Post Reply Art Advice (Share your opinions)
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19 / M / Nashville, TN
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Posted 10/16/13
I decided I'd post this cause I was kind of just having a freefloat moment in my head (so pardon me if it's a little unorganized), and I figured out part of the reason I've been able to start improving my art:

Core Basics

That's what separates a regular artist from the rest. I've seen a lot of people who I wouldn't say are "incredible artists", but they have a nice flavor/eye catcher about their art. These are the people that scare me (as a competitive artist) because that's something I haven't quite found for myself yet. But I believe I, and others, have a certain advantage if we were to go commercial with our art because of one simple fact: we mastered our core skills.

These are perspective, anatomy, and light and shadow (< still working a bit on this one). Honestly, you can stylize and colorize all you want, but unless you get these core skills down, your artwork will always leave something to be desired. Also, clean lineart will help as well.

Sorry If that came across as rough. I know this is a casual forum section but I saw a couple posts about people who want to be better at artwork, so figured I'd throw this out there.

Anyways, your free to share your opinions on this as you feel is appropriate.
ではまた, じゃまた
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19 / M / NJ, USA
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Posted 10/16/13 , edited 10/16/13
I feel the same. I love drawing, but compared to the work of some other artists, my art really doesn't hold much of a candle. Instead of beating myself up, I usually use my envy as a form of motivation to try to improve my skill. You shouldn't let other people's works get you down. Use their examples as inspiration for working harder. Also, don't work for other people's approval, work for YOUR OWN approval... if that makes sense. Be proud of your art, after all you made it.
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19 / M / Hinamizawa
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Posted 11/7/13
I saw somewhere that in order to draw well, and to draw from your mind, you need to master the basics, like you said, and practice drawing everything. Draw everything you see, such as trees, houses, people, anatomy, cups, fruit, baskets, etc.

You first learn the basics "perspective, anatomy, and light and shadow" and shapes and what not. Then you find things to draw and apply these techniques in order to try to replicate what you see as best you can, until you can draw it exactly as you see it. If you repetitively draw landscapes over and over, you learn how to draw grass, and trees, and water, and all that, so later, when you are imagining your own landscape to draw you just insert what you've drawn before and make it look like you want it to.

Another tip is that some people seem to think that professional artists can draw anything they want, whenever they want, from their mind. No matter how good you they are, they still will pull up pictures on the internet, or go take reference photos of things to see what it looks like.

Also, some people that like drawing, and want to be manga artists, but their art isn't the best, sometimes ignore other types of art, like life drawing and perspectives, and ignore the basics and think they can get better by just practicing drawing manga characters and stuff. To draw manga well, you have to be able to do all those things, especially to draw the characters really well, and make their actions look like they are moving and realistic, you have to study anatomy and do lots of life drawing.
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41 / M
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Posted 11/8/13 , edited 11/8/13
Don't brush aside style as much in your way of thinking. Professional artists will all have a firm understanding of the "Core Skills" you speak of...and employers will come to expect this in every prospective artist for a job. What sets us apart is our style...or our individual approaches at addressing "situations" in our pieces. I tend to call these, "acts of believability". Technical skills, such as perspective and anatomy, can carry one so far, but it won't set the artist above the rest. Believe it or not, being highly technical with a piece, can come off as being too safe, elementary and bland. This in-turn can become a hindrance to a piece if not handle carefully.

Also...to build on Rena-Ryuuguu's point about life drawing...to advance beyond the ordinary, an artist must come to understand the movement of parts on a whole. Not only the actions, but the consequential reactions of non-focal point parts. "Parts" meaning not only body parts, but clothing, jewellery and such. Remember...It's as much about the things you can't see as it is about the things you can. Use this concept when drawing and your works will become more believable.
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18 / Fort Worth, TX
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Posted 11/18/13
i definitely agree that having a good understanding of those "core skills" is important! once you have those under your belt you can do whatever you want, and even if you choose not to adhere to all the anatomical & lighting rules & such your artwork will be waaaay more developed and--in my opinion--unique because of this knowledge. if you put a figure drawing done by someone who has no idea how anatomy works next to one done by someone who has it down pat but chooses to ignore everything they know about anatomy, it's super obvious which drawing belongs to who.
therefore even if you're all about anime-style stuff and have no interest whatsoever in drawing from real life, you should still make an effort to learn because that skill will trickle down to your anime and your cartoons and even your surrealism and you'll be a much better artist because of it c:
ADDITIONALLY, in most art classes (every one i've been in, anyway) anime is generally discouraged, which would suck for you if that's all you ever drew! art teachers/professors look for a wide range of art styles and media, and often tell kids who draw anime to leave it out of their class assignments. when you submit portfolios for college applications, they usually specify that they want a certain number of observational (still-lifes, figure drawings, etc) pieces included, and also expect to see an applicant branch out in their work. basically, anime and academics don't really go together.

