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  1. #1
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    Unhappy I'm incredibly lost, and I'm in dire need of some real advice.

    I just joined this site though I have known about it for a while. My name is Brandi, and I'm 18 years old, currently not in school for many personal reasons that I am not willing to discuss... Anyway... I am sorry if I'm doing something wrong by asking this, or posting this here, I have no idea where to post this. I know you all have a lot of tutorials and I was looking around and just got overwhelmed. This entire site, its just wow! I don't know what to do because I don't know what to look for.

    But anyway. I have been drawing all of my life, and I have to say, I'm embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I've never been given any sort of instruction. I've never really been able to leave my comfort zones. I get too attached to trying to draw "cute" things and I've realized that I don't know ANYTHING about:

    >anatomy/proportion
    >lighting
    >coloring in general

    I couldn't draw anything other than an animal if my life depended on it. (And even then, its still terrible)

    I don't have any money, so traditional wise, all I have is cheap lead pencils and copy paper for drawing. At one point I owned some Prisma colored pencils which I spent all my birthday money on and my younger sister destroyed every single one before I could even get a good handle on them. What I do have is a wacom tablet in the smallest size available, and adobe photoshop CS2. I know how to barely get by trying to color and mess with layers, but in reality I can see that I don't know any basics at all. And this is why I need help. I feel like I need to start over.

    Where am I supposed to start? What do people learning to become good artists practice drawing the most? How do I learn better anatomy? I've been seriously distressed. I ask my boyfriends opinion and he tells me my art is "bland and one-dimensional" And I took it as an insult for a long time but he's right. I don't know how to get out of this pathetic comfort zone that I'm in. I don't know why but I just don't see myself improving at all... I'm just so incredibly lost......

    Art is my life, its the only thing I've ever been partially good at but I'm just so unhappy with everything that I do. Even when I draw the things that I like the most I feel this strange emptiness. I know I just joined this site, and I know none of you know or care about me... but I'd really just like for someone to give me some sort of advice on what to do... I need some sort of foundation.... Sorry this is really long too... I wont post any pictures for right now but if someone needs to see what I draw for reference of where I am I could do that... I have a photobucket and everything and I know how to post images....

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  3. #2
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    Don't let it make you miserable. Art should be something from which you derive joy. It's only supposed to be a nightmare if you're trying to earn money out of it. If it makes you unhappy, do something else! One skill you need to gain in order to improve is the ability to be critical about your own pictures and recognize faults yourself. You can do this by comparing it to the type of art you aspire to produce, and analyzing what makes it better than your own effort. Analyse what it is that you admire in a picture, and think how you might emulate it.

    It will help also to have fresh eyes cast over your pictures. You will have to post some stuff in the critique section. That's the only way anyone will be able to offer you specific advice. However, long-term progress depends upon being your own harshest critic. One can't rely forever on other people's prompts and suggestions.

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  5. #3
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    If you're new to the forums, please read this thread: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=79774

    I think the rest of these may be answered in Art Discussion or Lounge. Will move your thread.

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  7. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dashinvaine View Post
    Don't let it make you miserable. Art should be something from which you derive joy. It's only supposed to be a nightmare if you're trying to earn money out of it. If it makes you unhappy, do something else! One skill you need to gain in order to improve is the ability to be critical about your own pictures and recognize faults yourself. You can do this by comparing it to the type of art you aspire to produce, and analyzing what makes it better than your own effort. Analyse what it is that you admire in a picture, and think how you might emulate it.

    It will help also to have fresh eyes cast over your pictures. You will have to post some stuff in the critique section. That's the only way anyone will be able to offer you specific advice. However, long-term progress depends upon being your own harshest critic. One can't rely forever on other people's prompts and suggestions.
    First of all, thank you so much for your input. You're definitely right. I do love art though, I've been drawing since I was 2... I guess with art, its a "love-hate" relationship. Sometimes I feel miserable, and sometimes I feel incredibly happy. It's not something I'd want to trade for anything else though, most definitely. I suppose I will start putting things in the critique section when I can... Thanks again.

