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I am a self-taught visual artist.
Here I write about how much and what it actually takes to go your own way as one. On your own.
Here I begin sharing some useful advice and tips for artists in general and some personal thoughts on the topics.
Okay! Let’s go!
Find out if you have talent and intention for creating pictures or is it just something you are excited about.
Cold as it is, this is the single most important and foremost question to consider. Do you have it in you or are you willing to work for it?
For example, I always loved drawing and was told I have talent for it but later on, in my teenage years, I neglected even thinking about drawing as a skill and did not take it seriously and let too many emotions govern my decisions about it even later on. Avoid this if possible.
Decide. Is this a hobby, is this a part of you? Or is THIS YOU? ARE YOU READY TO SWORE ON THE MIGHTY BRUSH AND PENCIL?! To da choppa get to? Find out, you must.
Indeed, it is very important for anyone to find their place and it can be especially great for a younger person to know at least roughly what suits them best as soon as possible.
Yes, people grow, change and we may develop different personal traits and abilities but talent shows early on, think about Mozart (or any blues player for that matter) and yes, it can also be picked up at a later stage in life, Beksinski did not have much experience with painting before he started but a door opened for him later on and all that came into being…
Distinct curiosity and real interest. Or just do it for the sake of doing it!
Find out what is your aim and/or goal and what do you want to represent and what do you prefer using! Too many options will kill almost anything. Don’t learn it too late.
Is it actually digital art? Is it important for you to feel and smell the paint? Would you rather dance about it? This part is not that hard. Just try various practices and tools. Look for workshops if needed.
Sort out the options and sort out what you do not need or don’t actually want to work with. May it be people.
For example I prefer cheap ball pens and coloured pencils, brush pens, felt tips and their relatives. I see a lot of young artist just making a huge mess with paint, on and around the canvas and I am sure i would just be one of them if I wanted to spend money on paint. But I don’t. I want to actually paint, create things, use unlimited colours so I chose to do it digitally. I paid 250 + 300 moneys five years ago. Later I spent 30 moneys on additional computer memory, that is all.
Art can be nevertheless expensive, if you don’t plan on just drawing sketches of people on the street. Even then, you need to get paper and at least a burnt stick. Save up.
Consider buying a proper screen (good colour representation, deep blacks etc. you can get good ones for 250 moneys or cheaper used), I am running on the mega-cheap but this way I rely on checking my art on other screens to see how colours look – this eventually helped me learn what it means how there is just no way to get the exact colors you intend to present: most screens and devices are neglected and not set up correctly if at all configured. Take care as there will be all kinds of results. Try to maneuver between them and choose accordingly. Also think about how light sources alter how a traditional piece of art looks!
One day I will just give it away and use acrylic and oils, for now digital enables me to produce things faster and just print them.
So what is your way?
Let’s take an helping example. The works of H.P.Lovecraft and how it is over-used, twisted and many times completely lost context in products is a perfect one to study.
Anyone who actually read some of his works in their entirety could say how there is (apart from a few examples) barely anything out there accurately representing his descriptions and the mood of his writings.
In this case, we can say the right choice of media for this is plain written text and through the human psyche actual imagination, not pictures or video.
If you didn’t like the example then just imagine a Picasso painting as a techno song (sorry for this link, I am lost for words). Far out, but one would definitely find it hard to see the painting.
This initial problem how one creates pictures is very similar to that of making movies out of books: you probably have a good amount of inspiration, intentions about what you want to pour out but it may be tied to a feeling or the details are just not very comprehensible or you don’t know yet how to make it manifest.
Do you have a message or do you just like to create details? Is it something you want to create precisely or is it a style or means you like?
Talk to other people, preferably to ones who work with different forms of art. Understand who does what and why do they do it.
What may work for them may not work for you, or suit you at all.
Do not just start with digital art. If you haven’t been drawing or painting, first get paper and study forms. Draw a lot of studies of objects and animals. People included.
Study light. Try to just draw shadows and form and try to just draw the light. Doesn’t make much sense but go about and do it, draw what you see. This is how you will get better and understand your relation between you, how you create things and hopefully between you and the subject as well.
Study hues. Study colours and their relation.
Well, you are self-taught or at least reading about this so, self-teach:
Optimally it would be more ideal to attend a university and learn from others. However in certain cases it may even just stall you.
Do actual research. Read and study art history. Go to museums and exhibitions.
