Some people may need this: Ever since I’ve started drawing in realistic style, I never had an artblock because there’s just no need for a muse to kiss me when I want to just draw what I see, so I suggest that, if your brain is clogged up you just look at something in your reach or look up a photo and just try to draw what you see. Another thing that helps me get my head free is figure drawing, done best with a figure drawing tool that a few sites like pixelovely offer, I just set it to a short intervall like 1 minute and try to capture the gesture. You din’t have much time to think about it, you really just do. It’s very fun and both alternatives also help improving your art!
In order to be commercially successful, is it necessary to develop a specific style? I enjoy creating art in different mediums and different subjects, but am not having any success in selling my work. Must I pick one thing and focus on it?
From a professional illustrator standpoint, when you develop a “signature style”, you’re developing a brand. This is something you would want to really refine and work on consistently, though nothing is stopping you from doing other more varied work in your free time. Design a “menu of products” to test this style on. Design posters, vinyl toys, keychains, comics, anything marketable that you see other successful illustrators selling. The difference between an illustration career and a fine arts career lies in working for other people and generating “products.”
If you’re pursuing fine arts like painting and experimental work, “style” isn’t necessarily something that needs to come through in every painting for it to be successful.
If you want to work on a style but still enjoy jumping around a lot, try doing things in series. Groups of 3 or 5 pieces are fairly successful to try solidifying a specific style. Then you can move on to something else if you’d like.
When all’s said and done, don’t worry too much about selling original work. Look around for local gallery shows or ask cafes if they want some artwork in their establishment. Put your work out there, be vocal both online and in your local community.
TL;DR: no, you don’t need to focus on anything specific, but if you’re trying to develop a marketable illustrative style, it definitely requires a lot of attention and practice before it really picks up. Be confident in your work and advocate for yourself!
I thought I might share a useful link that fell into my lap today! NSFW for nudity, naturally. http://gestureposes.tumblr.com/
It’s a nice blog with a lot of photos of models in various poses (and they source the photos, yay!). They also seem to reblog gesture drawings from some artists around Tumblr (that’s how I happened upon them anyway) so if you don’t know what gesture drawings can look like, or just want to see peoples’ different approaches to them, maybe look at those too.
Just hope it helps!
-submitted by klimatedrift
I’m no expert, but I did a ton of oil paintings in college, so I’ll try to answer some questions here.
do you have to layer your canvas with gesso every time
Depends. If you’re stretching your own, gesso is strongly encouraged. While you can paint on raw canvas, the gesso protects the fabric from the oils in the paint, and makes it last a lot longer. My method was layer of gesso going left to right, let it dry, sand it, turn canvas 90 degrees, repeat. I usually did four layers, because I’m OCD, but as long as it’s covering the canvass and smooth, you can get away with even just one.
turpentine the same as gamsol
I don’t know what gamsol is to be honest. A Google search suggested it was an expensive thinner and spirits. Don’t waste your money. If you’re talking about spirits to clean your brushes with, I bought a gallon of mineral spirits from a hardware store for six bucks and it lasted me through all of my classes and I still have a bit left over. Mineral spirits are just “odorless” turpentine. (it still smells but a bit it’s not as toxic or overpowering) A little goes a long way if you’re using it as thinner. It’s good to get some glass baby food or drink jars with resealable lids to put your spirits in for cleaning your brushes. I used Snapple jars myself. Spirits last a long time, but if yours are getting cloudy, take a brake and let the paint settle a bit. The particulates will separate from the liquid and it’s be almost as good as new. And remember, NEVER pour used spirits down the drain or throw them in the trash. Ask your teacher, your school should have some method of disposing of your spirits.
Speaking of cleaning your brushes, get some liquid dish detergent from the grocery store, the kind of stuff you do the dishes with like dawn. Once you swish your brushes clean in the spirits, squirt some soap in your palm, and massage your brush in the soap really well. Once it’s good and soapy you can rinse it under luke warm water. The “grease fighting power” helps get all the oil paint from the bristles of your brush that the spirits can’t.
