12 Top Digital Illustration Courses in 2023 for Beginners | Blog | Domestika (2024)

Learn software skills from Procreate to Photoshop, and fill your drawings with color, texture, and life

Discovering digital illustration for the first time is like opening a treasure trove. There are limitless tools and styles to explore, from realistic paintings to graphical vector art. Drawings and paintings are generally created with Adobe Photoshop or Procreate, while vector illustration can be done with Adobe Illustrator. But how do you get started with all these options?

Whatever your drawing experience, the 12 digital illustration courses below will help you create spectacular digital art. From the very basics to unusual styles to try, you’ll soon be as comfortable with a stylus as with a pencil and paper.

Courses on the basics of digital illustration

1. Drawing 101: Introduction to Digital Illustration

Illustrator Jean Fraisse (@jbfraisse) is a firm believer that talent can be learned, and is here to teach you the principles of drawing in Photoshop.

In this Drawing 101 course, you’ll discover the narrative power of drawing by creating illustrations from observation and imagination. Explore lines, angles, and shapes to boost your confidence, even if you are totally new to drawing digitally.

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2. Procreate for Beginners: Digital Illustration 101

Brad Woodard (@bravethewoods) is an illustrator, graphic designer, and co-founder of creative agency Brave the Woods. He uses Procreate to design branding and commercial illustrations for clients like Ford and Microsoft.

Throughout his Procreate 101 course, you’ll set up, customize, and experiment with this software to create the perfect workflow on your iPad with Apple Pencil. Learn about layers, selections and transformations, editing artwork, and exporting it to share.

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Courses to illustrate people, characters, and portraits

3. Creative Portrait Illustration with Procreate, a course by Samuel Rodriguez

Samuel Rodriguez (@samrodriguezart) combines his graffiti background and studies in Fine Arts to infuse the abstract into the digital.

In this course you’ll use Procreate for portrait illustration, with an abstract twist. From revising facial anatomy knowledge to exploring unconventional uses of color, lettering, and shapes, your final piece will be a quirky yet harmonious portrait.

4. Digital Fantasy Portraits with Photoshop, a course by Karmen Loh

Established fantasy illustrator Karmen Loh, or @bearbrickjia, creates delicate, whimsical fantasy portraits on Instagram as well as character concept art for games like Street Fighter.

Her fantasy portrait course will deepen your Photoshop skills by exploring ethereal effects from sketch to finished piece, including dreamlike highlights and glows.

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5. Pop Culture Character Painting in Photoshop, a course by Sam Gilbey

Any fan artist will know that drawing your favorite characters is a fun way to learn portraiture. Sam Gilbey (@samgilbey) turns his pop culture passion into striking images of film characters, having worked with clients like Paramount Pictures and Marvel.

In this pop culture portrait course, Sam guides you through the process of making a cinematic portrait of your favorite character. Working in Photoshop, you’ll learn a painting technique to block out your main colors, use airbrushes, and add fine details.

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Courses to learn how to digitally illustrate places

6. Digital Illustration: Create a Colorful Nature Scene, a course by Asia Orlando

Asia Orlando (@asiaorlando_) specializes in crafting vibrant environments for animal illustrations, and has produced artwork for international brands and publishing houses. She founded the illustration movement Our Planet Week to spread environmental awareness.

In her course, you’ll learn how to paint a scene inspired by nature, using digital tools to illustrate a unique place inhabited by an animal character. You’ll study the basics of composition and color, and begin to develop your own digital style.

7. Fantastical Illustrations with Procreate, a course by Michael Relth

Michael Relth (@michaelrelth) has worked at motion graphics studios for clients such as Netflix and Riot Games, and has worked directly for clients including Warner Animation.

Here, Michael helps students create magical worlds in Procreate. You’ll cover the essentials of storytelling, use thumbnails, edit your work to bring out its best light and color, and overall build imaginary worlds using your iPad and an Apple Pencil.

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Courses to learn different digital illustration styles

8. Digital Illustration with Geometric Shapes for Beginners, a course by Pablo Lobato

Vector illustration is about using lines and shapes to craft your images. Argentine graphic designer and illustrator, Pablo Lobato (@pablo_illus), will teach you how to take your first steps in digital illustration and free yourself from any nerves about this new form.

In this course you will discover the specific tools and techniques to draw digital illustrations with geometric shapes that pop with color. All you need is Adobe Illustrator and your laptop—no tablet required.

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9. Art Deco Style for Digital Illustration, a course by Mads Berg

Art Deco is characterized by simplified shapes combined with ornate details, for an overall grand and retro-futuristic effect, and illustrator Mads Berg (@madsberg) is renowned for this style.

In this course, he shows you his entire illustration process to create a commercial poster in Art Deco style. Explore the brief process, project management, and research tips as an illustrator, before moving on to creating your poster.

12 Top Digital Illustration Courses in 2023 for Beginners | Blog | Domestika (9)

10. Retro Futuristic Illustration with Procreate, a course by Ada Zielińska

Ada Zielińska (@ada_zielinska_studio) has worked with brands including Adobe and Netflix, and her retro-futuristic style is all about bold colors and nostalgic, ‘60s and ‘70s vibes.

In this course, Ada shares how to make contemporary art inspired by the past. You’ll design, compose, and color a retro futuristic illustration with Procreate, from mood board to manual textures to final export.

12 Top Digital Illustration Courses in 2023 for Beginners | Blog | Domestika (10)

11. Cinematic Digital Illustration with Photoshop, a course by Izzy Burton

Izzy Burton (@izzyburtonart) is a director, artist, and author who tells stories through characterful illustrations. Izzy has worked on everything from film direction to children’s book illustration for clients including Cartoon Network and the BBC.

In this course, you’ll learn digital illustration techniques to create concept art using Photoshop. Explore the importance of color, lighting, and texture in-depth to create compelling artwork that tells a story viewers can get lost in.

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12. Professional Children's Book Illustration with Procreate, a course by Meike Schneider

Thanks to her experience working with children's literature, Meike Schneider (@meike_schneider) has developed a rich and unique visual style as seen in books like Finni & Fredo, a collection which explores human anatomy.

In this course, she shares how to conceptualize and create professional children’s book illustrations in Procreate. Under her expert guidance, you’ll illustrate a two-page spread for a fairy tale, outlining the story's mood and its characters.

12 Top Digital Illustration Courses in 2023 for Beginners | Blog | Domestika (12)

Updated by @lauren_duplessis.

Get started in digital illustration with these bonus resources

1. Learn to draw different body types with this digital character design tutorial.

2. Discover 12 free Procreate tutorials to go further with the popular iPad software.

3. Try these drawing exercises to create expressive poses.

12 Top Digital Illustration Courses in 2023 for Beginners | Blog | Domestika (2024)

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