Welcome to the Tekken Zaibatsu Art Tutorials Thread! This thread is a recreation of the NeoGAF Art Self Study Thread, that it can be used to look up for things to improve upon or get a better understanding of the art fundamentals. If you are going in this page, we hope that at least we help you inspire to take up art, either as a hobby or as a profession! I will tell you now, it will take time to learn the skills needed, but it’s worth it, even as a hobby! But even with that, our goal is to provide you the necessary nudges in the right direction to learn quicker and see immediate results.
Just to take note, this OP will be continually updated with more helpful resources, corrections or things to add on as we continually level up as artists ourselves. As artists, we have to have a thirst for continuous knowledge and improvement, and we want you to have the same attitude too!
We hope in this thread, we continually provide you with:
- Introduction you to the Art Supplies you might need.
- Introduction to Art Fundamentals, Roadmaps and Resources in a structured way, enabling you to self-study.
- Refer you to Tutorials/Books/Classes/References/Etc that will help you in a particular material
- Help you with answering questions, or even get through Art Block
- Encouragement to one another!
- Maybe, just maybe, befriend a fellow Tekken player that works in the art/videogame industry and land a job!
Warnings regarding Nudity
- First of all, because of the nature of the subject itself, SOME LINKS MIGHT NOT BE SAFE FOR WORK. I cannot guarantee a link might or might not have safe levels of nudity because that’s just the nature of the beast. Please browse this thread with proper judgment.
Basics and Art Materials
First of all, let me address this myth… Being good at art IS NOT TALENT!
Being able to draw is relatively the same as learning to write, or playing a musical instrument, or even being good at games, in a sense that it’s something that you have to practice and sharpen. Drawing IS A SKILL, and you can only be as good as the amount of time you put at it learning and doing.
"But why does other people grasp it quicker than me?" you ask. It’s because some people already develop those foundational knowledge and skills even before they are drawing. What I mean is those people have understanding of many concepts like how light works, how shapes works and many other things. It just happened that they want to apply things they already know and understood on the canvas. They are already started learning before they realized. In a sense, they really started waaay earlier than you think lol.
This shouldn’t discourage you, because those knowledge and skill can be acquired by you too! When knowledge is partnered with work ethic, you can see immediate results that will surprise yourself! Yes it can be tough on the road but the rewards are so enormous that you open a new world of possibilities.
So yes, do not worry about having that talent or not. What you just need to keep in mind throughout learning art (or even about learning anything) is knowledge and willpower should go hand in hand. It will be hard to improve (it’s even counterproductive) to draw and draw and draw countlessly without any knowledge, direction or guidance. At the same time it’s also as equally as bad to just read stuff without practicing.
Traditional Drawing Tools and Skills
Now to get started. To draw, you actually need your tools (hur). What’s good thing about it is to start traditionally, you do not really need to buy expensive tools (yet). Getting your regular #2 (HB) pencils, paper and eraser can do the job. But let me tell you this now that you can be limited at times. It doesn’t mean that you can buy your way to improvement, it just means that there are times that some tools will help you do some things faster/more efficient.
Personally, I would recommend buying first a kneaded eraser. Not only this eraser is cheap, it also last waaaay long and you can shape it to whatever you like. This will be handy when erasing small details. At the price, it’s a must. Later on, when you have an idea of what you want to achieve in your art, you can buy more variants of pencils and pens like Graphite with different leads, charcoals/contes, fountain pens and wax, and later on, markers, colored pencils and pastels.
The other drawing tools IMO are optional when you are beginning, like straightedges, circle/ellipse templates, sweeps, compasses, and equal spacing divider. Most of these things seemed really essential, but it’s waaaaay more important to develop the skill of DRAWING USING YOUR ELBOWS AND SHOULDERS FIRST than to rely on these tools every time. Through practice, you can draw straight lines, organic curve lines, and perfect circles and ellipses if you get the habit of using you elbows and shoulders instead of your wrists. This is one of the most important foundational skills to have and you will use it from drawing, for both traditional and digital.
Helpful Links About Drawing Supplies:
- Proko Controlling the Pencil + Supplies Series– Stan Prokopenko starts to introduce his drawing supplies both for his videos and his commissions, plus another video of drawing techniques (using your shoulder instead of the wrist) to make cleaner, smoother lines.
- Parkablogs Masterlist of Reviewed Art Products - Parkablogs have reviewed a lot of Art Products over the years, and made this masterpost to make it easier to look up the products you are considering to buy.
Notes about Digital
Now if you have some money to spare, you might be thinking about going digital. After all, digital have apparently larger potential than drawing things traditionally. I will not deny that, but first you need to take note that even if the tools are way more powerful, it doesn’t make you a better artist. You might be surprised that digital drawing can be just as frustrating to learn at times. Not only that it feels like using a completely different medium that require different sets of skills, but you also have to develop different hand-eye coordination since when you draw, you are looking at the monitor instead of the tablet itself.
I’m not discouraging going to digital, I’m just saying you will also need to practice to get better at it. This is why many modern artists still teach traditional because you still need those basic fundamentals with you, so if whenever you want to go to digital, you already have the things you mostly need. You can still invest on your drawing tablet, just don’t forget to buy your sketchbook too!
Now, if you are really going for digital, I would personally recommend Intuos Pro Medium for starters. Not only it forces me to learn because of the initial price investment, but it’s big enough for me to still draw using my elbow. Not only that, it saves money in the long run since it’s a quality high end tablet, saving me money for future upgrades.
For software, Photoshop and Painter are always a given, especially Painter, as its brushes are more powerful and more organic, making the transition to digital easier, and the color triangle, which IMO is something that any digital painting software should have. You can still paint in Photoshop using custom brushes (which is the standard right now) but it’s something that Painter also has. Photoshop is indispensable though when using effects, filters, and photo-editing capabilities. There are also other software that is available out there like Sketchbook Pro (which have awesome perspective grids), Manga Studio (aimed for manga and comic artists) and Paint Tool Sai. It’s up to you to see what software you are more comfortable of. Remember again that the software are tools, not a magical 1UP mushroom that makes you a better artist immediately.