I can’t think of anything else at the moment, but if you have any more questions feel free to ask. :)
After reading thelastdogfighter’s very interesting post and a lively debate on twitter on matters directly related to this, I decided to make a post relating my feelings on the matter of creative responsibility - in particular, the wrestling in regards to IP rights and how this effects a creator’s interaction with their fandom.
Some years back, Mercedes Lackey got burned on IP rights. She was an active part of her own fandom, interacting with fans over a mailing list. During this time, she published a book which one of her fans decided resembled ideas she had personally discussed with Ms. Lackey. The fan sued for IP rights - and the fan won.
This has been a defining, even deciding, factor in how creators must interact with their consumers. And things can get very messy very fast when you mix creators and consumers.
Copyright and trademark laws get very sticky in the matter of derivative works. The general consensus tends to fall on ‘if no money is being made, no big deal’. Most fanfiction falls under these rules. Fanart posted online falls under these rules. A cosplay photo falls under these rules. But what happens when money does start to change hands? A commissioned fanart here and there, a related piece of jewelery produced, generic products being marketed towards your fans … what do you do now?
If you’re a big corporation you probably don’t care because the money being made is tiddlywinks compared to your monolith. But if you’re operating on a slimmer margin, now you have a problem. In particular, any one part of something being sold might not be copyrightable or fall under your IP because you borrowed it from something under Common Use, for instance, but the product is clearly derivative of your work. To use my roommate’s webcomic as an example, the uniform of the university in-comic is not copyrightable, but if somebody started selling yellow cravats, brown vests, and blue shirts as a package, it would clearly be derivative of her work.
There’s a couple of different ways to handle it: on a case-by-case basis, or by a sweeping general response with targeted enforcement. But you must handle it, as a creator, because if you don’t, you are sacrificing your IP rights by turning a blind eye. In the eyes of copyright law, inaction is the same as condoning - unless you had no knowledge of it. Essentially, if you demonstrably know about a creation based on your work making money and you say ‘oh well’, that person now has a piece of your IP pie. If you demonstrably know about a creation based on your work that’s nonprofit and you later make money off of something that could be related, the creator of the derivative work has a slice of your IP pie (and your money!).
Let’s take my roommate’s comic as an example again.
Let’s say someone was commissioned to make a costume based off her comic. That person, worried about Moonsheen and Chira being okay with it, contacts them to ask if they mind. They must say no and order a cease and desist, or they may be shown to have legally given up the right to possibly hold down 3-dimensional reproductions of their 2D product in the future.
Now let’s say the same person was selling a costume they’d already made and marketed it as ‘Suit & Vest combo’ without mentioning Sfeer Theory. Since the product is not copyrightable, as discussed above, Chira & Muun would not have to ping that person, and the person could be presumed to know nothing about about Sfeer Theory - they could go their separate ways.
Let’s say the same person decided to mass-produce the same outfit, though! Now it’s getting suspicious and Chira & Muun would probably be best served to order a Cease & Desist. Legally it may or may not float, but it’s not worth the risk to Chira & Muun.
Let’s say this person responded by saying they would not stop mass-producing the outfit. Suing is not a viable option because of the sheer cost involved, and the payback would be too small. What is the recourse?
They could enter negotiations to bring the person under their IP umbrella by requesting a percentage of the profits. Perhaps the product could be made official by selling it from the comic’s website as well. Or, if these options aren’t something Chira & Muun want to pursue, they could go to their fandom and request that the person’s product not be purchased by fans of Sfeer Theory. If the product is niche enough to Sfeer Theory for the fans to be the main source of income, the product will dry up on its own as long as the fans respect the wishes of Chira & Muun.
When is a creator going too far?
The problem that then arises is when a creator or creative team is involved with their fandom. If you are involved with your own fandom, you run a close risk of your IP rights getting punched in the metaphorical face.
