My Top 5 Secrets to Amazing Digital Art

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Would you like to improve your digital art? Are you looking for secrets to making amazing digital art?

There are quite a few common mistakes I see in beginner artwork that could be easily fixed with a few small tweaks. 

Today, let's go over my top five ways that you can easily improve your artwork and make it look much more professional. 

These are the kinds of things I go over in much more detail in my Smart Art Academy course, so if you haven't had a chance to grab it, make sure you sign up here!

1. Use your dynamic range 

This is one I see all the time. A student will post their artwork, looking for feedback, and I can see at a glance that they aren't using their full dynamic range. 

Often it is either too dark overall, or too muted, not using the full range of values. 

As you're working, check the values of your painting. You can use Levels in Photoshop to see the full graph and make tweaks. Using your full dynamic range creates much stronger expression to your audience. 

digital art
You can use Levels in Photoshop to see the full graph and make tweaks. Using your full dynamic range creates much stronger expression to your audience. 

2. Simplification 

Another thing I see all the time is too much complexity in student paintings. Especially with digital art, it's always tempting to use all kinds of interesting textures, shapes, and so on to just fill your canvas with stuff.

But a good painting is simple in execution — not too many shapes, textures, or different things going on. Just a clear premise, and some supporting details.

3. Use pleasing proportions 

The eye loves variety, and artwork is no exception. If your proportions are too even or consistent, if will look contrived and unnatural to your viewer. 

With your shapes, lines, colors, even your values, strive to create variety. You can think about it as a ratio of around 70:20:10. 

digital art
Using pleasing proportions in your shapes, lines, colors, even your values. Strive to create variety. You can think about it as a ratio of around 70:20:10. 

4. Control your saturation 

It's always tempting to use a huge amount of color everywhere in your painting, or for some people they shy away from using too much color because they think it will ruin their paintings. 

It's all about using saturation in the right places – use strong color to draw the eye towards areas of interest and use desaturated colors for other less important areas. 

This will create dynamic colors that really draw your viewer in and tell them where to look. 

color harmony
It's all about using saturation in the right places – use strong color to draw the eye towards areas of interest and use desaturated colors for other less important areas. 

5. Add finishing touches 

The last touches of your painting should amplify it, not take away from it. It's easy to go overboard with these things, so make sure you make a copy of your painting first! 

But here are a few things you can do to bring your painting to a nice polished state:

- Adjust values with Levels
- Unify or tweak your color palette with Color Balance or Curves
- Add effects like Sharpen or Chromatic Aberration 

And of course, I go over all these points in much more detail in my full course, Smart Art Academyso if you haven't yet, make sure you sign up!

Now give these things a try and see how your digital art starts to look much more professional. 

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