What are the most important digital illustration techniques

digital illustration techniques

More and more people want to dedicate themselves to digital illustration, especially due to new technologies. But, Have you ever thought about digital illustration techniques? Do you know which ones they are?

If you are interested in digital illustration and would like to know more about the techniques he uses to know for sure if it is something that may interest you (or not), here we have collected all of them. Pay attention!

What is digital illustration

digitized drawing

Before talking about digital illustration techniques, it seems better to give you a brief introduction to digital illustration. And it is that, many times, there are misconceptions that are not what this job really means, and that is why when you meet him, you end up throwing in the towel because it is not what you expected.

Digital illustration is basically the ability of professionals to make images, illustrations... using technological tools. That is to say, he makes use of programs with which he "simulates" traditional drawing or illustration, but he does not physically do anything "by hand" but rather everything depends on a computer, tablet...

This does not mean that it is always so. In fact, there is a hybrid, in which traditional illustration is used and combined with digital to have personalized results, even unique, and with details that neither the traditional nor the digital would achieve on their own.

digital illustration techniques

digital drawing

Once we have made the concept itself clear, We are going to talk to you about digital illustration techniques. And if you are waiting for us to talk about professional techniques, focused on specific programs, etc. the truth is that it is not so. In our research we have discovered that these techniques are actually the same as those used in traditional illustration, only instead of doing them by hand, programs and tablets are used to recreate them digitally.

And what are those techniques? There are several, specifically the following:


The drawing technique is characterized by the use of a pencil and paper to manually make the illustration. We could say that it is the most basic and the first technique with which cartoonists become familiar.

Now, drawing something is not the same as drawing it professionally.

In the case of drawing as a digital illustration technique, that pencil is changed for a technological one in such a way that, when you draw, sometimes the drawing will not appear where you do it, but on the computer or tablet. Of course, it has a drawback and that is that, when losing sight of the drawing itself, when rectifying or wanting to do several elements at the same time, it may happen that you lose sight of the illustration itself (the complete design) and make it more difficult to finish.

That is why many first use the traditional technique to later make a "tracing" with the digital.

An example of this could be, for example, drawing the face of a character on the computer using a graphic pencil to help you capture the strokes you give in the design program (and then retouch it, color it, etc.) .


Another of the digital illustration techniques that you should know is ink. This is characterized because a nib and ink finish is given to the drawing that is made. In reality, we could say that it is a way of finishing a drawing, because the drawing is made in pencil first and then it is transferred to ink.

And why is it done like this? Well, because the pencil drawing can be erased if you have made a mistake in something; but the same does not happen with the lines already made with ink, because they are permanent. If you had to change something you would have to redo the whole design again.

An example is when he makes a manga. The professional (mangaka) uses a pencil to design the panels and then passes them on with a pen (a way of finishing that panel because it has finished well).

In the case of digital illustration, This technique is used a lot in mangas and comics, but in illustration not so much (although you can still find some).


We continue with more techniques, in this case with markers. Actually, it is similar to the above, only by being able to use different tones, contours, etc. it helps to create different finishes and at the same time makes the illustration perfect.

Now, how is it done digitally? For this, markers are also used, only that in reality they are different strokes that will give more depth, solidity, etc. to that illustration itself.

Watercolor art

watercolor technique

The watercolor technique It allows the illustrations to have a high detail when it comes to seeing the colors, strokes, etc. However, it depends a lot on how it's applied, as you can go from coloring lightly to solid and opaque.

The same happens in digital illustration, you can also play with that effect to get one finish or another.

Colored pencils

The colored pencils is one of the illustration techniques that helps you give color to the illustrations, but without these being strong or having an intensity in the tone and in the filling.

We could say that they are intermediate with the pastels (of which we are going to talk about below).

In this case, the finish will be smooth and satin, more similar to an almost realistic design of a hand drawing (because irregular lines, blank spaces, and the color that changes depending on how much more the line is tightened (or less). )).

Of course, in digital you can also achieve this finish through filters that help to see the image in a totally different way.


Normally, when you think of pastel colors, you know that they are very soft, light, etc. But the truth is that we have found that, in design, those who offer the purest colors are called that way.

The result is a dense, saturated and somewhat velvety quality. And, obviously, digitally they seek to do the same.

As you can see, digital illustration techniques are the same as traditional ones. Our recommendation is that you master these traditional techniques before you start with the digital ones, because that way you will get much more amazing results. We can assure you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.