Your best option is to maintain a professional and distant stance. Do not look at/be actively aware of derivative works - if you look at them, don’t acknowledge you looked at them. If you say anything, it’s going to be Word of God, you see - any opinion expressed, any thoughts you give out, they have more impact by virtue of you being the creator/part of the creative team.
Essentially, there is a sort of power in interacting with your own fandom. It’s your responsibility to be aware of the impact. That doesn’t mean you have to take responsibility for the actions of others, but know that your actions will be more likely to effect the actions of your fans. Therefore, if you make a statement be ready to clarify and stand by it or be clear if you change your mind - in the case of IP rights, if you make a sweeping ‘please don’t sell X product’, know that there are going to be lots of questions about exceptions. Know how you’re going to react. If you decide to handle these things on a case-by-case basis, keep it private, because a public statement will automatically be a sweeping one. In the domain of your work, your ‘opinion’ is fact. It’s something to bear in mind! And in the domain of your fandom, your opinion carries more weight than that of another fan, because it will reflect back on the original work itself.
And don’t go into every potential IP battle assuming the creators of the infringing work know what your product is. You might be surprised to find it’s an honest mistake that’s been made.
What is your responsibility as a consumer/fandom member?
First of all, if you are a derivative works creator, don’t bring it to the official attention of the creator. Unless they plan to bring you under their IP umbrella by selling your work themselves, for instance, they cannot legally know about your derivative creations and allow you to continue them, especially if you are turning a profit.
If you are asked to stop selling a derivative product, stop. If you are arguing the product you are selling is not copyrightable/derivative, then sell it as a generic product without using the name brand of the original work to promote. Even this is skirting what’s in good taste. At least don’t be obvious about it.
If a creator reasonably asks you to stop buying products from one store or another, stop. Don’t police for the creator, though! They can handle themselves. Death threats aren’t necessary - by depriving the store of its income you’re already sending enough of a message.
Anyway, that’s enough for one day. *gets off high horse and goes to finish the work day*
And Vikki’s followed clarification.
I’ve been trying to tell people this sort of thing forever.
Please read those last three paragraphs! They are very important. This is why Girl Genius creators Phil and Kaja Foglio prefer not to be shown fanworks of their comic. This is also why you should not sell Homestuck derivative works!
Also, Ted, this whole post is relevant for you and I once we get our webcomic going. =]
A very good informative post about copyrights and selling fanworks.
How exactly do you use color palettes? Is there a way to directly "take" colors off the palette, or do I have to mix them every time?
Are you speaking digitally or traditionally?
Traditionally, if there’s a color palette you like, you would have to mix the colors yourself. I recommend mixing more than you think you need, just in case you run out or want to use it later. Mix your paints in containers that can be sealed so you can come back to them.
Digitally, most digital painting tools have eyedropper tools that you can use to directly sample the pixel colors used on the palette. If you see a palette you like, save it to your computer. If you can’t save it, just take a screenshot and paste it into an imaging program.
Hope this helps! Color palettes are fun to explore.
The recent ask about improving got me thinking, so I thought I’d share this with you guys.
Now, I’m gonna start with a very cliche thing, but improvement does take a long, long time. I was told by a teacher that if you notice improvement within a few days/weeks, that means you’re still sucking hard, haha. Because when you’re at a really really low skill level, it’s much easier to improve, but once you’re decent, it takes way longer to improve, and the journey gets harder.
Here’s a good Pokemon analogy: When you’re playing Pokemon in the beginning, it probably takes you a few minutes to level up from 5 to 6, but after you beat the Elite Four, leveling up from 55 to 56 takes goddamn forever. This is exactly how art works. Your skill in art is like your Pokemon. Once you’re at a decent enough level, it takes goddamn forever for you to level up. The difference here is that in Pokemon you’re capped at lvl 100. In art, there is no ending; you keep leveling up, and it gets harder and longer everytime. The ending is when you die.
Although, that said, if you’re noticing no improvement in months, then it’s either one of two things: 1) you’re already at a decent enough skill level that it’s going to take longer to notice improvement, or 2) you’re not practicing enough.
