I'm a new member here who may not belong, and I'm sorry if this is in the wrong subforum. My aim is not for this to be an introduction, but I'm going to have to mention some personal details due to my physical situation. I'll try to be as brief as possible.
I have had a love/hate relationship with art (in particular fine art) for a long time now. Since childhood I was always captivated by games as an art form, and the worlds and FMV's therein. I have a natural creative streak and was always dreaming up concepts and characters. But, to put it bluntly, I am a horrific artist, and my ineptitude is compounded by the fact that I have a physical disability which makes actually making art, and most of the learning techniques such as sitting outside and drawing, very difficult. I've been on/off with practicing and recently had a resurgence (and now I'm genuinely looking to what I can do to improve.)
The last time I worked with traditional physical media was over three years ago, when I was still in school. I'm wheelchair-bound with cerebral palsy, and my particular case affects my hands as well as my legs. In art class, I couldn't stand up, so using an easel was impossible--I had difficulty even writing on whiteboards due to height. I couldn't reach the edges of most large papers/canvases from a desk without pulling them over the edge, which would crease the paper. I would wind up drooling on my paper, smudging, the works. I couldn't press hard enough to generate more than three or four values with graphite or charcoal. All of this would often lead to getting docked points in the craftsmanship category of grades--I had a C in high school until my last two years, wherein a more sympathetic teacher introduced me to digital art.
Thanks to the above instructor I was able to get a small, low-end tablet and some painting software, so I could continue to practice at home. The tablet makes things a lot easier--no more smudging, an eraser I can actually use, no need to buy expensive paints and ask someone to help me clean up the ensuing messes... My lines and shapes are still horrible, however. My knowledge of lighting is inconsistent and basic at best--sometimes I have a hard time carrying over what I learned to actual pieces. About the only thing that saves me is my use of color (and from what I've read, relying on that to support a weak set of abilities doesn't get one far here.)
I was friends for a brief while with a fine artist over the Internet (exhibitions, practicing for years on mere color studies, so on...) and when I explained how I held a pencil he was surprised that I could draw at all. Make a fist with your thumb near the side of your hand, and put the pencil through the hole sideways, so it's between the index finger and thumb, and the index is curled around it: that's the best I can explain it. My fingers aren't too functional aside from the indexes. Because of that, all my lines are scratchy and I have to "scrub" back and forth to get dark, defined lines. They aren't smooth and I have to erase out around them just to have a presentable outline.
Here's a brief summary of my problems:
1. Can't stand up, so can't draw with anything other than my wrist. My tablet is a 2008 Bamboo Fun, active area about 4.8 inches, which doesn't help this.
2. Have experience with but can't use physical media due to space constraints, messes, and it being detrimental to craftsmanship/presentation.
3. Can't go outside due to living in a non-accessible area and not having a ramp. If I need to see what a real-world object looks like, I have to Google it.
4. It will be several years before I can attend an art school/art courses due to living issues. I'm trying to improve in what areas I can.
5. I seem to have some natural knowledge of color theory, to the point where one of my teachers was infuriated and confused at the fact that I struggled so much with grayscale. Apparently it should be the other way around.
In the last few years I've gone from practice-tracing images and changing bits, then coloring them, to now looking at photos for unfamiliar things and drawing them. For some things, like heads, I'll even work from scratch using guide lines. I used to view linework as something to rush through so I could color, but now I actually bother to spend time on the lines, even if it takes me hours. They do look marginally better despite having loads of anatomical and form issues. I would like to post some example images, but what I have on flickr is not practical nor realistic, and it would be childish to post those. (It looks like a 5 year old drew it compared to what is here.)
I do not want to stop pursuing art, nor do I want to get complacent. I am asking if there are any techniques or hardware that might make art easier for someone in my situation or similar. All I was told in middle school was to "define" more, and I wasn't able to get the detailed analysis and presentation of possible solutions I needed to understand things better. Should I invest in a larger tablet? What can I do to make better lines forms?