digital painting by zoe zuniga

Best Digital Painting and 3D Blender 2.8 Courses for beginners

II got rid of most of my acrylics, watercolors and boards and decided to focus on digital art about a year ago. I have been moving around a lot and just didn’t want to carry hundreds of paintings, sketches and supplies. I had gorgeous brushes that I loved and so many gessoed panels I had collected at the last art space I shared when other artists would leave piles of supplies for free or for cheap.

I feel a little sad about not working on traditional panels but not really sad. I am still learning to use digital mediums and I have a long way to go but there is a freedom there too. I also have a lot more control of iterations, zooming in for details, copying and making multiple versions of the same piece. etc.

I kept my sketch pads and drawing utensils and I often sketch by hand and then upload the sketch to do the final draft.

I took a break from visual art to create a wellness site and learn about marketing but with the Covid-19 pandemic I decided to get busy with art again.

Best digital painting courses

CTL Paint

I found control paint through taking the Profitable Online Store Course with Steve Chou, which I highly recommend. Steve reviews his students sites and one of them was Ctrl+paint by Matt Kohr, a concept artist turned digital painting instructor/entrepreneur.

Ctrl+Paint has well-crafted free videos and generous offerings with affordable units you can buy separately and bundled groups of courses. Over the last couple of years I have collected just about all of his course work, buying a ten-dollar unit here and a 30-dollar bundle there.

Matt offers free videos on a regular basis in digital painting and even has a decent section on drawing with traditional materials. I find that the traditional section is a nice review even if you have been drawing all your life.

The courses are more detailed video courses covering his free topics on digital painting in depth. He has fundamentals like drawing, tonal work in black and white, perspective, all the way up through intermediate and advanced courses.

He even has a 3D course for 2D artists. His site goes deep and takes you on a college level curriculum in digital art. You can use photoshop or another less expensive drawing program. all you need is a decent tablet.

Although Ctrl+Paint is my go-to source for everything for digital painting it’s always good to get another perspective and I have dabbled in some other courses for a month here and there:

  • Paintable is another great site for getting ideas and techniques for $35 per month with a huge libraray of classes
  • Pluralsight has over 30 courses on digital painting and costs 29 per month
  • Linked in learning, formely has over 100 courses on digital painting so that is a great resources if you’re are a member of linked in at $60 per month
  • Community colleges also have decent courses to help you get started with digital painting for under 100 per semester, so be sure to check what is available locally in your area

Digital painting studies

Blender 2.8 best courses for beginners

I also saved some of my sculpting tools and clay, but I have been focused on learning 3D modeling because I love the 3D environment. It is so magical to recreate objects, characters, and whole scenes with lighting. Working in 3D environments is one of the places in life I feel the most at home.

I thought I loved sculpting by hand, but 3D modeling is even more magical.

I dabbled in 3D staring with CAD at a community college in 2005 or so, then Maya and finally Cinema 4D which I found easy to learn and powerful. But the expense of those programs led me back to Blender for 3D modeling, and version 2.8 is easier to learn than past versions and has everything I need to create the models and environments I have been wanting to make for3d print and illustration.

I also got the full version of Zbrush with their new subscription for 6 months for under $200 dollars, but I am finding the learning curve much tougher in Zbrush. It is so different than all the other modeling programs I have tried. It feels non-intuitive. I will pick it up later and try it again.

I decided to get comfortable with Blender first and see if it has the capabilities I need for the 3D models and illustrations I want to create.

  • Grant Abbot is in the UK and has a series of free courses that are great for getting your first taste of Blender 2.8. His teaching style is so clear you have a sense of accomplishment after the first hour.
  • CG Boost with Zach Reinhardt is another great find with free tutorials as well as basic courses for beginners. His courses are in-depth and very reasonably priced at around $60 dollars per course for 12 hours of instruction.
  • Polygon Runway has an excellent course on low poly 3D illustration. You can try the first module for free. His instructions are clear, and the projects are fun. the full course costs close to $300 but he sends out a discount if you sign up for the free course or you can do three payments.
  • CG Cookie has a lot of new Blender 2.8 courses at the time of this writing. They have a 7-day trial and a reasonable monthly subscription plan at $29 per month
  • The Blender YouTube Channel has a great run of free videos to get you started on Blender 2.8

Have any hidden gems to share for beginning digital painting or 3D modeling?