Starting to Art

WankWank Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm aware that we have an art thread, but browsing it gives me the impression it is more for posting work and critiquing than very general questions, such as

How should i get into art? I was really into sketching when I was a bit younger, and people always told me I had a flair for it. What are good ways to both get back into the sketching groove, and extend myself to other mediums, such as painting or digital art?

(I'm not laboring under the delusion that I will be naturally amazing at art and immediately start churning out works of genius.)

Wank on

Posts

  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Chill out at conceptart.org. Start a sketchbook thread. Fill up many many sketchbooks. The more you draw the better you get. That's pretty much all there is to it.

    I think this thread gives a good example of someone traveling from the point of not being able to draw much at all, to drawing and painting awesomely. http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=870&highlight=journey+of+absolute

    NotYou on
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    We have a [CHAT] thread where you can come and discuss things over at the Art Corner. Also, we don't bite.

    MagicToaster on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Also, we don't bite.

    It's funny how we all have to say this. :P

    No, we don't bite. Also:

    practice practice practice. Once you're starting out in any medium, I highly recommend just playing with your materials, getting a feel for how they work, what working with them feels like, and how to control your movements and how that changes the marks you make. Play with different kinds of paint, play with pencils, charcoal, clay (or whatever you're looking to get into), play with Photoshop/Painter/Gimp, and don't play with matches.

    DO NOT BE AFRAID OF YOUR MATERIALS. What I mean by this is you should not think "oh man these materials cost me like $40 I don't want to use them up when I'm not entirely sure how to use them yet"...don't be afraid to experiment.

    As far as improvement goes - if you're thinking about drawing actual things, and not going abstract...well, the best way to get better at that is to draw actual things. Don't think "an eyeball is shaped like a football"....actually look at an eyeball, without trying to "remember" what one looks like. Take the visual information from what's in front of you - take it from what you're referencing, but do not take it from your head. Most of all - always try to absorb what you're doing, rather than straight-up copying what you're seeing. Try to remember "oh the top of a bowl looks like this in perspective" and "oh hair falls in clumps" and "oh there are also some flyaway hairs too" and "women have shorter torsos than men" and etc etc.

    Getting better at "teh arts" is a pretty simple concept, it's just that improvement is a slow, never-ending process. Just keep at it! :)

    NightDragon on
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited July 2009
    Well, this is a pretty huge question, so I hope you'll forgive a pretty huge answer. Don't let my enthusiasm here scare you off. :D

    First off, where are you looking to go with art? Comics? Animation? Concept Art? Illustration? Fine art painting? Modern gallery art? Are you looking to do art as a career or a hobby?

    While the advice I'd end up giving would be similar for most of them, I don't want to turn you off by recommending anything that would be irrelevant to your interests. For sake of reference, the following advice is geared towards a sort of general comics/animation/concept goal, with an interest of doing them as a career. I'm listing things in a basic chronological order of how I'd go about it, so don't feel like 'AUGGHHH I'm not going to go out and do all this shit RIGHT NOW, I can't afford it/this is way overwhelming!'- this is advice that's meant to be spread out over months/years.

    I'm going to be laying down a lot of books here, so brace yourself. Again, these are books that I've acquired over the course of like 10 years so don't freak out.




    Anywho, first things first (going to be taking a lot of links from The AC's Questions/Tutorials Thread here):

    Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

    This is probably where you want to start off. Its focus is at getting you to draw what is actually occurring, rather than what you think you see when you draw. That may be a rather vague statement to begin with, but trust me, it'll make sense after you read it. Though to be honest, while I do reccomend this book wholeheartedly, I'd check it out from a library instead of buying it if you can; it's a fast read, and you can probably get through the exercises in pretty quickly.

    The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides

    This one is going to take longer to get through, probably worth buying. Basically it's most first-year college/high-school level drawing classes condensed into a book. Even if you do take a class like that it's worth reading, as (I've found) this book generally offers a more insightful rationale and explanation of the exercises than I've gotten from most art teachers (not all, but most).



    If you are looking for art classes, you are actually probably better off taking classes ala carte at a community college, local workshop, or (if you are close to one) an atelier, at least to begin with. I say this as someone who got a university art degree, and most of my time was wasted by classes that didn't teach traditional skills and/or didn't know how to. You're better off being able to pick the classes you need from whereever, rather than getting tied down to an expensive and possibly useless program. (Exceptions are to be had, of course. CalArts, Art Center College of Design, RISD, Ringling, and some others are known for having good programs, but they are also very very expensive).

    Whenever you can, take life drawing classes. Drawing from the model successfully is the exercises that tests an artist's abilities the most, as it involves everything you know about drawing all at once. The more you learn from the figure, the more you'll be able to apply to everything else you draw, and the more you know about art in general, you'll be able to apply back into drawing the figure. Don't worry, drawing naked people isn't as awkward as you'd think. :P

    Also, try to carry a small sketchbook on you at all times if you can, and use it to sketch people/things while sitting in restaurants or cafes, or while at a park or in a shop. If you can get in the habit of drawing the things you see, and get in the habit of making observations of "now how would I draw that? How would I draw this?" in your day to day life, you'll start building a memory and thought process that will help immensely when you sit down to draw "for real".

    From there, more books:
    If you are looking to do anything that's going to involve figure drawing (comics/anime/animation/concept art/figurative fine art/sketching people at a cafe), you're going to want to have a decent grasp on anatomy and construction (breaking down complex objects into simple shapes).