Another note, when starting to use your tablet, what you need to take note that is very important is:
- Calibrating your tablet. You want your tablet to be calibrated pressure wise and scaled to real proportions as possible. One way to check scale calibration is to put a circle-shaped object in your tablet and trace over it. If it draws a perfect circle, you're good.
- Keep your workspace as similar as when you are drawing traditionally. You want to transfer as much muscle memory and skill you earned drawing traditionally to digital drawing to make it easier to transition.
These 2 are very important because you want the skills and muscle memory you gained from drawing traditionally to transfer directly to digital. These will ensure that you will have the smoothest transition you can have.
Recommended Resources to Digital Art Products
- Parkablogs Guide for Buying a Drawing Tablets and Pen Display in 2015 - Parkablogs have constructed a comprehensive guide on picking a drawing tablet to use, all with pros and cons of the tablets. It's a great thing to read to be able to make a better judgment on buying a drawing tablet.
- Aaron Rutten's Video Playlists for Tablets - Aaron Rutten has a couple of videos focusing on tablets, including buying, exercises, settings and others.
Building Your Knowledge
Now, if you have your tools ready, let’s get studying and drawing! Now where do we start?
First, before we start drawing, let’s lay out a checklist of what to learn. Almost all of these topics are used on every division of art, no matter what medium you are using. As long as you know these fundamental knowledge, it’s just a matter of practicing the skill needed for the given medium that you have. All of these topics are so broad that it will feel like you need to take a semester or two to learn them all, and a lifetime to put them on practice. I won’t lie, it’s probably true.
As ArtGerm told us, we should treat art as a lifestyle. Whether you are doing art as a hobby or for living, we should always be committed to it. But at the same time, once you have it, you have it for life! It’s not gonna go away from you.
So if it gets intimidating, don’t worry, take it one small step at a time. You cannot eat a whole elephant in one sitting. Nor learn to play an instrument overnight. Be patient young one.
The Illusion of Depth
First of all, we need to remember that our goal when drawing or painting is to put a 3D object into a 2D surface. A 2D plane does not have depth as a dimension, so we have to make the ILLUSION OF DEPTH in our drawings.
To understand and apply these, we need to learn some concepts that can be mathematically and physically involved. But even with that, don’t be scared. Math, when concepts are understood, is actually everyone’s best friend. Forget the suffering you have on your geometry teacher teaching you stuff that seems like it doesn’t apply. Well, I said forget the suffering, not the topic itself lol. We will use those concepts and apply them in art! Keep using them as guides until the concept is well ingrained to a point that you can eyeball them!
P.S. if you are a bit well versed in Math, you can use these concepts with the numbers involved and make easy shortcuts and workflow in digital art! Seriously!
Perspective Drawing is created to make the illusion of depth using shape manipulation. It uses this basic concept that EVERYTHING THAT IS CLOSER LOOKS BIGGER and EVERYTHING THAT IS FARTHER LOOKS SMALLER. Pretty basic concept, but the applications of it booms out into a bigger subject. Understanding them gives you massive perks later on when you draw the figure especially when you deal with foreshortening.
- Expected Topics include:
- Rectilinear: 1,2 and 3 Point Perspective
- Creating Complex 3D Shapes on Perspective
- Curvilinear Perspective
||Sucessful Drawing by Andrew Loomis - Andrew Loomis' Perspective Book. Teaches you basic perspective plus rendering orthographic views to perspective just like architects do. Also tackles ground planes with slopes, where objects do not follow your original leveled horizon line. Simply a classic just like the rest of his works.|
||How to Draw by Scott Robertson - First of the two Scott Robertson's Technical Drawing Books. He goes more indepth with more perspective techniques like drawing curved shapes in perspective and the practical use of curvilinear perspective. He also have exercises that will ingrain the concepts to you.|
||Vanishing Points by Jason Cheeseman Meyer - A pretty short but meaty and direct-to-the-point book about perspective. What makes this book special is it's only one of the few books (if there is any at all) that actually teach how to do hand-drawn curvilinear perspective grids. A pretty great beginning perspective book for artists.|
Along with perspective, we also manipulate color to make illusion of depth. But before we utilize color, we need to understand color itself. First, there are 3 primary dimensions of color. Hue, Value/Lightness/Luminousity and Chroma. There are also Relative Brightness and Saturation, which is completely different than Lightness and Chroma color space wise but it is up to you to study the difference lol.
What’s important about seeing color as a colorspace/function of 3 variables is that you can use them to give illusion of depth via form principle and athmospheric perspective. Form principle is the concept of a OBJECT GETTING BRIGHTER WHEN LIT AND DARKER WHEN ON SHADOW, and Athmospheric Perspective is the idea of a OBJECT’S COLOR LOSING SATURATION AND SHIFTING HUES WITH DISTANCE AND LIGHT INVOLVED.
When starting, there will be much emphasis on Form Principle and Color is set aside for now, as you will learn later, proper values will have a more impactful effect on your drawings compared to color.
- Expected Topics Include:
- Color Spaces
- Form Principle
- Additive and Subtractive Coloring
- Color “Key”
- Athmospheric Perspective
- Subsurface Scattering
- many more!
||Color and Light by James Gurney - James Gurney's second book, which talks about many topics in Color and Light. He teaches the material conceptually so you will not be lost in the numbers, and he tackles a broad scope of material, from lighting, color theory, color theory, and most important of all, gamut masking.|
||How to Render by Scott Robertson - Second of Scott Robertson's Technical Drawing books. This is more of the technical approach, as he uses more perspective to determine lighting of the object. It also has more in depth discussions of material reflectivity. This builds up to what has been learned on How to Draw.|
Web Resouces for Illusion of Depth, Color Theory and Perspective
- Proko: Basic Elements + Illusion of Depth Series + Shading – Proko’s Basic Elements and Illusion of Depth Series briefly tackles the various ways to show depth on your drawings. The descriptions are brief and enough to show you the gist of things.
