I'm super excited and grateful for the opportunity, I couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with and working in-house has been at the top of my bucket list for years.
This is true in every form of media. Why play a board game when you can play a video game with exciting graphics and sound? Why watch a stage play when you can watch a movie with impossible action and breathtaking visuals? Why read an article when you can watch a YouTube vlog with jump cuts mid-sentence ensuring none of your precious time is wasted?
This is the evolution of media and technology and it's not inherently bad, in many ways it's incredibly good. New media offers all kinds of great things that shouldn't be discounted, but it also comes with a risk. We get used to the idea that we need to be perpetually entertained, every second of every day. When we're used to being constantly stimulated by new #content, how can we ever expect to sit down for 8 hours and finish a great painting? How can spending 30 minutes rendering someone's left forearm compete with the thrill of an action movie?
It can't. And it shouldn't have to.
Much like classical music or a stage play, making artwork is a slow process. It requires patience, focus, and a lot... of..... time. And for most of us that requires some proactive conditioning of our brain. Now don't worry, I'm not saying you should cancel your internet and only listen to Mozart for the rest of your life, but if you struggle with focus, I would highly recommend committing to this rule:
Before and during work hours, avoid highly stimulating media.
Now i'm no brain science man, but this is something I've learned from my mentors and have found to be very true in my own work. If I play video games in the morning before painting, I can't focus. If I try to watch movies on the side during the long process of rendering, I can't focus. If my phone is buzzing with new emails and tweets to check every 5 minutes, I can't focus. As a result of this cumulative effect, I've spent many 10 hour days and accomplished only 2 hours of work.
Without exception, I have always made my best work in the shortest amount of time when I commit myself to focus. I still watch plenty of movies and play plenty of games, but only after I finish my art for the day. Our perception is heavily influenced by contrast, and if you don't overstimulate your mind in the morning it's much, MUCH, easier to focus on the slow process of painting throughout the day. If the most thrilling thing you've done today is brush your teeth, making art actually becomes pretty exciting.
So if you find yourself struggling with focus I'd encourage you to give this a try! No games, movies, TV, etc. before or during work hours. Keep your phone in another room where you can't hear it. Avoid constantly updating sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr like the plague. Then when you've put in your honest work for the day, go wild and have a good time. I think you'll find that you can make better art in less time, and enjoy the process much more.
Until next time, make art and f-f-focus on it!
SO... what are some things you have trouble with and would like to see demonstrated? I'll do my best to cover as many of your specific topics as possible. And don't worry, hands, shading, and hair are already on the list.
Thanks to everyone who's submitted pieces so far, there's some great stuff to look at! And if you haven't sent in work and would like to there's still time, so get in on it. We've got time for more and I promise I don't bite.
Also you can still submit work even if you can't make it to the stream. The whole thing will be recorded and available to re-watch later.
Hope to see you then!
Just wanted to take a moment and say thanks for all the lovely comments and birthday wishes lately! I don't always have time to respond, but I read them all and truly appreciate all the amazing support! You guys are the best! :3
It's a new year of new adventures and I've got a lot of goals and projects that I want to get done (including a potentially epic video tutorial series but don't tell anyone). More on all that to come... soon.
Thanks again and best of luck going in to 2016!
THING NUMBAH ONE:
Give yourself more time. It's simple, it's easy, and you can do it right now. There's a problem where we get over-saturated with time-lapsed speedpaint videos, and even though in our conscious mind we know they don't *really* work that fast it still leaves an imprint on us. We feel like if we're not scribbling madly to work out a design or painting with rapid, verbose brushwork that we must be doing something wrong. This is the opposite of the truth.
If you haven't already, find a way to watch a great artist paint in real time, especially traditionally, and you'll be amazed how much time they spend just looking, thinking, planning, choosing a color, and then finally putting down one good brush stroke. Often our creative decisions are stifled by impatience or by procrastination + deadlines. The more time you allow yourself to solve a creative problem, the more mental space you'll have to welcome one or two, "Aha!" moments.
