Digital art for kids: An introduction

I am a Dad and one thing I have always enjoyed doing is teaching digital art to my kids. When they learn it’s a satisfying experience and it’s a great way to teach a cool skill that becomes valuable later in life. I will be making this blog series “digital art for kids” and in it I will cover cool ideas and techniques I use to teach graphics and games art to my students. If you want to encourage your kids into using different tools and techniques then this will be the place for you. If you like what you read in this blog then let me know, comments from you help me!

What you will need:

Digital art is great fun, but you do need tools to do this and these can be expensive. However as I said before I know how tight money can be when you are a parent. I will introduce you to some of the more cost effective approaches you can use to get your family started learning digital art.

The hardware

A graphics tablet is a must when learning those digital art skills. The model I often refer students to is the Wacom A5 tablets. These models change every year very much like a mobile phone. These can be picked up for around £40.00 to £50.00 and they have a great lifecycle, my first tablet I bought for £400.00 and it lasted me eight years before eventually I had to replace it. There are lots of other brands out there but personally I can only advocate for Wacom as its the only one I have a large amount of experience with.

The software

Next you need to think about what software you can use. Adobe Photoshop is a commonly used industry practice software but it costs. If you don’t mind paying £9.98 a month you can get the photography package and download photoshop.

But what if you don’t have £9.98 to spend? Good news is there are loads of software’s you can use for free. If your kids learn they will also be able to use photoshop due to similarities. The software I am going to suggest is Krita. Krita is completely free but is similar to Photoshop. This is a good way to get your kids started without having to spend a monthly subscription fee.

Digital art for kids: Krita logo
This is the krita logo

Getting started teaching digital art for kids:

Now you have a graphics tablet and your software is installed these are some based activities and tips to get your kids started. More complex information will come up but first there are some key things you need to know.

  • Drawing with a graphics tablet is very different to drawing on paper. It will take time and practice for your child to get used to using it. Encourage them because they might find it frustrating to begin with.
  • Encourage them to explore the package. You can’t really break digital drawing software. Exploring what they can do before they start on an art piece is really useful. Get them to write down the things they discover as this will help them to retain this information.
  • Finally don’t be afraid to learn alongside your son or daughter. Children enjoy having someone to problem solve and learn with. This way you’re involved in the fun and frustrations too!

Now we have cleared that up, lets talk about some things you should do to get the ball rolling. The best way to get kids started when learning digital art is to remove expectation. Start by encouraging them to select the brush tool on a blank canvas. From there let them draw something they like. Depending on the age of your child they might have different interests. Drawing animals, cartoon characters or imagination based creatures is a great place to start.

What does letting a student draw aimlessly do?

It allows them to focus on one skill that is hardest to develop which is hand eye coordination. When they practice this combined with mark making they will find future tutorials easier to follow as they will be able to effectively copy shape, form and structure.

If you liked this and want more tutorials on next steps to teach digital art to your children then comment below and let me know! I look forward to seeing you all in future posts.