How Do You Paint Semi Realistic Digital Art?

Art|Digital Art

Painting digitally is becoming increasingly popular due to the ease and affordability of tools such as Photoshop, Procreate and Clip Studio Paint. Many digital artists are able to create stunningly realistic art with the help of these tools. This tutorial will provide guidance on how to paint semi-realistic digital art.

Getting Started

The first step when painting digitally is to familiarize yourself with the tools available. Different programs have different features and it’s important to understand how to use them in order to best create your desired effect. Knowing how to use layers, brushes and textures will be invaluable when creating digital art.

Choosing a Reference Image

When painting, it’s important to have a reference image. This can be a photo, another artwork or even your own sketch.

Having a reference image will help you understand the form and perspective of your subject matter, as well as provide an initial color palette. It’s best not to rely too heavily on the reference image, however – you should make sure that your artwork has its own unique style.

Painting The Image

Once you’ve chosen a reference image and familiarized yourself with the tools available, it’s time to start painting! Start by blocking in basic shapes and values with simple brushes.

Once you have the basic structure down, you can start adding more detail such as lighting effects, shadows and textures. Keep in mind that semi-realism doesn’t necessarily mean perfect realism – feel free to add some stylistic elements such as exaggerated features or exaggerated colors.

Adding Finishing Touches

The last step is adding finishing touches such as highlights and shadows that bring out the form of your artwork even more. This can be done with special brushes or by overlaying textures such as noise or grain on top of your artwork. You can also experiment with color adjustments such as hue/saturation or curves adjustments for more dramatic effects.


Creating semi-realistic digital art is a great way for anyone to express their creativity using modern technology. By understanding the basics of digital painting, choosing a reference image and taking advantage of all the tools available in software like Photoshop and Procreate, any artist can create stunningly realistic artwork.