Hey guys! I've recently been getting some messages on painting techniques, what program I use, etc. and I thought it would be easiest to answer some common questions in an FAQ (if you don't see your question answered here feel free to message me privately).1. What program/tablet do you use?
I use Photoshop CS6 (although I used to use CS4 and 5 in the past, older version of Photoshop are still great). I used to just use an old Wacom tablet (I'm not even sure what it was called) but it recently died on me and I upgraded to a Wacom Intuos 3 and it's AMAZING. The pressure sensitivity, range, etc. are all very helpful in painting.2. Do you have any tips on how to start a painting?
Everyone has a different way of doing things and I'm no master painter but I tend to like to get my features mapped out first. I like to use a grid method when I start out. Don't be deterred by people saying this is "cheating". It's one of the first things I learned at art school actually. The Masters used various grid methods throughout history so just ignore the haters (they usually don't know anything about art anyway). That being said you don't want to use it the entire time because it's going to get in the way and not let you have fun or be creative. Of course you don't have to use a grid but I would recommend some way of measuring angles (like when you use your pencil or thumb).
There's really no wrong way to do it. You can paint on a simple grid (on a separate layer of course!) or grab one off the internet and overlay it onto your work on a light level so it doesn't hinder you too much. One of my favorite artists
uses the same method and produces amazing results. (Also check out their profile for amazing tutorials!)
I know some people like to get all basic colors in but I tend to do whatever feels right at the time. I usually just start in one area and work my way out. I know, it's bizarre but it's what works for me and you should do what works for you too. I usually keep my brush opacity (depending on the color) anywhere from 8% to 30% and build up. Flow is usually 45-60. And I use a TON of layers, especially in the beginning. It's helpful to label the major ones to keep track of them. I usually have to end up merging them halfway through because there's just too many of them. If in doubt, start a new layer!3. What brushes do you use?
I use a lot of the basic round brushes provided by PS (soft ones for skin tones, hard ones for hair, etc.) I also use a lot of David Nagal's brushes for skin texture. You can find them all using google. 4. Do you have any other tips?
Look at as many tutorials as you can! There are a lot here on DeviantArt by some really amazing artists who have graciously taken the time to show their own process. Experiment, experiment, experiment! Move brush opacity up and down, blend colors, use selective layers. DO NOT BE AFRAID! I didn't paint for a long time because I was too scared but it didn't get me anywhere.
Anyways, I hope this answers some of your questions!