    I'd recommend: How to Draw the Marvel Way Yeah it looks a little cheesy, but it does have a really good breakdown of construction and perspective.

    Glen Vilppu's tutorials, they also go over basic construction. Essential stuff, examples given related mostly to from life sketching and animation drawing.
    Andrew Loomis' Figure Drawing For All Its Worth.(pdf) Anatomy/construction from a traditional illustration perspective.

    Bridgman and Hogarth are also good resources, but you have to be aware of the exaggerations they are applying to get their point across in their illustrations, and then figure out how that it going to apply to the actual figure.

    Another animation/comics centric book is [ur;="http://www.amazon.com/Force-Dynamic-Drawing-Animators-Second/dp/0240808452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246758921&sr=1-1"]Force[/url]. The focus on this book is less anatomy knowledge, and more about creating dynamic posing and use of line. The illustrations are very animation focused, but the principles are applicable to any figurative art, and is worth looking at.

    This Anthony Ryder book is geared towards strict long-pose realist figure drawing; honestly I found it sort of dull personally, but the measuring/blocking in principles given in it are totally solid and worth a look. Maybe look through it at the bookstore and see what it has to say, see if it looks like something you'd get some use out of.




    As for getting into painting, well, 90% of painting problems are drawing problems first, so I wouldn't worry about rushing into it right away. Besides that it can be pretty expensive- digital or traditional- so if you're not sure if you're going to get your money's worth out of it, I'd hold off for the time being (though I am sort of a cheapskate, personally :P).

    What I would suggest is making sure you have a decent grasp on total drawing before getting into painting, since it will make picking up painting much easier in the long run. What I mean by tonal drawing is drawings that are fully-shaded, with a a full range of tone from deep black to middle greys to the white, where the form is determined primarily by those tones (see: Prud'hon) as opposed to drawings that are defined primarily by line (See: most comics/animation art). Being able to define forms in tone rather than line is essential in painting, where the linework is either covered up, or will be overwhelmed by the color and tone.

    While you can achieve tonal drawing with pencil using a range of hardnesses, you might consider trying a medium that can provide darker shading and broader strokes more readily. The school I go to favors a specific charcoal pencil (Conte 1710B), sharpened to a long point so you can get broad strokes with the side, and sharp lines with the tip. I'll be honest in that it's sort of a pain in the ass to sharpen these things and it's really hard to get used to working with them, but the idea of using them as a way to get acclimated to drawing in a painterly way is a solid one.

    When you do decide you're ready for painting, I would ease into it slowly- start off with just doing greyscale paintings, then incorporate other colors one at a time into your work, getting a feel for their behavior and the properties of the paint and how they mix, rather than throwing a lot of colors down at once, which can end up just overwhelming you. Also, Alla Prima is an excellent book on the subject. The focus is one one=sitting, from-life painting which may or may not be what you're into, but it's full of useful information nonetheless.

    If you go the digital painting route, you'll need a Wacom tablet of some kind and a program such as Photoshop, GIMP, Painter, or OpenCanvas to use it with. Be warned that these programs may have a lot of tricks and flashy shit you can do with them, and a lot of people get trapped by them and start relying on gimmicks; don't make that mistake. The better digital painters can do their job just fine with just simple brushes, since the quality of their art depends on their drawing and traditional painting knowledge.



    Another thing that's worth mentioning is absorbing knowledge from art you admire. Most people start off copying art that they like, and that's great, but a lot of the time they don't really benefit from it all that much in their own work. The reason being (similar to what ND said), that it's easy to copy and sort of shut your brain off; copy this line, copy that line, shade in here, etc. If you want to get the most out of it, you have to force yourself to engage and question what you are seeing, what the artist's choices were: ie: "Why is this line here? I don't understand what this form indicates, I need to go look it up in an anatomy book to figure out if that's a stylistic conceit or an accurate description." The idea of copying from another artist needs to come from trying to reverse engineer their thought process, to figure out what they were thinking when they made the decisions that led to the final result, not simply mindlessly copying what that result was. This goes for directly copying pieces as well as incorporating aspects of their art into your own work.


    Also: Don't buy books by Christopher Hart or any other similar books of "How to Draw Manga/Superheros/etc." There might be some useful information in them somewhere, but generally they boil down to over eneralizations and a bag of tricks, and are slapped together with little thought and poor illustrations. If you want to draw those subjects, you're better off with a solid foundational drawing skill and using that knowledge to study from the best artists in those fields.

    And above all: You know, have fun! This may look like I've just dumped a bunch of tedious shit on you, but I've found that the more you know, the more satisfying drawing becomes, rather than the opposite. :D

    God this is a huge fucking post, holy crap. Sorry for the wall of text, I just like to be overly thorough!

    Angel_of_Bacon on
    drbernardi
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Holy crap Bacon. That is possibly the best summery I've read. Nice work.

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • TamTam Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    Holy crap Bacon. That is possibly the best summery I've read. Nice work.

    It felt more like an autumny to me

    Wank, you should try and figure out what sort of art you want to do.

    Tam on
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Tam wrote: »
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    Holy crap Bacon. That is possibly the best summery I've read. Nice work.

    It felt more like an autumny to me

    Wank, you should try and figure out what sort of art you want to do.

    You're always there when I need you Tam.

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
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