Hi Red! I hope you don't mind me asking... you're exactly what I aspire to be in terms of art skills, I can only dream of one day being as good as you. But I don't know where to start and sometimes I feel a little lost and don't know how to improve at all. I thought I'll ask you for a bit of help? for example what drawing apps you use or if you have any quick tips? sorry I'm sure you get this all the time but it would be helpful. Thank you!
Hello nonnie! Thank you so much for the wonderful compliments, first of all. I’d be happy to help if I can.
So… for my art the applications I use the most are the following:
Photoshop: This is a given. Most artists who do art professionally tend to prefer PS over any other program for the simple reason that it’s a really amazing tool. The brush sets available for it are great and unlike other applications, it doesn’t crash or struggle when you push it (say working on really big canvas dimensions and whatnot). Learning how to master PS fully is, however, quite hard and time consuming. But worth it. I use PS for all my more complex pieces, for paintings and pretty much anything that’s not simple, quick art.
Paint Tool Sai: Now, Sai is as accessible and easy to use as it is lackluster in certain departments. You’ll find a lot of beginner artists using Sai because of how easy to master it is, and it gives you good results. If you struggle a little to learn how to use complex applications, this might just be your best friend. I use it occasionally for sketching or any simple, quick work (like the doodles I do for this blog).
PureRef: This is an application I’ve never seen anyone talk about around here and I often wonder why. I get most of my income from commissions, and this application is so useful I just can’t go without it. But the concept is simple. Essentially, it allows you to create a collage of references and this window will always stay open on top of any other windows while still allowing you to operate on the windows below. For example; you can have PS open and you can be working on your art while PureRef stays on top (wherever on your screen you might want it to be) and that way you can look at your references while working on your art comfortably. Simple but neat.
Now those three are the ones I use the most, but I also occasionally use these:
Krita: This one is great because of the unique way in which layers work in it, the brushes look great and it, for me, functions like a professional application. It is essentially a Photoshop replica for free. But fair warning, it crashes and lags at times.
Paintstorm Studio: Another one I never see doing the rounds anywhere on social media. This is a wonderful application and I dare say superior to Photoshop on the brush department. I’m only learning how to use it now, but so far I’m quite impressed with it.
As for tips, I don’t know… because what helps and doesn’t often varies depending on the particular artist. Not everyone learns the same way. I’d recommend watching a lot of art related videos; tutorials, speedpaints, even just people talking about art programs and tools often helps. There’s a really good website called Skillshare where professional artists make videos to show you in detail how they work and how they produce their art. I’d definitely recommend it. Also just check out art in general, all the time, all kinds of art, different styles. Pay attention to the details that make certain art styles unique and appealing. If you’re self taught like me, trying to figure out how someone produced a certain piece of art, what technique they used, is often the way to learn.
And last but not least the thing everyone’s sick of hearing but is the ultimate truth so I’m sorry, here it goes: Practice. Draw your heart out. My right wrist sounds like an old creaking door while my left wrist rolls smoothly, there’s a reason for it. (DISCLAIMER DON’T HURT YOURSELF WHILE MAKING YOUR ART OMFG. Get yourself a table of wrist exercises and stretch often.) I draw all the time and I draw every day. Every. Single. Day. I don’t usually take off days, for me an off day means I’m drawing for an hour or two instead of six or nine hours. Practice truly does make perfect, and try to balance the things you’re good at with those you’re not. Practice more the stuff that you’re worst at if you want a balanced skill set. Don’t be scared of trying new things and going out of your comfort zone, otherwise you might get stuck on doing the same thing over and over and will never learn new stuff. There’s nothing to be afraid of, worst case scenario some of your art will suck for a bit but keep at it, and you can be good at just about anything.
And don’t half ass things. Try to put passion in everything you do. This is harder than it sounds. There might be things you don’t really feel like doing at a certain point in time but even those deserve your full attention. Give it your all and your art will always have that something special! Commit to it, and you’ll achieve anything you want, trust me.
I hope this was of help in some way? I wish you luck out there doing your art :)
See you around~