THING NUMBAH TWO:
Technical skills unlock a lot of creative potential. I used to hate doing thumbnails. It felt like a waste because they all looked the same and I never really came up with any different ideas. This wasn't a lack of creativity though, it was a lack of technical skill.
I didn't know perspective well enough, so I couldn't say, "Ok this scene is cool, but what if the camera was looking down from above?". I didn't understand anatomy and foreshortening well enough, so I could only draw one straight-on pose with the arms sticking out awkwardly to the sides. I didn't understand lighting and form well enough, so I couldn't set up the scene like a filmmaker would and try putting the light over here, then over there, then somewhere else, and see which one effectively aimed the viewer's attention where it needed to be.
The better your technical skills get, the less mental energy is required to make things look correct. As a result you clear tons of space in your mind to be thinking about creative decisions instead. Study fundamentals more and your creativity will improve exponentially as a side-effect.
In conclusion, if you've ever asked, "Am I creative?" the answer is yes. All of us at some point ran around waving a stick in the air, but we were really slaying dragons. That is creativity, and that spark doesn't disappear as we age, we just need to give it more oxygen so it can become a roaring fire.
An awesome artist and good friend of mine Crystal Sully is currently fighting with some major medical bills and is considering putting her artwork on hold until they can be paid off.
To help cover these expenses, I've started a GoFundMe campaign! It would be awesome if you could check it out, donate if you're able, and share with your friends! Also in addition to supporting Crystal's amazing artwork, you can get some free artwork from me! I almost never offer commissions, so this is a super rare opportunity if you've ever wanted to get a custom painting from me!
Check out all the details here: www.gofundme.com/savethedragon…
Thanks in advance for your support! LET'S GET THIS DID! <3
To escape the sticky swamp of entry level jobs, you need to produce better work and market that work, which will never happen if you're always taking shortcuts to get your work done faster because, "They're only paying me X, it's not worth spending more than X hours on."
To grow your career, you need to create artwork that's worth more than what you're being paid, for three reasons:
1. If you do that for long enough, your existing clients will pay you more because they want to keep you.
2. If your existing clients can't pay you more, your increased work quality will attract (with the help of your proactive marketing) better quality clients who *will* pay you more.
3. Painting bad art for bad rates is demoralizing as hell. Creating work you know is below what you're capable of is a great way to kill your passion in a matter of months. If you can't increase your quality because of living expenses, look for ways to reduce those expenses or find other work while you develop your best possible portfolio.
Obviously we all need to make enough money to live, and sometimes rush jobs are inevitable because the rent is due and there's nothing wrong with that. But be wary that you don't get stuck in a rut because your clients pay bad and you haven't made anything you're proud of in two years.
That happened to me, it probably happens to all of us at some point, and the best way out is to make better art. Study more, do more ideation, spend more time on it, use more reference, take fewer shortcuts. Whatever it takes, make the time to create the best art you possibly can.
Stop wishing you were better and learn to just do the work and enjoy the journey. Success is meaningless without struggle.
Just a thought I was musing on this morning. Thought you guys might appreciate it.
How long have you been on DeviantArt?
8 years and counting! Which means I joined as just a wee lad of 14, lol.
What does your username mean?
I've had this username forever. I love mages and Warcraft, and the top dog archmage in Warcraft III was named Antonidas, so I just did a stupid spin-off of that for my battle.net name and I've used it ever since.
Describe yourself in three words.
Swish and flick.
Are you left or right handed?
Right handed. Take that weird creative-side-brain theories!
What was your first deviation?
Officially it was an acrylic landscape painting, but I generally consider this dragon to be my first foray in to the nerdy art world and the beginning of my time here on dA:
What is your favourite type of art to create?
Obviously I love painting Smite cards, the design team at Hi-Rez is fantastic and it's always a pleasure to illustrate their characters! Other than that though, I really love doing figure paintings and still lifes; I adore academic art even though it is a renderfest at times.
If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be?
