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Professor Smeargle: Digital Art Tutorial / Tutoring Thread

Discussion in 'Smeargle's Studio' started by Chou Toshio, May 4, 2011.

  1. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    Approved by Alchemator

    "Rookie" Artists: Ever wish you could draw stunning works like the stuff used on the site? (Better yet: Don't you wish you had the skills to contribute art to the site? *hint hint*)

    Contributing Artists (And Contributing Level Artists): Don't you wish more awesome threads (and maybe some more plain badges!) would pop around Smeargle?

    This thread's goal will be to spread the love-- and by love, I mean artistic technical skills. Up until now, Smeargle has been mostly geared towards displaying art and filling art requests. While it's great for all of us to come together and praise fantastic artists like Shinxe or Nasty and enjoy their work, I feel like we can make this a place for more than just fanboyism. I think, we can hopefully make Smeargle a place where new artists also grow up and get their start!

    We now have our own Channel! Come check out #smeargle for more art chatting!

    Grand Central Resource Thread: Ever wish you you could get a behind-the-scenes look at how the art is done? Wish you could get an idea of how he does that! Well hopefully, we will be able to answer some of those questions by providing resources: tutorials, videos and guides to help fledgling artists get an idea of how it's done.

    Please feel free to post here linking to tutorials, guides and other resources that have been done. I will update the OP to include these! I also encourage artists to make guides and tutorials, posted here or in their own threads to expand the database!

    Tutorials
    Tutorials are step-by-step guides that aim specifically at utilizing software and tools. These should be used to sharpen one's technical skills, and enhance one's knowledge of the available tools.

    Kevin Garret: Constructing Pokemon in Microsoft Word
    Kevin's tutorial will take you step-by-step through his process of constructing Pokemon from shapes in Microsoft Word. The style of artwork is clean, and very attractive-- it works fantastic for making simple illustrations of Pokemon, and uses a program and tools that are available to everyone! Do be aware that the process is very time consuming, with more complicated Pokemon "taking hours" according to Kevin. Still, a guide very worth looking through for those who can't shell out for expensive equipment and software!

    Chou Toshio: Basic Pokemon Illustration in Photoshop
    This guide takes a real "beginner's perspective," giving hints and cheats while introducing effective and easy-to-use tools and techniques in Photoshop. It's a great guide for those looking to get some basic illustration skills for photoshop, that can be used for drawing Pokemon or most anime characters.

    Nastyjungle: Drawing Pokemon, Compete Tutorial
    Possibly the best artist of single-stand alone Pokemon illustration takes you step-by-step through her whole process of drawing Pokemon in very close detail. A must read!

    Nastyjungle: Adding Texture
    Nasty shows you how she makes and adds texture and patterns to her work.

    Shinxe: How To Glaze
    Bring your finished works to the next level!
    Moo: Vector Pokemon!
    Moo teaches you how to use vector techniques to make great Pokes without drawing.

    Dreamtech: Deleting the "background" from your scanned images
    For those of you who actually draw by hand in real life (jk), this can be a useful skill-- by removing the "background" of a scanned image, you can easily get your line art in photoshop.

    Lanturn314: Making MS Paint Work
    It ain't photoshop, but it's free and already on your windows operating system. Lanturn shows how to make art look better in this basic program.

    Nastyjungle: Simple Drawing (India Ink)
    Really Simple

    Icepick: Painting
    Icepick walks you through the art of digital painting-- without line art!

    Shinxe: Tutorial II
    Walks through making an awesome blaziken

    SoIheardyoulikeSENTRET: Painting Pokes, start to Finish
    Sentret walks you through a style of painting going from blocking in values to a finished digital painting.

    NastyJungle: Painting in Photoshop
    Nasty paints and gets rid of her outlines... what!? (sorta?)

    Volmise: Lineart
    Ever wish your line art was cleaner and prettier?

    Bummer: General work methods
    A general rundown of how Bummer creates an image, as well as tips and tricks to use in Photoshop CS2. Also included: a download link from Adobe's website to legally download PS CS2.


    Guides
    Guides will be more abstract, focusing on things like composition, drawing skills, basic art principals/theories and gaining inspiration. Artists should also feel free to write guides about that are geared towards explaining their philosophy/approach to art in a wider and more abstract view than the technically-oriented Tutorials. I'll also link useful posts that aren't step-by-step.