- Sycra Beginning Foundations of Light and Shadow Series – Sycra’s Color Theory Lessons are geared for total beginning artists who do not know where to start. It’s a great starting knowledge before you dwell into deeper color theory knowledge.
- Alejandro Garcia: Physics for Artists Light and Color Series – Alejandro Garcia teaches Color Theory on a Physics perspective, which is in my opinion, a great resource. This will give you more understanding of how light works and how we see things.
- Hue Value Chroma - David Briggs' Online Color Theory Site. A totally mathematical approach to Color Theory. Emphasizes the understanding of color spaces and its dimensions. It might be overwhelming to some, but the lessons learned on this material are really helpful, especially for digital art. Photoshop Blend Modes start to make more sense numerically that it will give you understanding on how to apply it when shading/coloring.
Art Foundation Applied on the Human Figure
I can safely assume that most of us who want to learn how to draw started because we want to draw a particular character/s. So we will help you do that! Drawing the Human Figure can look intimidating, but with the right knowledge and obtained skill as a foundation, it can be done by anyone, including you!
People say that the how you draw the face oftentimes can make or break your illustration, and that is mostly true. We recognize a person over another through his face, and see what they feels with their expression. Because of this, drawing the Human Head beautifully is of utmost importance when drawing.
When learning to draw the human head, it is important to have the skill of simplifying it first into basic shapes, a spherical mass for the cranium and a box shape for the jaw. Simplifying the head will allow you to look at the drawing on a larger scale, measure the proportions right, use perspective properly, and shade/render them accordingly.
Expected Topics Include
- Mass Conception of the Head
- Head Proportions
- Facial Features
- Facial Anatomy + Expressions
||Drawing the Head and the Hands by Andrew Loomis - This teaches you the famous Andrew Loomis Approach to Drawing the Head, from mass conception of the whole head, to facial features. Proportions for different ages and sex differences are also discussed. There is a light drawing hands part but it's not as in depth. This is more of a Drawing Heads book, and another classic.|
||Artist’s Guide to Facial Expressions by Gary Faigin - When you learn how to draw the head, this is pretty much the next step for that. It gives you a refresher on mass conception of the skull and head, and after that, teaches you the anatomy of the face and the expressions involved. It also has a facial emotions and visemes at the end of the book which is a great reference later on.|
Recommended Web Resource
Proko’s Portrait Drawing Fundamentals Series- Stan Prokopenko teaches Andrew Loomis method on his Youtube video account, and the way he teach is fun, so you won't get bored learning it!
Drawing the Human Figure can be intimidating at first because of its complexity, but once you have the skill of simplifying each part first into basic shapes, the challenge becomes much easier, approachable and achievable.
You might be sick of hearing this at this point but it is of utmost importance of having the skill of seeing objects into simplified shapes (mass conception). This will be the constant theme in learning how to draw, as it allows you to tackle a seemingly complex object into something more manageable. This skill will be used not only for the human figure but to any object imaginable, both organic and mechanical.
Expected Topics Include
- Body Proportions
- Applying Perspective to Figure
- Shading/Coloring the Figure
||Figure Drawing for All it’s worth by Andrew Loomis - Another one of Andrew Loomis’ classical Art Fundamentals book. It teaches you all of the fundamentals of drawing the human figure. It tackles basic proportions, using perspective on the figure, mass conception of the figure, landmarks, tips on foreshortening, and many more!|
||Vilppu Drawing Manual by Glenn Vilppu - Glenn Vilppu’s Drawing Manual is also a great resource for figure drawing alongside Loomis, because of its emphasis on drawing and merging basic forms and GESTURE. Gesture is a pretty important exercise that will help you position your figure. It also gives you exercise for doing smooth lines and acts as a good warm up before a session.|
||Figure Drawing Design and Invention by Michael Hampton - This figure drawing book is going to be a classic, if it wasn’t there yet. Michael Hampton’s Figure Drawing book emphasizes greatly on drawing mass conception of the figure, including the muscle groups. It gives you the basic flowchart of drawing the figure that IMO is also applicable to many other things.|
Recommended Web Resource
- Proko’s Figure Drawing Fundamentals Series – Stan Prokopenko goes over fundamental figure drawing in a pretty comprehensive, structured yet entertaining way. This is a great starting resource for figure drawing that fundamentally prepares you.
Human Anatomy for Artists
We cannot draw what we do not know, so it’s pretty much important to know the things we are drawing or else we will end up drawing something that isn’t up to par with our vision. This is why we need to learn anatomy, as it will give us a reference on our designs. Knowing Anatomy will help us figure out whatever we did right/wrong in our figure, and helps us draw from imagination.
Expected Topics Include
- Human Skeletal System
- More Extentive Landmarks of the Body
- Origin and Insertion of Superficial and some Deep Muscles
- Fat Pads
- Other Superficial Features
||Classic Human Anatomy by Valerie Winslow - Winslow's Anatomy Book is a nice starting anatomy book as it teaches muscles in terms of groups (which is really the ideal way to learn and apply anatomy IMO). Aside from missing some muscles, it's a recommended book when starting out and a good reference to go by.|
||Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist by Stephen Rogers Peck - A artist's anatomy book that stood the test of time. A great reference book that has great illustrations, easy to digest and nicely done complementary text, and great lists of musculature tables.|
||Human Anatomy for Artists by Eliot Goldfinger – This book is more on the advanced side of things, as it talks indepth about each individual bones and muscles, and how they are drawn. It also deals with fat pads, facial features, and many more nooks and crannies of your body that can be seen superficially. It's an awesome book that can be intimidating for beginners, but pretty awesome when you already have a beginning knowledge of anatomy.|
||ImagineFX’s Anatomy Essentials - ImagineFX's Anatomy Essentials is a great figure drawing and anatomy issue that compliments your other figure drawing and anatomy books. Ron Lemen implements gestures and forms while also using reilly method of using abstract lines to further represent gesture and muscle landmarks. There is a other bonus topics by other artists like creating poses (Warren Louw), animal drawing (Marshall Vandruff) and digital painting tips too. (TAKE NOTE, IF YOU ARE BUYING THIS, BUY IT DIRECTLY ON IMAGINEFX. This is the original 226 page version of the book. For some reason, ImagineFX split this book into 2 magazine issues. The first part is the one commonly sold around the web while the second part is hard to find.)|
||Anatomy for Sculptors by Uldris Zarins - This book isn't just useful for sculptors but also for illustrators too. It's filled with pictures, not words, so it's easier to digest for the visual learner. It has alot of pose reference (compared to many anatomy books where everything is shown on the standard standing figure). It’s a great reference book all around.|
Recommended Web Resource
Proko’s Anatomy for Artists Series (Still Ongoing!) – Stan Prokopenko goes over the anatomy of the human body that's needed for artists. He presents it in a easier to digest way which is needed for a tough subject like anatomy.
