Digital Art – All About Layering

One of the main differences is that digital art allows you to create an infinite number of layers which can be altered and edited to your heart's content. In this short blog, I will run through some of the basics of using layers to create effortless pieces of art using your computer system. Knowing how to use layers effectively will give you a big advantage over your freedom as a digital artist, helping you avoid making mistakes and help you to add detail with ease.


Layers basically exist to help keep different elements separate from each other on your canvas. Because of this, they then can be edited individually giving you the freedom you need to create as much detailing as you need without messing up the entire image!

Layer Groups  

To make it easier to track which layer is which or a bunch of layers that refer to a certain element of the image, you can create 'layer groups'. Simply click the 'new group' button on the layer palette and drag the layers you wish to be grouped, into the group you have just created. To make things even easier, you can rename each layer and group to help you locate certain aspects of your drawing. They can be expanded and collapsed whenever you please just like that of a folder on your desktop.

Creative Design

Order of Layers  

The order you place layers on your canvas matters. Just think of it as a pile of transparent sheets stacked on top of each other, with the top sheet blocking the view of those beneath it. You can easily change the order of each layer by simply dragging the layer on the menu higher and lower in the stack.

Downsides of Too Many Layers  

Remembering which layer is which, can be a pain if you have a massive stack of them. Try to keep the number of layers you create down as much as you can but still giving you the freedom to edit as much as you need. For example, if you have finished shading in a section and are happy with the outcome, simply merge that layer with other layers that you are also happy with to help keep the vast number of layers down.


Sure, digital art can seem confusing or even intimidating to someone who has never tried it, but with simple benefits like having layers, you will soon start to see that it isn't as bigger leap as you were expecting. Experiment with the software you are using on your device and have some fun with it!

Louisa Kelly - Institution Marketing


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