    Chou Toshio: A Look at the Golden Sect and Basic Composition
    By understanding how to use thirds, triangles, and the key points of the "golden ratio," learn how to give your composition a more effective layout.

    Wehkter: Talks about programs

    dreamTech: Talks art
    Discussion of various aspects of skill, including technical skills, composition and imagination.

    Videos
    Link to videos of process-- these kind of go hand-in-hand with tutorials.
    Latios Lives
    A video of illustrating a basic Pokemon (Latios) illustration in Photoshop, largely focusing on the skills and tools explained in Chou Toshio: Basic Pokemon Illustration in Photoshop.


    I Got HAXed
    Another speed vid by Chou Toshio, this time showing the line art illustration (using Manga Studio instead of Photoshop this time).



    Hopefully we can make this a good thread-- and hopefully this'll be the start of seeing some more great works around Smeargle Studio. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2014
  2. undisputed

    undisputed
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    Oh man, I'd really enjoy getting some tips on this. I've never been great at drawing, but I've really been blown away by the computer aided art on this site, and would love to try it out. I'm definitely confused about what programs to use and all the other stuff that goes along with drawing, so I'd definitely be interested in learning. Do I need a higher quality computer or need to purchase software? That's the only hesitation I have since I dont have access to either of those.
  3. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    Hey undisputed, great to get some enthusiasm about art. To answer your question, it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish. I really couldn't do what I do without Photoshop and a Drawing Tablet (a USB device that helps you draw-- they can be a bit pricey though, look at Wacom's website for product info).

    That said, try reading Kevin's guide to see that great art can be done, even in Microsoft Word! Unaided by anything but a mouse (and lots of patience :P)
  4. Orugos

    Orugos

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    hey!! This is a great idea. Do videos, guides, and tutorials have to be pokemon related? Because I happen to be an art tutorial appreciator and know hundreds (possibly) of good ones. Here are some nice videos on digital painting with photoshop which are particular favorites of mine. http://www.youtube.com/user/bugmeyer#g/u
  5. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    No, they don't have to be Pokemon related-- but try not to post too many guides from off site, such that it would flood the thread (doubt this'll be a problem though).

    Feel free to POST links to guides done by non-smogonites, I just won't update the OP with them.

    edit: I learned some cool stuff by watching those vids :P
  6. Xaqwais

    Xaqwais

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    My question would be how do you guys see a Pokemon or any character and come up with such great poses (or even regular poses that are different)? Is it something that artists can just do, or is it the result of trial and error/practice?

    I'm not concerned with it looking great, but I want to get better at doodling :D
  7. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    Coming up with poses, it really is a lot of trial and error. There are some basic rules of composition (though rules are meant to be broken in art), and from there you just have to push your imagination. If the pose seems like something that would be really hard to draw, it's probably something you should try to draw.

    I like to use "movement"/"feeling" sketches-- it's a drawing just of rough shapes, measurements, and "movement lines". I might make a better guide about how I do it later... movement lines are simple lines that indicate "movement" of the character. Shapes like circles show the main pieces of the body, and lines are added to indicate how the parts connect, and to measure how big they ought to be in relation to each other. If you watch the video I made, the movement/feeling sketch for Latios is shown at the beginning under the line-art layer, and stays visible for most of the video.

    Using one of these drawings will make your final line art a lot better
  8. wekhter

    wekhter

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    I'm going to talk about what I personally use to do my art, which people might find helpful. Sorry, it's a bit long.

    You don't need the most expensive programs to do art on a computer, and you don't need the best computer (though if it's a really really slow machine, it may make drawing a bit unbearable). You don't even need a tablet, really, you just have to be willing to work for your drawings. I was drawing digitally for a year before a got a tablet, and honestly, it's only because I had become so experienced with a mouse that I was able to draw with a tablet easily. The thing to understand about doing digital art is that even though holding a tablet "pen" in your hand may seem more intuitive than trying to draw with a mouse, a tablet won't help at all if you can't get over the disconnect that comes from having to look at a screen while "drawing" down somewhere else. Unless of course you have one of those crazy tablet screen computers. :>

    That being said, because tablets have pressure sensitivity, you can get a natural drawing much more easily than by using a mouse (where you'd basically have to fake details like different line thicknesses by hand). When using a mouse I mostly did sketches on paper, then scanned/photographed them to ink them on a computer. With a tablet, I usually just sketch straight onto a computer. Note that tablets can get a little pricey. That being said, I've been using my first (and only) tablet for... 7 years now? So if you take care of it, it's not really a bad investment.

