Lesson Quick Links

Research makes progress slower but provides better results.

I know this comes as a real shocker but I happen to be one in a thousand digital art teachers out there. Yes, it’s true. And while I like to think of myself as potentially one off the best (there’s nothing wrong with having a healthy confidence complex mind you)… I know there are other graphic designers with even more experience than I. It’s true. It’s true. And that’s what this lesson is about… Sharing a world of ideas and information with you, encouraging you to go beyond my classes and personal insight. Research may make your progress slower, but it will make your life much richer, more meaningful and your perspective broader. Each teacher, educator, mentor or guide you come across has their own unique strengths, styles and perspectives in life. They’ve all been given different talents and different circumstances in life that add quality and value in what they have to share with the world around them.

Alright, I fancy myself as a pretty good designer. I’m a realist, okay? But I’d be a fool to think my skills were just natural born talents. I’ve done my own research and learned from numerous teachers and mentors. My best quality, I believe, is curiosity. It can be a troublesome quality at times, but in the long run if the curiosity is ultimately to seek and know truth (in all areas of life), the benefits are productive, helpful and eternally rewarding.  So I encourage you to be curious and research, research, research.

I love the tagline from 119 Ministries, “Test Everything“. In marketing this can be seen as “probe everything”, and in design, “try everything” (in regards to the tools available to you).

My education in digital art did not come from college or a vocational school, it came from curiosity and a ton of research. I would try this tool and that one, this tutorial or another, this software program, or that one. Testing to see how this contrast adjustment looks verses that contrasting adjustment. Or how this color combination looks against that one or perhaps using a different photo for inspiration. Always probing. Always “testing and trying everything” to find what works best, looks best, and makes the most sense to me and to my clients who have hired me.

We now live in a generation of technology with an endless array of educational opportunities. Online education is an absolute FAD these days. “Knowledge has certainly increased” and is right at our finger tips. It comes to us as fast as our fingers can fly on the keyboard and push the send button. Free education, paid for education, there is so much resources available to us, like never before.

The vast number of resources available can be overwhelming. So my desire is to bring you helpful resources and guidance to help you in your own personal pursuit of digital art and graphic design.

Making a business out of digital art takes time, dedication and SO MUCH research.

  • Research for how to do specific digital art techniques.
  • Research for what tools will help you do it quicker, easier and better.
  • Research on what products people want to buy.
  • Research on what companies want what you have.
  • Research for good selling prices, or service rates.
  • Research for trending topics, designs, colors, and even seasons.
  • Research for marketing your talents and your products.

Ok, don’t feel overwhelmed… Again, that’s what I’m here for, to help walk you through all that. Let’s take baby steps together so the research and digital art is enjoyable, rewarding and a blessing to you, your family, friends and future.

Lesson Activity: Practice Perspectives

This is an activity similar to Lesson 1 as you’ll be practicing digital art with pens, pencils and brushes again.  However this lesson is different in that it can potentially affect your life forever. This is not an overstatement, this is just simply truth. You can do this activity by yourself but for the best results I recommend doing this as a group activity.

Start by opening a new Photoshop project using a U.S. Paper Standard size of 8.5 x 11 inches and 300 Resolution.

This activity can take approximately 1 hour (more or less) depending on you and others in your group and how much time you want to spend on the drawing, details and discussion.

Let each person decide whether they do this activity on paper or directly in the computer. Some people are more comfortable with drawing on paper first, scanning it into the computer, THEN tracing over their drawing much like we did for lesson 1.

To Begin:

  • Pick an object or toy. The more details it has on it the more challenging the activity will be so you may consider starting with something that has less details on it to begin with.  Or, if you and your group enjoy a good challenge then choose something with more details and consider breaking out the snacks and drinks for a potentially long and enjoyable afternoon together.
  • Place the object on the center of the table and have everyone sit around the object with their computer/laptop or pencil and paper.
  • If there is a younger child present consider placing the side with less details towards them.


  • No one moves the object!
  • Draw the object based on your own perspective. Do not draw what you believe another person can see, only what YOU can see.
  • When you’re done be quiet and let the others finish as well. Perhaps you can add some extra stuff to your picture background for the fun of it while you are waiting for the others to finish.
  • When everyone is done share the pictures with everyone and discuss the value of different perspectives.

It is important that everyone knows this is not a competition of who can draw the best. The focus of the activity is to #1. Strengthen your digital art skills through practicing with the pen, pencil and brush and #2. to learn through experience that everyone has a different perspective based off of  what they see, hear and feel.  Likewise everyone’s perspective is equally valuable and beautiful in its own special way.

Consider reviewing examples showing how people from all around the world see things differently. Notice how it helps us when we listen to other peoples perspectives because it helps us understand life better.

Excellent example: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all different books in the Bible written from 4 different people. Each of these authors had a different perspective on what they saw happen. Each perspective they shared added beauty and fullness to our understanding of our Savior through their eyes.

My children and I did this activity several years ago on paper using a toy wagon (long before I thought to add it to a digital art course). I’ll share our results with you here. It is my favorite homeschool group activity to-date. The time spent together was so meaningful and the deep discussion that followed afterwards affected our lives forever. I pray this activity blesses you just as strongly as it has us.

If you are doing this activity alone then consider how someone may have created a drawing from a different angle of the same object.   You can have a pretty good idea of how the picture may have turned out but you’ll never fully know unless you have another person sharing what they see through their own lens the things you may have missed.

On top of learning the value of different perspectives I hope you have also enjoyed the challenge of trying to draw a real image set before you.  I would encourage you to practice strengthening your drawing skills by doing this activity as often as possible.

Double Dog Dare Challenge:  Try turning the object around and do a digital art drawing from each angle, then consider sharing your results with me, I’d love to see your work!

Daily Activity Challenge:  Every day for the following week choose a new object on the table to outline.  You can add more objects to the table to make it even more challenging.  Add fun background pictures to make your new coloring pages even more complete.  Again the focus is not perfection but you do want to sharpen your skills so do the best you can and enjoy your time!

Please email me if you have any questions or if you enjoy my class. It helps me produce more classes like this and even perfect them as I chug along putting them together for you.

Stay tuned for more future courses on marketing, SEO and web design, helpful for aspiring entrepreneurs and those learning to be professional digital artists or graphic designers.

Crystal Calhoun

Please Note:  Some of the helpful reference links provided throughout our courses may use affiliate links. Using our links to purchase any of the resources is appreciated and helps us produce more online courses. Interested in learning how you can earn a side income through affiliate links? Courses are coming soon! Subscribe to our newsletter so you can be notified when they are released!