A TOTAL newbie looking for advice...


New Member
Hi all,

Apologies in advance for being so clueless on this subject; I completely understand if you'd rather not respond! Here we go...

I consider myself a pretty creative person, and am interested in doing some "cartoony" graphic designs for things like logos/t-shirts/gifts/posters. Hand me a pencil and paper and I can draw to a reasonable level, but I have zero experience of drawing within software (such as Photoshop, Indesign, etc) or of using graphics tablets/drawing pads.

I guess basically what I'm asking is - what steps do I need to take to go from having a rough sketch on a piece of paper, to a completed, colour jpeg/bitmap? Is it "standard procedure" to scan a sketch and manipulate the image from there...? I've done some work on photographs and put posters together in the past using Paint Shop Pro, but I'm afraid I'm not sure how to move a hand-drawn image into the digital domain. Unfortunately as I'm based in a very rural place (Shetland) taking a quick course or night class in graphic design isn't an option...

If you could get in touch, reply below - or even just post some links to where I can read up on the basics - then I would be very grateful.

Thanks for reading!
Hello :)

I would say for you your immediate need is to get to grips with the basics of Illustrator. I know everybody thinks Photoshop is the be-all-end-all (and it is great software) but it sounds like to me you need to know Illustrator better. You will undoubtedly need Photoshop as well but learn to illustrate the correct way, in vector, first.

Here is a link to begginer tutorials after that just Google and hit Youtube for more.
Illustrator Beginner’s Series « Illustration Info

Good luck!
If you can get your hands on a wacom tablet, that's would help the transition.
Yes, Illustrator is important, but it really depends on what you're going to do with your work. It sounds like you might be best to get to grips with Photoshop and also the nuances of resolution. Too many times I've had work passed to me in Photoshop at 72dpi and the client wants to use it on a huge poster. A little bit of education can go a long way.
Scanning your work can be the first step. Depending on the style of your work, you could live trace it in illustrator and fill in the colours, or colour it in Photoshop and paint on different layers. It's probably best to try some of these methods and see what suits.

G :icon_smile:
If you want to be an illustrator, you need to learn Adobe Illustrator, but for quickly colouring some cartoons, then Photoshop is ideal. I use Ai for all top end jobs, but it is time-consuming, and will take a while to learn.

Most of my work is still hand-drawn linework and coloured up in either Ai (using Live Trace) or Photoshop. Get some decent black pens, trace your sketches onto marker paper, scan into Photoshop, use Levels to tidy it up, then you can colour up in various ways. There are hundreds of tutorials out there. A tablet will make things easier and quicker, but isn't essential for someone just starting out.