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Questions, Discussion, Tutorials



  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @L-J Linked your image. Try to resize things before uploading them to the forum.

    I made a bit of an order for the enrichments here on the forum, it might help:
    Iruka wrote: »

    To make it less obtuse, if you want to learn how to draw "realistically" you start with shapes, and then you learn how to use simple shapes to build up more and more complex forms.

    "drawing on the right side of the brain" is the first book for a lot of people, it has its flaws, but it might be one of the few easily accessible beginners book that teaches the first skills of observation. much of art education has moved to online videos, because its easier to provide much more robust information visually. Proko, in the video above, is a good example of that, but that maybe his only video on the absolute basics.

    theres a reddit/website about fundamentals that can also help you get started: I would check those out as well.

    I'll try to, at some point, write up a post about just getting started.

  • L-JL-J Registered User regular
    @Iruka Thank you muchly. Really appreciate your thoughts.

  • L-JL-J Registered User regular
    Dumb question....when I click on image links nothing happens. Not sure why...

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Image links? On the forums?

  • L-JL-J Registered User regular
    If you look at this page towards the bottom, you have posted this image link:

    basics%20sample.jpg (I have obviously cut n paste it here)

    but when I move my mouse over it, it doesn't change as it should for a link...I'm totally confused.

  • L-JL-J Registered User regular
    btw I have since discovered that I can't even draw a cube...let alone an egg with shadow...what WAS I thinking??

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    L-J wrote: »
    btw I have since discovered that I can't even draw a cube...let alone an egg with shadow...what WAS I thinking??

    Well, if I had to guess- and I'm pretty confident in this guess, since this is what happens to everyone ever tasked with doing these 'simple volumes' exercises- you were thinking,
    "This is a step 1, and what I've been told so far- the principles of light and shade, measuring, perspective, etc.- makes total sense. I know what a cube and an egg look like, so I should be able to do this pretty easily- it's not something complicated like a face or a car or a landscape or something. I should be able to bang this thing out pretty quick, and move on."

    And then, inevitably, the exercise turns out to be not easy at all- in fact, you find that it's very, very difficult indeed- and because you thought it was going to be so simple, you start doubting yourself, and get frustrated, wonder if it's a problem with you, that you're finding it so hard. 'Surely, people that are good would find this so easy', you say.


    Everybody that's ever drawn anything you think that's decent in the least, has almost certainly had this exact same experience.
    Gotten their enthusiasm revved way up, only to seem to immediately slam into a wall 5 seconds out of the gate.
    Wondered if they really had a chance, considering how hard they found it.

    This is a single, universally held experience among artists- welcome to the club.

    Drawing these 'simple' cubes, cylinders, spheres, eggs, etc.- the shapes may be simple, the task of drawing them are anything but.
    What makes these things so difficult to draw is that the shapes are so simple, that your brain immediately knows when something is off. If something is tilted or lobsided or shaded strangely, there's no wiggle room for you to make an excuse- it's just off. What your brain doesn't know, at this early stage, is how to articulate back to your conscious mind, what exactly is going wrong, or what to do to fix it- frustrating. Of course it is.
    You might be able to fudge a tree, or a car, or a cartoon character a bit, and accept it as 'good enough'- no such luck on this exercise, which is the exact reason it is such a good exercise.

    But it's in dealing with that frustration, working it out and not lying down and accepting the wrong thing you drew, spending the time to go over and over again figuring out what's going wrong, why it's going wrong, and just keep at it until you've got it right- that's where you actually learn.
    It's about measuring the angles between the points over and over. It's about drawing those angles- are they right? No? Check them again. Repeat. Check. Correct. Keep at it, for as long as it takes, even if it's hours and hours and hours, spending multiple days on it.

    Practicing observing and correcting and sticking with it is the important thing, the most important qualities as an artist that you can develop as an artist. Even as someone who's managed to make a career of art, my process on drawing anything still kinda boils down to, "I'm going to start this, and it's going to be garbage. Then, I'm going to grab it by the lapels and slap that garbage around until it's not garbage anymore."

