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Forums > Art & Creativity > C'mere for Art Advice

Okay so - I'm horribly, viciously, grossly sick. Which means I cannot work on my commissions and I am so bored laying on my couch trying to entertain my parrot in my very zombie like state.

What does this mean for you? Well, I'm freakishly active right now.

I also happen to be a pretty big artist nerd and in the middle of rigorous art study. I'm not a big deal in the art world... But I have a lot of experience when it comes with floundering around the big 'ol art scene and it's come to my attention I could be of use for once. FOR ONCE.

If I cannot answer a question - I will research it myself and give you my findings.
Now, if I can answer a question I will most likely throw a lot at you.

A bit about me: I'm a digital artist, 21, and I've been in the art business for a very long time. I didn't start drawing seriously till a few years back and ever since then I've crammed my head full of A LOT of info. I even went to school for Art! (Woo!) I started out with a Reeves water colour paint set and massive dreams - and made a lot of weird paintings. I slapped my stuff on the internet and now I lead a tiny army of followers - and they sometimes pay me...

I no longer take commissions (despite my insta saying so) and if I do - it's really selective.

Now I rock an iPad Pro and I draw hunched up next to my parrots cage because he gets lonely. (Or do I get lonely?)

So - anyone want advice on anything? Pricing? Colour theory? Shading? Line art? Best supplies? How to grow your account? How to improve? What is an art style? Best programs? How to avoid art theft?

Chuck 'em at me. I've got answers.

FOR ART CRITIQUES: Post some of your stuff for me to be bluntly honest about! I'll even tell you what I'd pay! Disclaimer: I'm not gonna be mean if you want me to critique your work, but I will not sugar coat it! If you want an honest opinion along with some tips and perhaps even visuals to help you fix your piece I'm here! My stuff isn't always the best either but it's always best to get a different perspective! It's helped me improve so much quicker!

Please please please BLESS WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ANATOMY!!

Anatomy is something i struggle HUGELY with when I draw. Nothing ever looks right, even when I reference DX

StaticNightmares wrote:
Please please please BLESS WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ANATOMY!!

Anatomy is something i struggle HUGELY with when I draw. Nothing ever looks right, even when I reference DX

This might sound a bit repetitive if you've seeked out answers elsewhere.

DRAW FROM LIFE! Always use references and use more than one!! It is in no way cheating to use a few good references.

This is due to our brain making guesses at what the body looks like. You need to paint/draw/sketch from life respectively to really build up a mental portfolio when it comes to anatomy.

It's something everyone is still trying to master! Even professionals! I highly suggest studying the differences between masculine and feminine bodies.

Try challenging yourself to keep a "burn" sketchbook. Scribble in it! Make super fast gesture drawings and challenge yourself to draw within a certain time frame.

This is great for your muscle memory because we as humans pick up on the very rough ideas of how a motion/posture looks like first. Start with shapes or directional scribbles and then add onto them!

It's also great to paint/sketch NUDE models! Sometimes clothes can trick our brains and capturing bodies in the nude is the best way to figure out what they really look like.

Also also also - try studying what's under the skin! Bones! Muscle! Humans have so much under them that effect how anatomy feels and looks!

Practice and experiment! Doodle people around you and sketch ugly doodles of wonky legs in your secret sketch book! No one will judge you! x)

Which do you think is better; sketching and measuring out the exact length/width for a still life, or going by rough estimates and quickly? As in, which do you think you serve you better in the long run in your opinion?

I personally can’t stand measuring out blocks and jotting down exact measurements when I draw, so I tend to just scatch down a rough estimate and go by that, and it hasn’t failed me so far, but which method do you think it is more useful, at least for you, when drawing realistic pictures?

Also, I’ve seen several ‘art hacks’ related to drawing perspective, from drawing ‘tornados’ (from tumblr) to get a rough estimate of how the limbs should increase in size the closer it is to the viewer(?) etc, or drawing using that ‘two/three point perspective lines?’. I have tried, and practised extensively with both methods but I can’t seem to quite ‘get it’. Do you have any other methods you use to draw perspective, and if possible, it would be great if you could explain how certain methods have helped you achieve the effect?

(I’m hoping I could better understand how to use the method through this)

Thank you so much for creating this thread, and taking the time to reply. ^^

Maybe this is a bit of a weird question, but what are your thoughts on using color during conception of a piece rather than afterwards? I understand this is something that most digital artist do, finishing a shaded grayscale before layering on color, but I feel as if you lose a lot of depth and complexity. (Not that I have much of that being new to this digital art thing.) When color is thought of afterwards as more if a chore it seems like it might get pushed to the side and seen as less important than perhaps if it was used during/conceived during the conception and beginning processes... What are your thoughts on the matter?

