANY MOBILE DEVICE DRAWING APP
Almost everybody recommends Photoshop, but I don’t see the appeal. I’ve been using Krita for almost 2 years and It does whPhotoshophop does for layers and color.
In mobile devices, I’m not picky because I don’t mind ads on my app. Mobile apps are also light speed in updates and changes, so what is free now might be paid the next month or vice versa. Regardless of what you pick, as long as the app is not more than 10 bucks is always a good start if you want the paid route.
- PINTEREST (My go-to app for inspiration and reference)
- YOUTUBE (Best site for digital art fundamentals)
Tutorials can be free, but they are free for a reason. Either they teach you partially to sell you the other half of the tutorial or they will refer you to a sponsor, So choose wisely where you learn digital art. Pinterest and youtube us your best friend but if you want to go higher, a paid lesson is ideal.
MY RECOMMENDATIONS BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE
This is all you need to start right now if you don’t want the smartphone route.
- XP-Pen (drawing tablet) around 13 USD
- Old Computer or laptop
- Smartphone for a scanner app
The tablet in this price range is small. For the most part, it is not a big deal if the monitor you are looking at is small. Any computer or laptop that can run Krita or Photoshop is good enough.
This is what I recommend if you want to go to a higher price. But to be honest, it doesn’t have to be a Wacom tablet. I used XP-Pen for a long time and Huion is also catching up with quality.
- Wacom Intuos lineup (Small/ medium if you afford the medium) 100 USD
- Old computer or laptop
- Smartphone for a scanner app
A smartphone is a bare minimum if you just want to try it out as a new hobby. Buy the cheapest tablet and the cheapest computer or laptop if you want to get deeper.
Software and apps for digital art are not that expensive. Just avoid the Adobe products because not only are they hard on your computer, they also add in useless features for starting digital artists. Krita is more than capable for starting out digital art.
Digital art as a hobby can be as cheap and expensive as you want it to be. Like traditional art, you can even earn money drawing digitally with the cheapest devices like I mentioned before.