People are all about art and thingy things! We are doing it since forever. Decorating caves with scenes of hunting and putting stone on each other based on how we perceive stuff around us. Today, in modern societies everything is ready and available.
GET IT ON!
Build, don’t rush. There are probably a few like, Kim Jung Gi. If you are built to have it in you, please just be the wonderful droid you are, you can skip this text.
If you are a regular human, you may prefer to to take it step by step. Let the skill come to you by understanding the steps you take.
There are two main rules to remember for the first period of your learning:
1, It is okay to suck at frst. Relax. – Rome wasn’t built in a day!
2, It is easy. There is nothing hard about this despite how it may seem. It is just lines and dots. You can complicate it later.
TAKE YOUR TIME WITH IT!
If you are already on your graphics tablet and may already created this and that, still keep your mind somewhere always focused on traditional art (except if you chose a rather particular way of creating images). It can help a lot to understand how you would paint it traditionally. Don’t be the tool. Use the tool!
I mentioned before why it is great to choose your methods and objectives. Now it is a good time to try to figure out what do you love doing the most and what do you have actual interest in, what styles start your inner fire. Would you choose:
– book illustrations?
– is it comics?
– is it game art / concept art?
– general painting?
I have an interest in way too many sides of visual (and other) art, which can be pretty overwhelming (it is) but this is how I like it.
You may be able to sort out yourself on these paths (and make your life easier)!
You can do it by just downloading pictures and sorting them into folders. Then sorting those further into various subfolders. Then, when you end up with only a handful (i have about three full DVDs worth of low-resolution jpg files… why on Earth do I have all that? anyway) when you finally end up with only a dozen or less, try to replicate the styles. It is okay to not to be at any level yet, just try to imagine how it would be for you to actually make a lot of pictures in this way. Small little drawings? Large scale and details? Interiors? Automobiles? Purely and nothing but cats? Is this what you like about painting?
It is okay to copy – for studying. And now is the best time to do so. Go on and do copy the style of other artist to see how they feel and if they suit you, though this works best if you also try ones which are unrelated to your interest. It can be a lot of fun, trust me! Combine what ever you can and see how it works. This is how many contemporary artists become famous: they may even not have much to tell or show but they added up two or more themes which don’t necessarily go together at all!
I love sketching a lot of things fast (and even forgetting about them) but nothing is better to take your time and build up on the skills you learn, however you choose to go on.
Take criticism. Ask for it. Ask from people who you don’t like as well. Do not be intrusive but there is no need to be shy.
Personal thought: You, yourself should be highly and almost “over-critical” for progress.
From the start. Criticism will always be one of the most important aspect, or more like a love-hate relationship. Yeah, make it your muse, a lover. The more familiar and comfortable you get with any kind of responses the better you can advance!
LIVE YOUR LIFE!
First of all, Nothing interesting will born out of a repetitive, dull schedule or a schematic life. Well, nothing is impossible and who am I to tell? But facts are facts: The process creates the artist. The lack and the need, the absence in general. You may have the talent and all what you need already, artist likely born with it, except emotional bravery, fearlessness and imagination is the key, that is the leap across.
Speaking for myself, I am a helpless case in terms of imagination and burdened with all kinds of ideas more regularly than I care to admit; I accuse the eventful and high-intensity childhood and adolescence and a fast-paced lifestyle I lived after that.
Now you may also already have experienced a lot and been around the world or you are in your teens and are hungry for adventure or just happen to be more of an introvert or simply have a keen interest in art and signed up to learn…
In any case, there is no better way to get inspired by other than the busy busy world around us. It is rewarding to take a part and then coming back to make great art about it. That way we reflect on ourselves as well and create a dynamic circle!
This is where I leave you now, I conclude this post and do very much hope it proved useful for you!
This was a general starter for me as well, in the next post I write about choosing software and hardware in general and cover some basic “rules” on digital painting.
After that I write separately about personal problems and great ways to slash them out of the way! Exorcising demons, destroying anxiety, re-inspiring yourself, making the non-existent time and other things to help you draw a map!
Thank you for signing up! Thank you for reading!!!
I wish you enjoyed it! Feel free to leave a comment or reply in any way!
Also watch out for my first sticker pack and other PDF files about various topics:
01 – Aspects not usually considered, covered: depression, no time, general negativity, personal problems and how to deal with them – a chart to look at when times are down.
02 – Basic Linux commands! SCIENCE FOR ART!
03 – GIMP practices
An example on how to use your resume for hospitality jobs: don’t. More about this later.