What made you stop taking commissions?

That’s cool you have an iPad Pro, I assume you’ve got the ProCreate app, right? If you do can you give me some tips for the UI and quality of life, anything to make the drawing process more comfortable? I haven’t been able to spend a long time with the app so there’s probably a lot of little shortcuts and ‘cheats’ out there I don’t know about, if there’s a way to be more productive I’ll take it.

@Birdy99 hey buddy :D! You’re talking about ‘foreshortening’, look that up and you’ll find loads of guides and help.

Birdy99 wrote:
Which do you think is better; sketching and measuring out the exact length/width for a still life, or going by rough estimates and quickly? As in, which do you think you serve you better in the long run in your opinion?

I personally can’t stand measuring out blocks and jotting down exact measurements when I draw, so I tend to just scatch down a rough estimate and go by that, and it hasn’t failed me so far, but which method do you think it is more useful, at least for you, when drawing realistic pictures?

Also, I’ve seen several ‘art hacks’ related to drawing perspective, from drawing ‘tornados’ (from tumblr) to get a rough estimate of how the limbs should increase in size the closer it is to the viewer(?) etc, or drawing using that ‘two/three point perspective lines?’. I have tried, and practised extensively with both methods but I can’t seem to quite ‘get it’. Do you have any other methods you use to draw perspective, and if possible, it would be great if you could explain how certain methods have helped you achieve the effect?

(I’m hoping I could better understand how to use the method through this)

Thank you so much for creating this thread, and taking the time to reply. ^^

So if you're going for the best realism possible I'd go with the grid method when it comes to still lifes. Rough sketching and estimating can make some really fluid and interesting pieces but if you're submitting it for a grade or trying to add it to your portfolio I'd use the most meticulous method plausible! I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to depth, perspective, and realism and I tend to stay away from it as much as possible because it'd drive me mad! I did a lot of still life work in my schooling and it melted my brain! BUT it did help me understand perspective and how things interact with eachother. It's really up to you how you interpret still lifes. ALSO! Try putting some super wonky stuff in your still lifes if you're going absolutely insane. Cool things include: Water bottles, earrings, gel-medicine tablets, lamps, stuffed toys, hair brushes, and bottles! I've found that these weird items are refreshing and really dig in different textures in your 'ol brain! As for drawing REALISM in pictures besides fruit bowls and random garbage - I mostly do portraits and gesture drawings currently and I'm not the best when it comes to making the best looking bodies x)

But I do know that there are a few rules when it comes to making a not-so-wonky body/face! The eyes should be level with the top and bottom of the ear, the mouth and nose are pretty easy to find retaliative to the chin and you should leave some room for a brain in that forehead! There's hundreds of these "art tips" like you've mentioned and everyone sort of has their own little set of memorized "rules". I personally always chant "The arms reach the thigh! the arms reach the thigh! Collar bones are a thing!!" to myself when drawing because I personally struggle with those things x)

When drawing in a more cartoon and 'anime' style proportions can get a little wonky but as a general rule of thumb, bodies all work the same just a little bit different! When working in realism you want to follow the rules as close as possible but if you wanna throw in a splash of something else it's all about balancing your details!

When it comes to perspective I pay attention to the light, the shadow, depth, and where I want my viewer to pay attention to. You can sometimes "cheat" and use colours to force the eyes of the viewer somewhere but perspective is more about posing and the direction objects are going/facing/distanced. It's a bit hard to master perspective while keeping your portions correct so I recommend you try a few extreme perspective first! Try drawing from the perspective of someone looking up from the ground at a character! Maybe from above and to the side? My favourite is drawing them really close up at a dramatic 3/4 angle! Sorry if I wasn't much help on this one! I'm still learning myself.

Kruhee wrote:
Maybe this is a bit of a weird question, but what are your thoughts on using color during conception of a piece rather than afterwards? I understand this is something that most digital artist do, finishing a shaded grayscale before layering on color, but I feel as if you lose a lot of depth and complexity. (Not that I have much of that being new to this digital art thing.) When color is thought of afterwards as more if a chore it seems like it might get pushed to the side and seen as less important than perhaps if it was used during/conceived during the conception and beginning processes... What are your thoughts on the matter?

Personally I have my own rituals of doing colour and I despise adding it as an after thought. I've been forced to do the black and white method and then colour before and it drove me crazy! It's good to put your work in black and white to check the contrast in your piece but I can't imagine painting in black and white every time!! o:

I've seen loads of youtubers do it and I don't know how they manage to not go crazy! Colouring is my favourite part!