And while we’re on this subject, let me emphasize once again how important it is to step out of your comfort zone and try doing things you’re always afraid of, or is always bad at. Even if you won’t end up mastering that particular skill, there is something to learn there that you can apply to the stuff you’re already comfortable with, that will make it better.
Here’s another Pokemon analogy: If you’re on lvl 55 trying to hit 56, will you go back to Route 1 and beat up lvl 2 Rattatas (or Bidoofs)? Or will you go to Victory road and tackle Pokemons that are around your lvl? Unless you’re a complete grinding masochist (or EV training, but that’s another long story), you would definitely pick the latter. The higher level Pokemons are harder to beat, yes, but you level up faster because they give you more EXP! This is the same in art! Tackling things that you’re not comfortable with can only help you level up faster, because they give you a lot of EXP. Sure, you might lose the battle, but you still keep that experience you gained from tackling that higher level pokemon. And after recuperating, you can try again and eventually you will win, and you will level up faster than committing a massacre on Rattatas.
You cannot believe all the wisdom you obtain from playing Pokemon.
i'm 16, I want to start photography so i can be a fashion photographer when I'm older but I'm worried that my photos will be bad and if i go out and try it i will fail. i want to start now but i'm nervous.what can i do?
If the chance of failure stops you from trying, how will you know if you’re successful? If it’s something you really want to do, do it. Try new things, experiment, find your niche! The great thing about modern technology is that if you take a picture you’re unsatisfied with, you can simply delete it off a memory card instead of worrying about wasting film. Just go for it!
I mentioned before some of my favorite character designs in the world of comics and have been meaning to tackle this subject again. I came to realize, however, that “character design” is itself a fairly massive subject, and that it would be best to break the topic down into separate installments. Today, true believers, we’re going to talk about outfits and costumes, which are often a pivotal part of a character’s design.
3 Essential Questions
Clothing can convey quite a bit of conscious and unconscious information to the reader, but it should never be doing 100% of the legwork. Body language, shape and overall behavior all come into play when building a character, and the trick is to figure out what clothing can do that these other elements can’t. To get started, it’s important to ask some basic questions about your character before jumping into costume design.
1) Costume Hierarchy
How often does this character appear? Is it a main character or a side one? Primary characters have more complex needs than side characters, which is to say that the more information you have about your character, the more that can be conveyed in their appearance. Additionally, the more frequent the character appears, the more versatile the design needs to be.
2) Environmental Relationship
If it’s a side character that only ever appears in one setting, for example, you need only design the outfit to fit in that environment. If they are a main character, though, chances are you’ll need the outfit to mesh with more than one setting.
3) The Naked Test
Is your character recognizable without any clothes on? Body types, especially those of the main cast, should be distinctive even without the help of any outfits. The naked form is the foundation of all character design. Before you start dressing your body, make sure it’s a body worth dressing.
Once you’ve sufficiently answered these questions, it’s time to jump into the actual design phase!
Every character, no matter how complex, should be designed around an overal unique visual shape. This theme should not repeat in any other character. This shape should be readable enough that if you were to shrink all your characters into a super-simplified cartoony state, they should still be distinguishable. Character designs follow a hierarchy: you grab the reader’s attention with the most essential information and then invite them to investigate the details. If important elements of your design are only evident in the details, then it needs to be reworked. If your character is not completely distinguishable in silhouette, it needs to be reworked. Detail should always radiate from the core theme.
Kim and Vonnie stay distinct in a few ways.
The primary difference in shape between the above two characters is one of curves versus triangles. Vonnie is very angular, and her clothing’s angles mimic the scaffolding of an art deco building to emphasize her height and posture. Kim’s outfit makes her look shorter, but jaunty. There are a lot of soft curves going on there to make her seem younger and more innocent.
What does your character do? In what way would their clothing reasonably convey how they spend their time? This is an easy question if it’s a uniformed occupation, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. A more bookish or socially inept character is often prone to mismatched clothing, while a person of a very high social status is often wearing clothing that is physically less practical than those of the working class.
