Digital art can be intimidating. If you’re used to using paper and pencil, or inking and painting, making the switch to a mouse or stylus can be an experience fraught with challenges.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Digital creativity is a skill where online tutorials can prove tremendously helpful. Whether in text or video form, guides are essential for getting your head (and your hands!) around staring at a monitor instead of a piece of paper, selecting the right digital tools, etc. But what’s even more helpful is watching live experts draw and teach in real time.
Where can you find these digital art experts? One place is Twitch.tv, which you may know best as the home for streaming video games as they’re played live (using tools like Open Broadcaster Software). Did you know that there’s a Twitch category dedicated to Creative Arts?
We’ve compiled a list of the best channels to give you inspiration, motivation, instruction, or even just to pass the time.
Fantasy Art Created Before Your Eyes
Whether you’re a fan of the fantasy art genre or not, watching a piece of stunning sword-and-sorcery artwork being created is an inspirational experience. One Twitch channel where you can find such art being created live in front of your eyes is MonoriRogue.
Here the artist spends time creating works from scratch, and the work is typically accompanied by (usually good) music that helps develop the creations into memorable, striking images. Check them out in action below:
Watch the Development of Animation
If you’re a fan of animation (who isn’t, seriously?), then the SamGreenMedia channel on Twitch is a great place to hang out. The artist regularly streams his work — which typically involves cartoons based on the video games he plays — and chats with his followers, who post their questions and observations in the chat window.
Here’s what he’s up to right now (adult language warning):
Every so often, Sam plays through the full sequence of what he’s currently animating so you can get an idea of where the finished piece is heading. This is a great channel, enjoy it!
Manga-Style Art From Scratch
Fans of the popular Japanese manga style of artwork (which we reckon is best enjoyed on an iPad) will be thrilled to find that there is a Twitch channel full of videos illustrating the development of manga comics in real time. The channel owner is Lilaccu and she has a huge choice of videos that are ready to watch, one of which lasts almost ten hours!
Here’s a shorter (three and half hours) example video:
Her videos cover the creation of stunning images from rough drafts all the way through to the completed piece. It’s a fascinating development, one that gives you a good look at the tools used by the artist. Visit her art gallery to see her collection of finished pieces!
Make a Suggestion, Watch It Made
Some Twitch.tv artists will accept suggestions for what they should draw next, often polling their viewers for suggestions and ideas.
One such person is illustrator Okolnir, whose work is patiently developed with meticulous craft. However, you won’t see much in the way of drawing as she does her pencil work on paper and scans the illustration to polish it in her art package. This is what she’s doing right now:
Digital Art Beyond Twitch.tv
Watching digital art as it is created can be pretty inspirational, and at the very least it gives insight into which tools are popular. You’ll notice that a range of tools are in use with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator (find out more in our beginner’s guide to Adobe Illustrator), and Manga Studio (one of the best apps for developing your own online comics) comprising the more typical choices.
When watching these videos, keep in mind that they might not be here in a few months’ time. The transient nature of Twitch means that archived videos are often replaced after a while, although the creators may opt to upload their videos to YouTube for long-term archival. And while these Twitch channels are a great place to start, you really should head over to YouTube if you’re looking for more structured tutorials.
Have you checked these videos? Do you have your own Twitch channel that features the creation of artistic works? Tell us all about it in the comments.