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How to get better at art

Journal Entry: Fri Jul 18, 2014, 1:45 PM


People keep asking me what programs i use, and what program is the best for drawing and what brushes i used for this artwork or that. Those are legitimate questions, sure, but not entirely accurate. There are differences between programs and brushes, but in the end, they are all tools. They are tools artists use to put their imagination onto a canvas. Just like a traditional artist can use 10 different brushes to paint an artwork, or just one single brush, digital art is the same in that regard. There is no one brush that can achieve an effect that none other can. Sure it's a little more difficult if you're using one brush type to draw everything, but not impossible. Artists might have hundreds of brushes in Photoshop but in truth, we use 2-5 brushes the most and those hundreds only in special cases. I personally use a hard brush and a soft brush for 90% of things, what i do change is the opacity and turn the pressure on and off, change the size etc. 
And the most common misconception is that if someone uses a specific brush or program, that will magically enhance their drawing skills. Well unless you use magical fairy dust along with that brush, chances are they won't. What will enhance your skills is daily practice. I see people literally on the hunt for artist's brushes hoping something magical will happen when they get it. They get angry when the artist doesn't want to share them thinking he is holding the secret to art skills all to himself! That meanie! Well some artists are too busy or don't feel like sharing but trust me, whatever brushes you find on the internet, they are just as good as the ones he/she has. This endless quest for this special technique or trick or brush that will make their art skills better over the night, has artists feeling cheated when they don't find it but the cold hard truth is talent is only 1% of the job (although some speculate talent doesn't even exist) the rest of 99% is hard work. 
There is one more thing besides hard work that is needed if improvement is to happen at a fast pace, and that is applying a learning method. The reason schools exist is because you get to have teachers that guide you in the right direction, provide learning material, and keep the students on track all the time. If you would learn at home, you might fal into the trap of lingering for too long at something, or slacking, or trying too many things at the same time and learning none, or not trying anything new. There are many many problem that occur in self learning. If self learning were so easy then teachers would be out of jobs. 
But chances are most people reading this are in fact self taught, so am i actually. So here are my tips (they're not magical unfortunately) for learning by yourself.

1.) Gather learning materials. (This is the easiest step :) (Smile) ) Make a folder in your computer, and download there all the books about drawing you can find on the internet. Go in deviantART's resources and stock category and browse the most popular brushes and download them. Browse the resources and stock category for step by step tutorials on how to draw water, fire, etc. And save them all, gotta catch 'em all gotta catch 'em all!
Here is my collection 
yuuza.deviantart.com/favourite… although on my computer i have much much more saved. Keep adding in this folder whenever you find something new, this journey never ends. Save in this folder any artwork you find intriguing and want to replicate this effect or that. 

2.) Identify your weakest point. Ask someone to critique your whole gallery and find the thing you need to work on the most. With that weak point in mind, make your learning be focused on that aspect of your art more than the others.

3.) Make a plan. Teachers have all the things they need to teach planned for a whole year, and that's what you need to do as well. You're missing a teacher so you have to act like one for yourself. So make a document, .doc or paper, and divide the year in 12 months. Each month should have a theme. Like for example you want to learn anatomy, then each month should have a body part attached to it. You can allocate 2 months for hands since they are harder, and 2 months for feet. The rest i leave it up to you to decide, for me personally was neck, head, hands, feet, male torso, female torso, butt (yes, need to learn how to draw that), shoulders, i found those to be more important. 
Each month should be divided in weeks, and each week should have a separate theme. Here's where the learning materials come in handy. You pick go through your tutorial folder and pick a tutorial for each week. You can make things last for 2 weeks but don't linger to much on only one subject. Here are the subjects i choose, a few examples in case you don't know what to pick: how to draw water, fore, earth, grass, crystal, folds in material ( i allocated this 2 weeks), hair, fur, metal, glass, fish, etc. Whatever suits your fancy :) (Smile) If you look at a piece of artwork that is so good it makes you wanna quit, then don't quit! Try to find the one thing you really like about that artwork, allocate it one week to try to replicate the effect, and move on. 

4.) Stick to the plan! This is another thing teachers are good at, keeping you on track. But you have to find it within yourself to stay on track because you have no one pushing you to do it or threatening to give you bad grades if you don't make your homework. It's tough, it's an interior battle, so it's good to find something on the outside that helps keeping you motivated. 

5.) Stick to the plan! No, this isn't a a copy paste error, sticking to the plan really is rule no. 5, and rule no. 6, 7, 8... 1000 because it's the hardest to follow. 