I always play with moods and colours first and get a good strong pallet made before I start - then I lay down my flats. After my flats are down I make a "shadow sketch" as I like to call it and I start playing with blues/purples for shadows and orange/yellows for light on another layer (digital) so I can get a loose grasp on what I'm hoping to end up with.

Then I go over my flats to make sure I don't have similar colours touching and that I'm 100% happy with those colours. After I've got all my planning set up I jump right into painting and adding texture over my line art very slowly until I have a blob of textures and colours! After my blob is complete I go in with a darker colour and start refining it until I'm pleased and I just keep layering colour, shadow, and light as I go. After my painting is refined I start tuning the colours and throwing some 'multiply' layers ontop (sometimes 'soft light' or 'overlay') and I start thinking about the end result.

Once I've got a refined blob I throw in my extreme shadows and my highlights. After this step it's all about just tuning, nit picking, layering colour/shadow/light, rendering, sometimes adding some lines or details to help it look sharper. If I haven't done the background yet I add a colour behind my painting and then throw some interesting details and maybe some perspective blur to put my painting into focus. After all of this I'll probably pick at it till it's done!

(This is my process for a digital painting, it's a bit different than my other stuff)

SunnyD wrote:
What made you stop taking commissions?

That’s cool you have an iPad Pro, I assume you’ve got the ProCreate app, right? If you do can you give me some tips for the UI and quality of life, anything to make the drawing process more comfortable? I haven’t been able to spend a long time with the app so there’s probably a lot of little shortcuts and ‘cheats’ out there I don’t know about, if there’s a way to be more productive I’ll take it.

@Birdy99 hey buddy :D! You’re talking about ‘foreshortening’, look that up and you’ll find loads of guides and help.

I stopped taking commissions because I've got a long waiting line and I don't want to put pressure on myself. x) I've gotten a bit more selective of my clients due to how long it takes me to work.

I do use Procreate! (I use medibang paint for sketching) (I use photoshop for renders)

My best advice is to study as many videos on the app as possible if you want to learn all the little shortcuts super fast. The way I learned was just by spending a really long time my first week on one painting. I spent 7 days just playing around with brushes, selecting colour, and trying to make something that actually made sense. Whenever I get a new art supply I always test all my tools and colours first - so that's what I recommend! Play with the default brushes (My favourites are the old paint brush, the dry ink brush, the HB pencil, the water colour brush, the pastels!)

The best brushes for lining? Most things in the 'inking' and 'sketching' section work best.
The best brushes for painting? Pastels, Water colour, 'Old paint brush', round brush, and HB pencil.

There's a lot of features I'd like to show you but it's a bit hard over text! The my best friend on the app has got to be the 'liquify' tool under the magic wand icon and the selective tool! (It's a bit hard to master but it's so much easier painting when you do get it) When it comes to the select tool you can slide your finger left and right to the sides to select more or less when you have 'auto select' on.

Procreate lets you make your own custom pallets!! Use it! USE IT! It's so useful if you want to use colours later down the road! When you're painting? I always smack my colours down next to whatever I'm painting so I can just select them (by pressing your finger down) Also! You can drag the little coloured circle in the top right to fill in parts of your drawing (Like a paint bucket tool)

If you're not getting the texture you'd like in your drawing/painting I highly recommend using apps (lumibee is one of them) to throw a "grain" overlay on your art for more texture. Otherwise you can just throw a colour layer over the rest of your drawing using one of the textured brushes and set it to 8% opacity.

My advice? Play with it! Make a wonky painting and throw all the brushes in! Try challenging yourself to use different layer settings and mess with the icons. It may look like you're missing things in the app - but it's not true! They're just simplified and a bit hidden at first!

Oh no I hope you feel better but this is so nice and interesting! Can I get critique/opinion on these pieces? Just for context to help critique better, they were both done entirely on a smartphone screen in autodesk sketchbook pro.

the arts
sketch1567823790301.pngb01f3eed-155f-475d-8850-337c35b98ee9.png

Mercyinreach wrote:
Oh no I hope you feel better but this is so nice and interesting! Can I get critique/opinion on these pieces? Just for context to help critique better, they were both done entirely on a smartphone screen in autodesk sketchbook pro.
the arts
sketch1567823790301.pngb01f3eed-155f-475d-8850-337c35b98ee9.png

1st picture: When drawing heavier characters remember that their face will also be a bit bigger due to their weight as well. As far as I can tell your character is proportioned decently well for their weight but their pose is very stiff. Your line art (due to it being on a phone) lacks character and there isn't much pressure control with the lines. If you were going for a vector art style this would be perfect!

