10 Most Commented:
Whatever your media, be sure to take advantage of the full range of values. Try not to use the same value for the majority of the piece. Learn to balance your values (especially with ink drawings, where all you have is black or white) visually so that they add to the flow of the composition. Keep values in mind when you work on a color piece.
There are basically three ways to define (draw) an object, be it a face or a cube. One is with lines, two is with shading, and three is with both lines and shading. Lines can be good . . . and lines can be bad. The truth is that in real life, lines don't exist. If you do see something you interpret as a line, it is actually a narrow strip of a darker value. Lines are something people invented so they could be lazy with their drawings. Don't get me wrong - I like lazy. I am lazy. I just understand that I am defying reality when I draw something with lines.
with lines and shading:
One method isn't necessarily better than the other. All three have their challenges. It's important to understand all three - it will make you a better artist and allow you to look at your drawings in new ways.
B&W medias will give you a good grasp of value and allow you to pay attention to perfecting your form and style. Get your basics down before you start messing with color, and when you do color keep in mind all the stuff you learned when working in greyscale. If people hassle you to work in color instead of B&W, ignore them. B&W is every bit as challenging as color - moreso, because you are working with a limited palette. Don't make the jump to color until you are ready for it - your artwork will thank you.
Yet another use for your mirror:
When you are drawing it becomes easy to fool your brain into 'adjusting' the drawing, instead of seeing it clearly as if for the first time. As artists we are subject to a kind of blindness about our own works. We can never see our drawings for the first time, so sometimes we miss obvious mistakes or we can't figure out why something doesn't look right.
You can trick your brain into seeing your drawings clearly. Just look at your drawing in a mirror. The brain doesn't 'adjust' the reversed image, allowing problem areas to jump out as if you were seeing it for the first time. It's a good idea to check out your drawing in a mirror several times as you work with it, to make sure you aren't overlooking something.
You can get the same effect by looking at the back of your drawing when facing a light source, like sunlight or a lamp, or placing it face down on a light table. You can even scan it, and then flip the image horizontally.
Get the best art supplies you can afford, or trick your parents into getting for you. Can't say that enough.
Don't get upset if you screw up, or if something doesn't turn out. It happens. The important thing is to learn from your mistake and keep going. If you think you can do a better job on a piece, start over and do it again. You'll be happier with the result.
Don't expect something to turn out the first time. Don't give up on the first try. Often, the finished piece will turn out better if you try several different approaches.
Don't allow yourself to dwell on how many people's art is better than yours, or how crummy you think your art is. Negativity only leads to depression, and depression sucks motivation, and pretty soon you won't want to draw at all and how can you expect to get better with that attitude? You can't. Instead, try focusing on why someone's art is better than yours. If you can figure out why, you can apply it to your own artwork and learn from it.
Practice. Practice-practice-practice. Draw on everything. If you can't draw mouths, try drawing an entire page of them. Draw on your notes at school (especially if you don't have to turn them in). I don't recommend drawing in a moving vehicle, but it's been done.
If you must copy someone else's work, always give credit where credit is due and be honest. Don't steal from your fellow artists.
Be thick skinned towards your own work. Look at your drawings with an honest eye and note both good points and bad. Learn to accept criticism gracefully, even if you think the critic is full of crap. It's just their opinion, and it has only as much value as you give it. Take the opportunity to learn from each new drawing, so you will improve with your next.
Don't stop drawing, for any reason. Take your talent as far as it will go. Art is a personal experience - it's all about accomplishing something for yourself, and if other people happen to like it as well, great. Don't place too much weight on anyone's opinions, or let others discourage you. Don't change your style because everyone else says you should. Draw what you want, as you want, and don't ever stop.
Accept the fact that no matter how good you get, there's always going to be someone better. It's just a fact of life. Don't allow yourself to get a stuffed head or become smug in your talent. Everyone can learn. Everyone can improve.
Don't place too much importance
on taking art classes. Taking an art class does not make someone
an artist any more than taking a P.E. class makes someone an athlete.
An art class can teach you what technical terms like "value" "negative
space" or "complementary colors" mean, but you can learn that by reading
a book. Good art classes can be very helpful - the chance for group
interaction and encouragement is a definite bonus. Plus it is time
devoted solely to your improvement as an artist - another good thing.
On the other hand, bad art classes can be creativity-sucking bottomless
pits of boredom where the teacher tries to squish you into the same mold
as 30 other students. Be prepared for contour drawings, self portraits,
and still life galore. Either way, you will still have to keep drawing
and sketching on your own. If fantasy is your forte, be prepared
to leave the sword and sorcery at home and muster excitement for drawing
coffee pots and flowers and your fellow students (who don't hold still).
I have had good art classes and bad art classes which I believe had a lot
to do with the teachers.
get a chance to try a variety of media
learn basic terminology
forces you to think differently
makes time for art
teaches you to look at things
Bad points for art classes:
Making a webpage and posting your art online or joining Elfwood or some other online gallery can be a great experience. It allows a wide variety of total strangers to see your artwork and can open up a whole new world of opportunity. Be careful, though, because some people see nothing wrong with taking your artwork and using it for their own purposes - even passing it off as their own. Be sure to put your name clearly on the image, even overlapping it on the drawing to prevent someone from removing it. You can do this with Photoshop or any graphical program. Just don't get carried away and allow your copyright info to cover up important detail - if the info is the first thing people notice instead of the drawing, you are doing something wrong. It should be subtle, yet effective. Remember that your art is copyrighted the moment you sign it. If you post art online, just accept that people will steal it. Some will be nice and take the time to ask permission to use your art on their webpage or for a character drawing - be gracious. Most will be happy to include a link back to your webpage or with your email, so others can contact you. This allows you to gain more exposure as an artist, and that can be a very good thing. I could write a whole thing on scanning and webpage creation and whatnot, but I don't have the time. If you want more details, email me. Needless to say, this webpage has been a great thing for me.
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