    In fact, if someone doing a cube exercise for the first time came away from their first sitting saying, "That went really well! Everything went really smoothly, just had to follow the steps one by one!", I'd think they were either lying, or kidding themselves.

    This is something that's difficult to communicate in text or in a book or in a video, as opposed to a class- even if the actual information being conveyed is exactly the same, with a class there's always other people, making the same mistakes you're making, going through the same struggle, being just as surprised at the difficulty, taking just as long to work things out. Spending 3 hours drawing an egg may seem like an eternity working alone- doesn't seem so bad in a room where 15 people only got halfway through drawing their egg in that time.

    So don't freak out, don't get discouraged- just know that this is part of the process. Recalibrate expectations and continue on.

  • TalithTalith 変態という名の紳士 Miami, FLRegistered User regular
    So I've been active on this forum for 13 years and I've only just noticed there is an art subforum.

    I began teaching myself how to draw around the end of 2014 and have been happy with my improvements so far, but I'd like to start getting more routine with my practice and improvement efforts. Originally I wanted to draw simple fanart of games and characters I liked but now I also want to be able to draw my own, pose them, eventually with nice linework, and one day further still properly color and light them.

    Looking at the enrichment page, I see I should really spend more time practicing basic shapes, perspective, etc. Until now all I've done is timed gesture drawings, and so shape and perspective study does sound like something I would like to incorporate, especially as a warmup. I've built up a repository of about 3000 images so far and toss it into an app called Gesture Drawing! I originaly got for $5 that lets me do the timed drawing sessions I used to do on sites like , but with my own image sets.

    Is there any photo sets of arranged simple shapes? I'd like to have that kind of folder as well so I'm not just randomly, mindlessly drawing shapes on a page. Or better yet is there any program/app that generates a random/pre-arranged array of shapes/objects of various value and with directional lighting applied that then lets me pan the camera around? I figure something like that would be great for shapes, perspective, lighting, and value studies all at the same time.

    Talking tools and hardware I primarily drew traditionally, eventually settling on 0.5mm, 1.3mm mechanical pencils, and 2mm lead holders I have in HB, 2B, and 4B as my preferred options. About a year and a half ago I also got an intuos pro medium, but after playing around with it I wasn't really enjoying the disconnect between tool and display. I've been waiting for Wacom to unleash something new this entire time, but so far they haven't done anything. Apple however dropped the Ipad Pro + Apple pencil, and after seeing artists I admire enjoy their experience with it and Procreate so I decided to pick one up last month as well. I also started a tumblr to have a diary of my progress with it (linked in my profile). I have been enjoying it a lot more than what I was doing on the Intuous, but I also notice Procreate isn't as feature rich compared to Clip Studio, and I imagine even less so when compared to Photoshop. Drawing with the base pencil tools also feels really off. I figure it's the learning curve and stumbling across the right settings that work for me as I've been enjoying it the more familiar I become with it. Is there a recommended size to start drawing at so the pencil tools don't feel so awful? Eventually I hope to pick up a larger graphical tablet whenever Wacom decides they're ready to put out their next generation.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod

    The easiest way to do simple shape studies is to actually get some simple shapes, arrange them on a table, and light them. This is what a still life is, and its often overlooked as art education. In school, classes generally had a set of blocks, spheres, and bottles that had been dipped in white house paint to simplify them. Wed paint those, and then slowly add color objects, glass, and reflections.

    You can find images and reference out there, but using your own eye is better than copying 3d reference, especially since the quality out there can vary.

    Unfortunately, I cant give you much input on the ipad pro, I've never used it, so I don't know its limitations first hand. If its your only digital drawing implement, I would mix in some simple paper and pencil studies, because learning accuracy on that thing might be more of a pain in the ass than you even realize starting out.