so really, even if you want to be a mangaka and draw anime all the time, you need to get those "core skills" down because your artwork will improve and others will see that you have the capacity to draw other things well too!
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Posted 11/18/13
For the most part style isn't something you can ask someone to help you with. Style develop as you progress on the fundamentals. Any deviation from realism, any preference of color and contrast, any favoritism with shapes can and probably will eventually contribute to a style.
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22 / F / Ohio
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Posted 12/19/13 , edited 12/19/13
Fluidity.

A fluid drawing will stand out immediately, it will seem to have depth even if it's 2D. A lot of people draw well but the image lacks movement or cohesion with the rest of the piece. It's hard to achieve, and I can't say I've quite got it myself. Almost any style can look "good" so long as it has these qualities. A truly good drawing will look like time was stopped at the moment the image depicts, you should be able to imagine the prior movement and predict the next.

Even things like portraits and still life can have this quality. For one, if they look like they belong in their environment it will create a fluid cohesion and feeling that there is more outside the canvas and second it should not be devoid of movement. Think back to school when you learned about potential energy except apply it to art. If a painting shows a ray of sun shining into a still room, a cat sleeping on a chair. You should be able to easily imagine the possibility of the cat twitching its ears or tail, the dust floating in the air made visible by the light, a breeze blowing the curtains. In a portrait, a turn of a head or scratch of the nose should always be easy to imagine happening.

Sketching is, in my opinion, the best way to learn this. Sketch often and don't worry about things looking perfect.
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31 / M
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Posted 12/20/13
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19 / M / Nashville, TN
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Posted 12/24/13
Wow, I thought this thread had died out and I come back to see several replies? Awesome!

A lot of good advice here!

I actually just recently got a treasure chest in the mail by the name of "Pen and Ink: The Manga Start Up Guide". It's not a "how to draw" book, nor is it just a picture book. The core elements it contains is:

- Overview of how artists Oh!Great, Yasuhiro Nightow, and Satoshi Shiki go from rough sketch to a full piece (and if you know who these guys are, you know that they are among some of the best of the best, bringing out classics like Tenjo Tenge, Trigun, and Kami-Kaze respectfully.)

- A 4 week training course for improving skill with dip pens, starting with simple drills like drawing straight lines and loopty loops, then diving into texturing a 3 dimensional block by using different patterns to convey glass,wood, even a rice ball (and lot's of other excellent drills)

- Interviews with the three aforementioned manga artist, detailing their approach to their artwork and the thought process they undergo while working.

- In depth rankings of popular tools of the trade among 75 established Japanese artists, with brands ranging from Zebra to Tachikawa, and it also includes a list of the specific tools each of these 75 artists uses, including those mentioned above.

- SUPER awesome FAQ in which a lot of common questions regarding two page spreads, white out, pen maintenance, and more are answered very clearly and concisely.

-Translated to English from the original Japanese Publication. One of the only true manga instruction books from the Japanese Market that has been translated into English.

Sorry if that sounded like I was doing a sales pitch, but this book is so cram packed with information that I haven't even been drawing as much because I've had my nose dug in this book. Haha.

Anyways, I highly recommend it, especially for those seeking to pursue a manga-esque art style. Honestly the core basics are always important, but there is no better reference on the face of the earth for drawing manga than manga (after you've learned your core basics).

