Not sure where to begin

  • I'd like to get better at art, but the thing that I hate about it - when wanting to actually commit and get better - is that I don't know how/where to start, and I mean emotionally speaking. Sure, I watch the videos on here, but how do I actually improve? Do I just do the workbooks in that section I'm "learning" about, or is there more to it?

    I've just been feeling entirely lost lately. I'd like to do landscapes, practice anatomy, all of that, but when I read tutorials or watch videos (like on here)... what am I really supposed to be doing? I want to be able to just draw whatever I want to without worry and with ease... I don't really know how else to explain this.

  • SVS OG

    Hi @eleanor-m I totally understand what you mean, I think most of us do. Even if we've been doing art a long time it is so easy to look at other's work and feel like we're miles away from where we want to be, without a clear path forward.

    I think it was @Jake-Parker that talked about his art career being like climbing a mountain. Doing hikes and building up his skills slowly, each step however small, counted a progress toward his goal.

    It can often feel like the art we do, sketching or drawing something simple, is pointless, but it is cumulative. Jake also talked about fluid talent and channelled talent recently ( ) and whatever your level of fluid (natural) talent the good news is that you can choose to invest in your channeled talent (using the resources and people available to help you grow).

    Watching the videos and reading tutorials is awesome but the most important thing is to do the work, and to make use of all of us, to share the work you do so that you can improve. You can only improve with practice, instruction and feedback. some of your work!!!! It's scary but so worth it!

    Hope this help!

  • SVS OG

    I get how you feel! Do the workbooks, it always helps 🙂 If you don't know what to draw, work on the fundamentals! and then work on fundamentals, rinse, repeat hehe. I don't know what i want to do either, i just want to art. Joining in the monthly challenges always gives me something to work on with a focus.

  • Pro SVS OG

    As the others have mentioned already - it is a long and hard hike and the best thing is to take it one step at a time and focus on that. The best exercise that helped and helps me to grow as an artist and to get unstuck when I am stuck is to copy other artists' work. Nothing long or complicated - it can be even quick studies. Whenever I am at a loss of what to do or how to practice, I pull out character sheets from artists I like and start copying them. Or I download a bunch of still frames from movies and do quick and rough studies of them. Copying the masters has been a time-honored learning tool since the Renaissance and it really works - and you do not need to wait for inspiration or to think about what to draw. It is easy and you learn a ton doing that.
    Here is a place to go for stuff to study, copy and practice:
    It's the best reference database in the whole world wide web 😉

  • I fully agree with the others, so I don't need to repeat what they said. 🙂 But, I can give you some pointers, since I used to feel like this for almost 8 years.

    I found (sort of like what @smceccarelli said) that being able to copy is an extremely valuable skill. To me , this is 70% of art. I learn by tracing or copying art until I'm comfortable with the subject. (Say, a human, for example.) Then, I use bits and pieces I like from their style. Then I go learn from another style and change mine just a bit. So, say I like the way Vivienne Medrano draws hands, then I'd do that. But, maybe I like how Jake Parker draws feet more, so I use those along with the aforementioned hands. I did this for 8 years or so, and slowly but surely, I have gained my own style. I no longer can tell what each part is from, and I've put my own ideas in there too. I use this method today, and it allows me to try new methods and switch things up when I get an art block.
    But, don't forget:
    Art is about what you like, how you view things, and how you draw: It's a mixture of the things you like or have experienced.
    You can't get that anywhere else, so don't forget to do your own ideas too.

    When you do these classes, don't be afraid to trace or copy their work (as long as you always give credit to them), you're learning! This helps you focus on the methods or anatomy (etc.) you're learning, more than the creative concept side.

    This carries over to life drawing, where you "copy" real life things and then draw them, too.

    I hope this helps at all, because that's how I got where I am. 🙂 It has given me more confidence because there's not a right or wrong way to do it, my style changes (subtly) often!