    By the way, for anyone in the market for tablets: bigger is NOT always better. I have a 6x8" Intuos3 (note: Wacom doesn't make them anymore, they're onto Intuos4), which means my drawing area is 6x8"... but the tablet itself is about 9x12". Just the right size to fit in a bag with my computer. Any bigger than that, I find a little unmanageable and because of the way tablets are mapped to computer screens, I feel like I have to move my arm too far to do small things. A friend of mine has a "postcard" tablet, 4x6". I find that a little uncomfortably small to draw on. I've worked on Cintiqs (the computers where the tablet is also the screen, so you're actually looking at what you're drawing) and I don't like it all too much because you're leaning you hand on a computer monitor all the time and they get a little hot which makes me nervous, haha. If you're getting a tablet because you think it'll be more comfortable than a mouse, make sure you get a tablet you're comfortable working on. :> I know people who have gotten tablets and ended up not using them because they found them awkward.

    Now, onto programs. Do you need stuff like Photoshop? No, not really. Photoshop is a pretty heavy program and it's filled with a lot of features that most people never need. It's also quite expensive. This is not to say that it's not a good program, it's quite useful. I use it when coloring very large images, though usually not for doing linework because I don't like Photoshop's line quality. It's just not my go-to program for straight-up drawing. It's definitely the best for adjusting/saving images once I'm done, though. There's really a lot written on the internet about Photoshop so I'll leave it at that.

    There are also a lot of programs that are quite a bit like Photoshop. I used GIMP a while ago, and it can do a lot of the same things that Photoshop can do. But it's free. :B Unfortunately I've not used it in a long time because I actually own Photoshop and don't need to use free Photoshop alternatives, but I recall it was pretty good.

    When I started out doing digital art, I started out using OpenCanvas (at the time, it was a trial of version 3). Note that OpenCanvas is a Windows-only program, sorry Mac/Linux/BSD/whatever users. I actually use OpenCanvas 4.5+ most of the time (version 5 was just released). It lacks a lot of the functions of Photoshop, but they're none of the functions I use when drawing anyway so I find it a lot more pleasant to be able to use a lighter program. Also, I feel OpenCanvas has the best quality of lines of any program I've ever used. OpenCanvas current versions aren't free (though they're a lot cheaper than Photoshop, and you can download the trials for free). Note that it's a Japanese program, although it's translated into English pretty well.

    However! The very first version of OpenCanvas was free, and I still find it to be a terrific sketching program. You can find a download for it here. It's actually smaller than 1mb, a very very tiny program. It's very bare-bones, lacking things like a fill tool (no, really) and "normal" layers (the default layer style is multiply--if you don't know what that means, don't worry) but it's quite fun for quick pieces where all you really want to use are a pencil, paintbrush and eraser. It's also pretty competent, considering how old and limited it is--when my own computer's hard drive failed, I used OpenCanvas v1.1b on my roommate's mother's 7-year old desktop to draw a series of 300dpi images. And it worked. :> All versions of OpenCanvas also have this neat function called "event" which allows you do save a playback the image being drawn. Yeah, even v1, where they didn't even add a fill bucket. Version 1 also has a pretty cute networking function, kind of like a paint chat, that I used to use to draw with people.

    Another program I've used is Corel Painter. While I say Photoshop is heavy, well, it's got nothing on Painter. Painter is sloooooooow. It's also by far the best program for imitating real life mediums. The brushes are fantastic, realistic, and controllable down to the tiniest details. Unfortunately, if you're working at a size larger than pretty small, or are using a very big brush, you might end up drawing a line and then waiting for it to appear. It's a slow, slow, clunky program, so I like to use it only after most of my image is done, to add a few finishing touches. It's quite a bit cheaper than Photoshop. Actually I got it for free in a promotional deal when I bought Photoshop, so it was really cheap. :D

    By the way, both OpenCanvas and Painter can open/save .psd files, Photoshop native, so I can work on the same picture in all three programs. And I have. I also like drawing in Flash and inking in Illustrator, both of which are also Adobe programs (like Photoshop) and therefore, pretty pricey.

