View Full Version : Noob who doesn't know where to begin...

07 July 2009, 10:13 PM
Hey there everyone. My name is Shaun, and I'm a noob to this website, and this forum, and thought that my question(s) would probably fit best here.

Well, here goes! I've been drawing since I was around 8 or 9 I suppose, and have always retained a great respect and deep passion and interest in art. Especially comics and the types of Digital Paintings that you see on websites like this one. I took several breaks from drawing (especially during high school), and realize now how incredibly foolish that was. I'm realizing that art and drawing is the one thing that I find myself adept at. I don't feel comfortable with any other skills, and I really can't think of a career that would suit me at all other than working in some area of art.

I am set on this as a full time career and passion, and don't really want anything else. But I'm feeling extremely discouraged, and really have absolutely no idea where to start. I'm 20 years old, and have no experience in digital painting at all. I just bought a Wacom Intuos4, I have a great computer, and I have plenty of drawing skill.

I guess what I'm saying is, I have all the tools, but none of the knowledge or experience, and I would really like to know what to do to start on this epic journey to create the images I see in my head every second of every day.

I've been browsing this site for many days and hours, an have gained a great deal of info, but I am, more than anything else, overwhelmed with the vast amount of knowledge that I feel like I need at my fingertips on a moments notice.

I'm flustered and confounded, and feel late in the game, but if I could be pointed in the right direction, I'd be willing to slave to get where I want to get.

So, what should I be focusing on? I know I need to practice practice practice, but what exactly am I practicing? What of all the megatons of things I've read should I start with?
Should I just jump in and try as I might to make a painting?
Should I study?

What should I do????

Any help would be appreciated beyond comprehension. I'm a wreck haha:sad:

Mr. D
08 August 2009, 05:44 PM

First as I will usually say look for some type of local art class you can take to get back in the habit and start relearning your basic skills. For most people I find it true that they will think, oh i'll practice at home 2hrs every day. Which quickly wears off as you suddenly find other activities that come up, where for some reason (perhaps from our youth) if you are in a class something in your mind says 'hey i've got to get to class'. And more likely you'll put in a few more hours practicing and learning that way.

If you can find no classes available or you simply are unable to attend them; as you say you've been out of art for a while and your skills are rusty. First thing you need to work on is getting back your basic skills, and that is practice. But don't think you need to sit there and draw, draw, draw. It means get yourself a sketchbook and carry it around with you, so that when you see something of interest you can draw it then and there. Your more likely to draw if you're interested in the subject, than forcing yourself to simply sit and draw just to draw.

You say you have a Wacom tablet, it usually comes with some cutback version of Photoshop or Painter. Install both the tablet and software. Now you need to begin learning your program and software. Do not concentrate on jumping in right away and painting a digital picture. Just commence by playing around with both to start to understand how they work, learn your tool set and what it does. Do the tutorials it came with. Again do not think how you have to make a picture, learn what do certian brush shapes do, how does the opacity and blending of colors work (for digital colors work differently than say paints). And get use to using your pen and tablet, you have a tablet but you're still going to be looking at your screen while trying to draw on the tablet.
Don't even think color to begin with, just set up a small still life or use a picture, then using grey scale or just black line try to teach yourself to draw using your wacom. Then once you feel comfortable with your pen and have enough of the basics of your software start building up your drawings by adding color, or scan in some of your pencil sketches and color them up. Once more don't even think how this has to be a finished painting, just set your paint brushes to be large with a low opacity and brush the color on loosely like water colors.

In the beginning you should simply be looking to learn how everything works, what tools and settings create effects that you like and want to use. Don't simply go out and get a tutorial off the web called 'How to paint a Sky' and slavishly try to copy it. Do the tutorial but look to see how that person used the software to create an effect, is that how you want to do it; even if not is there something about that technique you could use or modify to use in your own work. Learn your skills and techniques first for they'll form the basis of what you're oing to be able to accomplish later on.