I had something else I was going to say but I'm tired and my mind is shutting down quickly. haha

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17 / Chicago, IL
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Posted 1/1/14 , edited 1/1/14
Don't be attached to the details:

Ugh, I had so much trouble turning my artwork for the past three years. I was so caught up with the details that I soon became overly-obsessed with it. I never got anything done because of my obsession of detail. That being said, learn how to accept simplicity and abstract. It'll get your work done 100x faster than if you're caught up with so much detail.

Don't be afraid to try something new:
Whether it be a new style or discovering a new medium, there will be something that will suit you. Don't try to imitate other style; but you can certainly adapt or alter a style that fits you. It's very hard to explain, but everyone has their own style for painting, drawing or in ceramic work. Everyone is unique!

Look for different mediums. As for me, I hated charcoal. Something about the messy-ness of the medium just pissed me off. But this year, I decided to give charcoal a second chance and I love it!
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19 / M / Nashville, TN
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Posted 1/2/14
I honestly have a serious problem with not putting in enough details. I get so focused on getting the perspective or the proportions exactly right and then I get nervous trying to add extra detail. A perfect example is at this very moment I'm trying to draw backgrounds based off of backstreets in Japan... and it's intimidating how much little detail there is. haha. Suppose I need to quit being afraid of messing something up and just go for it.
Scyoni 
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22 / F / Canada
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Posted 1/2/14
The key with things that make you uncomfortable is to do them A LOT!

Don't be afraid to start over. If you draw something and you sort of like it, but there's something small you'd change... let yourself try again. Forcing yourself to finish a work when you see a serious problem won't make you much better, or do much to improve your art. Draw. Draw often. Draw everything. Draw works you never finish just to study anatomy or perspective - have a sketchbook full of silly and awful ideas. Just draw!

You only really get better through practice. I went to college for animation. We studied everything and they taught us the tricks - most of which amounted to drawing a lot and asking people with more experience to point out mistakes we might have noticed. If you don't have a mentor, just drawing a lot will get you to the same place. There's no secret.
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Posted 1/13/14 , edited 1/13/14
I agree to all of the opinions above. : )
I have some guidelines to practice and improve the drawing skill.

1. Study art fundamental (doesn't matter what style you are approaching realism,manga,etc.)
- light and shadow, composition , anatomy, colours and tone, etc
2. Gaining a lots of inspiration (it can be from anything you like; anime, games, films)
3. Learn and copy from artwork or photo reference to improve your understanding of techniques ( in traditional or digital depending on you. From my opinion, it's the best to build both )
4. Do a lots of life drawing from real life, still life, portrait and figure, landscape.
5. Develop creativity by creating your own designs,concept. This will be the most difficult part because you have to have strong exercise from art basics and knowledge of techniques well enough to depict your concept.

^^ I'm sure if you follow this methods correctly and practice constantly, you will see the improvement.
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Posted 1/31/14 , edited 1/31/14
I can't add anything because everyone said it all already. o-o

Aspiring artists, take heed and follow.
Also, if a professional tells you to do something, or work with a medium you don't like, do it. They know what they're talking about, and it'll improve you, even if you don't see it at first. Nothing could have helped me more with my digital painting skills than being forced to sit down and draw still lives with a box of pastels. And a deadline.

An alumni said at some event at the beginning of the year that he was a sound designer. He didn't need to take a 3D class. He didn't need to learn how to draw, and draft, and budget no sculpture. Three years later, he did. He built a musical installation, and everything he thought was stupid in that class he was forced to take as a freshman became invaluable skills that made his idea possible.

And I'm not sure if anyone has said this before, since this thread seems to focus heavily on drawing - don't just draw. Dabble in all the arts. Act a little, venture into music, into fashion, into designing objects, experiment with photography and multimedia. Some of the best artists are great, because they have a little knowledge from everything, and they can incorporate that into their main work.
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43 / M / Cali
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Posted 5/22/14 , edited 5/22/14
Anatomy! I'm in the process of learning the anime/manga style and I'm amazed at how much having the fundamentals helps.

Once I learned the "rules" though, it really affected my ability to break out of the box. When I didn't know the fundamentals I felt my work was lacking, but there was a freedom to my expression. It sounds strange but I felt really constrained once I had a firm grasp of things.

I'm still learning, always will be, but things are starting to make sense

~ SK
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