  • TalithTalith 変態という名の紳士 Miami, FLRegistered User regular
    So get something like this, shake it up, dump it out on a table, and then point a strong light at it?

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yes exactly. Might want to grab a few spheres as well. Painting them white helps you focus on the values because it eliminates the distraction of textures and colors, so thats something else to consider.

  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    If anyone still comes to this thread, I have a question in regards to anatomy. Specifically the area below the arm, or the armpit in other words. I'm curious if anyone has any in-depth anatomical reference of that area because I have a hard time mapping that area and all the muscles that are connected and meet there.

    It's to the point where it has now become what I feel to be the most difficult part of the body to render properly when I used to believe that was the figure when seen from behind.

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Is it possible to modify the shape of an existing brush? I have a great chalk brush that I love to use, but it's got one bit sticking out the side that I'd love to get rid of.

    Tidus: Sorry, I can't think of any specific references!

  • Flay wrote: »
    Is it possible to modify the shape of an existing brush? I have a great chalk brush that I love to use, but it's got one bit sticking out the side that I'd love to get rid of.

    @Flay Sure, it should be pretty simple (assuming you're talking about Photoshop here)

    1. Select the brush you want to modify in the Brush Presets window.
    2. Go into the Brush Settings window and uncheck everything- no Shape Dynamics, Transfer, Dual Brush, etc.
    3. Go into Brush Settings/Brush Tip Shape and click the little circular arrow icon to return the brush to its original size.
    4. Go to the color picker and select pure black.
    5. Make sure your Brush Opacity and Flow are all at 100%.
    6. Open up a pure white canvas.
    7. Select the brush tool and click once onto the canvas to stamp the brush.
    8. Now use whatever tools you want to edit the image- when you make your new edited brush, what is black will be where the brush paints, white will be transparent.
    9. Once you've made all your changes, select the area with the Marquee tool
    10. Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. This will make a new brush preset using the new shape you just defined.
    11. Go into the Brush Settings/Brush Tip Shape, find the highlighted shape in the selection menu there (I don't know why it puts new shapes in random locations rather than at the front or back- point is, you just want to be able to find the location of this new shape again.)
    12. In Brush Presets, select the original brush you started with.
    13. Go to the Brush Settings/Brush Tip Shape, and select your new brush shape to replace the original one. Tada, new brush shape with all the other settings from the original brush retained. If the resulting brush seems too big/small/off-center it maybe that how you selected around with the marquee tool may be different than the original, resulting in more/less surrounding white space or whatever, so you may have to do some adjustments there to be 100% perfect.
    14. Go to Brush Presets/New Brush Preset in the drop down menu so you don't have to remake the new brush every time you want to use it. Might also want to hit Save Brushes as a backup/if you ever want to share your new brush. Might also want to get rid of the brush preset that was made by default when you hit Define Brush Preset- which is probably not very useful by itself- which you can do in the Preset Manager, or Alt-clicking (might be different on Mac?) the brush in the Brush Presets window (which is a REALLY ANNOYING feature that I wish didn't exist after having deleting a bunch of brushes accidentally over and over again).

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Thanks Bacon! That clears up a few things I wasn't certain about

  • HazelHalfBloodHazelHalfBlood Unapologetic Dungeons and Dragons Enthusiast New HampshireRegistered User regular
    Hey everyone! I just got myself Manga Art Studio and I'm pretty excited to dive into it. I've been primarily using photoshop for all my work for about 7 years now but I've heard the Manga Art Studio is better for inking and coloring. Does anyone have any tips for a first time user of the program?

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod

    Do you mean Manga Studio/Clip Studio, Or is there something else out there called "Manga Art Studio"

    If its Clip, I would suggest looking around for some custom brushes. Theres a set here: that cost some money but has some nice tools in it. There are plent of others out there, I suggest searching for both "clip" and "manga" studio. They are trying to convert to Clip as their name, but the internet isn't on board.

