• Hey Trainers! Be sure to check out Corsola Beach, our newest section on the forums, in partnership with our friends at Corsola Cove! At the Beach, you can discuss the competitive side of the games, post your favorite Pokemon memes, and connect with other Pokemon creators!
  • Due to the recent changes with Twitter's API, it is no longer possible for Bulbagarden forum users to login via their Twitter account. If you signed up to Bulbagarden via Twitter and do not have another way to login, please contact us here with your Twitter username so that we can get you sorted.

What art tips do you wish you had learned sooner?

Joined
Jun 8, 2019
Messages
4,009
Reaction score
8,390
Pronouns
  1. He/Him
Basically the title — though you can also think of this as a place to share with others any advice or cool drawing tricks that you use!
Is there anything that you wish you had started doing sooner when it comes to your art? What do you know now that you would tell your past self if you could?

Personally, I would tell myself... flip your dang canvases! I felt like using the horizontal flip to check for inconsistencies was completely useless for the longest time, so I never ever bothered with it; but I noticed such a significant difference in my anatomy and expressions only after I got into the habit of it about two years ago. Oh, and pen stabilization/fill bucket/tonal correction are your friends. Going out of your way to avoid them makes things so much harder than they need to be! D:
 
tbh this isnt even a tip but... it took me wayyy too long to realize that layers in digital art like, actually DO things, and i'm supposed to actually USE them...
now i always use like, 15-20 even on smaller projects o_O but it's better than almost losing my mind whenever i tried to shade anything prior to learning what the premise of digital art even is d:
 
i feel like this is one i see a lot of people say but i wish someone had told me earlier that using references is totally okay. i feel like for a long time i felt this weird stigma when it came to using references, and it was just kinda odd to shake off. now i rarely draw art without using some kind of pose reference, and i think that's okay.
 
"Those shapes you draw to set up a figure don't have to be nice geometric shapes."

I read lots of drawing books when I was younger and could never get a grip on the "break your figure into basic shapes and work up from there" advice. If I drew spheres and cubes, my end result looked like...well, a clumsily assembled construct of spheres and cubes. It was extra work and made the drawing look worse than if I jumped straight to the outlines. Then I found one book that showed the "basic shapes" as simplified body segments rather than something out of a geometry textbook. THAT clicked, and I got significantly better at posing (still not amazing, but better).
 
I've been told before that in digital art, and art for sharing and exposing, that the results matter far more than "the process". Tons of art books and tips of olden days would say that you must do THIS and you must follow by THAT, but the majority of people will only see the end result, not your sketch layer or the lineart without colors (unless you show them ofc), so they only see the result. As long as the end result makes your audience happy, it doesn't matter how you (ethically*) get to it, but it just needs to look nice.

Of course, this means doing things like using references, layer effects, other tricks that are moreso done by clicks than pen strokes, are just as important as things like good color theory, composition, and anatomy, as they all make a good end piece.

*Ethically of course here meaning not excusing AI art or tracing and art thievery.
 
Digital artists: USE KEY COMMANDS!!! It might seem stupid or hard to get used to (it is at the start but it becomes second nature, believe me) but it does not only save you time, it saves you from frustration.
Specially if you're getting used to a new program. Instead of searching for the "New layer" button wherever it might be, JUST LEARN THE COMMAND. Or assign it to a button on your tablet if you own one/your tablet has buttons. It took me a few headaches with CSP to eventually configure my tablet to specific commands and it makes drawing way more straightforward.
 
share. your. art. For the longest time, I kept to myself with the artwork I made because I thought it was bad or wasn't good enough, often throwing away sketches and stuff, but if you share it with other people, they can help you improve with some tips and tricks, and it encourages positive reinforcement and confidence to keep drawing and get better if that makes any sense. Practice makes perfect after all ^^
 
share. your. art. For the longest time, I kept to myself with the artwork I made because I thought it was bad or wasn't good enough, often throwing away sketches and stuff, but if you share it with other people, they can help you improve with some tips and tricks, and it encourages positive reinforcement and confidence to keep drawing and get better if that makes any sense. Practice makes perfect after all ^^
this 100% and as an add-on, i'm kinda hypocritical to say this since i have a bad habit of deleting old art, but don't get rid of your old art, or at least if you're removing it from online keep a copy of it for yourself. i know sometimes looking at old art can kinda not be the best because it's easy to look back at something you were proud of and now see the flaws and feel self conscious about it, but keeping old art is always good so you can look back on it after a while and see the improvement, and i think seeing this improvement can be a HUGE motivator.
 
