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  • Results 1 to 15 of 15

    Thread: How to improve my (digital) art?

    1. #1
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      How to improve my (digital) art?

      I just got a new Wacom Intuos tablet, and am looking to try it out.

      One problem, though: my artistic ability already sucks, and I can't figure out PS for the life of me.

      Help?

      . . .

      No, wait, I think it may deserve something more along the lines of:

      . . .

      . . .

      . . .

      HHEEEEEEEEAAAALLLLLLLPPP!
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      No one at Square Enix has heard of Occam's Razor.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      Nintendo always seems to have a legion of haters at the wings ready to jump in and prop up straw men about hardware and gimmicks and casuals.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      GOD IS MIFFED AT AMERICA

      REPENT SINNERS OR AT LEAST GIVE A NONCOMMITTAL SHRUG

      GOD IS AMBIVALENT ABOUT FURRIES

      THE END IS COMING ONE OF THESE DAYS WHEN GOD GETS AROUND TO IT
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      However much I am actually smart, I got that way by confronting how stupid I am.
      Matthew 16:15

    2. #2
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      How to improve my (digital) art?
      Obvious answer: Stop sucking.

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      Yellow Mage (12-26-2007)

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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Quote Originally Posted by Yellow Mage View Post
      One problem, though: my artistic ability already sucks . . .
      Work on that. Then learn to use digital tools.

      Learning form, composition, perspective, proportion, etc. is more important. You can learn all that with digital tools, sure, but digital tools are huge and complex, with a metric ton to learn on their own. Paper and pencil are pretty simple. Once you've got drawing itself down, Photoshop/Wacom/Gimp/whatever become just more tools to learn to use.

      Or, for a slightly less curmudgeonly answer, play around. Don't try to work toward completed images. Sketch, doodle, learn the ins and outs. Once you find a small set of tools you're fairly comfortable with in general, limit yourself to those and try to put together some images. Slowly expand from there. Trying to work toward flashy, finished products with PS right off the bat will just lead to mountain-from-molehile frustration.
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      Yellow Mage (12-26-2007)

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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Quote Originally Posted by Feba View Post
      Obvious answer: Stop sucking.
      Wise words from the Great Feba! All Hail!

      Just practice. You can never practice enough. Draw things you like. Theres no use practicing Anime if its not your thing. I used to draw Roman soldiers alot. Had a friend who was an amazing artist ( i went to art college, so they all were in my opinion ) and he had a HUGE living room. One day we all got round his house covered it in white paint and drew the Romans Vs Hannibal battle scene. It was amazing. Anyway, on with the topic....
      "You said that humanity was a flawed creation, and that people still kill one another for petty jealousy and greed. You said that humanity never asked itself why it deserved to survive. Maybe you don't" Sharon Valerii, Battlestar Galactica.

      Hidden Content

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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Heh, I was hoping that if I didn't have to go through so many wasted physical supplies (pencil, paper, I can only go through so much eraser before I run out), I could catch on better. You know, sort of like Black Mage in 8-Bit theatre having enough power to rule over Hell when he wasn't limited by his body.

      All the . . . forgot what I was going to type here.

      Right in the middle of this post, I went to try to sketch something, and later, I thought "hmm, why not use color?" Except . . . I don't know diddly about shading (or anything, for that matter), so it now looks like something a 3-year-old would make.

      I'll load it on to Photobucket later to show, and maybe get some beginners advice (hopefully in laymen terms, so I won't get a headache). What I ended up trying to do was a Background, but, really, I more want to do characters.

      Is there some way I could get live help online? I've heard of a program called OpenCanvas which lets people draw with each other on the same picture, so maybe I need something like that, so someone can help me figure out what's wrong with me?
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      No one at Square Enix has heard of Occam's Razor.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      Nintendo always seems to have a legion of haters at the wings ready to jump in and prop up straw men about hardware and gimmicks and casuals.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      GOD IS MIFFED AT AMERICA

      REPENT SINNERS OR AT LEAST GIVE A NONCOMMITTAL SHRUG

      GOD IS AMBIVALENT ABOUT FURRIES

      THE END IS COMING ONE OF THESE DAYS WHEN GOD GETS AROUND TO IT
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      However much I am actually smart, I got that way by confronting how stupid I am.
      Matthew 16:15

    8. #6
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      It may not be in your best interest to start with a tablet, in my opinion. Try working with different pencils, charcoals or whatever to see how you like to apply line to your paper. That way, you can really choose the proper methods with your tablet in creating your art. Digital art is fantastic, but some times you can learn the most from the real thing and apply that to your digital art.