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  8. #5
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    Post a sketchbook, people will be queueing up to tell you how much you suck.

    Seriously though, post some work, nobody can tell what's iffy until they see your work.

    Oh yeah, welcome to the monkey house.

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  9. #6
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    I know how you feel, I felt the same way not too long ago.

    Something that really helped me when I was first starting out was Andrew Loomis books. You can get them for free here:
    http://www.fineart.sk/index.php?cat=1
    Read through them, study them, do the exercises he tells you to do. A good place to start for anatomy is "Figure Drawing for all it's worth". "Creative Illustration" also has a lot of good stuff about perspective, line, tone, color, etc.

    Above all else though, and people will tell you this over and over again, practice practice practice. Draw from life, draw from life, draw from life. Cram that into your head and draw everything you see. If you want to draw human figures, if you can't sign up for a life drawing class at some community college, go out to some coffee shop or library, or whatever, and draw people. Draw your family members. Draw your dog. Draw your own hands. Draw your shoes. Draw everything.

    If you don't have access to live models, you can use this site to do gestures. It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.
    http://www.posemaniacs.com/?pagename=thirtysecond
    It's a good way to get practice quick gestures.

    If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, break down what you want to improve. For example, if you want to improve your line quality, focus on that. If you want to improve your sense of tone, do lots of value studies. Constantly analyze your work and see where you can improve. There's always some way to improve.

    Look at other people's art for inspiration. Go to the "images that inspire you" thread. Go to the "Favorite Artists in Alphabetical Order" thread. Go through people's sketchbooks, go to the finally finished section, etc. Keep a folder for all your favorite artists, and save their images so you can always go back and look at them. Also, don't just look at concept artists or illustrators only. Study Art History and find your favorite artists from Art History. Keep an open mind about things. Don't just focus on what you think you like.

    Read through the stickies on this site, there is tons of valuable information here. The "edges" thread by elwell is really good. http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=51913

    Read through Seedling's threads: "Perspective 101", "Concept art 101" and others. http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108180
    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=81332

    Read the "back to the basics: an FAQ regarding the foundations of creating art" thread. http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...c+creating+art

    I hope this helps, and that it doesn't overwhelm you even more. Cheers, and good luck!

    Oh, and start a sketchbook here. That way people can critique your work and help you along.

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  11. #7
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    Post work.

    This place isn't nearly as scary as it's rep suggests. Post work and we'll suggest how you might make it better

    Edit: or ignore it, your call. Lots of artists here really know their stuff but lots of us are merely opinionated noobs.

    You'll have to make these decisions for yourself.

    Last edited by Flake; March 2nd, 2009 at 08:46 PM.
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  13. #8
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    @Flake: Don't worry, I -do- plan on posting some things. Thank you. I'll admit I was very scared about coming here, because I -have- heard ... things... <_< But thank you.

    And @bandaidboy12

    Oh my god, I don't what to say other than, thank you so freaking MUCH. Your reply was entirely helpful and I REALLY like the links, thank you so much times infinity. You have no idea how happy you've made me and how relieved I feel to hear everything you just told me. I definitely will do lots of practice, and start a sketchbook soon.

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  14. #9
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    I know there are a ton of people who will disagree with me, but I think one of the best ways to learn is to copy.
    To an extent, we all learn through imitation.

    Find an artist you like, and just straight up copy one of his/her pieces.
    You can't call it your own, but I sure bet you'll learn a lot!

    Do this LOTS of times, with LOTS of artists.

    In time, you'll find that you have built up a visual vocabulary in your head consisting of all the little things you picked up from these artists.
    Take that vocabulary, and learn to write your own poetry with it.

    - Dan Dos Santos
    www.dandossantos.com
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  16. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DSillustration View Post
    I know there are a ton of people who will disagree with me, but I think one of the best ways to learn is to copy.
    To an extent, we all learn through imitation.

    Find an artist you like, and just straight up copy one of his/her pieces.
    You can't call it your own, but I sure bet you'll learn a lot!

    Do this LOTS of times, with LOTS of artists.