    But, you do you, it's art, not school! 😃

  • I can relate. I've been drawing since I was a kid and have done some pieces I'm really proud of (mainly portraiture) however, when I decided to branch out in painting and illustration, I had no idea where to start. The last year has been a really challenging time for me. I'm pretty good at one aspect of art but I really am challenged when drawing from my imagination. It can be daunting to look at other who have mastered their craft, but I have to remind myself that it takes a long time to master any skill. Drawing is a skill, watercolor is a skill, making art in general is a skill. It all takes time to master. One of my biggest challenges is concepting, which is also a skill. I just have to keep at it. I practice every day. I may not share everything but I watch tutorials, do thumbnails, research, and just draw. I'm learning not to discount my line. I make a mark and don't erase. I let the line be the line. I turn the page and start again. I keep at is and eventually the bad ideas are out and the good ideas can then flow too. It's okay to start over. That's what every person who creates and makes does. If we didn't we wouldn't be called artists; we'd be called something else.

    So, I have given myself permission to experiment with media, subject matter, paper, whatever and everything. I am looking at things that I like and not comparing myself to others. I'm slowly but surely finding my line and myself in the process. I appreciate the encouragement and accept the feedback that is useful and wise, and I thank the rest for the input.

    I don't usually recommend books, but if you like to read you can find "The Creative License" by Danny Gregory at your library. The main focus is about visual journaling, something I haven't done in 30 years! It has provided me with a springboard for ideas and direction (and some emotional feels). You may find it helpful too. I feel like if I have a starting point, I can expand from there. It's really add another layer to what I'm learning here.

    Sorry, I was long-winded. HAHA
    Stay connected here.
    And Keep drawing!

  • @natiwata I've been posting some of my work since last September actually, but... I don't know. It's hard trying to not sink into self-loathing after I post something that actually isn't the best (trust me). It's just frustrating with the videos because my mind wanders a lot, and I have this processing problem, ect., I don't want to use this as an excuse, or let it keep me from trying to do my best.

    I actually want to sit down and work on something even if it takes me a week or two to finish - like landscapes. I want to improve and grow and everything, but I don't know why it's so hard to "create" a landscape from your imagination. I could go back and listen to what thumbnails are again, but..

    I'm sorry my reply is so weak, it took me a while to read everything everyone said and I was AFK after I first posted this. Agh.

  • Jake Parker talked about this in a YouTube video a while back. He said our minds can only put out what we put in, think of them as "Creativity Banks". If you keep withdrawing without adding new inspiration or ideas, you'll go bankrupt. (At least, that's how I understood it.) I suggest going on little inspiration sprees. Just look at some of your favorite art/artists' works, study them. This fills your "bank" or "library" in your brain, they're your resources. I personally print out art I admire and tape them in a notebook, that way I have access to some references even when I don't have electronics or wifi. This also allows me to trace them if I need help with drawing hands or anything of that sort. I have a 100 page notebook almost completely full, and I use it almost every night. (It also has references for characters I like to draw, like Sonic, in case I forget what they look like.)

    Another tip I'd give you is to visualize what everything looks like. In your brain, you may be thinking "I want to draw outer space with a cool bird astronaut. Go hands, draw!" But your hand doesn't have all the details!

    • What kind of bird? Is it big or small? Is it big or small compared to space? What color is it? Is it a boy or a girl? How does the spacesuit fit the bird? Does it have a spaceship? What does that look like? Where in outer space? Do you want me to draw in all the black space? I might get tired... Can we see earth in the shot? Is he floating in space, or just on a planet? Is this in perspective? What kind, one point, two point, three point? Is anyone else in space with him or her? Is the focus bird or space or...?

    Your "hand" is left filling in a TON of blanks, and now you're completely discouraged because the drawing looks like this:
    alt text
    ...Instead of this:
    alt text

    (These were made in paint, and I was trying to go fast. Please forgive the ugliness of the "better" one. XD )

    So, to help prevent this, you need to visualize. Before drawing, start with a general idea, say the "Bird in Space" thing. Think for awhile. Go through any questions you have (like the ones listed above) and answer them as best you can. Have the clearest image in your mind possible. Then draw it. You could even sketch it and redraw it if it's for a project you have to turn in or anything.

    I hope this helps!

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