Good Luck
Mr. D

08 August 2009, 08:39 PM
Thanks for the reply Mr. D.
I've actually been taking figure drawing at my local community college, and have already found it to be an invaluable help as far as basic skills, and even some not so basic skills.
I've become quite comfortable drawing with my tablet as well. My computer actually has CS4 on it(Photoshop) as well.
Mind you, I'm just talking about drawing with my tablet. Painting is, as you say another story entirely, and I don't feel I have nearly enough knowledge about lighting and layering, much less color theory to begin a really complicated painting.
Heck, I've never even tried traditional painting!
I've been checking out the Art tutorials sticky on the forum, and I've found some great stuff on there.
Any other help would be invaluable.

Mr. D
08 August 2009, 10:06 PM
Hello Again

Well not such a noob after all. So Let's go to the next step.
Since you have a school available hopefully it can provide you with a course on color theory. What in most oldtime instruction you should do next is to begin a few still lifes. As usual the painting is not the end all. You should setup your still lifes with a variety of shapes, textures, and materials. Plus have a light or two handy to work different setups in regards to shadows. Such as some fruit, glass and ceramic houseware, metal, grasses\plants, water, and the reliable drap of cloth. Object is to practice using yours skills and tools to produce different surface qualities. Using water and metal will help you practice reflections and refraction. Does not have to be realistic in color, so go wild with your color palette if you like, but do try to get the materials to feel correct.

Mr. D

08 August 2009, 03:43 AM
Have you gone through the sticky threads at the top of this forum? That is where most people start with when they come here. I put it together for people just like you--those who are lost and needs answers.

08 August 2009, 08:25 AM
Thanks again for the advice.
-In reply to Lunatique,
I had browsed through it, and actually read through several of them, especially the 'Art tutorials, Theories, and Book Recommendations sticky.
I actually acquired several Loomis e-books, and read through 'Niklas Jansson's (Prometheus) Mini Art Course' because I remembered having seen it on the web several years ago.
I had planned on one day just going and reading through all of the info on there...
Would that be a good idea to read through all of them in a day? Or should I focus on one at a time on like a day-to-day?
-In reply to Mr. D,
I took a 2-D design class, and was briefly introduced to Color theory. However, even having known nothing about color at the time, I could tell that what we went through in that class was not at all as extensive as it should have been. I do know for a fact though that there are no stand-alone classes on Color Theory at my Community College.
Thanks again for the advice!

08 August 2009, 09:44 AM
You need to pace yourself. Rome was not built in a day. Start with the Loomis books and actually do the exercises instead of just reading. You will never improve without actually getting your hands dirty. To become a good artist takes both knowledge of foundation theory and actual technique/skill, and you cannot gain the latter if you don't spend the time practicing. Tackle one chapter at a time until you feel comfortable moving on to the next one. You can read as much as you like, but keep in mind that many things you read will pass right through you because you have no point of reference or context for all that information. It's only after you've actually tried to utilized all that knowledge in your own work do you start to fully grasp their importance and how they relate to each other. Give yourself time to digest the information you take in, and take the time to experiment with all the new knowledge you acquire. Don't become one of those guys who can talk the talk but cannot walk the walk. Be both knowledgeable AND skilled.

08 August 2009, 04:04 PM
Make sure to try to get both Photoshop (which you have I see) and Painter. Paintings can be done in Photoshop, and quite spectacular paintings, too. But really, Painter, or Art Rage is better at it.

Past that, given the type of art you want to do, find all the books you can by Burne Hogarth. Basically a comic artist, he wrote a series of the best drawing and art books in the business.

08 August 2009, 05:53 PM
I Have Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Figure Drawing, and have gone through it several times. Its a great book that really gets you to be expressive with the initial gestures when working on a figure.
I really like that book.
My worst fear is being someone like you mentioned Lunatique - someone who knows all this information, but can't put it into practice.
But I'm determined to not let that happen.
I think I'll go through the Loomis Books that I have access to (I've already gone through some hand stuff recently and noticed a huge inmprovement in the hands that I draw).
Thanks everyone for your encouragement, and I'll be sure to ask for more help as Istart trying to paint something.

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