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Old 11-11-2009, 08:53 AM   #1
Boxcarwilli
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Where to start for the self taught beginner?

For starters, this thread here has a TON of good resources, tutorials and theories. However, where do I start and what would be a good cirriculm for someone who wants to teach themselves?

The problem Im having is I want to create some short, medium and long term plans in regards to my self taught education in drawing/painting. I have long term goals, but, those shouldnt factor in so much I dont think for someone wanting a good foundation that can open more doors later on.

I could simply look at a local uni degree requirements for a BFA and match up the course descriptions to the resources in the url I provided above, but I would rather here from the folks here who are trying to teach themselves and even better, for those of you out there that have established yourself, what would you recommend to a noob on the self taught track?

Thanks! Any help is appreciated.
 
Old 11-11-2009, 04:11 PM   #2
Lunatique
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It would help if you told us what your goals are in terms of career or personal fulfillment. Do you have specific areas of interest? Do you intend to make a living at it? What's your financial and job situation like in the next few years? How much free time do you typically have in a week?
 
Old 11-11-2009, 05:57 PM   #3
Boxcarwilli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique
It would help if you told us what your goals are in terms of career or personal fulfillment. Do you have specific areas of interest? Do you intend to make a living at it? What's your financial and job situation like in the next few years? How much free time do you typically have in a week?


Great questions!
1. "your goals are in terms of career or personal fulfillment"
My career goals would be either a character artist or concept artist/illustrator. I don't know right now, but, Im not in a hurry to make that decision yet. For personal fulfillment I would like to have a firm grounding in drawing, colors/painting and character/landscape theory and creation etc. Ultimately, i want to tell a story with every finished piece of work!

2. "Do you have specific areas of interest?"
I love the work of Ryan Church and Craig Mullins (and your stuff as well, I have all the Expose books). However, I don't want to emulate of course and eventually would like develop my own style. Stuff like this and this are amazing as well.

3. "Do you intend to make a living at it"
Of course. However, Im currently doing very well as a software developer now for 10 years. But, the output no longer has meaning in life for me and I think art will change that for me if I put in the hard work to make it so. So, yes is the answer.

4. "What's your financial and job situation like in the next few years?"
Very good, however, I don't want to stick around with it for too long. I was hoping 2-3 years of hard work and I can start to transition. So I don't mind spending a little bit of money for instructional material, however, local community college offerings aren't great here.

5. "How much free time do you typically have in a week?"
3-4 hours per day, sometimes only 2 hours per day.
 
Old 11-12-2009, 12:16 AM   #4
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I hope I'm not imposing on this, but I asked the same question recently and this is what I gathered. Learn anatomy. Start with Loomis. I'm starting that now.

I too and on my solo path. I am a healthcare professional, but I have put art aside too long now. I have 8 years in my career and I have 12 years till retirement in my current job. I'll be 38 by that time. Too young to stop working! The way I see it is I have a financial security right now. I have 3 hours a day at least. That's not working past midnight. I do that just reading these tutorials or other career developing methods. When I retire from my current job, I want to be an established illustrator. I want to work for companies like Blizzard, Wizards of the Coast or any other houses in that realm of genre. That's it. I have 12 years to develop myself while I have financial freedom to fund my quest for knowledge. That's not saying I want to wait 12 years to start taking in work. I just know that by the time I'm 38, I want to have already placed both feet in the world of illustration.

Lunatique is a very resourceful man. He always gives me great advice. I posted a "curriculum" type question some time ago, and he set me on a path. I'll keep my eye on this thread so I can learn something too!
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:41 AM   #5
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OK, that's much better. This is what I would suggest.

-Definitely grab the Andrew Loomis books--they are like years of art school education. What's also unique about his books is that he has written for both beginners and advanced artists in his career, and that's extremely rare. Eye of the Painter, Creative Illustration, and Successful Drawing are more advanced, while Fun with a Pencil is for beginners. Figure Drawing For All It's Worth is about in the middle.

-Jack Hamm's book (listed in that tutorial/recommendations sticky thread) is excellent.

-Harley Brown's book is very good for all-around instruction on the foundations. Tom Browning's book is really good as well. Richard Schmid's book is more useful once you have some experience under your belt.

-Do the exercises in the books. Don't skip--do them all. When you learn something, incorporate it into your work--don't just let it sit on the shelf in the back of your mind. If you don't practice, there's a danger you might end up like those people who talk the talk but can't walk the walk.

-Draw/paint from life once you have a pretty good handle on drawing (if you do it too soon it'll only intimidate and frustrate you). Use your family, friends, hire art models (goggle for ones in your local area). For landscape/scenery, get a simple portable watercolor set and get out there and paint the real world (when it's darker out, you can even just use your laptop and Wacom and paint from life digitally--if battery time is not an issue. During the day will be too bright for the laptop screen). When you can't work from life, work from photos, but keep in mind there are problems with photos and you can't trust them completely. When you draw/paint, don't do it mindlessly--analyze the structure, the surface quality, the proportions, cause and effect (for example, why clothing folds form and how compression points and stress points influence the direction of the wrinkles and folds). We have an anatomy forum at cgtalk too.