      For instance, if this is your first time really drawing, start basic. Reference from forms with very basic shapes. Drinking glasses, flower pots, etc. Slowly hone your skills with accuracy of shape, balance of light/dark, proper rendering, etc. until you feel comfortable moving on to more advanced objects like lamps, shoes, or whatever. Try picking objects in your house completely at random and drawing them.

      Afterward, try moving on to multiple objects in a composition and learn how they correspond and react to one another.

      Always learn to work from reality first, that's the best way to learn to work from your imagination. Almost everything you draw follows the rules of real world objects and people, so grow accustomed to the art of those rules first.
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    9. #7
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Quote Originally Posted by Pai Pai Master View Post
      It may not be in your best interest to start with a tablet, in my opinion. Try working with different pencils, charcoals or whatever to see how you like to apply line to your paper. That way, you can really choose the proper methods with your tablet in creating your art. Digital art is fantastic, but some times you can learn the most from the real thing and apply that to your digital art.

      For instance, if this is your first time really drawing, start basic. Reference from forms with very basic shapes. Drinking glasses, flower pots, etc. Slowly hone your skills with accuracy of shape, balance of light/dark, proper rendering, etc. until you feel comfortable moving on to more advanced objects like lamps, shoes, or whatever. Try picking objects in your house completely at random and drawing them.

      Afterward, try moving on to multiple objects in a composition and learn how they correspond and react to one another.

      Always learn to work from reality first, that's the best way to learn to work from your imagination. Almost everything you draw follows the rules of real world objects and people, so grow accustomed to the art of those rules first.
      Thing is, I've tried all of that already, and it did all of diddly squat to help me. Drawing real objects . . . that's always the advice I get. And I try over and over again, with real pencil and paper, and it never does anything to help me get better! It's aggravating!

      I figured at least with a tablet, I wouldn't be wasting paper when I fail. And maybe I could get real-time assistance on the internet on an Oekaki board or OpenCanvas or something.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      No one at Square Enix has heard of Occam's Razor.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      Nintendo always seems to have a legion of haters at the wings ready to jump in and prop up straw men about hardware and gimmicks and casuals.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      GOD IS MIFFED AT AMERICA

      REPENT SINNERS OR AT LEAST GIVE A NONCOMMITTAL SHRUG

      GOD IS AMBIVALENT ABOUT FURRIES

      THE END IS COMING ONE OF THESE DAYS WHEN GOD GETS AROUND TO IT
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      However much I am actually smart, I got that way by confronting how stupid I am.
      Matthew 16:15

    10. #8
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      To be honest i find the simple objects are the worst to draw. Its so easy to pick out flaws when drawing a vase. If its not perfect you'll know and will end up being un-happy and frustrated. Only advice i can give is practice with the tablet. Maybe even draw something on paper, then put your paper against the tablet (or under the cover if your tablet has one ) transfer it to a programme and touch it up there.

      You won't get results in a matter of days or even months, but after a while you'll start trying to expand with more complex things. Maybe you could post an example of an image and we can tell you where your going wrong? By the way, i find 8 - bit and pixel art the hardest form of art in the world so if your starting there then its worth checking some specialist sites. What are you trying to draw by the way? what style are you using? Tablets can be awful sometimes, just use it as many times as you can and eventually you'll learn its pros and cons and be able to use that to your advantage. And now my fingers are hurting from typing so i will stop now.
      "You said that humanity was a flawed creation, and that people still kill one another for petty jealousy and greed. You said that humanity never asked itself why it deserved to survive. Maybe you don't" Sharon Valerii, Battlestar Galactica.

      Hidden Content

    11. #9
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Quote Originally Posted by Yellow Mage View Post
      Thing is, I've tried all of that already, and it did all of diddly squat to help me. Drawing real objects . . . that's always the advice I get. And I try over and over again, with real pencil and paper, and it never does anything to help me get better! It's aggravating!
      How long have you been at it?

