A beginning artist emailed me for advice on getting better. I thought I’d share here.
Get some copier paper or some sketchbooks, just so that you have A LOT of paper. You’re going to go through a lot. Get paper that has little or no “tooth”, meaning it’s smooth, copier paper has little or no tooth, for example. Unless you’re doing charcoal drawings, paper with tooth is cheap shit they chuck at baby artists and call ‘sketchbooks”. The stuff you want is usually called “drawing pads”. When you’re looking to buy, rub your finger against the paper and see if it feels rough or smooth.Rules:Sketchbooks are not precious. Sketchbooks are like paper towels. You need paper towels, especially me, I always need a thousand paper towels when I eat. But a paper towel has to be USED UP in order for you to gain the benefit of the paper towel.Most of your sketches will be trash. most of your sketchbooks will be trash.You will get better.A note: Unless you’re lucky/unlucky, you’ll never think you’re good or good “enough”. I’m paid to make pictures and I still don’t think my art is very good. I have a coworker friend that’s a world-famous artist. He doesn’t think his art is very good either. You just have to keep going and keep trying. That you have an awareness that your stuff isn’t that great is actually a boon as well as a curse, because it means you’ll keep improving rather than stagnating.What to do:Draw from life. Go to a cafe or place where’s there’s people and draw them. if you’re still in school, draw your classmates and teachers. You can also copy photos to start, this is a lot easier because your subject is sitting still."I don’t know how to draw from life!"Here’s a book that teaches you how: Drawing on the Left Side of the Brain. (Negative shapes and comparing/contrasting). I wish I had the time to teach people this because the basic concepts are pretty easy to grasp and do a lot for your art."What’s the point of this, I want to draw fantastic things, not my ugly friends"This trains your brain. It teaches your brain how things look. So when you go to draw a hand you know what it looks like later. It’s just like hearing a song. Then the second time you hear the song you know how it goes, right? Then later you can hum the song on your own. The more you listen to the song, the more your brain remembers it.Draw Fast: Give yourself different time limits, give yourself a minute, two minutes, 3 minutes to draw. Then move on. Spend an hour doing 3 minute increments, it doesn’t have to be life studies, just fill your sketchbook/paper.Draw all the time, everywhere: Take a sketchbook and stuff to draw with you everywhere. Everywhere. Paper and pencil are now your babies. Get a backpack or purse or messenger bag. They come with you everywhere. You draw all the time now. Think of this as “grinding” like in video games. Because it’s exactly like that. You are going to grind like hell. The more time you spend, the more often you draw, the faster you’ll level up.Hit The Books/The Internet: For most people it’s not enough to just draw constantly. A lot of drawing is cerebral and problem solving and reevaluation. My best friend doesn’t draw that often but still continues to level up visibly year over year because she’s able to improve on the power of her critical thinking ability. She can figure out what needs improving and how to go about improving that thing.There are a lot of tutorials out there on how to draw. A lot.Aside from Drawing on the Left Side of the Brain above, here’s some stuff:This website by artist Seiichi Nakamura, http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~zm5s-nkmr/it’s in Japanese but there’s a dude who translated some of it over here: http://tobediff.deviantart.com/art/Drawing-the-Head-Pt-1-350849489Youtube Life Drawing videoshttp://www.amazon.com/Figure-Drawing-Invention-Michael-Hampton/dp/0615272819/ref=pd_sim_b_8?ie=UTF8&tag=ama-prod-id-20&refRID=16EY541TT7SYEY8BDTKChttp://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Artist-Sarah-Simblet/dp/078948045X/ref=la_B001KHAFL6_1_1?s=books&tag=ama-prod-id-20&ie=UTF8&qid=1413088036&sr=1-1 Sarah Simblet’s anatomy book, really great, Sarah Simblet is a badass lady in general.Study the art you like. Try and figure out what they’re doing that makes you like it so much. Even if it seems like a mystery, it’ll get more clear the more you draw. Copy art that you like, and if you post them always say that they are STUDIES and give credit to the original artist. Watch videos on youtube/livestream of pro artists.
Oops, I just noticed this blog doesn’t link to my comic on the “other blog” page so I fixed it.
- Fandom: aw man the series is ending :(
- Fandom: now what'll I read
- Me: hey
- Me: hey kid
- Me: -opens coat and slips you a copy of The Color of Magic-
- Me: let's talk about discworld