What ways digital artists do sketches?

What are the phases that digital artists do when drawing? do they do a few clean sketches before drawing lineart, one clean sketch or one nearly clean sketch or a messy sketch before drawing lineart, messy sketch can make bad lineart, so it’s important to draw clean sketches to make good lineart.

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it depends on the kind of art and the artist. artists who like inking tend to have very clean sketches to trace with ink, and artists who like painting tend to have loose ones so they can have a guideline for painting. as an inker, I only draw one sketch before inking and coloring. but the sketch has multiple stages (gesture drawing, anatomy, clothes, usually)


When I used to do digital drawings, I would sketch it on paper in whatever manner I felt comfortable with, then I’d scan it in and trace it digitally in order to then colourize it.

I still don’t have the coordination to draw freehand with a tablet, but I can colour and trace with no problems.


It’s common for people to do thumbnail sketches before starting the actual piece (i.e. small sketches for composition and to easily test what works and what doesn’t). Then comes rough sketches (gesture drawings, rough environments, etc.) in a pencil-like brush or on actual paper. Often a couple more refined sketches are done too.

Depending on whether the style involves inking, that usually comes next (on a separate layer). Then base colors (no shading or rendering) on a different layer, and rendering (shading, texture, detail) either on the base color layer or on a separate layer.

With the advantages of digital, it’s common for there to be a stage where the artist adds an overlay (with a grain or paper texture), color shifts the whole piece towards one color to unify the piece, or liquify some of the elements for better anatomy/structure/etc.

Some people use drawing tablets that connect to a computer but don’t have their own processing power. Some use iPads or similar. Adobe Photoshop is common for the former, Procreate for the latter. Expect lots of “undo” (either Ctrl-Z with a keyboard or two finger tap on apps like Procreate). Lots and lots of it.

If you want more, check out someone’s process drawing. Can be labeled a “speeddraw”, “speedpaint”, “timelapse”, “process”, or something similar.