Drapery and Clothing
After all this time, we are only drawing naked people, and at some point, we have to clothe them right? Using the foundations built with figure drawing and anatomy, we can study drapery and how drapes interact with the underlying shapes of the figure.
Expected Topics Include
- Stretch and Compress
- Anatomy of Folds
- Fold Types
||Drawing People by Barbara Bradley - On this book, Barbara Bradley teaches some fundamentals first, assuming you haven't learned figure drawing yet. Then she goes to teach fold later on the second half of the book. It's mostly a beginner drawing class that focuses more on drawing clothed figure instead of nudes. Some of the pages alone are great reference material for folds, so it's still an invaluable book.|
||Drawing Drapery Head to Toe by Cliff Young - Cliff Young's short drapery book teaches you basic fundamental folds and where they happen on specific western formal clothing. A nice book to have, and it's pretty cheap too.|
||Drawing the Clothed Figure by Michael Massen - This is a more in depth take on drapery with nice illustrations around. It teaches hold certain types of folds happen so you will have better understanding of them instead of relying on fold templates. It also tackles different clothing and effects of movement in drapery.|
Recommended Links for Further Study
These books are recommended after you have initial understanding of many of the fundamental concepts given on the courses above for further understanding. Some of the given info by these books can be overwhelming if you immeadiately jump without prior knowledge.
||Artistic Anatomy by Dr. Paul Richer - This is, as far as I know, currently the closest thing we will ever have to a doctor's anatomy book tailored for artists. What sets this apart from other anatomy books is that it also have illustrations for superficial veins and deep muscles that is commonly ignored by some artists and artists books as they rarely show on the surface. Knowing those deep muscles not only show us how the superficial muscles wrap around (many muscles do not wrap around the bones, and deep muscles do affect the surface form on different poses), but also give us proper knowledge of the mechanics of human anatomy.|
||Complete Guide to Life Drawing by Gottfried Bammes - This is a direct translation of Bammes' Wir Zeichnen den Menschen. Bammes' teachings are sought through because of his simplification of bones and muscle masses into geometric shapes, where it's easier to put perspective. It's a great practice to do especially for anatomical studies. Now if someone will translate Die Gestalt Des Meschen/Der Nackte Mensch.|
||Complete Guide from Drawing to Life by George Bridgman - This is the closest thing to compilation of many George Bridgman books. One of the classic teachers of art, Bridgman shows the illustrations of many parts of the body with added commentary that can tell many things that you might not see immediately.|
||Strength Training Anatomy by Frederick Delavier - Not designed to be an artist anatomy book, but is filled with anatomy drawings. Delavier is an artist and it shows on this book, as he had perfect drawings for each given strength exercise.|
Recommended Online Resources for Further Study of the Human Figure
Parkablogs Masterlist of Reviewed Figure Drawing and Anatomy Books - Along with Art Products, Parkablogs also reviewed numerous figure drawing and anatomy books, and many of them are great resources that cannot fit into this OP alone. Check those out!
Other Fundamental Art Concepts
Even when we know the fundamentals of drawing well, it will still be tough to draw or paint artwork that packs a punch. There will be times where even when we know what we want, our artworks end up what we want it to be. Either they lack believability, or it doesn’t explain our expression enough. You will know something is off even when you do not know what it is.
We really cannot help you directly because it’s each artist’s own dilemma, but at least we can try to bring you some other overlooked concepts that might be missing and some insightful thoughts from experienced artists whom you can use.
If you studied some figure drawing, you might be already familiar with gesture/rhythm/flow. Gesture is pretty much the relation of each shapes and forms with each other, and I cannot overemphasize its importance enough. Many people skip gesture drawing because it looks like stick figures (after all, we want to draw awesome pics, not sketchy lines) but if we don't establish the gesture first and keep that gesture in mind when drawing, our figures end up either too stiff or lifeless. Gesture is a pretty important relationship to the things around us and it doesn't only apply on the human figure but also on everything, from animals to even objects around you.
||Drawn to Life: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures Vol. 1 and 2 - These are the collection of lessons of Walt Stanchfield in drawing, which provides with great insightful advice, techniques and many other things. The material teaches not only gesture but also applications of many fundamental art principles. There's a wealth of information that should not be missed.|
For some reason, new artists demonized using references because it felt like “cheating”. It cannot be more further from the truth. Every single time we draw or paint, we use references. For example, we see human heads all the time, now we have at least have a reference in our mind what a human head looks like and we can determine if something in our drawing is off. The problem is many times that mental reference is there but we still cannot pinpoint what’s wrong with our drawing. There are even times where we don’t even know that there is something wrong with our drawing!