  • gavindelgavindel The reason all your software is brokenRegistered User regular
    My order of paint supplies has arrived. Some questions:

    Brush care. I've looked up some guides for after painting: clean with paint thinner, let dry. Is there any work to do before painting? I've never handled brushes before, and the bristles feel almost unyielding on the dry brushes. Does this solve itself once I load it up with paint?

    Odorless paint thinner: Does it still need ventilation to avoid asphyxiating myself?

    Canvas preparation: I've heard a couple different ideas. What recommendations do you guys have for priming the canvas before painting?

    Thanks for the help, guys.

    Book - Royal road - Free! Seraphim === TTRPG - Wuxia - Free! Seln Alora
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    gavindel wrote: »
    My order of paint supplies has arrived. Some questions:

    Brush care. I've looked up some guides for after painting: clean with paint thinner, let dry. Is there any work to do before painting? I've never handled brushes before, and the bristles feel almost unyielding on the dry brushes. Does this solve itself once I load it up with paint?

    Odorless paint thinner: Does it still need ventilation to avoid asphyxiating myself?

    Canvas preparation: I've heard a couple different ideas. What recommendations do you guys have for priming the canvas before painting?

    Thanks for the help, guys.

    Brushes: you don't need to do anything before painting. Also the stiffness of the brushes is nothing to be concerned with, I think the manufacturers put something in the brushes so they retain their shape during shipping and such, but will loosen up after having had some use. A lot of brushes are also supposed to be stiff to retain their shape over time.
    For cleaning while working using solvent is fine, but at the end of a session you might want to use soap and water instead- solvent is expensive, and if you have a sealed storage jar you can let the paint particles settle to the bottom between sessions, dump out the sludge at the bottom and still be left with usable solvent the next time- so you don't want to go dumping it down the drain in the sink all the time.
    Any art supply store will probably have some painting specific soap you can use like this:
    If you've got a Trader Joe's nearby, the soap that was recommended to me was this stuff: , which works well and leaving a little in the bristles will let you reshape the cleaned brush a bit, if the you're getting some fraying happening. (No, I don't know why the bottle is full of disjointed rambling either, but the soap's good at least.)

    Paint thinner: I assume if you're going with Watts' suggestions you're using Gamsol? From the manufacturer's website:
    According to the recommendation of environmental hygienists, studio air should be changed ten times per hour. Normal air circulation in most buildings and homes will allow for adequate air exchange using Gamblin oil painting materials. Increased air exchange can be attained by opening the windows and by inserting a fan in one window to blow air out.

    I'd actually read the rest of that "Managing Materials - Best Practices" section as well. Personal experience is that using Gamsol and taking care to shut the lid on my solvent jar and having open windows and box fans still left me a little bit headachey when painting in my tiny studio apartment, know, don't paint inside a broom closet and expect that to be fine, but you probably don't need to buy a hazmat suit either.
    If you're using another kind of solvent, I'd look up their recommendations as to how much ventilation is required. "Odorless" definitely does not mean "harmless", so make sure you keep that in mind.

    Canvas prep: I believe most commercial, pre-stretched canvases and boards will already be pre-gessoed, so you can just go ahead and start painting. If you want a smoother surface, you can apply more gesso and sand it down in layers. Though personally I prefer to work on gessoed masonite board, which you can buy a huge sheet of at Lowe's or Home Depot and cut it down to size- this is a lot cheaper and yields a smoother surface more readily than canvas (though that's just a preference thing. Here's Erik Gist going over his preparation:
    He's pretty fastidious here in making for a solid, smooth surface, but you can afford to be a good bit lazier than this and use fewer coats/less sanding etc, you'll just have more texture to your final surface.

  • gavindelgavindel The reason all your software is brokenRegistered User regular
    Saving my bacon once again, AoB. Oooooh, I get it. Its like you're kind of savior...for bacon. Perhaps a mentor...for bacon.

    You're the Boddhisattva of Bacon!

