Why 3D artists want to learn to draw/paint?


Thank you Lunatique so much for your posts! I finnished art school and i learn only to draw becouse the teachers are forced so much on drawing,modeling,painting etc. but i need to learn values,color theory,lighting etc…I have experience with 3d, i learn maya, and still i missing that part…so thank you for this thread!!

I think about animation for 2 years and im in love with maya, i have wish to learn every single part of it…I tried different kind of art like oil painting, gouache painting,drawing,calligraphy,modeling,woodcut etc…but really i find my self in cg… im really happy becouse i know so much artist that didnt decide which path they will go. You inspired me, now i have even more wish to learn! Thank you…

And as you say i will read all sticky threads! Thank you for that advice.


As a child I spent most of my time drawing and sketching things from my favorite comic books, tv shows. I know most 2d artists can agree with me that Dragonball Z played a role in your wanting to become an artist :). If not, then it may just be me. But somewhere along the way I lost my drive to draw. I spent more time reading and socializing and just forgot to pick up a pencil now and then. Women also played a key role. And once you stop picking up that pencil and drawing, you lose what skill you had worked up. It is not gone completely but it doesn’t just come back to you.

In high school I began to teach myself 3D. And yes. I did struggle. I was trying to concept complex projects in the free 3D Program Blender and then polish them to completed projects. This was just creating a giant heap of mistakes. I eventually realized that I needed to practice my 2D art. And so I started keeping a sketchbook.

I’m going to put it bluntly. When I started drawing again. It was the single most discouraging thing that I have ever done. They were horrific and terrifyingly awful drawings. I was so disappointed in myself. I then went off to Art School where I learned the basics and foundations of art and I have been getting better and better at 2D art and it has been showing in my 3D art. I improve with both every day. Don’t get me wrong. I still have a long way to go before I can stand up to a lot of you here. But it is worth it to learn the foundations.

I’m sorry for the long post. I just really wanted to augment the OP’s original statement that Foundations in Traditional Art are, in fact, important in the 3D world. Even in Photography, and Cinematography. Any artistic field really. Whether you are an artist, an intellectual, a construction worker, a chef. Drawing is the best way to convey ideas. Especially ideas that words cannot explain.

So my fellow artists. Draw. Love the way your pencil dances across the paper. Love the lines you make. Love the feeling. Love the outcome. No matter what. The next thing will always be better.


sounds much like my education, and with the latter being me trying to teach myself because i’m now too skeptical of the education quality to want to drop lots of money for another college course.


To be honest this specific OP paragraph underpins the compelling argument for learning the foundational tenets’ that pertain to the traditional 2D Visual Arts medium as a whole irrespective of CG skill set the digital artist is conversant.

In that one such aspect in my opinion is entirely essential other than generating for example the primary subject matter in accordance with or very near too the envisioned artistic premise, whether 3D model, digital painting, and/or full figure - bust sculpt, so on and so forth.

Is lighting through both theory and practical application refined in particular for me via personal landscape gouache ‘en plein air’ [French expression - “In the Open Air”] studies when the mood took hold.

The theory initially formally attained in the classroom, is pretty much IMHO a defining factor in depicting an enhanced outcome worthy of the physical let alone mental effort in capturing “that scene”, plus forthwith I’ll humbly submit without which would not be possible.

So yes to reiterate, when transitioning across into CGI, prior foundational knowledge I’d gained is indeed an invaluable toolset to have in one’s bag if the intent is to further excel, in whatever proposed goals are set in place too achieve.

Cheers :wink:


Someone in another thread asked questions about how 2D can specifically help his 3D work (including animation) in terms of practical applications, and I gave him plenty of in-depth answers. Here’s the link to the thread: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=8051177


It’s a hard truth but you’re absolutely right, I’m currently stuck on something that I wouldn’t be stuck on if I hadn’t given up on drawing. :-/


Ah, what a breath of fresh air to see this on my first day here. I’ve being working on both the 3D and 2D mediums, but previous communities looked down on it. It’s good to finally find a community that understands the importance of learning both. Thank you. :beer:


An updated version of the original post has been published as an article on CGSociety:


3D allows people to put a lot of polish on turd, basically

Haha, I almost spat my coffee all over the computer screen reading that.

I love this thread. There is some gold here.

I recently joined this forum to master the skills needed for 3D art (I’d been putting it off for a while). I totally agree that an understanding of art foundations is the key to being a well-rounded artist.

I second Andrew Loomis as a go to resource for learning the fundamentals. Scott Robertson has some awesome books too - his Gnomon online class blew my mind.

The #1 thing that helps me though is an in person drawing class. The personalized feedback I get from a highly experienced artist is priceless. Anytime I’m stuck with something, taking a short weekend course always helps.


Might be something for me too - will check out you workshop.
all the best