Pictheas, aka Scott, is a twenty-year-old digital artist I met through Cubebrush’s Art School and was kind enough to answer my questions about their art and journey.
Pictheas has been doing digital art for over 7 years, something that astounded them when they counted it out. It was only about three years ago, however, that they began to think this is something they really wanted to do with their life.
How did you get into digital art?
Back in 2013, my mother gave me her old iPad and after a while, I figured out that, hey, I can draw on this thing! Yes, yes I did it before y’all got your fancy iPad pros and Apple pens (God I want one)
I started off on this really simple art app called DrawCast where you can submit your artwork to a community. It’s the type with only two brushes, hard and soft, and you were limited to three layers. Suddenly I was surrounded by a bunch of artists with the same passion to draw their original characters just for pure fun, it was like a drug that I couldn’t get enough of.
I stayed with this app for several years until I slowly moved over to a more complicated app. It was only four years ago that I ever so slowly start to use my first Intuos Wacom tablet in Paint Tool Sai! I started painting in Photoshop a year ago where I really got into digital painting and my mindset went from “hobbyist” to wanting to be a “pro”.
What do you do as a digital artist? Is this a hobby, career or side gig? Do you take commissions?
I’m still a student so I guess you could say it’s more of a study at the moment? But I sure am hoping it will become a career in the future, that really is the dream! A life goal is to travel around in a house van of sorts while doing freelance work if I can ever achieve that I would be complete.
I do take commissions on the side, though I am very insecure and bad at promoting myself so I don’t get that much work. (Rhiow: Hey Pic, maybe this Spotlight will help.)
What tools do you use for Digital Art?
I’m currently using a slightly broken Huion pen display tablet, GT-221 pro.
Photoshop is my favorite software, but as it is too heavy for my current laptop I have switched over to Clip Studio Paint and I really do like it so far. Though I miss my beloved PS brushes who made life so much easier.
Are you self taught or did you go to school for art?
This should be such an easy question to answer but I like to make things more difficult.
Since art started out as only a hobby where I drew cartoon dogs it took me a while to pick up on actually studying art. But once I got to it I have taken a couple of online courses, watched a bunch of youtube tutorials, took to a graphic design course where we mostly just touched on a bunch of things for fun and one year in high school with art, design, and architecture where I at this point already knew everything we were being taught.
So BASICALLY I’m self-taught as I didn’t actually learn what I know from school, because I went to high school leveled art schools.
I’m still an art student though, I just started at a fine arts school mostly to get some education requirements I have missed out on (stay in school, kids) and I’m hoping to study some sort of digital art when I get the chance! Because with being a full-time student comes some freedom from adult life.
Describe your art style
For the most part, I do semi-realistic digital painting and it is as I would call it “messy” or “sketchy”, I really like a lot of textures! What I wish to achieve is to have such control over my brushstrokes that I don’t need all the details for the image to read the way I want it to. Because less is more, am I right?
I find it very hard to describe because I still have far to go in my artistic journey and I am always playing around, trying new things, sometimes it changes without my permission.
What sort of topics in your artwork do you like to create? A specific fandom, sci-fi, fantasy, landscapes, etc?
Illustrations, creature design, animals, landscapes, concept art, basically lots of nature and animals/creatures! I think my favorite thing ever to sit down and mindlessly doodle is dragons, it has been ever since I was little.
Animals and nature are something I love and care very strongly for and feel close to. I grew up in the countryside surrounded by big mountains, wildlife and farmers and there is just something about drawing these subjects that really makes me happy. The fantasy part is like a spice to make it a little more fun and imaginary, putting a twist on reality.
What knowledge would you like to impart to other digital artists, particularly new ones just starting out?
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and ugly art, they are very important parts of the process!
Ask for help! Constructive criticism is great, you should listen and learn from it, take it in and make the changes in order to learn the most from it, don’t just brush it aside. Just make sure the person knows what they are talking about so you don’t adopt any bad habits.
Don’t grow attached to one artwork, you will be making a lot more and they only get better over time.
There is a lot to learn and it can feel very overwhelming, so try not to tackle too many things all at once, don’t start off creating full illustrations with detailed rendering right away. First, learn your program and how to use short cuts, layers and layer modes, get used to your tablet/whatever you use because you don’t want to be struggling with a difficult art program while trying to learn other things, it’s just a bother and would slow you down.
Then start with the basics, one at a time. Prioritize what’s most important to know in the type of art you want to create, say you want to draw characters then you gotta learn anatomy, but dipping your toe into every aspect of the “art fundamentals” will only do you good. You don’t need to understand it fully but have some knowledge of it will help your artwork improve massively!
I didn’t learn the basics when I started digital art and it’s something I really wish I had done because I have had to go back and get rid of bad habits and learn things over.
Details may be pretty but it won’t do you any good if the anatomy, composition, colors, etc are way off.
Do you have any other parting thoughts on digital art and what you do that you’d like to share?
Don’t be too hard on yourself, everything takes time. You won’t improve in a day and you won’t improve if you are not willing to put in the time and effort to learn the right way. And no, drawing the same thing over and over won’t do much, instead sit down and watch tutorials and put what they teach you into action right away!
We are often so focused on what everyone else is able to do and how much they are improving, but we forget to look at our own improvements. If someone else is rocketing sky high and getting better with every painting, don’t just think “I wish that was me” but sit your ass down and get to work because I am 99% sure there are many hours of studying and bad art behind all those amazing artworks you see in your feed.
Warm-up sketching? Hello? It’s like stretching out before a workout!