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Art tips (As requested XD)

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  • #134727
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @erynne @sparrowhawke

    So, you guys asked for this XD I’ll try to give some more general tips that I wish I could tell myself a couple years ago.

    For anyone else dropping in, the context of this is that I’m a digital artist, I’ve been doing art seriously for about… four years? I’ve been doing digital art for the last two years, I think.

    For my program, I use Krita and a pressure-sensitive drawing tablet. (Wacom Intuous, one of the smaller sizes, I think 12,5″?) But I often sketch traditionally.

    1. Use! References! I’m not kidding, this is the one thing I wish I had known when I started. You cannot draw everything from imagination, no matter how good you are, and you don’t have to. There is no shame in using references, even professional artists do it. You’ll progress much faster if you use references.

    I’ll often use multiple references, one for lighting, one for the pose, several for clothing, one for backgrounds, some for textures or colors. Things generally don’t look like you think they do. I even use references for straight-on portraits sometimes.

    2. Learn to break things down into shapes. You can find a lot of great videos on this, but basically, learn to break down references to simple shapes. Once you learned that, it makes it so much easier to draw new and more complicated things.

    Honestly, my thought process while I’m drawing is something along the lines of “That blob there, next to a bigger, pointier blob, with that kind of angle–” You don’t think about “I’m drawing an eye! I know what an eye looks like!” It’s more like “Okay, angle like this, blob like that, lighter blob there.”

    3. Learn the structure of things. This links with the last thing I said, but learn how to sketch the understructure of things. I used to just try to draw the final product straight from the reference, but that’s a sure way to get things to look wonky. Now, I usually work in steps, from really rough shapes to final refined product, erasing in between. (Or for digital, starting on a new layer and hiding the old one) It’s kinda hard to explain, but if anyone is interested, I have some process pictures that explain it better.

    4. Don’t try to specialize (yet). If you’re just starting out, you may get stuck on drawing one thing from one tutorial over and over, and getting more and more frustrated because it doesn’t look like the tutorial’s final. (I know I did. I have an entire file filled with front-facing female portraits with the exact same medium and technique. They’re genuinely awful and they still haunt my nightmares XD)

    Try learning a three-quarter view! Try cartoons! Try realistic! Try female characters, male characters, portraits, full bodies, poses, animals, landscapes. Try something a few times and decide you don’t like it. You’ll gradually start gravitating toward mediums and subjects that you find fun, but until then, you don’t need to specialize. Get some cheap materials and give it a shot!

    Don’t decide that you can’t draw something after the first try, but don’t get stuck until you get it perfect either.

    On that note, if you have an idea but it seems beyond your skill level, try it anyway! It might not be as you envisioned it, but you’ll learn along the way.

    5. Don’t give up 😉 Like with writing the first draft, your first sketch won’t be great and every painting has an ugly stage where you think about abandoning it. There’s no shame with putting aside a drawing or even abandoning it when it’s not working out, but every drawing/painting, no matter how terrible, is progress. The next one will always be better 😉

    Anyway, I hope this helped some XD

    I’d love to answer any questions!

     

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #134728
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Wow, thank you so much for actually doing this!! I’ve been an artist all my life, but about two years ago I got really serious with it. I found out I wasn’t half bad with a paintbrush, and I have the cutest baby yoda sketch ever. (not to brag, but he is definitely my best sketch)

    Do your portraits ever turn out how you had planned, and are you able to get them to look like your reference picture? Me and all of my artistic friends use references but the final product NEVER looks anything like the reference.

    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?

    "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents."
    -Bob Ross

    #134754
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @erynne

    So, I actually wrote an answer for this before the weekend, but SE backfired because of too many images, so I’ll try to break this up into pieces so you can actually see it XD

    I’ve been an artist all my life, but about two years ago I got really serious with it. I found out I wasn’t half bad with a paintbrush, and I have the cutest baby yoda sketch ever. (not to brag, but he is definitely my best sketch)

    That’s awesome! I’d love to see it!

    Do your portraits ever turn out how you had planned, and are you able to get them to look like your reference picture? Me and all of my artistic friends use references but the final product NEVER looks anything like the reference.

    Ooh, I’d have to say yes and no. It’s usually like I envisioned it, but it’s seldom an exact replica of the reference because that wasn’t my aim.

    However, photo studies can be really useful, and to answer your question, here’s a recent study I did that I’m actually quite proud of:

    Reference:

    (Study below, SE won’t allow more than one image)

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by Rose.

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #134756
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @erynne

    As you can see, I kinda messed up the highlights and texture, but I learned a lot!

    I think your problem might be that you’re trying to just copy your reference instead of understanding it. I used to just begin drawing on the top right side and draw the entire outline of a picture without breaking anything down. This led to wonky, uncertain pictures that never quite matched up with the reference.

    I think that learning how to break down references might be helpful, here’s an example I did for a recent picture:

    (See below)

    "Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." The Tale of Despereaux

    #134757
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @erynne

    (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

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