Some things I've picked up on drawing realistically:
—–The tips on blending/ base color are mostly for prismacolor pencils but could be true for other things. Everything else is kinda general.—–
-Always have a good outline before you start, if your outline is shitty there is no possible way filling it in will make it better so make your outline as accurate as possible.
-99.999999% of all artwork goes through a “this looks like trash” phase… so just keep on powering through it’s not going to get better by throwing it out and starting again 1/5 of the way through… look for ways to fix it
-use ur eraser/ paint over and fix mistakes
Work from background to foreground (back to front obejects) if your doing a background color/paint that in first. Then work on the next farthest thing. Color the inside of the eye before you do they eyelashes/ waterline
-if your subject os wearing makeup/tattoos/etc you should put down their normal skin tone first, then put on the makeup. It’s how real makeup/tattoos work and it will ensure if you screw up it will completely erase and not stain the paper underneath so you won’t have to worry about having some dark erase mark where you went out too far.
-stay away from using the color black when shading non-grey/black subjects. Unless your trying to do the shading for something black/white/grey/ or extremely dark colors (like navy blue that is so dark it looks like it could be black) avoid it, it isn’t realistic.
-human flesh tones aren’t just variations of peach/tans/browns/etc. depending on the skin tones your trying to achieve you could need turquoise, pink, purple, green, gold, blue, red, yellow, and/or a mix of everything.
-you should have a base color of the lightest highlight of the area then put the darker shading on top of it, then you can add that light color on top to blend and soften. Additionally having the lightest highlight as your base tint will ensure if you screw up on shading you can erase and not have dark erase marks as the color that ‘stains’ the paper is the lightest
-grids are your friend, use grids
-use a reference, you and the rest of the world most likely will not be able to remember things perfect from memory. Trust me even if you just want to draw a tiger
-Many schools will not want you to work from photo references for a still life project as it is actually much easier to work from photos than from real life, but if they allow it you should not feel ashamed if you want to make it less stressful on yourself and take a picture of the subject,, remember even tattoo artists will work from a photo/premade drawing in addition to a direct outline on the skin
-art is hard, nobody can teach you how to draw/paint, they can give tips and pointers to help you
-if the person in your portrait has the wrong expression, like they are to sad/angry looking, try changing the eyebrows… I’ve been in high art classes for years and didn’t know that until last week when I complained on the internet that my portrait subject looked too sad and somebody commented to check the eyebrows and it changed my life and the entire mood of the subject
-if you’re just drawing for fun (fan art, etc) you can *whispers really secretively* trace the outline *17 gasps heard from across the country* honestly I’m guilty of just not feeling like spending 6 hours perfectly proportioning the base outline of things, especially people (again, shitty base outline, shitty final product) so I will sit and zoom in on a pic on my phone/laptop and trace it. Also it’s not like it makes your art any less impressive, filling in color/shading and blending right is all up to you and that can make or break your drawing and that is something you literally can’t trace.
- ALWAYS TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR ART WHILE YOU ARE WORKING ON IT… like progression pics. SEEING YOUR DRAWING IN PHOTO FORM WILL MAKE YOU NOTICE THINGS THAT ARE OFF (color, proportion, etc). Trust me take pictures as you go, if something is off in the photo, fix it and take another (it’s more effective than that whole ‘turn your picture sideways bullshit’ trust me it’s what has saved so many drawings.
-if you take a break from a drawing, put it somewhere where you won’t see it every 5 seconds. When you come back to it you might notice even minute things that are off (and trust me a minute detail can change your entire piece
-white is really helpful for blending skin tones (yes even darker skin tones) again this is true for colored pencils, not sure how it would fair for other media
-If you THINK you see some kind of color tint, you probably do, make sure you try to add in just that little hint of it.
-backgrounds are hard when you are one to lose interest on anything that isn’t the main subject so if that’s u, you’re not alone I hate them too
-pencil cap erasers are your best friend, not just because you go through erasers a lot, but because they are fine tipped so you can erase small areas
-you will almost always be able to see some kind of lines if you’re using colored pencils/etc so make sure as you go, those lines work with the drawing. Color hair in the way the direction the hair is going, etc (like sanding with the (metaphorical) grain)
-the face is the most important aspect to get realistic (especially the eyes). If you have a really great face it will distract from weak points in fabrics, backgrounds, etc
I use etc a lot hope I helped someone out there
A visual arts student who had to figure all of this stuff out on her own