How does your character move? What are their default postures and body language? A good outfit should accentuate the body movements that you deem most important. If a character stoops and hunches a lot, their clothes can augment that behavior. For example, Kim is frequently hunched over, so I tend to dress her with a hood that’s shaped to go with poor posture, as well as a repeating “arch” shape to suggest this basic form.
How much does the character wish to communicate with their clothing? Not everyone wears their personality on their sleeve, nor is everyone especially fashion-conscious. Nothing’s worse than having a cast where everyone is immaculately dressed and overdesigned. A more outgoing character might be more aware of their appearance, while a more introverted one may be less concerned. To add another layer, a character may dress a certain way to disguise something they don’t want to show to others, just as someone might act overconfidently to hide their insecurities. You can tell your audience a lot about your character through what that character chooses to display to others.
Core shapes and patterns should repeat on the outfit. The entire design should exhibit some bilateral cohesion, which is to say if you were to cut the character in half horizontally or vertically, each part should look like it belongs to the other.
As mentioned, Kim has a lot of solid colors and arch shapes which are broken up by fabric and metal seams, with very few sharp edges.
Vonnie, on the other hand, is structured almost like a building, with vertical lines and triangles that take the shape of supporting beams on the surface of her outfit. Her triangles and broad horizontal planes repeat throughout her outfit, including her glasses.
This extends to multiple costumes worn by the same character. Even if a particular character changes clothes, the core shapes should still be evident. Scott Pilgrim is a good example of this. Most of the cast change clothes frequently, but in each scene it’s generally easy to recognize the characters by the “type” of clothing they choose. The details change, but the essential shapes do not.
Color and Contrast
Different colors can imply different moods. ”Winter” colors like cooler blues and purples can suggest an introspective or reserved personality, while warmer colors like yellow or red can imply a more energetic attitude. If your character only ever interacts in one type of setting, you only have to worry about how those colors will fit in one environmental color palette. If, however, your character needs to mesh well with more than one environment (as is usually the case with protagonists), you have to make sure your character’s colors will fit with multiple settings.
Also, don’t be fooled by superhero comics: it’s generally bad form to have two dominant colors in a single costume. My personal rule of thumb is to have no more than one prime color in an outfit design, followed by a secondary and then supporting colors.
In the case of Kim’s outfit in Dark Science, the primary color is black, with the secondary being off-white. These are then supported by the muted blue and silver accents that appear in both her prosthetics and clothing. Color and value contrast is very important, especially for a main character, which is why Kim’s basic palette can be reduced to black and white without losing any essential information.
Vonnie’s outfit is more colorful, but less contrasted as a whole. Green dominates and is blocked in by a secondary, warmer black. Green is the complementary color of red, and so her clothes naturally bring attention to her hair and reddish skin tone, inherently highlighting more sexual elements than Kim (whose black outfit essentially matches her hair). White is also present, but it’s only a supporting color here.
Above all else, keep it simple. Comic characters are not pin-ups or other illustrations; you have to draw them over and over again, from various angles. If you pile on too much detail, you’ll wear yourself out slogging through all the bits every time you have to draw them.
If you follow all these rules, good costume design should create this basic pattern when presented to a reader:
- Read: Silhouettes and essential shapes should be instantly recognizable
- Inform: The costume should then tell the reader essential things about the character
- Compel: The costume should then invite the reader to learn more about the character
- Move: The costume should never impede the flow of action within the comic
If you stick to these basic guidelines, you’ll never fail. Next up on character design: bodies and faces!
No matter how young you are, if you’re self-disciplined enough to hold a pencil it’s time to buy some anatomy and art history books. Do it. Spend your allowance on it.
Do research on the artists in your field.
Start looking at the people in the field that you want to go into. Look at what they draw, but more importantly read their interviews. Stalk their blog. Learn first hand what it’s like to actually be an artist working in that field. Get a realistic expectation of your future life. You might not find it so appealing afterward.
