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Art Secrets - The art of Thornwolf — LiveJournal
Art Secrets
Secrets and tips about being an artist as posted by gab, that was so cool I figured I'd share it with all of you.

The Secrets:

* You are not an artist unless you draw regularly. 'Artist' is not some title. It is a term describing something that you DO. A musician is NOT a musician unless he plays. A writer is NOT a writer unless he writes. If you do not draw/paint/whatever, you are NOT an artist.
* You will NEVER EVER EVER get better unless you practice, and practice a LOT. Every single day. Being an artist is not a thing that can be so easily picked up. Just like with anything worth learning, you have to do it. Over and over and over and over again.
* Most of what you draw, even with practicing, will be utter crap. Maybe one every 30, 70, 100 sketches you do will turn out well. Maybe you'll be lucky and get it sooner. But generally, practicing helps you be more accurate to get those numbers down, and will make you get the crappy stuff out of the way faster, so you'll start producing good stuff every day.
* If you do not LOVE to draw, DO NOT DO IT. Art is a very thankless career/hobby/whatever. Unless you have a passion for it and need to draw for yourself, without any sort of praise or monetary anything from anyone, do not expect to go very far. YOU must enjoy it for YOU, or it is completely pointless.
* Art blocks are frustrating. Not having inspiration is frustrating. Those 70-or-so crap sketches you have to get out of you are frustrating. But you have to keep drawing or you won't get through it. That's the ONLY way to get over it. Take a break, yes; try something completely different, yes; but unless you keep it up, you lose your being an artist. You can't expect to get anywhere when you can only draw when you are 'in the mood'.
* I don't think I've met anyone who's ever truly satisfied with their work. They may come out with a piece that they really like and enjoy, but really? Never happy with it. This goes for the greats that people admire and everything. Everyone is trying to get to a higher level, and just because they're better than you doesn't mean that they have it easy. Quite the contrary, really; they're stuck learning the REALLY advanced stuff, trying to make it work. Being jealous of someone else's personal 'failures' is STUPID. Art isn't a race; it's getting better and comparing you to yourself, not to anyone else. Thinking otherwise is very petty. Learn from them, be inspired by them, but do not hate them, or put them down when they are honestly unhappy with their quality of work. We're all trying to improve.
* Figure Drawing will help you immensely. Possibly more than anything other than practice, figure drawing improves your skills on so many different levels. Take it in school, see if a local art museum offers classes, make yourself draw other people, hire a model, do SOMETHING to get figure drawing in your routine, and often.
* Real media will help you on the computer, and the computer will help you with real media. Do not limit yourself to one or the other; being proficient in both ensures that you can do a variety of things to achieve the best possible results.
* Art is not art unless you get messy sometimes. Try painting and make a mess. Even digitally, go out of the lines and clean up later. One of my very favorite things is drawing with pens.
* Draw with pens OFTEN. Don't let yourself get caught up in trying to be a perfectionist; this hinders you in sketches! Sketch messy, FEEL what you're drawing; you can refine or redraw later. Sketching should be fun and liberating, not crushing under the oppressiveness of needing to get it perfect and without any blemish. A sketch is a sketch, and has so much more life when you let yourself mess up.
* Art is 30% drawing and 70% observation. Look around you. Draw from life. Photos are great and all, but nothing beats real reference. Go to a park and draw the people and trees. Go to a zoo and draw the animals. Spend time drawing your pet. This will help when you want to draw from memory, and like figure drawing, helps to hone your skills.
* Art classes are not stupid. You may not come out of there with works you want to show off, but they will help you experience a broad range of techniques and styles, and give you access to materials and opportunities you might not otherwise have. If nothing else, treat art classes- even the really boring ones - as a chance to get more practice in... and this can only be a good thing.
* Flashy coloring is NO replacement for good, solid principals in art. Learn the framework of how art is made to form a solid foundation, then take it and run with it in whatever way your creativity desires.
* Make sure to draw for yourself once in a while, even when doing commissions and the like. Please, please, please enjoy your art. Let it remain yours, even when in the service of others and careers.
* Don't be afraid to try something new. People might give you flack, but art should be something sacred to you. Stand up for it. Take it where YOU want it to go.
22 comments or Leave a comment
raptonx From: raptonx Date: October 21st, 2005 12:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I complealy agree, so very true. Espsually about the part of practice over and over again.
arbeywolf From: arbeywolf Date: October 21st, 2005 12:06 am (UTC) (Link)
ya know, I kinda needed to hear (read) this right now.
I've really been getting lazy with everything but especially practicing :/
edge_chan From: edge_chan Date: October 21st, 2005 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)
thanks for those words... now i feel great with my art :D
loriana From: loriana Date: October 21st, 2005 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)


Thanks so much for sharing this.
Much of it I knew... some of it is obvious, but I would say the most 'comforting' thing to it is knowing that everyone has to practice, and noone really just wakes up one day and is the worlds gift to art.

There is confirmation in what I have always imagined to be true: You cant draw something conjoured in your head well unless you can draw what sits before your eyes...

Surprising to me is the notion of just 'letting it go' and using pens and being messy about it- I upon a time did a few sketches in which I gave myself 5 minutes to draw a scene... yeah it sucked, but there was a sense of challenge and a notion that as I improved my speed and quality would too.