    TL;DR if you have a PC download OpenCanvas v1 because it's free and a decent introduction to the most basic features of drawing programs (layers, brushes). Sorry I ramble. :|
  9. tangramman

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    This has little to do with Pokemon, but this place is pretty cool. They have many resources on drawing human figures and progressing from there, most of which you can find at your local library. The forums, although an offshoot of 4chan and thus somewhat callous, are also useful for judging your progress and pointing out things that need improvement in whatever you're working on.

    Hope I helped.
  10. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    Gah, I could never use a mouse. I actually have the same tablet as Wehkter and have been using it for about as long-- 7 years. I had an Intuos 2 (Intuos 3's predecessor) for 2 years before "it got lost" (but was actually under my bed... now I have two Intuos tablets... great...), and it was great as well.

    Sure there was a sense of "disconnect" drawing on my lap and looking at the screen, but for me that sensation lasted for only about a week before the tablet seemed second nature to drawing on paper. I really can't express how much I love working on tablet.

    Photoshop is my love, because I do photography as well, and I really love all the tools it brings. Layers, masks, levels, curves... MAGIC WAND TOOL. As Wekhter said though, none of these really come into play when you're just drawing an initial sketch.

    The only thing I will say about Photoshop being "expensive" is that if you buy a tablet, Wacom will give you Photoshop Elements FOR FREE. No, elements isn't as powerful as the CS line, but generally speaking, it's a much more beginner friendly and easy to use program. Many of my photographer friends like Elements better than CS. So yeah, that's all I have to say about Photoshop being "expensive" (a tablet can be pricey-- but then to me, it's a sunk cost since I can't imagine working without a tablet :P).

    I've heard good stuff about Gimp, haven't tried it.

    I've also heard a lot of good things about Open Canvas-- I just downloaded it. I will give it a try. Yeah, I'm on Mac, but then I have Windows XP on my Boot Camp division so suck it. :P
    ...wait, never mind, I just tried loading Open Canvas with Wine, and it worked like a charm-- don't even need boot camp. If you are using Mac, you probably are already using Wine to play Pokemon Online. lol Looks like Open Canvas works just fine on Mac. Huzah

    I definitely agree Photoshop could have cleaner lines on their paint brushes, so I will have to give Open Canvas a shot next time I do line art on the computer.

    I've used Corel Painter as well too. In my opinion, it has a lot of brushes and presets imitating real medium pre-installed, but to me a lot of them felt nothing like the actual media. Water colors felt like a good imitation, but I hate water colors IRL (lol). Oil Pastel in Corel Painter felt nothing like real life (which was a shame really), and the Painting Knife was even worse (which is a REAL shame since I love painting knives). Add in the fact that it lacks so much power in terms of editing tools, and that Photoshop can always have more brushes installed into it (I've even made my own brushes for it), and I just found I preferred Photoshop a lot more. Note: If you buy a TABLET, it will probably come with a trial version of Corel Painter too!!

    ok, I'm going to link wehkter's post in the OP
  11. LeviLamprey

    LeviLamprey

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    Unfortunately there's no way to help me and my sketches...even if I ACTUALLY put work into them, it's impossible to photograph them smoothly (no scanner!) and I don't have a drawing pad for my Tablet. :( But I like the idea very much. I approve!!!
  12. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    Levitating-- even if you don't pursue digital right away, there's lots of ways to improve your basic drawing skills with practice and a bit of knowledge on composition. I plan to make a simple guide on that kind of stuff soon.
  13. Nastyjungle

    Nastyjungle fat and sassy
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    Yo yo yo

    I don't know if I'm advanced enough, but I've got a compete tutorial here.
    Edit: I've also got a simple "how to make and use textures/patterns" guide.

    I think this is a really great idea :)

    (PS. As soon as Summer starts for me (only a few weeks), I can def. tutor if anybody wants me at a teacher!)
  14. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    See, it's only been up a day and we're already digging up stuff no one I never got a chance to look at :P

    updated

    edit: OMG nasty you use the 1 pixel brush O.o you're crazy, too strong... I think I would go insane...
  15. thelaytonmobile

    thelaytonmobile

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    Hey, this thread is a great idea, there's loads of useful things here already.