    Book - Royal road - Free! Seraphim === TTRPG - Wuxia - Free! Seln Alora
  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    I assume this is the best place to ask this, I'm trying to turn a sketch into a picture, and I've hit a brick wall in learning inkscape.
    So here you have my basic sketch made transparent and the rest of the room and hallway....anyone have tutorials that would let me turn my line drawing into art?

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @RoyceSraphim what do you mean by "turn" in this context? Are you trying to draw over your pencil lines with a tablet and manually ink it? Are you hoping to find some automated way to make this more finished looking?

  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    You have it right in that I want to use the sketch as a guide.

    I am at a loss for good inskcape tutorials to work with.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @RoyceSraphim unless theres something really really specific about inkscape I dont know about, I would suggest trying the Krita, which is a bit more modern/photoshop like, free, and active.

    Since its becoming popular, people make youtube videos for it:

  • danxdanx Registered User regular
    edited October 2017
    Just when I got the motivation to make a thread and put the effort in to a daily art schedule my Canon LiDE 110 kicked the bucket. I guess I forgot to put the lock on when I moved it last time and now it's a black brick with a rather nice finish.

    What do people here use for scanning their stuff? Was thinking of the Canon 220 LiDE or Epson Perfection V39 since I don't need to scan film. They're in my price range but the Epson has no bundled software. Not sure how much of an issue that'll be though. Seems like it's just lacking helper apps but the scanning software itself is fine. Anyone here use these scanners?

    danx on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @danx just to clarify, you're scanning drawings and not something photo related? I have no experience trying to get color to scan, but when it comes to pencils and ink, you can't go wrong with an old canon scanner, really. The biggest thing to watch out for is drivers, make sure whatever you buy has windows10 drivers. I had a scanner that became junk when they stopped supporting it.

  • danxdanx Registered User regular
    It's just ink and pencil at the moment (good colour support be cool for later it's not essential). The driver issue with the Canons is what concerns me about buying one. With the updated drivers the Canon 220 should work but it might not (there were issues with it when windows 10 first came out but the drivers were updated and they 'should' work). Maybe it's worth trying it and returning it if it doesn't work.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @danx so, I have a Canoscan LiDE 60, and it works fine with windows 10, currently. All considering, its an old crusty scanner that seems to be fine, so I assume any later canoscan models would be alright.

  • danxdanx Registered User regular
    Thanks for the advice Iruka. Bought the 220 lide. It works great. The canon software is a bit basic but works alright and the you can open the scan gear driver software directly for more advanced features.

  • vamenvamen Registered User regular
    1st off: this thread is fantastic and I don't think I've ever been to this sub-forum, somehow. I know where my weekend is going...

    2nd, I've been out of the game a long time, but I thought Flash had been killed off? Is it still being updated? I assume it's only used as an animation tool these days?

    3rd, so I'm trying to get BACK in the game. I'm quite out of practice, but I've used to be pretty decent at Illustrator. I liked trying to make realistic art with vectors:
    You can see I was ok but had a long way to go!

    As "aight" as I am in Illustrator, I am not worse at raster stuff. The most I really do is put friends in compromising situations where it looks painfully photo edited, or someone will make a silly joke about having a burrito on a flight that the staff says they can't bring on the plane and they claim it's a "service burrito" and I find the mental image funny.
    Silly, throwaway stuff, basically.

    Anyway, I intended to ask a question, not give my life story. Sorry about that.

    I'm currently messing with Photoshop and trying to figure out the techniques people use to be SO good at removing elements of an image. I ran into an interesting dilemma with one idea I was toying with.
    If you had that iconic scene from Jurassic Park, where the t-rex is looking in the window, and you wanted to remove the t-rex:

    How would you go about that? It seems like trying to remove him while leaving the rain would drive you insane. Would it be best to remove the whole background and then draw the rain back by hand?

    I know there are better methods than I use. I'm over here using the lasso tool and an eraser like a barbarian, but I know people have a lot more sophisticated ways these days.