The ear is a bit low on the face, there's no room for a brain! The hands are a bit web-like but if three fingers is your stylistic choice I only suggest you study how knuckles lay on the hand. The right shoe is at a bit of an awkward angle as well but the legs are quite nice. Lastly, the neck doesn't seem to move with the head nor does her shoulder.

As far as colour goes the only thing I see that is a bit off is your skin tone is turned up a bit too high and your choice of colour is a bit on the muted side! Try bumping up your tone without over saturating - you can breathe a lot of life into a character with just a bit of hue toning. It looks like your colours are all the same tone (med-tone) and it gives your piece a bit of a flat feeling.

My advice: Study dynamic posing and work on drawing the body before the clothing! Your clothing seems to wrinkle in odd places and kind of hangs off your character in odd places. Try making your outfit a bit more complex using wrinkles, folds, and texture. Keep up the good work!

2nd picture: Everything face-wise looks pretty great! The only thing I see a little off is one eye drifts a bit from the bridge of the nose /or/ the nose is too front facing and the eye is in the right place! I suggest trying to implement cheek bones and more depth in your face for a more uniform look. Your face is nicely symmetrical here and most of the features are in their "correct" places. This is nice face-work and I'm a bit jealous! The only thing I see that I'd nit-pick at is the hair! Your picture seems to have hair that sort of goes where it pleases and doesn't quite meet the roots correctly. There is a definite direction when it comes to your hair but it looks a bit wild even for curly hair. (textured)

COLOUR! Your skin tone is very nice but could use some darker tones and some colour in the face! Try putting a dark tone where the nose and the eye lid meet to show depth. The hair is bright and beautiful and I love the crazy party element I get in this! My only complaint is the random bits of white airbrushed on the sort of collar she's wearing. Try and get away from the airbrush a bit and use a harder brush. If you're too scared to get away from the softness try using a round brush if you have one on your program.

My advice: Try painting/drawing your hair in sections and when you sketch it out just do the basic shape. Set down a good foundation by sketching in the 'general' look you want for your hair or the direction. Don't go too detailed until you're finally laying down your fine details and colour. The way I personally do hair is I put each shape or 'chunk' on a different layer and I use a textured brush to paint in the direction I want it to go. I then go back in with a smaller brush to give the illusion of hair strands/motion. If you're not going for a more detailed piece - ignore this!

Here are two examples from my own work:

Hair Example
Hair Example 2

Full Painting

When painting hair you ALWAYS start with your darkest colour first. The way hair works is it's actually a bunch of layers of colour and when painting you can trick the eye until thinking your 'hair' is more complex than it actually is. By working up from the darkest to lightest (use smaller brushes as you layer) you can get some really cool details and even make little fly aways when finishing up with a pencil brush. (HB pencil at 20% at 50% opacity)

Little fly aways!

You can also make some interesting fringes with this technique and when you're using unnatural colours I suggest just playing around with shades/tone. To add depth to your unnatural hair in this photo I'd put some darker tones where the hair meets the forehead and when it'd be further from the face.

Another example from my latest painting:

Neat Blue Hair

( Don't do what I did and put blue hair next to a blue background! o: )

Full Painting

Eniiko wrote:
Mercyinreach wrote:
Oh no I hope you feel better but this is so nice and interesting! Can I get critique/opinion on these pieces? Just for context to help critique better, they were both done entirely on a smartphone screen in autodesk sketchbook pro.
the arts
sketch1567823790301.pngb01f3eed-155f-475d-8850-337c35b98ee9.png

1st picture:

2nd picture:

Thank you for the advice! :) The first piece was done with a couple references and the face size is based on the face size of the plus size references (including myself), but I do see what you mean, due to the eye style I chose for her specifically her face could be a little bigger. As for hands, yeah, I pretty much just scribbled the hands aha, that's the one part I can say I didn't even remotely try on, I'm still working on hands. The issues with the pose, ie the neck and shoulder, I am a bit confused on how I could fix since the piece is based on a pose where the shoulder and neck look the same as I drew them essentially. *rubs chin*

I also did draw the body first, but it makes sense her clothing is a little wonky since I normally only draw nude figures and only just recently got into clothing.

The second piece,

Thanks! The piece is actually the very first time I did hair in that style! Normally my hair is just one flat color and black lines. I am always looking for new ways to do hair to find what I enjoy and am comfortable with.

While I won't be taking all your advice, and just working on the things I do want to change in my art because I am unhappy with it or what not, I really appreciate all your advice and examples <3

Eniiko wrote:

I managed to bribe my mom into buying me a new sketchbookkkk X)

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