And i wish you all the best in this learning journey 
:iconmuahplz:

I did not proof read this journal o___________o  

Features

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:iconlechaoss:
LeChaoss Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
gosh bit boring view... @.@
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:iconshannonallaround:
ShannonAllAround Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014
brilliantly said :)
Reply
:iconhectoradame:
HectorAdame Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't see why anyone cares about talent.
The way I see it, if you want to be an artist (and I mean want it like anything else), if you study and work hard, you will be an artist, eventually. If someone becomes an artist sooner is besides the point.
The most laughable thing of all is that everyone wants to label "talent" as a gift from Zeus or something coming from natural selection (wonder what Darwin has to say about this).

Who cares? If I, or you, or him, or they, whoever, whatever, is not talented and manage to be a great artist anyway, why bother explaining? You've made it, just move on.
If a talented person doesn't get to be a great artist (it happens), that's a more complicated matter, but still, who cares?  move on.


This is my way of suggesting to leave this topic of talent out for ever of the journal portal, for Anubis' sake, because we're not scientists and probably have more important things to do with our lives than give ourselves headaches discussing something so complex as this. We may never understand it.
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:iconlikeathunderbird:
LikeAThunderBird Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Thumbs up! I am a dummy! Clap 
Reply
:iconimsoomuchcoolerthanu:
ImSooMuchCoolerThanU Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahh yes... sticking to the plan...
I have a lot of weak poits to locate, but if I had to pick just one, sticking to the plan is my greatest weakness School Rumble: Hanai [Weak] Punch 
That goes not only for art, but everything in life............
:P
Reply
:iconrhythm-wily:
Rhythm-Wily Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014
#2 is especially good to know. XD
Reply
:iconstonesliver:
stonesliver Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2014
Woot, I needed this for sure. Never really thought about making a lesson plan for the year, that's actually a really good idea o___o Thanks so much! //runs off to go plan
Reply
:iconfireaux:
Fireaux Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wonderful, inspiring journal. I honestly thought teaching myself would be much simpler, but I was way wrong. This is exactly what I needed to hear :)

Just a few questions, though. Since we're treating this like a class with a curriculum, how many projects do you try to have completed in a week (or 2 weeks for things like hands)? How long do you usually give yourself to complete a project before its "deadline"? Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
sorry for the slow reply! to answer your question, i usually like to allocate one month on the things that are very difficult such as hands, feet, and generally speaking anatomy stuff, i allocate one week for simpler things such as how to represent rain, clothing folds (although i do come back to this one once in a while so technically i allocate more time to it)
and i don't have a deadline because i try to improve constantly, i will never stop. You can never be 'too good' at something that you can stop and relax :D so when i imporve like this, i imagine it as a never ending  ladder. But i do set yearly goals and so my deadline is New Years usually :D
Reply
:iconfireaux:
Fireaux Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow :D thank you so much. I never thought about it that way, but you're right, you can never be too good lol. This is really great advice. I'll try my best to follow it! Thank you <3
Reply
:iconnancyju:
nancyju Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014
this is very helpful, especially the last few points and i'm planning to tryout myself! but do you just follow the tutorials on Deviant art website? can u just explain the process you undergo studying those tutorial.
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:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
yes, deviantart has the most tutorials out there, i save them on the computer as i find them and then make categories there such as anatomy, nature elements, clothing, step by steps etc and then i go in and learn from there ^^ i have this fear that deviants leave dA or store their deviations, so i save them so that i can have them forever u@
Reply
:iconlostpup6465:
lostpup6465 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014
I really appreciate this journal entry. Especially the part about planning for a year or something. I tend to float around drawing/painting what I'm in the mood for with no specific goals in mind.  I intend to think this entry through and incorporate a lot of it into the studio thinking.  Thanks
Reply
:iconfeatherdrops:
FeatherDrops Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist
I have to agree that no. 4-to-infinity is the hardest part; I tend to slack off and delay everything way too much. Sweating a little...

I'll try and work on that, though! Really, thank you for sharing these helpful advices. :) (Smile) 
Reply
:iconmishkuu:
mishkuu Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
:clap: thanks!
Reply
:iconfideluzumaki:
fideluzumaki Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks for the useful hints!! :) a hug from italy
Reply
:iconcrys-art:
crys-art Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
really really useful journal, you worded it really well too! many artists at the beginning (and not) oversee the fact that they are themselves a huge part of the equation that is art, and it's not only the tools that do wonders xD
Reply
:iconvilt-e:
vilt-e Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Hobbyist
agreed!
when I was younger I used to think if ony I had a tablet and sai how much better I would be
I was so wrong haha
looked so bad when it first started
but I guess it forced me to learn how to colour now uwu;;
Reply
:iconvirid-violet:
Virid-Violet Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014
Wow, I really appreciate this entry.

