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July 18
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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  

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:iconshannonallaround:
ShannonAllAround Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
brilliantly said :)
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: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 3 days ago  Student Traditional Artist
Thumbs up! I am a dummy! Clap 
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: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
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:iconrhythm-wily:
Rhythm-Wily Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014
#2 is especially good to know. XD
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: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
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: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! :)
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: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
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: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
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: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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