I generally tend towards realism, but I'd love to be able to do more stylized stuff. You can be so much more expressive with characters that way; some kind of Disney / Blizzard hybrid would probably be my end goal.
What type of art do you tend to favourite the most?
Lately I've mostly been favoriting things with really cool color or with an interesting stylization.
Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist?
Mr--Jack, no contest.
How has a fellow deviant impacted your life?
There's so many examples; peoples' tutorials and artwork were the initial spark that got me really serious about art, especially Mr--Jack's zerg series. And there have been so many people here that have impacted me over the years; many of my early dA friends who I first met on NDA and some I met here that guided me through my early years of crap art and gave me great feedback and advice. Like I said up top, I wouldn't be the artist I am today without dA and the lovely folks here.
What are your preferred tools to create art?
Photoshop and Cintiq 4 lyfe!
What is the most inspirational place for you to create art?
Wherever my headphones and music are, and also forests and mountains.
What is your favourite DeviantArt memory?
There's so many, but probably when I got my first Daily Deviation on that blending tutorial (please don't look it up it's so bad, lol). I had only been here for a year and I totally freaked out when I woke up to like four thousand notifications, haha.
SO... ConceptArt has been sending out emails to promo their study programs with little snippets of advice, some of them are good but one of them that came the other day really irks me. The first thing on their list is, "Study with a sense of urgency"
Now... this is my opinion, but I've heard similar sentiments from many other artists and creators who I would consider, "successful" in their field. And, in my opinion, "Study with a sense of urgency" is the absolute worst advice anyone could give to a beginner.
Yes, you need to work hard. The arts are a competitive field, and you need to push yourself if you want to climb the ladder. BUT in all of your hard work beware of mind sets like:
-"If I don't get good fast my dream job will disappear."
-"When this artist was my age they were still twice as good as I am now, what's wrong with me?"
-"If I'm not drawing for 16 hours a day then I'm doomed to failure."
-"I've been drawing for years now, why is this still difficult?"
All of these are a sure fire way to kill your passion for art and drive yourself mad. I would know, I spent a lot of time trapped in them. There's an old adage that's corny and cliche but it's true: the journey is the destination. And as soon as you learn to appreciate that, you will be happy with your work. As a counterpoint to the above mind sets:
-If your dream job disappears, who cares? There are other jobs. There's pleasure to be had in all kinds of work, don't deny yourself happiness until you, "make it" with X company.
-Age doesn't matter, and you can't compare your journey with others. You just can't, it's too complex. You have no idea what situations lead to someone else's success, and you will never replicate it. So just do your own thing, the only thing that matters is that you're better now than you were yesterday.
-Quality over quantity. Drawing for 16 hours a day isn't healthy; you need to spend time on other things to refresh your brain. A few hours a day of high quality study time will always be better than bashing your head against a wall for 12 hours straight.
-Don't, "should" all over yourself. Graduated last year? That doesn't mean you, "should" be or have anything. The universe owes you nothing, so don't be disappointed when things don't go as you planned. Instead, work hard now so that when a good opportunity presents itself you're prepared for it.
In conclusion, urgency is (usually) an imaginary construct, assuming that there is extremely limited time / opportunity to achieve your dreams. This is a lie. There's plenty of work to be had, plenty of time to improve, plenty of opportunities to experiment, and plenty of joy and fulfillment to be had where you are right this second. Live in the moment, appreciate what you have, and enjoy the journey as you work for bigger and better.
I always promised myself I'd reply to every comment, but as often happens with childhood dreams it's not as practical as I'd like it to be. Illustration takes a lot of time, and apparently adults have to buy groceries and do taxes or something? I don't know, I never got my info packet.
But in any case, thank you all for all your comments, favorites, and shares! It really means a lot to me, and though I don't always have time to reply I read every single one. And if you ever have questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.
As always, more art is coming soon! And I'm hoping some more tutorials as well.
Live long and draw-sper!
