hmm well I work a lot with digital art, (used to be traditional), and recently I've been interested in organic environments and composition, I have a tough time doing trees and balancing the lights and dark's. Also ever since I stopped using a black outline for my characters they look like a blotchy blurry paint mess.
switching from manga art to painterly art has proven rewarding but I have a giant problem with my photoshop brush palate, I don't know which brush to use on what, or where to start. Bob Ross starts from the back and goes forward but that's for oil paintings. do digital paintings work the same way?
Well, brush is not a problem at this point, it is only a bonus. You can still have wonderful pictures by only using the default round brush, seriously. Please do not take my words as offence as you are reading this, I went through this as well. I think what you can do right now is to start with black and white pencil drawing, your subject matter could be still life. With proper instruction from professionals you could get observant of light and dark, forms and volumns, different textures and contrast, etc etc. I didn't make this up, Boris V who is a master fantasy illustrator said before you established a solid drawing skill, you should not worry about painting. Here is an example what I am talking about (See how observant this artist is, he/she can define different materials, forms and surfaces really well), of course, I did this kind of stuff before, a long time ago when I was still in high school. [link] Pencil is always the best tool and easiest, not brush. You can fake various textures and surfaces, tones by just using pencil. I am not saying you have to be at this level to start out painting, but going through this stage will help you A LOT later on.You can only imagine things you have seen, so be observant. Hope that helps. Of course, there are tricks with digital painting, but the essential things such as rhythm, contrast, light and dark, textures, composition is the same. Using fabulous special brush and photo textures won't make you a better painter, but understanding of the world will.