    But on to my question: I have a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet, I can use it very well as a mouse (finally won me that stupid DW breakout game yesterday), however, I just can't seem to draw with it, I can never get it to do what I want. I know loads of people here draw really awesomely with graphics tablets, and I was wondering if I could get some tips on how to actually use the thing.
  16. elDino

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    Hey, this thread looks really cool Chou.
    I just wanted to know if anybody could teach me how to draw on photoshop without a tablet, as I don't feel like getting one until I really become interested in this stuff. I don't have to be taught right now, but maybe sometime in the near future. I just find drawing with a mouse hard, and I would really like to learn how to do it.
    I'm ok at sketching and copying things on real paper with a pencil, but not with a mouse.

    Thanks for the tips and great thread!
    elDino
  17. wickdaggler

    wickdaggler

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    tbh drawing originally in any paint program with a mouse is really hard, because you can't control pen pressure, or draw on an image, which is really limiting.

    Given that, though, a pixel based program might do you more good. There are several well done illustrations that use pixels, and since it isn't reliant on stuff like brush strokes I think it would be a lot easier than trying to draw with photoshop. You could also try doing something in illustrator with the pen tool, or something. Or, if you don't have any other options, yeah, you could use photoshop and do some of the stuff like Fate was doing before he got his tablet.

    However if you're better at sketching and that sort of stuff then I'd stick with doing your work on paper then scanning it in and working from there.
  18. icepick

    icepick she brings the rain
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    I could help you learn to vector, but the learning curve is pretty steep and you will want to refine your sketching skills first.
  19. wekhter

    wekhter

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    @Chou: the funny thing is that watercolor is basically the ONLY type of painting I do in real like, and Painter's watercolor gets on my nerves like nothing else. :D The thing I use painter for are the oil painting brushes, which I think are lovely. I guess it goes back to a discussion I had with a friend of mine a while back--Painter is very much about imitating real media, so when working with Painter it feels like you have more real media problems than digital media problems. He's much, much happier working traditionally, so Painter bridges the gap for him much better than Photoshop. I absolutely despise painting but love digital painting, so Painter is sometimes hard for me to get a handle on.

    @thelaytonmobile/elDino: I'm lumping my responses to you two together for the most part, because as I've said before, I was drawing on computers with a mouse for... maybe two years before I got a tablet, so drawing with a tablet was a really easy natural progression for me and I had no trouble getting used to it.

    The most important thing to remember about starting to draw on a computer, whether it's with a mouse or a tablet pen, is that it's not a piece of paper. You've likely been drawing on paper for years and years and are comfortable with it. The change to digital is a big jump, and you can't expect to produce of the same quality as your paper work right from the start. On paper, you can go from an initial sketch to a finished drawing right on the same piece of paper. You're likely not going to be able to sketch very confidently on a computer right off the bat, so when you're starting out it's a good idea to sketch on paper and then scan it/take a good photo to get onto a computer. Then you can make a digital piece already starting off a good base, instead of a blank canvas (which can be pretty daunting).

    It's also better to start off with simpler coloring techniques when you start out. That is to say, don't try doing a full-fledged digital painting as your first try. A cell- or soft-shaded piece with linework is a better way to teach yourself the basics.

    Before you begin your linework, make the picture bigger than you want it to be when you're done! I usually do 2x the size I want to show it. Why? At first, your digital inked lines are probably gonna be pretty wiggly and... not so great looking. Actually, my digital lines are still pretty garbage, even after years of practice AND a tablet. I got shaky hands. But, if you look at it at 50% size, most of those imperfections become hidden! So do yourself a favor and always work bigger.

    Now, for more specific mouse/tablet issues:

    Mice: People often make it seem like you CAN'T do digital art without a tablet, but really, you can do just fine for yourself with a mouse. The biggest (and really only) issue with mice is that they're not pressure sensitive. So you can't get lines that vary in opacity/thickness when you first draw them. All that means is that to fake that, you have to draw even bigger and make friends with the eraser tool. I used to make my lines always too thick, then go in and fake line weight by erasing around the ends. It's not difficult, just time consuming. But once you've resigned yourself to the fact that it'll just take a while, you can do whatever you want. This is the last picture I was doing completely with a mouse, before I got my tablet. A tablet never touched this picture, because the moment mine arrived in the mail, I stopped all work on it. It's a record of what I could do with a mouse. All you ever have to do is put your mind to it.

    Tablets: Some people have told me that when you're first starting out, it can help to put a sketch directly on your tablet and trace over it with a tablet pen. Others have told me that just putting a piece of paper on your tablet in general can help because the thing they have trouble with is the slickness of the tablet surface. Note that drawing on a piece of paper with the tablet pen will wear out the nib faster, so do so with restraint. The only real way to get used to drawing with a tablet is to draw with it. Once you've inked over your own drawings a few times, you'll get more used to the act of drawing with a tablet in general.