-Learn photography--especially studio lighting. This will help tremendously with your understanding of lighting, color, and composition, and you will also benefit greatly from being able to shoot professional quality reference when you need them. Experiment with colored gels and various color temperature of lights and you'll fully understand why many of the questions about color that beginners ask are totally misguided.

-If you don't know much about graphic novels, educate yourself about them. They are excellent for learning visual narrative. Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics is an excellent book.

Don't rush--this is going to take you a few years to get a handle on, and from there will come the next phase--to actually start kicking ass. Be glad that you have a solid career already and money's not a problem. Trying to make a living in art and learn at the same time while being a starving artist will wear you down--I was there for many years. You might find your job uninspiring, but it'll support your learning.

I'm currently trying to finish up the course material for an 8-week intense art bootcamp workshop to be taught here at cgtalk. It will cover all the most important things I've have ever learned as an artst (both the critical foundations and highly advanced concepts that confounds even professional artists)--stuff I wish I could travel back in time to teach my younger self. It'll be called "Becoming A Better Artist: Critical Knowledge and Techniques For Today's Artists." I can put you on my emailing list so that you'll be notified when the workshop is done.

Last edited by Lunatique : 11-12-2009 at 12:47 AM.
 
Old 11-12-2009, 01:52 AM   #6
Boxcarwilli
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Thumbs up Great advice, thanks...

Thanks so much both of you, the approach was what I was looking for. I would've never thought about the photography advice. Me and graphic novels/comics go way back, so much to discuss there of course! Time to dive into those loomis books.

And yes, put me on your mailing list, or ahhh, I'll try and send you a message with my email addy. Your course sounds fantastic.
 
Old 11-12-2009, 06:48 PM   #7
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Books

Hello

Also try looking-buying some of the art books out there on game art (Art of WoW, Final Fantasy.....), plus books on 3D films and heavy FX films. Should provide help on looking to see the differences between straight forward illustration work, and artwork done for design purposes. One thing to come up with a concept character sketch or drawing, and another to come up with one a modeler or animator might need.

Mr. D
 
Old 11-12-2009, 09:29 PM   #8
Boxcarwilli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. D
Hello

Also try looking-buying some of the art books out there on game art (Art of WoW, Final Fantasy.....), plus books on 3D films and heavy FX films. Should provide help on looking to see the differences between straight forward illustration work, and artwork done for design purposes. One thing to come up with a concept character sketch or drawing, and another to come up with one a modeler or animator might need.

Mr. D


Great suggestion! I had no idea these books existed. Just found the lord of the rings one, star wars and the WoW WOTLK one. Cant wait to dive into them.
 
Old 11-24-2009, 04:30 AM   #9
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Marc - I got your email, and I'm answering it here so others can see as well.

Quote:
I have a another question from our thread. How often and when should I start doing my own drawings vs. working from exercises in the Loomis books and other materials?


My suggestion is that you should look at it this way--when you are doing the exercises from the instructional books, you are learning in a very safe manner--from someone who is a master and knows exactly what you need in order to improve. When you try to draw on your own without guidance as a novice, it's not quite as safe because there's no one with authority there to guide you, and you could possibly be wasting your time by going about things the wrong way. But if you are drawing on your own according to instructions on how to do so from someone who has authority on the matter (for example, you're told to draw a life portrait with 3/4 frontal lighting in charcoal, with full values and no lines), then you'll be much better off than doing it blindly on your own. The most important thing about drawing on your own as a novice is to ask "What do I want to get out of this session? What are the exact things I want to learn and improve on?" The important part is to think as much as you draw--in fact, think more than you draw, because most people don't think enough and just blindly doodle with no purpose.
 
Old 11-24-2009, 06:10 AM   #10
Boxcarwilli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique
The most important thing about drawing on your own as a novice is to ask "What do I want to get out of this session? What are the exact things I want to learn and improve on?" The important part is to think as much as you draw--in fact, think more than you draw, because most people don't think enough and just blindly doodle with no purpose.


Great, I'm on the right track then. I was recently drawing the female face/head and it's amazing how precise it has to be to look good, and I needed to study that some more. So, tonight I worked on female eyes and going to do lips here soon. Thanks again!
 
Old 11-24-2009, 12:22 PM   #11
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Marc, I understand all of you pains and struggles. I'm sure many other artist, including Robert, do. This is what's so great about this place. I just log on and interact with people from all over the place. Different parts of the world! But what remains is art. The struggles and joys are constant throughout the world of art that is painted all over the globe. Keep posting questions and your art for C&C's.
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:22 PM   #12
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