This is why we use physical reference. Physical reference gives us the ultimate reference that we can safely rely on, which is reality. If we properly know our subject, we can draw it properly, and we can easily use our artistic licenses to either stay true to what we see or freely exaggerate what we think is important.
||Imaginative Realism by James Gurney – This is James Gurney’s first book where he talks about giving artworks a sense of believability. He talks about researching thoroughly the object that he tries to portray, asking for opinions from experts of the subjects, and using a bunch of references. He greatly emphasizes the right use of references and expanding your visual library. This is a great insightful book that is a must have.|
This might be a tough thing to say for all of us but let’s say it, there are times where we tend to make every single part of our drawings important. We want everything to pop out, and we end up with drawings that either nothing pops out, or too busy with details (or both).
When doing a composition, it’s better to go to the “whole is better than sum of the parts” approach. We have to decide which parts of your painting you want to shout, and let others recede. We also have to limit our color palettes this way where some colors will be bright and some will be dull. We will apply this concept of CONTRAST to all of the facets of our drawings, from placement, detail, value, color, texture, edges and more!
||Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis – Andrew Loomis’ signature book in composition. It teaches you creative use of line, values, color and placement for compositional and story-telling purposes. It also teaches you a bit about doing illustrations for marketing approach (which a great exercise for composition since you are trying to sell a particular stuff and make it look awesome). Just beware that there are some tidbits in color that is a bit outdated (he assumes that the most saturated color part of a object is in the terminator, which isn’t the case all the time). Beside that small hiccup, it’s a great book that you can learn a lot from.|
Recommended Links for Further Study
||The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides - This book emphasizes that we should use all of our senses when drawing. It sounds ridiculous at first until he explained that the one who personally knew & experienced the subject to be studied, he will draw it better than someone who just see the subject. Nicolaides have alot of exercises that progress the further you go to the book, starting from contour and gesture studies, to drapery, form, value and figure studies.|
||New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards - Though I do not believe that all "creative" thinking happens on the right side of the brain (recent studies show we use both sides of the brain for every tasks), this book and its methods still hold up great when introducing concepts and exercises. It introduces contours, gesture, edges, negative space, form and many more (which most new artists tend to bypass).|
Art Fundamentals applied to many other things
When you finish the fundamental subjects above, you can now confidently go to the venture that you want! As you become fundamentally solid skill, mindset and knowledge wise, it will be a smoother transition to whatever art department you want to venture. You might venture with many of them depending on your project or tastes, and it’s okay. We should be lifelong learners anyway!
Traditional Painting with different mediums
When learning drawing, you are trained to emphasize shapes and values first, and that’s for a reason. Once you get that basics down, the usual next step is to go to learn painting and dealing with color, and with that, possibilities explode that it can be overwhelming if you do not have the basics down. With painting, you will extensively use your color theory along with other things previously learned when drawing. You will also get familiarized with different paint mediums (primarily acrylics, oils and watercolor) and learn skills like paint mixing.
||Alla Prima II by Richard Schmid – This is a great insightful book about painting, which teaches you fundamentals that’s applicable to painting while also pointing out many common rookie mistakes. He teaches like he is beside you and saying many invaluable things that he learned from experience, and those things alone make the book a great buy. He is also a fan of making color charts (making a premixed palette chart for all your commonly used paints), which can be tedious but deemed important when mastering color mixing.|
||Landscape Painting by Mitchell Albala – A nice painting book for starters. The first half teaches hand-held approach to fundamentals. The real new material on this book is the second half of the book that teaches you step by step on making oil painting, wet-on-wet, where it points out things you have to look for. It also teaches a bit of introduction to abstract art applied to landscape painting.|
||1500 Color Mixing Recipes by William Powell – This is a great reference book for mixing colors. It has Shades, Tones, Tints, Complementaries, and Palettes for various painting jobs, made for all painting mediums. A must have reference for painters.|
Of course, not everytime we will draw a human. There will be times where we will draw our animal companions alongside our figure, or even human/animal hybrids. If you are well versed with the skills and knowledge gained with Drawing the Human Figure and Human Anatomy, learning to draw animals gets easier, as you apply the same principle of simplifying the animal figure with basic shapes, and the anatomy of animals can be surprisingly related to the human anatomy!
Weatherly Guide on Drawing Animals by Joe Weatherly – Joe Weatherly is a known artist that specializes in animal drawing and painting, and he decided to share his knowledge in this book. His approach is really similar to the typical figure drawing course, you do the gesture, build block forms, shading, you name it. It’s just applied to animals.
Artist's Guide to Drawing Animals by J.C. Amberlyn – This is a simply-instructed animal drawing book that's focused on domesticated animals (pets). This book is great as it shows a wide variety of animal breeds and teach you the notable characteristics of those breeds.
Animal Anatomy for the Artist by Eliot Goldfinger – Eliot Goldfinger shows us another great anatomy reference book in this one. He follows the same approach as the human anatomy book that he talks with detail the individual bones and muscles, then he presents the form differences of many animals. This is an indispensable book and one of the few comprehensive animal anatomy books around.
It’s good to learn to draw clothed the human figure with clothes, but it’s another story to design them to be appealing. This will apply many skills you gained in both portrait and figure drawing (while expanding the knowledge of drapery, clothing and hairstyles). All the options you have are infinite! From old times to modern fashion, from western to oriental, you can study them and make inspired characters with dazzling design!
Figure Drawing for Fashion Design Revised Edition by Elisabetta Drudi – This is one quality fashion book for artists. This book starts at teaching you figure drawing with fashion figures in mind. Then the meat of this book comes in with stylization, basic fashion poses, focus shots, and different clothing variations. The illustrations and references alone makes this a worthwhile book to buy even if you are not going for fashion design.
Fashion Illustration for Designers 2nd Edition by Kathryn Hagen – This is THE fashion illustration textbook you need to have in the future, even if you are not going for fashion itself. This textbook points out what you have to look for when designing clothes by giving you checklists, and it covers wide variety of clothing and people. It’s kind of expensive (which is expected since it’s an actual thick college book, darn pearson) but it’s worth it with the many pages of info alone.
Recommended Web Resources
lilsuika’s DeviantArt Account – A ditigal artist who made extensive research on Asian Fashion. She made extensive reference illustrations of Chinese and Vietnamese illustrations and also have other resources for other nationalities in her journal. Awesome resource.