    Sorry if this post is too vague and generic sounding. e_e; If anyone is interested in more specific, actually tutorial-style help, I can make a tutorial based on any of the drawing styles I've used in my thread, or any of the programs I've mentioned using.
  20. TheMutant

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    For those that can't handle sketching on a tablet but are awesome sketching with traditional media- the only solution is practice. There is no magic brush or technique that will help you out. I speak from experience here- the first thing I drew with a tablet looked like absolute crap, though I was drawing far superior things with my pencil and paper.

    For quick practice, just make a big image, grab either a thin flat brush or a pen pressure opacity one (ie: the harder you press, the darker the line) and start doodling. You just need to get the feel of how your drawing movements translate from tablet to screen as opposed to similar movements on pen and paper- and don't worry, it won't take years or anything as long as you stick at it. Play with different brushes, too. About all the stuff I post these days is 100% tablet drawn, no scanning involved.

    Hmm, I might sign up to be a tutor when I'm not totally swamped. :P Fraid I have no tutorials to contribute, though- I dunno any aspects of my art worth tutorializing.
  21. Shinxe

    Shinxe there and back again
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  22. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    Hmmm... Glazing is such a simple concept, and yet it looks to do a lot of work. Fascinating.

    Updated
  23. Chou Toshio

    Chou Toshio @Fighting Necktie
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    Golden Secion-- An intro to basic composition

    Have you ever heard of the golden section?

    ...yeah, all this really means is don't put stuff smack dab in the middle of the page.

    In nature, there is a natural balance that is commonly reoccurring, in shells, in rocks, in the human body. If you can use this balance in composition, it will appeal much more to the human eye. While rules in art are meant to be broken, getting a handle of basic layout concepts will definitely help your art-- it's better to break rules knowing about them, than break rules while simply being ignorant.

    Let's take a look at some basic examples of composition, good and bad. At first, we'll use a really easy to understand example, from one of my favorite themes: Japanese Rock Garden Layout

    The most fundamental layout consists of 3 stones, because the concept of "thirds" and the triangle are fundamental to the Golden sect. Even Stone layouts with 5 or more rocks are based on the basis of the triangle. So, using 3 rocks to make a stone garden, let's look at some examples of composition.

    First, what not to do:
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    Now, looking at the above example, it's probably pretty obvious why this is bad. All the rocks are the same size, making for no visual interest. They are also straight up and down, and make the picture look very flat. To make matters worse, the horizon line is also completely flat at the base of the stones, not really giving any interesting reference or sense of space. Basically, it looks like a preschooler drew this. Actually, that might be an insult to preschoolers... A preschooler would at least draw a sun in the corner.
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    [​IMG]


    This example is also pretty awful. The most painfully bad mistake is the horizon line drawn directly through the middle of the piece. This again makes the image very flat, with no sense of depth or space. The large, round "main" rock placed directly in the middle of the composition is also painful on the eyes. The two "support" rocks are basically doing no support, and their even uniformity makes the piece very boring. The only saving grace of this piece is the triangle made by the 3 rocks, but it does basically nothing to help the case.


    In order to improve on this, we will want to integrate the golden ratio. The easiest and most basic way to do this is just to divide the space into thirds and pay attention to the "key points."

    The golden sect is roughly based on thirds, 1/3 or 2/3. By dividing the space into vertical and horizontal thirds, and finding the points where the lines intersect, you can easily find the points on the canvas that are key to the golden sect, and are naturally the place the human eye "wants" to look at. By drawing the illustration to work around these points, and bring important points of the composition to said points, you can make a piece with much more visual interest for the viewer.


    Here's an example of a "good" rock layout:

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    [​IMG]


    This layout has a lot more visual interest, builds a sense of space, and has a good "balance."

    The first thing one will look at naturally, is the point of the "main stone", which is not only a dramatic point because of the size of the stone, but also because of its intersection with the upper right "key point." Furthermore, the stone is positioned at an angel, is jagged point is visually interesting, and naturally suggests a point of a triangle.

    The other two "support" stones are also doing a lot of great work for the overall composition. Their positions reinforce the triangle suggested by the main stone. Their relation to each other also suggests several "minor" triangles built into the piece.