    Thanks =)

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited January 2019
    I think the amount of time spent trying to remove the T-Rex and keep the rain texture would far outweigh the time it'd take to cut out the figure and start the background from scratch. You could grab a photo of a rainy window off the net and use it as an overlay and just paint underneath it. Alternatively just use the spot healing brush/stamp tool/patch tool/content aware fill to remove the obvious bits of the T-Rex and then do a similar thing

    Flay on
  • PeasPeas Registered User regular
    Hey folks how do you anatomy? This is something I have been struggling over the years, I keep learning and reading and drawing them but when it's time to apply my mind goes blank. Also I have really bad memory so if I don't keep doing them I will pretty much forget everything within the span of a week or two, which is really frustrating because I feel like my failures in anatomy are really limiting my growth and I find it tough to move on and have confidence about anything as an "artist"

  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    who knows what's going on with pen tablets these days?

    I have an old intuos 3 and a bamboo from college forever ago but unfortunately somewhere in the years and moves I don't have either of their pens. looking at the current lines it looks like bamboo is just a digital pen now? and intuos has multiple lines where I'm unclear what the differences are between the base intuos and the pro. I can understand the distinction of the paper at least.

    But yeah, it's something I want to try to work back into my workflow but I'm not sure what to look at. should i find pens for these old ones? it's only about $20 more to just get a new intuos and i'd have all the years of improvements and wireless would make it something i can throw in my laptop case. Like all I know is cintiqs still seem awesome but i can't justify the expense

  • redfield85redfield85 Registered User regular
    Does anyone have any good sources or favorite tutorials/projects for someone wanting to work on animation? I'm looking for some beginner stuff to try in Procreate using their animation tools.

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  • redfield85 wrote: »
    Does anyone have any good sources or favorite tutorials/projects for someone wanting to work on animation? I'm looking for some beginner stuff to try in Procreate using their animation tools.

    If you're willing to spend money on a book, this is the best resource I know of:

    If not, just first try to familiarize yourself with the 12 principles of animation:

    For a video explainer, this works, though I wish it were drawn a bit better:

    Both of these are gonna mention the book The Illusion of Life, but to be honest while that book might have been the animator's bible for a long time since there were no other books, the explanations within aren't given that much more depth than this video or wikipedia article- the bulk of it is mostly a kind of history of Disney Feature Animation's golden age. Which if you care about that, great- if you don't, save your money.

  • DidgeridooDidgeridoo Flighty Dame Registered User regular
    So I've been fiddling around with my pen tablet and the trial version of Clip Studio Pro (also Krita since it's free) and I'm feeling a bit out of my depth. I've never really used digital art software before outside of MS Paint for extremely basic stuff.

    Does anyone know of any good resources for the basics of digital art software? Stuff like how layers work and a rundown of the main tool options/ what they would be used for.

  • ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular

    There's a basics of digital painting tutorial series on CtrlPaint. It's Photoshop based, though. It's probably not the best way to learn Krita or Clip Studio, but a lot of the basic concepts carry over since those programs are more or less copying a lot of ideas from Photoshop.

    If you have any Krita questions feel free to ask and I'll see if I can answer them.

  • DidgeridooDidgeridoo Flighty Dame Registered User regular
    Oh my gosh, that's perfect Chico! Exactly what I was looking for, thank you! I'm bookmarking this and will be going through it over the next few days.

    Youtube searches were a bit all over the place, mostly speedpainting showboating which is cool but not particularly useful for a beginner.

  • PeasPeas Registered User regular
    I want to also recommend Aaron Blaise's youtube channel

    A Basic Introduction to Illustration in Photoshop with Aaron Blaise 1:11:43

  • initiatefailureinitiatefailure Registered User regular
    Has anyone used any of the kamvas screen tablets? The pricing is super inviting and i never even imagined that a cintiq like product would be in my bidget

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