I enjoy drawing, certainly there are times when I am producing that crap talked of above that its less enjoyable, but I slog through it dispite it all, knowing that there is something to be learned in every mistake (uhh.. it assumes a good memory and the joury is out on wether i have one)

strangely though, I enjoy drawing for others as much, perhaps more, than myself. And for a long time I had difficulty to get anywhere with drawing because I only did it when I was around other people I could draw with or for. Needless to say it wasnt until I befrended a few artists that things changed.
Having someone request that I draw something seems to bring out creativity in me that doesnt exist otherwise. It makes it difficult to stay motivated when the biggest hurtle is deciding WHAT to draw.

And this, I dare say, is why its not my day job :/

Again.. thanks for posting this- I love to hear artsts talk about what they do and how.

(Also sorry about writing a book in your journal: Its just pretty cool read it, and then think about how it relates to my own experience.)
iolarnula From: iolarnula Date: October 21st, 2005 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
"Flashy coloring is NO replacement for good, solid principals in art."
I think more people should realise this. I've seen way too many pictures where the artist has been focusing on getting that fur texture/scales/hair/whatever to look OMG.SO.REAL (and it still doesn't), leaving the colours, values, and underlying structures all weird and half-arsed.

"Sketch messy, FEEL what you're drawing; you can refine or redraw later."
Great point. Heh, the bulk of what I draw now is messy scribbly gestures, sometimes from when I am stalking and intently spying glancing at passers-by.

Thanks for posting this.
tooiebird From: tooiebird Date: October 21st, 2005 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I need to remember these next time I feel down about my art skills. thanks for sharing!
visioncrafter From: visioncrafter Date: October 21st, 2005 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
*sniff* such a wonderful list... and I LOVE that Icon!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
autumn_sunrise From: autumn_sunrise Date: October 21st, 2005 02:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Mmmn, all too true. I give this person points, I couldn't have said it better myself!
gab From: gab Date: October 21st, 2005 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for posting this. :) I feel totally cool now, or something. I'm glad that it seems to be doing some good! Yay!
ahkahna From: ahkahna Date: October 21st, 2005 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks Thorn- Actually, I'm going to copy this to Word, up the font size and print this bitch out because for fucks sakes I REALLY NEEDED THIS!!!

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gab From: gab Date: October 21st, 2005 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, guys, it's not meant to sound like THAT. I mean, you both DO draw a lot and it's good if you're happy with your stuff! I mean, you both have been drawing for a long time and are all on that professional awesome level. Was there ever a time, like, way back in the day, when this stuff would have applied to you?

I think it's directed at those people who are always complaining to me, mostly. 'I suck at art!!' 'why don't you practice?' 'because I don't have time excuse excuse excuse excuse' Kind of thing.
lemur_cat From: lemur_cat Date: October 22nd, 2005 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
*raises hand* That would be me. I don't practice because it depresses me that I suck ^_^
griffin_bandida From: griffin_bandida Date: October 21st, 2005 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
great tips, most of them I've heard already, but it's always nice to remember them since I keep forgotting them, shame on me ._.
I specially loved the first tip, I never called myself an artist not only because I only have 16years old but because I don't do a lot of art, I call myself "someone who wants to be an artist in the future", bit title huh? XD
From: wolphyn Date: October 21st, 2005 07:00 am (UTC) (Link)
That's some good shizzle. Fo realz, yo. I should really start following that advice, though I already do all of my sketching scribbling with pens simply because it pisses me off when a good sketch gets smudged into oblivion, and I can't just carry fixative around all the time.
(no subject) - alpha_ki - Expand
mottenfest From: mottenfest Date: October 21st, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 21st, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Basically you have to be so obsessed with your pen or whatever that others think you're sick.
My old art teacher told me that an artist will draw with his/her own blood if he/she must ;)

Actually I should print this out and give it to my art teachers...
they do art because they think it is "oh so cool and because I can make crap into art". And they admit students to art teaching school who apply with the sentence "I used to work at a banc and I loved the contact with people and decided that I should continue that and teach art. Oh, and I like to paint, I take a canvas and paint on it with happy colors. I've only done it last week the first time but I liked it sooooo much!.... blah blah"
I'm not telling you WHAT she painted.
/end rant

do you mind if I put you on my eyeballing-list?
I swear I will keep my entries on "wrinkled brown things pointing glowy stuff at you" low :)
akeyla From: akeyla Date: October 21st, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

that would be me...
*glares log-in window*
loriana From: loriana Date: October 22nd, 2005 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)

A Question-

I was wondering how often, in the creation of your 'average piece of furry art' you find yourself using reference material? I know as your experience grows the need for such diminishes. But on like hands and such I find myself having often to look at my own hand (of course I am not an artist by any means given the above definition) ... I was just wondering how much anatomy really gets commited to memory given an 'unusual' pose, in particular.

Right now I'm working on a surfing pic, for example, and there is NO way I could tell you with a strait face I'm not using reference images.

thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: October 22nd, 2005 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A Question-

For unusual poses i have to use reference but typically I don't unless I'm planning on finishing something. I didn't use much reference for Bloodhound Omega's piece, really I had folks redline it but it wasn't such a difficult pose that I couldn't manage. Hands and arms and stuff I remember a lot of the muscles so its pretty committed to memory the basic shape, just the details sometimes I have to double check.
woyro From: woyro Date: October 23rd, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
wise words. thanks for setting them down. i'm not an artist, but i would like to draw better. i do some sketches for myself and, as you say, most of them are crap. and i get discouraged. and i dont sketch for a long time. i realize that i will get better the more drawing i do, but...i get discouraged. maybe knowing that other ARTISTS have those problems and feelings will make me break out the pads and pens a little more often. thanks.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 27th, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Tyrack Wolf II

This is so true. I love to draw alot, but unfortunately, I still haven't grasped art classes. I've got no time this year for them at school...
22 comments or Leave a comment