Hmmmm... These might seem obvious, but it took me quite a long time to fully comprehend or appreciate them...
  • "You need to know the rules before you break them" does NOT mean "you need to be able to draw perfect realism before you can stylise your art"
  • Try drawing various subjects, in different styles, and using different mediums, because you might not know what you enjoy the most.
  • Don't put your art down - it is demotivating and it makes others uncomfortable if you do it in front of them.
  • You can practise drawing by... well, drawing. No need to do practise sketches/anatomy studies or whatever all the time, make some fully finished pieces, at least once in a while, you can learn a lot by doing so.
  • Remember why you draw.
Also... if you draw on paper, you can check for errors by doing that thing with a window... I don't know how to say it but it's like the canvas flip check ^_^;
 
Digital artists: USE KEY COMMANDS!!! It might seem stupid or hard to get used to (it is at the start but it becomes second nature, believe me) but it does not only save you time, it saves you from frustration.
Oh no I'm guilty of this, LOL. I've been drawing digitally for almost 15 years now and I only really use one keyboard shortcut outside of the immediate basics. Otherwise I still click on nearly every menu and button with my cursor, and have never used my tablet hotkeys for anything. Who is "optimized workflow", never heard of her :confused:
Thank you for the reminder/motivation!! I have a lot to learn if I wanna get up to speed, but it'll certainly be worth it for all those extra seconds spared.

don't get rid of your old art, or at least if you're removing it from online keep a copy of it for yourself. i know sometimes looking at old art can kinda not be the best because it's easy to look back at something you were proud of and now see the flaws and feel self conscious about it, but keeping old art is always good so you can look back on it after a while and see the improvement, and i think seeing this improvement can be a HUGE motivator.
YES, I can't second this enough. Even if you can't appreciate it right now, you are guaranteed to want it back someday! I myself lost a massive amount of art that I made from 2013-2014 because I impulsively deleted it all the time. And back then that was pretty much nothin' — past me just thought it was ugly or "cringy" or something so I didn't really care if it was gone forever — but I never backed it up anywhere, and it was never archived. Nowadays, I would do anything to see all that stuff again. It doesn't even have to be because you'll be glad you've improved since then; sometimes you're just gonna miss it when it's gone!
 
"You need to know the rules before you break them" does NOT mean "you need to be able to draw perfect realism before you can stylise your art"
Yes!! I see the opposite literally everywhere in the art community both online and irl and it infuriates me. Stylisation is also an art skill you need to practise, and you can practise both the fundamentals AND stylisation with no problem (or well, with the problems that might come when learning how to draw).
 
(aaah this was gonna just be a short post and then I started remembering a bunch of things and now it's a wall of text :bulbaLol:)
  • A game changer I learned fairly recently is to shade with desaturated cool colors instead of just using black or lowering the value of the base color, it gives the shadows more depth.
  • Adding on to what others have said about key commands - it also helps to change them to make the inputs easier. Like, if there's a command that I frequently type wrong, such as Z instead of Ctrl-Z or W instead of E, I just deactivate the one I don't want so I don't keep activating the wrong tool. I only found this out like last month and it's made such a big difference for me lol.
  • Linework doesn't have to be totally crisp and clean. It used to be torture for me to get every line looking perfect, but now I keep my lines more sketchy and it feels much more free.
  • For digital art, use a mid-tone neutral color for your canvas instead of white, it's much less harsh on the eyes.
  • Just because you think your art doesn't look as good as someone else's, it doesn't mean yours is worse, it just means that it's different. You can't measure everyone's art by the same metric.
  • I know I heard this here somewhere, but I don't remember who said it - look for something you like about each piece of art that you make. Find the positives instead of dwelling on the parts you don't like.
  • Challenge yourself! You don't know what you can do until you try, and you might surprise yourself when you do.
  • Kneaded erasers > regular erasers.
 
do fucking sketches, oh my god. i thought they were pointless for the longest time, and so many of my old art just looks so wonky because i didn't actually plan anything out.
Yeah. I completely agree on this one. Learning how to do outlines and sketches later on requires so much more work and learning whereas it would’ve been easier and less stressful to learn early on
 
Thumbnails, thumbnails, thumbnails! Always useful whenever I'm trying to master certain poses and avoiding jumping straight to drawing whatever image comes in my head, only for it to come out so wonky it hurts.

Another one I've picked up on recently is doing a rough colour layer under a darkened copy of my rough outline layer. It's certainly a lot easier on the eyes and helps me decide which colours work and designing the final palette. That and colouring in straight after doing a clean outline always gives me a headache.
 
I figured out what different like, clipping and mask and multiply layers do only recently when I got procreate, and some I still ignore some I think I overuse a bit

Also idk what was going through younger me’s head, but I have all these great drawings with a style somewhat similar to a beginning artists imitation of the Pokémon anime style. Cause that’s what it was. But the eyes were always misaligned for some reason and the heads were so freaking big. My mom decided to teach me a bit of body anatomy for my art so it looks better now..,.

Edit: reference images in procreate are life savers. You don’t need to insert an image on a separate layer then delete it once you’re done or flip back and forth from apps. It’s just there.
 
Shade sparingly, even in dramatic lighting. My shadows still look a bit.....uh. questionable, but it's definitely better than using 18 colors just to shade things.
 
I was given some really good advice a while back when it came to structuring poses: No straight lines. It makes sense the more I thought about it. Nothing in the human anatomy is straight; even our spines are curved. Trying to make every line of the body curved instead of straight really adds to more dynamic and fluid poses, I think.
 
Back
Top Bottom