Also this is enough material to last you for, literally, years, so get one at a time, study it in detail, then once you're thoroughly finished move on to the next one. Reading a book or watching a dvd doesn't make you better. What makes you better is ingesting the information slowly, pondering and truly understanding it, and then applying it with diligent practice over a long period of time.
So without further ado, here is my...
EPIC RESOURCES LIST!!!
Proko - This is probably the best education on the internet. Check out all his free youtube tutorials here: [Link] or for even more content purchase the premium courses at proko.com
Figure Drawing for All Its' Worth by Andrew Loomis: [Link]
Figure Drawing, Design and Invention by Michael Hampton: [Link]
Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life: [Link]
Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators [Link]
Figure Drawing by Erik M. Gist [Link]
The Human Figure: An Anatomy for Artists by David K. Rubins [Link]
Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist by Stephen Peck [Link]
Also, Proko is about to start releasing an anatomy series, and I expect it will be of the highest quality, so get in on that for some easy to understand video tutorials that will make a complex topic much easier to understand.
Rendering, Light, Color, and Value
Practical Light and Color by Jeremy Vickery [Link]
Color and Light by James Gurney [Link]
How to Render Matte Surfaces 1, 2, and 3 by Scott Robertson: [Link] [Link] [Link]
Everything on CtrlPaint.com
PSG Art Tutorial by Prometheus: [Link]
Painting Joan of Arc by Donato Giancola: [Link]
Basic Perspective Form Drawing by Scott Robertson [Link]
Picture This: How Pictures Work by Molly Bang: [Link]
Unfortunately I haven't found a lot of good resources on composition. Very few people seem to get to the heart of composition which is the abstract design of a painting and how it controls the subconscious emotion of a piece. Molly Bang's book does a great job of explaining this, but beyond that I would recommend you reverse-engineer masterpieces by artists like Dean Cornwell and N.C. Wyeth. Do small, simple thumbnail studies of their work and study the shapes and values.
Concept Art / Character Design
Visual Storytelling 1, 2, 3, and 4 by Iain McCaig. Learning foundations is important, but being creative is what makes great art, and this is the best resource I have ever seen on how to develop an idea. If you want to make compelling art, BUY THESE: [Link] [Link] [Link] [Link]
Imaginative Realism: How to Paint what Doesn't Exist by James Gurney [Link]
Feng Zhu's Design Cinema: [Link]
Drawing People by Barbara Bradley: [Link]
This book has great information on drawing drapery and clothing, as well as other helpful general drawing principles.
Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters by Robert Beverly Hale: [Link]
This book covers a multitude of topics and will shine the light on many useful (and fundamental) principles that make great drawings. It's not a comprehensive course, but it will open up your eyes as to the things you need to study to improve your work. Highly, highly recommended!
I'm sure there's more than this that I'm forgetting, when I remember it I'll add it, and if there's a topic missing let me know and if I've encountered any good resources on that topic I'll add it. Happy painting!
So truly and deeply, thanks for all your support! I know everyone talks about this stuff and it's sappy and cliche but it's true, if this community hadn't been here when I was first starting out I may have never recognized that art was something that could be pursued as a career, and your support over the years means more than you know. I'm definitely at an interesting point in my life and career right now, some things are changing, others are staying the same, but I'm excited for all of it and I'm working on some new stuff that's completely different from what I've done before that I can't wait to share.
So here's to improvement, and if you're in this boat too or just starting out don't ever give up on your dreams! Life's too short to spend doing anything other than what you love, and although sometimes it seems like it's too hard, taking one small step at a time will always result in progress, and the journey is the destination.
From 2007 to 2014, I<3U dA.
In the meantime though, I was struck with an idea today and wanted to run it by you guys. I'm thinking of starting a weekly (video?) tutorial series. it's something I've missed doing over the past couple years in the flurry of maintaining a freelance career, but it's something I've always wanted to do. So if that's something you guys would be interested in let me know, and feel free to leave suggestions for topics or things you would like to see covered! I'm gonna do some scheming and see where this road leads.