Hairfinder Website - A site dedicated for hairstyles and hairstylists, providing resouces for types of haircuts for everyone, as well as books. A great resource for artist too!
Vehicle Designs, Architecture and Landscapes
Not everything you will draw and paint will be organic, especially when you are doing sci-fi. You will oftentimes draw buildings, cars, ships, planes, and even mechs. And there are also times where you draw cities and landscapes! Practicing drawing these will gain you extensive drafting skills and a great practice for composition. Most of the basics you need to learn about this subject is already tackled deeply by Scott Robertson’s books (How to Draw and How to Render) and your composition/color/painting books (e.g. Gurney’s Imaginative Realism and Color and Light, and Loomis’ Creative Illustration), so it’s just the matter of expanding your visual library for inspiration (which is very important) and being more time-efficient with your drawings.
Recommended Web Resources
Car Body Design - As its name says, this site specializes with car designing. They have alot of resources ranging from books, articles, inspiration and tutorials that you can use on.
Cubebrush: Tips to Designing Sci-Fi designs - Mark Brunet gives tips for making inspired Sci-Fi designs.
Of course, each of us wants to draw on a particular style. Some will want to draw Western Comic-style, and some will want to draw Japanese Manga-style. Despite that, it’s still important to draw realistic at first so we will have a good reference (The real world). When we have that reference, we will be able to decipher what looks believable and why is it believable. With that foundational knowledge, we can see that each style (whether it’s cartoons, caricatures, comics or manga) is just a stylized/symbolized version of what we see in reality, and it will enable us to make sound judgments when drawing. When we get that foundation, we can easily go to a favored style quite easily or even explore infinite amount of styles depending on your artistic goals.
Aside from stylization, if you plan to actually make comic/manga strips, you need to learn proper organization and composition that requires different set of skills, like planning your setting, sequencing, fonts, general writing skills, even art styles, among with other things, with the goal of readability, beauty, storytelling and expression in mind.
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud – This is one awesome Comic Theory Book, which will make you realize how important many elements that are mostly ignored in comics. The book is presented like a comic book and tackles many important concepts WHILE proving that concepts right before your eyes. There is a lot of concepts presented like sequencing, symbolism, closure, timing and many more. This is a must read for artists even when you are not going for making comics or manga, as the insights alone are worth it.
Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner – This is another Comic/Sequential Art Theory book that presents itself as more formal compared to McCloud’s Understanding Comics. After all, this book came out first. This presents the same elements in comics like speech bubbles, timing, frames and many more and present it formally along with its applications for storytelling and composition.
Framed Ink by Marcos Mateu-Mestre – This is a composition book that's focused to comic book artist. But even then, it still stands out for being just plain awesome composition book. It emphasizes the fact that you can tell different kinds of stories with the same picture by changing lighting, point-of-views and many other fundamental concepts, all for the sake of dramatization and/or storytelling.
How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee – This is a classic comic instructional book that is still used after the years aimed for newly aspiring illustrators that haven’t started drawing. This book is pretty much art fundamentals book compacted to 1 book, as it teaches you perspective, mass conception of both head and figure, and many other things that you have already learned with Loomis, all with comic book purposes in mind. The key thing to take away from this book is some of the design decisions to portray dramatic effects like heroic proportions, foreshortening, etc.
Mastering Manga 1 & 2 by Mark Crilley – Mark Crilley’s Manga Tutorial Books. He teaches manga art that’s approachable to people who haven’t started drawing at all, but it’s still a great manga style book for experienced illustrators. He first illustrates the degrees of differences of semi-realistic drawings to extreme cartoony drawings (especially chibis), and also provide templates to drawing different manga styles, varied proportions, body types, and age. He also tackle a bit about doing manga compositions for the aspiring mangaka.
How to Draw Manga: Sketching Series – At first, I was skeptical to How to Draw Manga books (due to some books with badly explained concepts), but this one is actually good material. It still teaches you step by step which is geared for beginning artists, but it doesn't forget to teach fundamental concepts and explain the design decisions (especially when abstracting the features). So far, this series is like an art fundamental course aimed for manga artist which is something I can recommend on.
Monster Book of Manga Series – These books are excellent reference material. KEYWORD: REFERENCE. These books are in no way "instructional", but what they do is to provide references, inspiration and a little bit of background for many featured character design templates. Each book got a lot of illustrations for each char template and show you a flowchart on how they paint it digitally, giving commentary instead of direct instruction. These are high quality reference and inspiration material that isn't only exclusive to mangakas.
Cartooning and Caricature Studies
Fun with a Pencil by Andrew Loomis -
The Mad Art of Caricature by Tom Richmond -
Fundamentals of Animation
When you want to venture into animation, it’s important to learn a little bit of Physics to have a reference of what works in reality. Having that reference/guide of what happens for real will enable us to have a parameter when exaggerating. We can make movements stick to realistic or we can go Dragon Ball Z if we like depending on what do we want to portray, and still make it believable. Even if you are not animating, it’s still a good thing to study Physics to make dynamic and moving poses believable.
Now, as you have the proper knowledge of movement, the problem comes in on how will it be expressed in a 2D medium, and doing it with means of expression. With animating, you will learn the concept of animation through rapid succession of drawings called frames. And you will learn efficient ways to draw dynamic movement, from key frames and in betweens.
The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams – When I’m looking for materials for animation, this is the first book that people strongly recommended, and now I understand why. This is a great resource for animation beginners and great reminding resource for vets alike, filled with timeless advice and methods in animation. This is pretty much THE Animation 101 book.
The Illusion of Life by Thomas and Johnson - Another great animation book full of insights on the animator's job. The authors talk about their history with Walt Disney and the processes and methods they have learned in the job that eventually became the standards of animation.
Recommended Web Resources
Alejandro Garcia's Channel – Prof. Alejandro Garcia teaches basic physics/mechanics for use of artists and animators. This gives you the concepts of the physics theories that artists may need without going to the gruntwork of computation. A really great resource all around, and it’s badly needed because of the currently lacking material for physics for artists.