      I find progress comes in small jumps that I don't even notice at first. I'll spend time focusing on one subject, or using one tool, or going for a certain quality, etc. Basically, my mind will be in one particular mode. And after a while, everything just plateaus. Then I switch to something else, pencil to ballpoint, or still life to figures in motion or something, and parts of that that used to give me trouble are suddenly easier and come out better.

      It's very difficult to really talk about the basics over the intertubes. Having someone available in person to really see the way you work and show you how they work is much better. Otherwise it's all just end result: Bob can see that your chairs all look crooked, but not why. OpenCanvas can be handy for some of that, but even when you're watching the lines appear on the screen, you can't see how they're getting there (how the stylus is held, etc.).
      Ellipses on Fenrir
      There is no rush. If you're not willing to take your time, don't be surprised when no one wants to give you much of theirs.
      Hidden Content ,
      . . .

    12. #10
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Quote Originally Posted by Ellipses View Post
      How long have you been at it?

      I find progress comes in small jumps that I don't even notice at first. I'll spend time focusing on one subject, or using one tool, or going for a certain quality, etc. Basically, my mind will be in one particular mode. And after a while, everything just plateaus. Then I switch to something else, pencil to ballpoint, or still life to figures in motion or something, and parts of that that used to give me trouble are suddenly easier and come out better.

      It's very difficult to really talk about the basics over the intertubes. Having someone available in person to really see the way you work and show you how they work is much better. Otherwise it's all just end result: Bob can see that your chairs all look crooked, but not why. OpenCanvas can be handy for some of that, but even when you're watching the lines appear on the screen, you can't see how they're getting there (how the stylus is held, etc.).
      Well, I suppose I've been at it for a couple of years now, but between my frustrating failures ending up being a waste of time, and with all the other stuff I could be doing, I usually end up on long hiatuses before I can find anything to inspire me drawing again. My last hiatus was until I managed to nab a tablet, going essentially by the logic of all my previous posts.

      Speaking of which, as if I have anybody around here who can give any bit of assistance whatsoever: the only people I ever have around are my family. My father doesn't know much about art, and would rather ogle at the next Pontiac that comes along, my brother invariably states that whatever I draw sucks (and, to be honest, I'm starting to think he's never far off), and my sister . . . well, she's been getting in to art herself, but her skill level is more or less on par with mine (ispo ergo pure suck), plus, it's hard enough even associating with her. So, really, in comparison to what real-life help I can regularly get, the blagosphere looks pretty neat, no matter how difficult it is to talk about the basics over, as at the very least, I will have people who will, at least, know what on Earth they're talking about.

      Also, I deleted the previous picture I was talking about: screw color for the time being. I'm just going to try an do a simple, black-and-white sketch of . . . something . . . but what? Argh, there's another problem I have, figuring out what I want to draw. I'll figure it out eventually, hopefully . . . maybe a fantasy character, as I've always wanted to draw those. Just as soon as I figure out how to work these PhotoShops . . .

      (Also, relating to my first paragraph: I even took a whole year-long course in art, and it did nothing for me. Maybe I should buy a book? I never was good with the whole guideline things, though; so frustrating, all of it . . .)
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      No one at Square Enix has heard of Occam's Razor.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      Nintendo always seems to have a legion of haters at the wings ready to jump in and prop up straw men about hardware and gimmicks and casuals.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      GOD IS MIFFED AT AMERICA

      REPENT SINNERS OR AT LEAST GIVE A NONCOMMITTAL SHRUG

      GOD IS AMBIVALENT ABOUT FURRIES

      THE END IS COMING ONE OF THESE DAYS WHEN GOD GETS AROUND TO IT
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      However much I am actually smart, I got that way by confronting how stupid I am.
      Matthew 16:15

    13. #11
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Thanks for the advice SA, but I can't make heads or tails of it at the moment . . . maybe later . . .

      (Why is it every time I open this thread, I get a headache?)
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      No one at Square Enix has heard of Occam's Razor.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      Nintendo always seems to have a legion of haters at the wings ready to jump in and prop up straw men about hardware and gimmicks and casuals.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      GOD IS MIFFED AT AMERICA

      REPENT SINNERS OR AT LEAST GIVE A NONCOMMITTAL SHRUG

      GOD IS AMBIVALENT ABOUT FURRIES

      THE END IS COMING ONE OF THESE DAYS WHEN GOD GETS AROUND TO IT
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      However much I am actually smart, I got that way by confronting how stupid I am.
      Matthew 16:15

    14. #12
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Hey, I've actually heard of that book before from someone else. Maybe I'll look in to it.

      Also, sketched a fictitious character last night. He's a Hume Summoner I have dubbed Xavier Call. I decided I'll just start with a head shot.

      Here it is


      Any advice as to where I can improve, or, more precisely, where to start improving?
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      No one at Square Enix has heard of Occam's Razor.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      Nintendo always seems to have a legion of haters at the wings ready to jump in and prop up straw men about hardware and gimmicks and casuals.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      GOD IS MIFFED AT AMERICA

      REPENT SINNERS OR AT LEAST GIVE A NONCOMMITTAL SHRUG

      GOD IS AMBIVALENT ABOUT FURRIES

      THE END IS COMING ONE OF THESE DAYS WHEN GOD GETS AROUND TO IT
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      However much I am actually smart, I got that way by confronting how stupid I am.
      Matthew 16:15

    15. #13
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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Proportions. It's very important you learn them. For instance, eyes are generally precisely at the halfway point of your head. The nose generally ends halfway between the eyes and the bottom of your chin. The top of your head is wider than the bottom (the widest point is roughly next to the eyes, from there your face tapers down mildly and then sharper at the jawline, more or less at mouth level.) The hair line is generally halfway between the eyes and the top of the head.

      Moreover, some features are best not drawn with solid black lines. Take the nose for example. When viewed from the front, a nose could be more "gracefully" defined by using shadows and lighting than solid lines. And whatever boundaries you would like to define with lines would look a lot less awkward if you drew them in the color of his skin than with black lines. A lot of this holds true for lips as well.

      Of course that's not all where there's room for improvement. There are also stylistic decisions. Hairstyles can be simplified into more or less solid shapes. Textures are important as well. But start with proportions, since the line art is in a way the mold for the rest of the piece.

      EDIT: Oh, yes, and while you're at it, learn ways to simplify the human body. Artists will almost universally use a circle or oval as the foundation for a head shape. Make guide lines for positioning. The rib cage can be simplified into an oval. Hips can be simplified into an oval or circle as well. Shoulders, knees, elbows, wrists, ankles, and joints in general can also be represented with circles. Arms and legs can be represented with ovals or cylinders. Some people start with a very basic "stick figure" and flesh it out from there. Other people eschew those geometric shapes altogether and start with a very quick, rough sketch of whatever pose they're going for and refine the proportions as needed. Find a way that works for you, but in general terms, the idea is to deconstruct a complex figure into simple, easy to manipulate shapes. Then you can refine and add details.
      Last edited by Armando; 12-29-2007 at 10:39 AM.

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      Yellow Mage (12-29-2007)

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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Quote Originally Posted by Armando View Post
      Proportions. It's very important you learn them. For instance, eyes are generally precisely at the halfway point of your head. The nose generally ends halfway between the eyes and the bottom of your chin. The top of your head is wider than the bottom (the widest point is roughly next to the eyes, from there your face tapers down mildly and then sharper at the jawline, more or less at mouth level.) The hair line is generally halfway between the eyes and the top of the head.
      Heh, I tried to base it off my own face, but the problem in that is it involved me running to the bathroom (mirror), taking a few mental notes, and then running back to my computer. Guess it didn't work so well. I'll remember that advice.

      Moreover, some features are best not drawn with solid black lines. Take the nose for example. When viewed from the front, a nose could be more "gracefully" defined by using shadows and lighting than solid lines. And whatever boundaries you would like to define with lines would look a lot less awkward if you drew them in the color of his skin than with black lines. A lot of this holds true for lips as well.
      Ah, see, the problem in that is I know nothing of shadows/lighting, and I couldn't make it the color of his skin, because I'm sticking with B&W sketches for the time being. Any . . . I want to say "tips," or "advice," but this goes far beyond that . . . any instructions you can give me on how I can utilize lighting/shadows?

      Of course that's not all where there's room for improvement.
      I know that.

      There are also stylistic decisions. Hairstyles can be simplified into more or less solid shapes. Textures are important as well. But start with proportions, since the line art is in a way the mold for the rest of the piece.
      The hair I also sort of based on my own, but not really, as I noticed I really struggled in defining it. Really, the last thing I wanted was an "over-the-top" hairstyle, but I didn't want to make it look like a friar monk, either (which is kind of what I ended up with on the first few tries).

      I'm still having trouble figuring out hair in general.

      EDIT: Oh, yes, and while you're at it, learn ways to simplify the human body. Artists will almost universally use a circle or oval as the foundation for a head shape. Make guide lines for positioning.
      Which is what I did, or, at least, tried to do. Of course, I found making a good circle for the head shape to be quite an arduous task in and of itself: I kind of went OCD on it.

      As for the guidelines . . . I used them, or rather, tried to, but, seriously, I really did! I just can't use them well for anything. I mean, there's always the starting advice "start with a circle, then add guidelines," but that's exactly the part I have the difficulty with! I just can't figure them out! I know that they are supposed to be stupid simple to use, but . . .

      The rib cage can be simplified into an oval. Hips can be simplified into an oval or circle as well. Shoulders, knees, elbows, wrists, ankles, and joints in general can also be represented with circles. Arms and legs can be represented with ovals or cylinders. Some people start with a very basic "stick figure" and flesh it out from there. Other people eschew those geometric shapes altogether and start with a very quick, rough sketch of whatever pose they're going for and refine the proportions as needed. Find a way that works for you, but in general terms, the idea is to deconstruct a complex figure into simple, easy to manipulate shapes. Then you can refine and add details.
      Good advice to remember. I will. Thanks again.

      What should I do next? Should I try drawing the head again, from scratch?
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      No one at Square Enix has heard of Occam's Razor.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Armando Hidden Content
      Nintendo always seems to have a legion of haters at the wings ready to jump in and prop up straw men about hardware and gimmicks and casuals.
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      GOD IS MIFFED AT AMERICA

      REPENT SINNERS OR AT LEAST GIVE A NONCOMMITTAL SHRUG

      GOD IS AMBIVALENT ABOUT FURRIES

      THE END IS COMING ONE OF THESE DAYS WHEN GOD GETS AROUND TO IT
      Hidden Content Originally Posted by Taskmage Hidden Content
      However much I am actually smart, I got that way by confronting how stupid I am.
      Matthew 16:15

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      Re: How to improve my (digital) art?

      Ah, see, the problem in that is I know nothing of shadows/lighting, and I couldn't make it the color of his skin, because I'm sticking with B&W sketches for the time being. Any . . . I want to say "tips," or "advice," but this goes far beyond that . . . any instructions you can give me on how I can utilize lighting/shadows?
      Depends. There's different ways to do shading. I'm no expert on the matter but they generally fall in either solid/cel-shading (where shadow boundaries and generally also highlights are clearly defined) and soft shading (where shading and lighting is generally smooth and gradual.) If you're going to draw in "black and white" with minimal tools then you could try hatching and cross-hatching.

      You say you know nothing of shadows and lighting...under normal ambient light then generally parts that protrude are lighter than parts that are further back, or slanted. But of course you'll have to adjust for light sources. You could read up on it and/or study objects. Almost anything will do, but in this case it'd make more sense to study your face. Notice how there's slight shadows under your eyebrows, etc.

      Hair? Yeah, hair can be pretty tough. Again, try capturing the general shape of the hair and then adding more detail. Of course part of the thing with hair is being able to apply shading and lighting to it (this is generally easier to do in color in my opinion. But I'm not exactly a pro so take

      As for guidelines, you kinda have to define them yourself. Though you can take ideas from tutorials. "How to draw manga"-type tutorials are pretty easy to find and can give you some good ideas. Just bear in mind that everyone uses different guidelines. Some people don't even use them at all. Define what you think will help. The most basic guide lines are the center line and eye line, which define the orientation of the head. Another reason for the eye line is that the position of the eyes has an effect on the appearance of the character. Generally, moving the eyes lower (as well as making the eyes bigger) makes a character appear younger.

      Polykarbon has some pretty good tutorials but they use a LOT of guidelines. That's good for learning your proportions but you may or may not like using that many guide lines further down the line once you're better with proportions. It's all up to you.
      What should I do next? Should I try drawing the head again, from scratch?
      Yeah, I'd do that. Try correcting your mistakes.

    19. The following user says "Thank You" to Armando for above post:

      Yellow Mage (12-29-2007)

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