    Another thing one will notice is that each stone sits on a different level of the page, and that each has a slightly different angle. This "chaos within nature," called "wabi-sabi" in Japanese (and closely related to the Golden sect), makes the piece much more aesthetically appealing.

    Finally, the horizon line, while not being directly on a "third" line (which would actually look "overdone"), is "just off" the third line, re-inforcing the sense of natural slight deviation from perfection, while still paying respect to the golden ration. This horizon line does a lot to connect the stones, giving them a "context" or "space," and gives the whole piece a sense of space. You feel "depth" even if there's no shading in the piece whatsoever!

    Looking up at this good example, than back at the bad ones, even though they are all 700 x 700 pixel drawings, the last one "feels" a lot bigger.

    [​IMG]

    Can you see the lines?


    Now, how does this apply to drawing Pokemon? Well, even in illustrating singular Pokemon, your piece will take on much greater vividness if you can use these points to create a sense of movement.

    First, look at bad pikachu:

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    [​IMG]




    Now, let's look at better pikachu:

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    [​IMG]


    By drawing important parts of the Pokemon, like face, eyes, claws, tail, or wings, you can put emphasis on different parts of the Pokemon and create a sense of motion or vividness. The Pokemon will feel more "natural."


    As a last example:

    [​IMG]


    Now you know, it's not just the shading and coloring that makes your eyes naturally draw to my avatar's eyes or claws. Even before the coloring happens, the drawing is laid out to naturally draw the eye to the key places. When the shading/light source is chosen and worked in such that it will further emphasize the key points, the impact/vividness of the piece will become even more powerful.


    I will note that, I did not draw these lines as an initial step to drawing Tyranitar. I didn't even think about them when I was making my initial drawing-- it's instinct, second nature. For a lot of artists, seeing how to compose the drawing comes second nature, instinctually-- they don't really think about it. They just "know".

    But, this same understanding can be achieved simply by being aware (and drawing/using the lines at first)-- and in time, it becomes instinctual as you continue to use it.


    I hope this brief explanation of how to use the Golden Sect will bring something extra to some works around the Studio. :D
  24. RitterCat

    RitterCat
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    If I could be of any assistance I would be happy to help. Note: I can't do digital art for nothin' (lack of tablet says hi) so I can only help with people on their iPod.

    I might as well give some pointers that I find have helped me.

    First, try out the free versions of some apps to see which ones you like. I use Sketchbook Mobile, which is quite simple to use and has all the features I need. For more complex art it might not help as much as it is kinda limited in some ways (3 layers max, I'm hoping for an update) but I'm used to it so yeah. Basically, use what you like (wow that was helpful)

    With drawing for iPod, it can be hard to get the extreme precision as you are drawing with a large finger most of the time. Lines can take forever to get right, and initial quick sketches can often be too messy to work with. I occasionally lay out base shapes but mostly don't sketch first, but others might have ways to do it. Anyway, lines can take a while, so the Undo button quickly becomes your best friend. School friends often get infuriated when I do the same line over and over, saying "It's the same! Just do it already!" but I like to get my lines right (just my perfectionist mildly OCD side there). Also, tinged smooth lines and precision in the relatively small space, you MUST ZOOM IN. Zooming in is so incredibly life-saving for getting it just right. Apps with pinch zoom make it easy to zoom quickly and precisely.

    For pose and linearr and the like, what Chou said was incredibly helpful, but often you can't meticulously pore over thirds to mathematically get the best pose. I love maths, but when I do lineart, feel is king. Stuff just looks right. And the only way to get feel, I have found, is to draw a crapload. And it doesn't have to be taking out drawing pencils, setting down with quality paper and setting aside hours for drawing. Bored in class? Doodle. Interested in class? Still doodle. Doodle doodle doodle. My worksheets, books and folders are covered in people, random pictures (and pokemon naturally). Draw a lot and things will start to come naturally. And if you feel used to iPod controls and its feel, just keep drawing. My early works were pretty shocking, by I have improved through doing requests and drawing for 4 months.

    Final tip. Doodle doodle doodle doodle. Just keep on drawing!

    tl;dr I ramble incoherently
  25. Smith

    Smith is a 90's bitch
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    This may seem very random but I know it rustles Nasty's jimmies when you assume she's a guy... she's actually female so you might want to change all those "he"s to "she"s.

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