Drawing with Jazza – Jazza’s channel provides a substantial amount of lessons especially with the use of Adobe Flash in animation. A pretty modern take on animation in general with the introduction of digital tools.
Fundamentals of Modeling and Sculpting
Cause why not? The 3D medium is general have great advantages in animation and film over 2D animation, but it also requires different physical skillset. Don’t let the skillset requirement stop you from learning it! 3D Art can also be used to enhance your 2D drawings and illustrations! Yes, Modeling and Sculpting requires different physical skillset compared to Drawing and Painting, but the foundational skills is still there, like mass conception, color theory, and anatomy. 2D and 3D as a medium have advantages and disadvantages, and it’s good to diversify our skillset!
Expected Topics Include
- Traditional and Digital Sculpting
- 3D Modeling
- Rigging and 3D Animation
Sculpting the Figure in Clay by Peter Rubino - A highly recommended book for traditional sculpting, which shows you the necessary tools you need, and sculpting the figure, from block forms, landmarks up to the naturally time-consuming detailing work. A great sculpting book for wide-ranged levels of sculpting skills.
Philippe Faraut's Sculpting Book Series -
3D Art Essentials by Ami Chopine – This book is a nice introduction to 3D Art, which gives you a rough idea of how modeling, rigging, texturing, and lighting works when working 3D. This book isn’t a software-specific book, which has upsides and downsides. It goes straight to the point on the tools and its concepts (like Polygons, NURBS, UV Maps etc.) but it doesn’t teach you how to navigate on your particular software of choice/availability. This is a nice fundamental book that needs to be alongside your software tutorial/book.
Pipelines for Film and/or Game Development
Maybe, after learning and getting far on art, you might desire to do this for a living, and I salute you! Being willing to take that next step is a pretty big decision, and it will require alot, but hey, if you love your job, why not do it right?
If you are willing to step your art into a career, not only you need to have quality skills, but also knowledge on what you can do and you can offer. When working with gaming or film projects, you need to be sure that you need to be efficient at a specific job that you have to do. Art as a hobby can be a totally different thing compared as a job, and it will need a different mindset that can be likened to a engineer (where you design and solve problems based on client needs, while not blowing the budget and schedule).
How to Become a Video Game Artist by Sam Kennedy – This book is made to be an introduction to people who aspire to become a videogame artists. It introduces the jobs of the game development team, discusses the art-related jobs in-depth and also shows the needed skills on those given jobs. This is a nice book that will help you to know the expectations in the game development job.
Digital Art, Software and Workflow
A proverb says "A man blames his tools for his lack of skills", and that can be right for a lot of times, but it's also foolish to get the inappropriate tool for the job. Especially for a fast-paced world, time is really essential and you want tools that not only delivers in quality but also save alot of time.
This is why most artists go for digital because of time efficiency.You do not have to wait for paint to dry or for the sculpt to harden. You can also easily modify them in seconds and of course, CTRL+Z (undo). But even with that, each software out in the market have different interface, shortcuts, and general strengths and weaknesses. Knowing and Mastering them along with your Fundamental Art skills is essential to even tap with the benefits, and mastering a software can be as hard by itself.
2D Art Tools
Bitmap vs. Vector
Adobe Photoshop - Photoshop started as a digital photo-editing tool but grown to be a industry standard for digital art. It's extensive digital image editing tools (healing brushes, dodge and burn, color correction and masking) as well as wide array of special effects (and now, 3D capabilities) made it popular for many as it shown to be a very versatile tool for artists. You can even make professional-looking illustrations even without drawing and painting skills just by the effects alone (as long as you know where to get stock images and know how to get through filters).
Because of its popularity, Photoshop has received more in-depth tutorials and custom plug-ins and brushes that will make it easier for an artist to start with. But many artists, especially with specializations, might look for other software to complement as Photoshop can be limited in its other capabilities aside special effects and color-editing.
Corel Painter - Painter is a software with the goal of emulating traditional media in digital art, priding itself to be the greatest art studio you can have. It's bragging isn't as misplaced though, as it has ALOT of brushes suited for both drawing and painting, from pencils, pens, markers, oils, acrylics, watercolors, blenders, you name it. Not only that, it has alot of paper textures to choose from, and a robust custom brush engine that flat-out blows Photoshop out to the stone age. Many illustrators use both Photoshop and Painter in their workflow with great results as both of the software's strengths complement each other.
The problem in Painter was also its strength. It's huge array of brushes and its complex brush engine can overwhelm beginning digital artists. Also, Painter do not have the massive amount of software tutorials around compared to photoshop which makes it have to start with. Also, unlike Photoshop, someone needs to have a good drawing or painting background to unlock Painter's strength.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro - From the creators of AutoCAD (the software engineers and architects use all the time), here comes Sketchbook Pro, and it's a technical drawing guy's dream software. It prides itself in its technical drawing capabilities, ensuring accurate lines and curves with its tools. Unlike Photoshop (which you are stuck with doing improvised vector shapes for grids), Sketchbook Pro has built-in easy to use and fully flexible perspective grid maker (1-point, 2-point, 3-point and curvilinear), and also have rulers, ellipse templates, and even french curves! These save so much time and frustration especially for designers, cause doing this by hand is tedious enough, imagine it on Photoshop.
However, aside from this, it has nothing else to really shout about, as its basic brushes are not something to be put above Photoshop even. Many designers choose to sketch and draw in Sketchbook Pro and render the drawing in photoshop as their workflow.
SmithMicro Manga Studio - Manga Studio (also known as Clip Studio Pro) is the gold-standard software for digital comic and manga artist. Its tools are just geared really well for it. It has wide array of manga brushes, screentones, and even customized objects called "materials" that you can put on your panels (e.g. speech bubbles, texts etc). It also runs well with the standard 600 dpi used by comic and manga artists and now, it is capable of using 3D objects as materials too! This software is no doubt should be the go-to software for comic/manga artists and should be chosen over Photoshop for its capabilities and massive price difference.