Do research on the buisiness aspect of your field.
Find out what you can expect to be paid, what your future employers expect from you (do they value speed over quality? Do they prefer artists who can render specific images from a description?) and what you need to do in order to get in. Networking? What kind of portfolio do you need to send in?
Look at other kinds of artists.
Don’t just look at Manga if you want to draw Manga art, don’t just look at DC and Marvel if you want to draw Western comics. Here’s a hint: Editors have seen pretty much every flavor of the standard style for these genres possible. Mix it up. Add something of your own. Your style is what you’re selling as an artist, so make it distinctive.
Stop criticizing yourself.
Everyone else will do that for you.
Even your mom.
i would just like to suggest some art books you can download offline for some of my fellow artists! Andrew Loomis has a series of art books you can find around the internet, and are great. i would advise 'Fun With a Pencil' for beginners, he gives some great tips in there!!
You heard it here, folks.
I'm have trouble drawing animals. I always can't figure out the depth and shape of most animals. What would you suggest?
Study animal anatomy. Learn their skeletons, practice simplifying their structure into basic shapes so you can sketch out positions before you start the “fleshing out” of the animal.
It depends on the animal, really, but let’s try this with a horse.
Here is a diagram of a horse skeleton.
I will now take these shapes and simplify them.
Crude, yes, but one can tell it’s a horse. Correct? Good! Now, why am I doing this instead of using sick guides?
Because a stick has no mass.
Here is an example of the sketch shapes in use. It’s a standing horse. Ah, but look! There’s some definite mass there! By using simplified shapes to sketch out an animal (or any figure, really) you give it a solid foundation to build off. This allows it to occupy “space”.
Try this out with other animals! Remember, practice and observation will solidify your knowledge and skill in rendering the animals you want to draw.
Just wanted to add some of my own tips for painting with acrylics - lots come from a previous tutor of mine. Sorry it’s a bit of an essay, I just really like talking about paint!
- With mixing, it helps if you give yourself a large palette (our class was told as large as the format you’re working to, if you can.) I generally use two A4 sheets of plastic, or an old dinner plate. You can get stay-wet palettes with a lid and sheet of blotting paper to keep the paint moist between sessions, but equally you could throw a measure of cling-film over a plate.
- Try to put out small quantities of paint; you can always add more.
- On this note, when mixing a tint, move tiny amounts of colour into your portion of white rather than adding white to a pool of colour - you wouldn’t believe how much white paint I’ve wasted over the years!
- You can get retardants to slow the drying speed of acrylics (or I’m given to understand that artist quality brands like Golden have a longer drying time), if you’re looking for a more blended effect, but sometimes just letting brushstrokes dry and stay visible can add to the sense of a painting as a painting (I personally had a growth spurt when I realised this.)
- Try painting with a limited palette. Just in terms of mixing colour, this is really healthy practice, because it shows you the scope you can get out of a small selection (like the earth palette: ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, burnt umber, plus white). Another great piece of advice from our tutor: mix a tone up on your palette, then look at your picture to see where you can apply it (instead of trying to mix a tone for a specific area.) Really push a few colours as far as you can!
- Try laying down a mid-tone background to paint on, rather than directly on to the white of the paper.
- Black should be used carefully; it deadens colours. To make a colour more subdued, mix its complementary and add a bit of that to it instead. Sparingly using Payne’s Grey (which is a bit more blue than black) is another alternative.
- Experiment - a lot. Try painting with a dry brush technique, scumbling the colours to achieve blending effects. Use diluted paint on thick areas. Paint with palette knives and add details with brushes. I found some pretty mad but pleasing effects when I started using inks on top of acrylics. (Then if you paint white acrylic on top of the inks, it comes through, and you get pastel tints of the colour!)
- And I can’t repeat enough what Jedipanda said about looking after your brushes. Acrylic kills brushes, and I’ve always found myself relying on nondescript synthetics which hold their shape surprisingly well and clean up nicely too.