Everything about it just screams yes.
Reply
:iconvcomics1:
Vcomics1 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014
waoo this is one of the best things i ever read! :D (Big Grin) 
everything is so true! 
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:iconblacknastopian:
BlackNastopian Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014   General Artist
Thank you for uploading this
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:iconrainbow-acey:
Rainbow-Acey Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"Ask someone to critique your whole gallery and find the thing you need to work on the most."
this is harder than it seems. I have been here ten years. It takes AGES to find somebody who will do this.
Reply
:icondark-spectrumds:
Dark-SpectrumDS Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, it sure does unfortunately. D:
Reply
:iconcristal-the-kitty:
Cristal-the-kitty Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Really inspiring! :3
Reply
:iconlunathedog123:
LunaTheDog123 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yeh, this is good, but how we can get plan? :'D 
and thx for tips :'3
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
you make it yourself like i wrote in the journal. You divide the year in 12 months and so on :)
Reply
:iconloolaa33:
Loolaa33 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, thanks for the tips!
now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna ho try out all those.
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
awesome! good luck :D
Reply
:iconloolaa33:
Loolaa33 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you~
Reply
:iconcrazyddude3297:
Crazyddude3297 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student
:D
Reply
:iconcrazyddude3297:
Crazyddude3297 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student
;)
Reply
:iconcrazyddude3297:
Crazyddude3297 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student
Hey did u now he made this group for me for working in DIE i am Crazydude3297 :P
Reply
:iconsaina-chan:
saina-chan Featured By Owner Edited Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So in short "practice more".




Eh.
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
yup, if i had to put it all in a nut shell it would be 'practice'
Reply
:iconsaina-chan:
saina-chan Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
*sigh*and at this point I think why I wasn't smack on my head hard when I pick up the pencil for first time to draw.
As the more I'm draw and practising the worse I get.
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
that's just bullshit and you know it ;)
Reply
:iconsaina-chan:
saina-chan Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I hope it's...
Reply
:iconcutebaddie:
Cutebaddie Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your advice was really helpful but I want to know if you guys actually plan or visualise your art or do you just dive straight into it and just trust your gut feeling? Sorry I'm new at this photoshop stuff haha 😅
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
i visualize it in my mind, then i sketch it. While i am sketching it i keep changing it and changing it while keeping the same theme. For example i first think of what i want to draw, then i come up with an idea, say a girl and a dragon, i imagine the colors and lighting, then i sketch it, but if i don't like things i change her position, i make the dragon smaller, larger, so i keep the theme but i change the image, the composition, i zoom in or out, move it, crop it, etc until i have a sketch i like. Then i start working on the actual drawing from that first initial sketch. 
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:iconcutebaddie:
Cutebaddie Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for the help!!
Reply
:iconkitsune0jester:
Kitsune0Jester Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Yep, I find it difficult when I see someone's fantastic art and wish to work with the same tools as them. But when I practice more on the programs I use instead of trying to copy them, I find out I can do the same tricks as they did. All programs are different, but you can come out with the same results once you work hard enough.
Thank you for making this! :)
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
that's true, there is no one way of doing things :)
Reply
:iconkcoopworks:
KCoopWorks Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist
This is a really good idea.  I've taken your advice and done a plan up to force myself to focus on things.
^-^
Reply
:iconleahplainandtallish:
LeahPlainAndTallish Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A subject a week is a great idea that I've never thought of doing before. Nice one!
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thanks :D i'm glad you found it useful. And it's very good to have the schedule written so that every week you can check to see what is your monthly theme and weekly theme and practice from that :D
Reply
:iconleahplainandtallish:
LeahPlainAndTallish Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I will try doing it that way, thanks! :D
Reply
:iconeraezr:
Eraezr Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It would have been easier to read if you used a darker font...
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
it's how this journal layout is made ^^ i did not create this layout and i don't know how to edit it either
Reply
:iconquincy--jones:
Quincy--Jones Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, kind of relevant for me as I'm just beginning on working with Photoshop, after doing traditional drawing my whole life. You are inspiring! 
Reply
:iconyuuza:
Yuuza Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
yup, start with the basics and work your way up :D and stick to your plan :D
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