(Sorry for the poor quality!)
I drew in all the red lines, and you can see I just brought it down to straight angles and shapes. Now you can draw these quick shapes into your sketch. This makes it a lot easier to spot your mistakes and the differences between your sketch and the reference.
Just print out your picture and draw lines on top of it with a bright pen or whatever. It’ll help you understand your reference as well!
Something that has really helped me is remembering that there are two key skills in art, technique (How well you actually draw) and observational abilities. (How well you can spot your mistakes)
One of the two will always be ahead and the other will always be catching up. If your technique is ahead of your observation, you might be pretty confident and happy with your art, when the observation is ahead, you’ll probably hate everything you make because you can only see mistakes. This doesn’t mean you’re worse, it just means the other skill is ahead and you’re catching up. It’s an eternal cycle, but it keeps you improving 😉
How do you shade when drawing digitally? One of my favorite things about your art is the detail in the shading. Do you have any tips?
Thank you! When you think about shading, you’re actually just working with light and shadow and trying to make something flat look three-dimensional, so you need to think about what’s closer and what’s further back.
A very easy way to think of it is that anything that’s forward will be lighter, and everything further back will be darker. There are a ton of exceptions to this, but it’s a good way to start. And learning how to shade spheres and cubes helps if you have the motivation to do boring exercises. (Hint, I have never had that much patience XD)
One thing that really helped me a lot while learning shading is looking at black and white portraits because you can really see where the dark and light areas are. They make great references because you can really focus on the values.
Once you know that, you need to use the right colors for shading, so it doesn’t look muddy. The biggest trick I learned is that you need to saturate your shadows. (Make them bright) So you’ll pick a color just a tint darker than your base, and a bit brighter. Never, ever use black and white to shade, it always looks bad.
No, actually, never use black or white, under any circumstances. That’s the art version of ‘show don’t tell’ XD
Don’t use too many fancy/textured brushes, and don’t use an airbrush that’s really soft and smooth. It may look like good blending, but you need hard edges to make the soft ones work. Use a plain round brush, it’ll look much more alive and less fuzzy. (preferably with pressure-sensitive opacity, so it’s more translucent if you press more gently) I learned this one the hard way XD
What program do you use? Do you use an iPad/tablet program or PC?
If you want to blend, just color-pick the very edges of your shadows and kind of smooth it over that way. This is immensely hard to explain, but I hope I’m making sense XD
For now, just start by picking out where it’s light and where it’s dark, and learn how to place shadows and highlights at those spots.
Oh, and YouTube is a lifesaver! I’ve learned so, so much about art via YouTube, much more than I would if I was just floundering around and trying to figure it out by myself. (As I did for the better part of four years XD)
Anyway, hope this helps, and I hope I managed to explain the shading. I actually have some pictures of WIP drawings that might explain it better, if those would help 😉
"Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux