Adventures with art #21

Why artists shouldn’t get drawing tablets before mastering traditional art:

1. It appears to inspire, but does not inspire

I’ve read about many artists who feel disheartened after getting brand new tablets. A good number of them believe that getting a tablet would improve their skills in art. Unfortunately, like many things in art, skills do not just happen. Getting a tablet does not immediately mean that beginners turn into professionals. There are many other aspects to consider such as honing Photoshop skills. And then when one becomes disheartened, they might just abandon the tablet and that would just be a waste of money…

2. The easy way out

Owning tablet would mean owning a graphics editing program which would also mean things are a lot more easier. For example, let’s say Photoshop since I’m not familiar with SAI, Gimp and such – you can flip images (to check for mistakes whereas drawing traditionally you would have to use a mirror or sunlight), edit layers separately (something you cannot do on pen and paper) and press undo as many times as you want (and that would probably screw up someone’s confidence when they’re drawing on paper).

3. Are you ready, guys?

Okay, so a tablet is a tablet and you don’t really have to psyche yourself up for one because you’ll probably be too excited that you just can’t think of anything else but art… However! I think most people make excuses to buy tablets (i.e ‘it’ll make me a better artist’, ‘it’ll put an end to my art block’, ‘everyone owns one’). A better alternative would be to ask yourself if you really need one (hey, it’s just like shopping for basic needs!). That way, maybe one could become more inspired to improve to master a certain type of art media before moving on to the next and maybe one would appreciate the tablet more in the future.

If you’re wondering if I have a tablet (and if you didn’t read my adventures), I don’t! I’ve mentioned getting a tablet several times this year, but I realized that there are plenty of amazing artists out there who don’t own one and can still create beautiful pieces. I have a lot more to learn about art, so I think I will just focus on traditional art before I move on. At the moment, buying a tablet is not within my college budget. Boo.

Also, the title of point #3 may or may not be an anime reference.

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Adventures with art #20

Since this is my twentieth art adventure (sort of) (not that anyone is keeping up with the numbers), it’s about getting my first real criticism about my art from an outsider. From a pro, no less! She’s an aspiring illustrator for children’s books, so I think that her comments are genuinely worth listening to.

First (wow, I sound like I’m writing an essay ~_~), let me just say that no one given me true criticism in a long while. It was a little bit about self-esteem and confidence, but I generally hated negative comments (who does, actually?) because I would end up hating what I did for days. It’s stupid, I know. Why would I let someone else stop me from doing what I loved? If there was something I could tell my younger self, it’s definitely that. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten a whole lot better in accepting criticism. Naturally.

So, anyways, my art was said to be “generic” and “does not stand out”. I thought it was fair because most of my drawings are fan art and none of the poses were made up by me… and that was last year (wait ’til you see my current art, heh heh, nothing has changed actually).

I also realized the true value of criticism after checking out this artist’s dA page. Many people were commenting on her page, saying that she hadn’t improved. She called them ‘trolls’ and rejected all of them by choosing not to respond. I imagine she must’ve been terribly hurt because she was talking about how she had improved. However, I admire her willpower because clearly it didn’t deter her from creating more art. She continued to do so for the next few years – draw from her imagination. Inevitably, the improvement was little to nothing. Let’s leave her story open-ended, shall we, since those kind of stories are the most interesting?

What I learned was, throwing away all advice isn’t the right thing to do. Being hurt is one thing, but at least consider some of the things others say.

These few weeks have been tough for me in terms of grades, eyesight and nasty people, so admittedly, there was a cushion for said illustrator’s comment, and as I said, the comment was very fair. I’m actually kinda hungry for more opinions now. If it makes me a stronger person, hey, why not, right? (That’s my angry shonen mode on!)

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Adventures with art #19

So I just finished drawing Hijikata Toshiro of Gintama. High five, anyone? As I was drawing, I noticed a few mistakes I was making and I figured that those mistakes could be common misconceptions some people may have about art. It’s always good to help another fellow artist who might happen to stumble across this strange genre-less blog, right? And if you’re wondering about the validity of my art suggestions/advice, I can confidently tell you that I have been reading all kinds of art tutorials for four years without fail. Of course that would also be hard to prove in this virtual world, but – WHO CARES, ANYWAY?

Ways you are limiting your fluidity of art:

1. Drawing from top to bottom

What, you have this problem too? Yeah, me too! Just because books are read from top to bottom and left to right (except for manga, lol), it doesn’t mean that drawing has to be that way. You are an artist, even if you can only draw a stickman. Do whatever you want. No one is there to judge whether you draw the head or eyes first. This also applies to the process of drawing eyes then nose then mouth. Try doing the opposite of what you have been drawing first. I tried this method the other day and it was pretty useful. I drew the mouth before the nose and I think it has helped me make better art judgments.

2. Keeping the paper straight

Oh my god, please, people: Feel free to turn your paper left and right, ’round and ’round when you’re drawing. I’m not used to this at all and I tend to forget this a lot, but it’s actually pretty useful, especially when drawing hair! Not moving your paper makes your hand feel stiff when drawing because you’re limiting the wonderful angles you can bend your elbow and wrist. Ultimately your arm controls how fluid and dynamic your art looks.

