hey! first of all: congratulations on your art, i just found your blog and it's already one of my favourites, oh my god, everything is just stunning! second: i'm sorry if someone asked this before, but i didn't find it in your ask tags; you said you are mostly self-taught, and i wondered: where did you start? do you have any advice for someone who is just beginning to teach themselves how to draw? thanks ^^
I started the wrong way, which is why is took me so long to improve. I would draw without direction, a few times a year, and had convinced myself that I didn’t need the basics, that my “intuition” (ahem) and “talent” (AHEM) were all I needed to improve over time.
I only started improving once I realised that the first was inconsistent, and the second was nonexistent.
From my experience, learning to draw is done in two ways: through theory and through practice. The two go hand in hand, and ignoring either one slows improvement.
Theory is easy to disregard, but doing so is harmful in the long term. Behind every masterpiece is knowledge, not magic. This knowledge comes through studying the fundamentals: form, light, perspective, proportion and composition, extending to anatomy, colour and movement. It’s learning to understand what you’re drawing, and how to communicate it, without even picking up a pencil.
Practice is exactly what you think it is: drawing, in all forms. Whether you’re doing studies, or sketches, or creating finished pieces, it’s applying those fundamentals in order to create… Sometimes it’s finding those fundamentals through your mistakes. As much as I like to stress the technical side of drawing, intuition has a part to play too, and can lead you to learning, whether you realise it or not.
For the record, you don’t need fundamentals to draw. And you don’t need to draw to understand fundamentals. But only by combining the two will you acquire the tools needed to properly communicate whatever drawing is in your head.
As for smaller pieces of advice…
Be patient and consistent. You can learn so many wonderful things by listening to an art talk once a day, or spending fifteen minutes every morning sketching. You can’t learn everything at once, nor do you need to. Just make sure that you’re feeding your skills a little bit each day.
Even small pieces of information can drastically change your art. Simple things, like learning to use a cool light when using a warm shadow, what rim light is, that there are three joints in the finger, the rule of thirds … Take, what, a minute each to learn? I mean, the day I spent 20 minutes watching a video on colour theory, changed my art forever. Those minutes all add up, and are all small victories.
What’s also really helped me, and which is often overlooked, is indulging the philosophy behind art. I’ve watched just as many tutorials on proportion and anatomy, as I’ve listened to podcasts on inspiration and artist health. Thinking about art and moulding your mindset to suit whatever it is you’re working towards is crucial to being a happy artist.
Feed off of creative media: other artists’ work, books, film, video games, music… I’ve always believed that art has its own energy to be used and shared. Allow yourself to find it in other people’s creations and to give some back whenever you can.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to just draw. Draw as much as you can, even if it’s only a little, and no matter how bad you think it is. It’s all mileage, so it all has value.
(I’ve left some resources under the cut, that I’ve referred to in the past and continue to use. Long story short, the internet is your best friend.)
Good luck with everything! I wish you all the best ♥