    In time, you'll find that you have built up a visual vocabulary in your head consisting of all the little things you picked up from these artists.
    Take that vocabulary, and learn to write your own poetry with it.

    You might definitely be on to something there. I haven't even realized it but when I was younger I used to copy drawings out of comic books almost daily. I think that much of my foundation skills in terms of drawing came from that experience. Of course I was a lot younger and didn't do art for a living or worry about being original as much as I do now but I definitely think that copying could help an artist that's starting out. Heck I think it could benefit just about anyone trying to improve.

    Barndi, just post up a sketchbook and try not to worry so much

    Just my 0,02€

    -Juhani

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  18. #11
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    conceptart is scary? i mean james kei's avatar is pretty tough, and there's an old cat we should probably have on a leash... but CA scary?

    if you dig art then you'll be fine on this site. you don't have to agree with everyone or be a professional. just keep a positive attitude about art and learning and the community will support you. well unless youre into like... racist baby killing art or somethin'... then NO MAN, I AINT GUNNA SUPPORT THAT SHIT. you better take that junk back to racistbabykillers.com where it belongs.

    i had something else i was going to.... oh right about the whole not feeling comfortable posting work thing. listen we all start somewhere. there is a lot of people who are ashamed of their art when they shouldnt be. as long as youre trying hard and putting forth an honest effort no one is going to knock what you do. it also helps drastically for people to offer advice if they can see where youre at instead of giving obscure generalized advice into the dark, so to speak.

    also be sure to take advantage of the site as a rescourse. if you like someones sketchbook, feel free to drop them a line. most likely if youre polite you'll recieve common treatment. its better to post and ask than to remain silent and uninformed. the critique center is invaluable in offering free wisdom from other artists, don't be afraid to use it.

    I'm incredibly lost, and I'm in dire need of some real advice.

    Last edited by Grief; March 3rd, 2009 at 04:03 AM.
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  20. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grief View Post
    conceptart is scary? i mean james kei's avatar is pretty tough, and there's an old cat we should probably have on a leash... but CA scary?

    if you dig art then you'll be fine on this site. you don't have to agree with everyone or be a professional. just keep a positive attitude about art and learning and the community will support you. well unless youre into like... racist baby killing art or somethin'... then NO MAN, I AINT GUNNA SUPPORT THAT SHIT. you better take that junk back to racistbabykillers.com where it belongs.

    i had something else i was going to.... oh right about the whole not feeling comfortable posting work thing. listen we all start somewhere. there is a lot of people who are ashamed of their art when they shouldnt be. we all start somewhere and as long as youre trying hard and putting forth an honest effort no one is going to knock what you do. it also helps drastically for people to offer advice if they can see where youre at instead of giving obscure generalized advice into the dark, so to speak.

    also be sure to take advantage of the site as a rescourse. if you like someones sketchbook, feel free to drop them a line. most likely if youre polite you'll recieve common treatment. its better to post and ask than to remain silent and uninformed. the critique center is invaluable in offering free wisdom from other artists, don't be afraid to use it.

    I'm incredibly lost, and I'm in dire need of some real advice.
    Your first paragraph made me giggle. No, I draw things like, disney fanart, anime, and anthros... I guess I should say I come from (as the Enyclopedia Dramatica people like to call it) DevianTART. *cough* Where I've picked up a few bad habits... (Some good habits too though!)

    Thank you for your advice and definitely I will take advantage of this site as much as I can. I guess I was only scared of coming here because I know this site is pretty much for the "grown ups" (figuratively speaking) when it comes to art. I also tend to be a very paranoid/naive/hesitant type of person so maybe it's just me. But I see that the people here aren't scary, just very insightful, helpful, and mature, and I was wrong to be afraid.

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  21. #13
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    Learning to draw is like learning how to drive - first you don't know what all these sticks and levers did, but you learn one thing at the time and all of sudden pulling all these sticks and levers came automagically and it becomes second nature.

    Focus on one thing at the time, be curious, soon you will notice that all those things you struggled with in the beginning comes easy and new challenges arise.

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