3. Holding the pencil in only ONE way

At first, it’s comfortable because it’s the way you would usually hold your pencil. Sure, it feels smooth and everything. Then, what happens when you get to adding little details? You tighten your grip and cramp your fingers together. Nope. Why not try holding it in a different way? If you always rest the pencil on your middle finger, try different ways of holding a pencil (i.e resting the pencil on other fingers). It’ll also help stretch your finger muscles even if you’re just moving a little.

4. Squares, cubes, pyramids, spheres, circles

If you understand perspective with 3D shapes (unlike me), you’re on the way to the amazing land of creating beautiful art because you can basically turn any shape in a 3-dimensional object. So do it! Some examples are shown near the bottom of this super duper helpful tutorial!

Also, I just decided that I’m going to draw teacups tomorrow because “it is easier to draw a teacup than a person” (Read that post I just linked there < because it was what inspired one of my previous posts and it will definitely inspire you and it is SO freaking important, I cannot even begin to tell you).

I hope this was helpful. Happy drawing, folks! (:

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Adventures with art #18

“By the way, do you want to become an artist?” my professor asks the boy who looks like Troy Baker as he doodles some abstract art on his book cover.

“Um, no. I wish, though,” he answers.

I smile because it reminds me of the times I have been acknowledged for my art. Those are my favorite memories because it was in the past when I didn’t know how seriously my future self would take art. I mean, I look back on my kindergarten work and see that ‘Artist’ is written in the ambition section. Like, what??

In elementary school, I remember a girl named Serena telling me that my art was way better than *Forest. The funny thing was, Forest was the one who inspired me to draw graffiti art at that time. That’s so simple… and it’s beautiful, was what I thought as I watched him add detail to the 3D block letters he was sketching. Anyways, me being me, because Serena made that comment in front of other classmates, was all like…

Another time was in science class when I least expected it. My teacher told everyone to copy the diagram. You know, beakers, test tubes and stuff. So there I was, using my ruler to draw the sides of beaker when my teacher said, “Do you want to be an artist?”

I was like, “Huh?! Uh. Um. Er. Eh.” *looks at girl sitting opposite who is smiling and staring at me* My heart was racing and I was thinking, If I say yes, everyone will know that I draw and they’ll start comparing others with me and I will hate being compared so much that I will hate art and no one will believe me because all I do is do/stare at my homework all day long, so………

“No.”

“Ah.”

And after that I never ask my teacher why she asked that. It wasn’t like my science diagram drawings were excellent. I just made sure they looked neat and everything, but they were nowhere as perfect as my classmates’. I wish I had asked her because now I never know why. However, I am thankful for the acknowledgement and I hope she knows that even if I said no to being an artist, I meant that yes to other art-loving stuff, and that what my mind (despite my really serious face) was really doing when she asked me that question was:

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Adventures with art #17

Epiphany:

I’m really tired of pretending that I like learning art through phases. Okay, no one told me to pretend, but pretending to myself, anyway. It’s just such a tedious process and as I just realized, it has done little to improve my art over six freaking years. It just hit me the other day that I knew nothing about human anatomy except clavicles, scapulas and other bones. When it came down to translating all that onto paper, I was lost.

I never used to think that I had any problems/issues related to art. When I was frustrated, I got over it. That was all the problems I ever had. That has changed today. As I was flipping through a Tumblr art blog today, I saw someone complaining that he or she was always “trying to draw the right things”. Then it struck me: That was me, wasn’t it?

Art is an abstract noun. Art is never wrong or right. It’s like beauty. It’s like happiness. It’s like wealth. How do you know when you’ve achieved those 3 things? You don’t! In art, a crumpled piece of paper could be art. Who knows?

I know putting your best effort into what you do is important, but I think that effortless art turns out better than heavily edited art. My mom was saying the other day that edited writing pieces sound stilted and detached. I think it works the sameĀ  way for art. I’m saying ‘I think’ a lot because I’m not entirely sure of this myself.

A lot of this was inspired by reading inspiring art posts, what my mom said, what Raine tweeted (that article on how to think like a 3-year-old or something like that), what Haru sang (Joy!), KnB in general. I’m also tired of asking other artists for advice. Saying “practice” is just like saying “cook” in a tutorial about marinating Nando’s chicken.

Anyway, here’s to my new art adventure: To not give a shit about art. I’ll skip warmups, doodle a potato, scribble disproportionate vases, leave messy outlines and do it all wrongly.

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Adventures with art #15

Soooo I just drew a few random faces and read some tutorials… it helps, really, when you try out a tutorial. It’s just like science. Sort of. Maybe easier. Read the tutorial, break it down, try it out from the examples and apply it to something you want to draw.

Things to remember when drawing:

  1. Stop drawing hairy lines
  2. Don’t be afraid to draw big shoulders
  3. Stop, take a step back and find mistakes or get someone to check for mistakes

Not to mention, I should prioritize learning how to draw something properly over drawing what I like with crappy proportions:

  1. Learn how to draw heads at angles (and eyebrows!!)
  2. Anatomy and body proportions (so far this has been stopping me from sketching full body drawings and it’s frustrating when I start filling up the guidelines and I’m unable to follow them because the head is either too small and everything is just off. Bleh to that.)

For now, I’m going to be realistic and have two goals so that I don’t feel pressured or lazy to achieve all of them at the same time. I think I’m going to watch some art-related videos now.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun food gif from Tumblr; just to spice things up in this amazingly boring post. (Have you watched this anime, by the way? It’s so heartwarming and cute and different and strange and weird and asdfghjkl.)

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