SmithMicro Anime Studio
Adobe Flash Professional
3D Art Tools
Digital Modeling Softwares
Autodesk 3DS Max
Digital Sculpting Softwares
More Web Resources!
Online Teacher Streams and Sites
- Stan Prokopenko’s Youtube Channel and Website – Proko is an established artist who produces great quality instructional videos that’s really entertaining. Currently, he is teaching Human Anatomy for the Artist, which is so far, shaping up great like the rest of his vids.
- Sycra Yasin’s Youtube Channel and Website – Sycra Yasin is a freelance illustrator that also pumps out a lot of great content for new artists out there. He also does the “Sycra and Friends” podcast, which is a pretty great insightful show.
- Mark Crilley’s Youtube Channel and Website – Mark Crilley is a manga artist that is teaching manga lessons in his Youtube channel. A pretty great resource for aspiring manga artist.
- Cubebrush Youtube Channel and Website - Cubebrush Team providing content for concept artists in both 2D and 3D medium. Content mostly provided by Mark Brunet
- Level Up! Youtube Channel and Website - Level Up! is a team of artists producing insightful podcasts tackling many subjects concerning both the skill aspect and job aspect of art.
- FZD School Youtube Channel and Website - FZD is a Singapore-based Design School founded by Feng Zhu and posts many great online lessons and podcasts.
- Alejandro Garcia’s Youtube Channel – Prof. Alejandro Garcia is a Physics instructor who’s teaching Physics for Artists and Animators. He teaches many art concepts in a Physics point of view, while cutting out the number crunching.
- Stanley “Artgerm” Lau’s Livestream and Artgermination DeviantArt Group – Artgerm is producing his Digital Painting sessions on livestream for us to learn from. He also does some Art Chat AMA sessions which is pretty informative especially when you don’t know where to start. Artgermination also does continuing challenges that people can participate.
- Jasiah “Jazza” Brooks' Youtube channel and Website – Jazza is a artist with a pretty diverse skillset from traditional and digital art. He is well known for his animation lessons using Adobe Flash.
- Xia Taptara’s Youtube Channel and Website- Xia Taptara is a illustrator with pretty great lessons. He also manages the idrawgirls website, which unlike what the website says, teaches a big array of lessons (not only girls lol).
- Will Terrell's Youtube Channel and Website - Will Terrell is a cartoonist that helps out with many Youtube lessons. He oftentimes show along with Jazza in Sycra and Friends Podcast.
- Aaron Rutten's Youtube Channel and Website - Aaron Rutten is a digital artist who is very proficient with Corel Painter and his tutorials are geared with Painter users.
- Jeff Watts’ Youtube Channel and Watts Atelier Website – Youtube Channel of the founder of Watts Atelier in SoCal. A pretty great resource for aspiring fine artists.
- Chris Oatley's Youtube Channel and Website - Chris Oatley is a former Disney artist who is now focused on teaching art. He regularly releases insightful Artcasts inviting other guest artists.
- Istebrak's Youtube Channel and Website - Istebrak's a online art instructor who initially started art as a hobby. She does good sized online tutorials and critiques time to time.
Art Websites and Blogs
- CG Cookie’s Website and sister site Concept Cookie's Youtube Channel – CG Cookie produces quality content for Digital Artists, from lessons, brushes, and exercises. It's sister sites also welcomes wide variety of artists.
- Ctrl Paint Website – A pretty great resource for starting digital artists. Provides systemic tutorials that will teach you in an organized way.
- ConceptArt’s Website – ConceptArt is an online community forum where people can ask other people for critiques, help, tutorials, etc.
- Enliighten Art Website – Daarken’s online blog and tutorials. His content is aimed for Photoshop users.
- Pencil Kings Art Learning Youtube Channel and Website - A premium online art academy that provides great programmed instruction and tools.
- Gnomon Workshop Website - A Premium Professional Training Site focusing on 3D Modeling.
- Drawing Tutorials Online Youtube Channel and Website - A premium art instruction website that focus greatly on traditional art.
- Art Fundamentals Subreddit - A subreddit focused on helping aspiring artists by posting lessons and critiques. Just remember to read the rules before asking for a critique.
- Parkablogs Review Blog – The main Art Review Blog for Artbooks, Supplies and more. They have a vast array of items reviewed, so if you want to buy something, it’s a good idea to go here first.
- MuddyColors Blog - Very insightful blog with content from many different artists. Tackles a wide array of subjects.
- James Gurney’s Art Blog – James Gurney’s Art Blog. If you read his awesome books, then you should know how good the contents of this blog.
Art Models (NSFW)
- New Masters Academy Youtube Channel
- Croquis Cafe Youtube Channel
- Posemaniacs Flash Anatomy Poses
- Live Model Books and Posespace
Art Related Mobile Apps!
- MARA 3D Apps for Android and iTunes - These Apps have high quality models that's great for reference, plus they have a must-have Facial Expressions Reference App, which is a great app in conjucture of Gary Faigin's Facial Expressions book.
- Alienthink Apps for Android and iTunes - The models for these ones are pose-able, but the joints warp in some cases. It’s still a great mobile reference despite that because of its versatility, as it has different models for different body types, sexes and also has perspective grids on.
- LE’corche App for Android and iTunes - . One of the best Artist Anatomy Reference App out on the market. It technically only has one model (Houdin E’corche), but they have labeled muscles, gray’s anatomy illustrations for each muscles, simplified forms, and see through skeleton model. A must-have reference tool for artists.
- Skelly App for Android and iTunes - . Proko finally made an app! This app works in conjuncture of Proko's Anatomy Course, showing a high-quality posable skeleton and its simplified forms, which is a first of its kind. A must have reference app!
- Handy Art Reference Tool App for Android and iTunes - This is one awesome Hand Reference tool, with alot of hand poses for both male and female hands that's fully rotational, with also an additional models for male and female busts and skull. Another must have app.