Art Tutorials, Theories, and Book Recommendations

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  03 March 2005
Arrow Art Tutorials, Theories, and Book Recommendations

The following are some of the best links on the internet we have found, that contain insightful, practical, and helpful information on various aspects of creating images. (The word 'Theory' in the title, though often used in this context, may be confusing to some; much of the info here has nothing theoretical about it, but is very much empirical.)

If you have links you'd like to submit, please PM or email one of the Forum Leaders (Kai, Steven Stahlberg, Enalya, Lunatique, Cicinimo) , and once we have checked the links, they will be added here.

General (All-In-One)
Andrew Loomis books online
The best resource bar none

Link to PDF files for Loomis books

A Note about Loomis (from Lunatique)

Andrew Loomis was a respected and prolific illustrator and teacher. His instructional books have become some of the most sought after art books in the last decades. Most of his books have been out-of-print for decades, and command prices of hundreds of American dollars for a second-hand copy.

In the recent years, various sources on the internet managed to locate most of his instructional books, and have scanned them in and made them available to artists around the world. This is an amazing gift--one that should not be flamboyantly dismissed.

To the youngest generation of aspiring artists that grew up with the internet, the Loomis books have become something to be taken for granted, and not regarded nearly as seriously as should be. This is unfortunate, because to those of us that understand the significance of the Loomis books, it's as if people are passing up the chance to be taught by one of the best art teachers that ever lived--FOR FREE. Loomis books like "Creative Illustration," "Figure Drawing For All It's Worth," "Successful Drawing," "Eye of the Painter"..etc are equivalent of years of the best art school education money can buy.
Even the most advanced professional artists revere and study the teachings of Loomis.

If you are a beginner, you need Loomis. Don't go searching for some kind of magical tutorial that will miraculously turn you into a better artist overnight--such thing does not exist. Your best chance at improving and growing as a beginning aspiring artist is to read the Loomis books from cover to cover, and do all the exercises that are provided in them. If you can master the contents taught in his books, you will become a master artist yourself. That is not an exaggeration--that is a promise.

Craig Mullins Macross Tutorial
Detailed explanation of how he painted the Macross piece.

Craig Mullins overpaint
amazing artist, amazing image, useful hints

Niklas Jansson's (Prometheus) Mini Art Course
really useful, complete and clear

Various tutorials from skjoldbroder

(No images, only the text)
Many similar points with the following:
Composition for Landscapes, but most of it also holds for any image.

Aesthetics in Symmetry:

Gestalt Theory in design:

Light and Dark

(Cubes exercise, led by Craig Mullins)

Color Theory
Huge, but I recommend reading every word

Andrew Loomis, see link at the top
Series of articles in Animation World Magazine by the great Glenn Vilppu (

The short short version

The long version (VERY complete)


Art Movements

Tutorials in the Art Techniques and Theories Forum
Painting an eye (tutorial/exercise)

Just some thoughts on smooth blending (examples in Photoshop and Painter)

[tutorial]portrait sketch in digital

How to paint in Photoshop

Thread of useful things (various tips and tutorials)

Where the shadows fall?

Various tutorials in the WIP 2D Forum

MODERN MASTERS: Digital Painting (Photoshop) Tutorial By Nebezial

Recommended Books to Buy

Tom Browning's Timeless Techniques For Better Oil Paintings isan excellent book on oil painting and art theories in general. Easy to understand and contains excellent art foundation knowledge.

Richard Schmid's
Alla Prima: All I Know About Painting, is a must have for any serious artist. Tons of pearls of wisdom that are results of Schmid's decades of experience as one of the most respected painters in the world today.

Jack Hamm's Drawing the Head and Figure is similar to the Loomis books, but with his own spin on things. Gives excellent tips on not only how to draw, but how to draw attractive looking people.

Harley Brown & Lewis Barrett Lehrman's Harley Brown's eternal truths for every artistis another great all around book on art foundations and drawing/painting instructions.

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