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Skills development

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Cherrie
(@clfors)
Posts: 294
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

This thread could be a great place to share all those resources and personal practices we use to advance our skills in illustration and art in general!

I prefer to encourage my own growth through diving in to bigger and more challenging art pieces one after another. It holds my focus better when there is going to be a finished piece to enjoy.

But periodically I convince myself to drill the basics before starting a new project.

I’m currently using some fantasy art books and just reading cover to cover while practicing the skills suggested. My main focus is on drilling figure drawing, especially dynamic and active poses, character creation, and sci-fi and fantasy landscapes in preparation for a series of paintings I hope to complete for Quarter 2 of Volume 39. 

I’m starting with these books because I have them on hand:

Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures: From the Imagination to The Page by Finlay Cowan

The Compendium of Fantasy Art Techniques by Rob Alexander, Finlay Cowan, and Kevin Walker

DragonArt: How to Draw Fantastic Dragons and Fantasy Creatures by J “NeonDragon” Peffer

The topic of exploration that I’m gonna be using free-form process art to explore is the creation of watercolor special effects to rival/match digital. I created some effects I’m proud of in my last piece and that has me curious just how far I can push the medium to render light, shadow, and magic!

For Watercolor basics I like 

The Complete Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook by Gordon MacKenzie

I’ll be looking up more resources as I go and will share anything I find that’s helpful. 

What are your favorite resources for illustration skill building? 

3x Finalist Illustrators
5x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
7x HM Writers
1x SHM Writers V39 Q3
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : January 3, 2022 2:22 pm
Cherrie
(@clfors)
Posts: 294
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

 

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Gesture drawing! 

It took me a bit when I was introduced to gesture drawing to see the point of it because I’d been self taught for so long and my process was very different. 

Now I see the benefit of the exercise as well as its many applications. I’m primarily drilling gesture drawing again as a way to step up my speed and confidence in my figure drawing and to build up a more broad mental library of gestures.

They are also great for thumbnail composition sketches! 

It’s a great exercise to draw 1 inch gestures (only from real humans and not other drawings) and fill the page. You can fit around 50 on an 8.5x11 page. I’m going to do a second page to get about 100 in.

There is an added bonus in stretching your perception if you alternate between styles from stick and ball, basic 3D shapes, gestures lines, skeletal figures, and whatever other simplifications of the human figure you like to employ. 

It’s also going to be most helpful if you find a diverse array of poses and body types, combat, reclining,dancing, male, female, tall, short, full-figured, child, infant. 

3x Finalist Illustrators
5x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
7x HM Writers
1x SHM Writers V39 Q3
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : January 6, 2022 10:56 pm
marywilliams, PenMark, Wulf Moon and 2 people reacted
Physa/ Guthington/ Amy
(@physa)
Posts: 398
Gold Star Member
 

Okay, I have a question regarding digital art and IOTF contest. I completed 2 pieces of artwork using the program that comes with windows 10: Sketchbook. I started with pad and pencil, took a picture of that, and used the program to color and finish it. Then I created a folder for when I have my 3 entries and looked into the requirements for digital uploads and see the minimum is 300 dpi. PROBLEM, Sketchbook maxes out at 72 dpi. 

What do you use to create digital art suitable for IOTF contest? Back in the day I learned out to use Photoshop, but nowadays you have to rent it (no way to own). I'm looking for a writing program I can load onto my laptop which has touch screen that's a one time purchase (so I want to own it).

Any suggestions or ideas are welcome!

Best, Amy

WOTF results:
6 Rs, 3 RWCs. 5 HMs
Vol 41: Q1 P
IOTF results:
3 Rs, 3 HMs
My story “Thunderbirds, Kraken, and Other Dangers to Dragon Reproduction” was accepted by Androids and Dragons and should come out in their April 2024 issue. It won first place in the Southeastern Writers Association’s Vega Award for Speculative Fiction [June 2023] and received an honorable mention in WOTF volume 40 Q2.
My story "Baba Yaga and the Water of Life" is now published in Haunted Words Press Issue Six: Ghoulish Grimoires: https://issuu.com/hauntedwordspress/docs/issue_six_ghoulish_grimoires. It was my first RWC [Q1, Vol 39].
According to Winston Churchill, "success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm"
Somehow I lost my Guthington profile, but it's me. Amy Wethington = Guthington = Physa

 
Posted : January 7, 2022 6:02 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Posts: 1283
Platinum Member
 
Posted by: @physa

Okay, I have a question regarding digital art and IOTF contest. I completed 2 pieces of artwork using the program that comes with windows 10: Sketchbook. I started with pad and pencil, took a picture of that, and used the program to color and finish it. Then I created a folder for when I have my 3 entries and looked into the requirements for digital uploads and see the minimum is 300 dpi. PROBLEM, Sketchbook maxes out at 72 dpi. 

What do you use to create digital art suitable for IOTF contest? Back in the day I learned out to use Photoshop, but nowadays you have to rent it (no way to own). I'm looking for a writing program I can load onto my laptop which has touch screen that's a one time purchase (so I want to own it).

Any suggestions or ideas are welcome!

Best, Amy

Clip Studio Paint is a one-time payment, and it goes on sale periodically (current listed USD price on their website is $49.99; I got lucky and caught a Black Friday sale a few years back). It's designed with comics and/or manga creation in mind, but it can give you pretty much anything you'd want from a digital art program. They have a free trial option so you can see if you like it, too. You can check it out here:

https://www.clipstudio.net/

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Posted : January 7, 2022 8:29 am
Physa/ Guthington/ Amy
(@physa)
Posts: 398
Gold Star Member
 

@disgruntledpeony thanks for the info and link. Will check it out, Smile

WOTF results:
6 Rs, 3 RWCs. 5 HMs
Vol 41: Q1 P
IOTF results:
3 Rs, 3 HMs
My story “Thunderbirds, Kraken, and Other Dangers to Dragon Reproduction” was accepted by Androids and Dragons and should come out in their April 2024 issue. It won first place in the Southeastern Writers Association’s Vega Award for Speculative Fiction [June 2023] and received an honorable mention in WOTF volume 40 Q2.
My story "Baba Yaga and the Water of Life" is now published in Haunted Words Press Issue Six: Ghoulish Grimoires: https://issuu.com/hauntedwordspress/docs/issue_six_ghoulish_grimoires. It was my first RWC [Q1, Vol 39].
According to Winston Churchill, "success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm"
Somehow I lost my Guthington profile, but it's me. Amy Wethington = Guthington = Physa

 
Posted : January 7, 2022 10:04 am
Cherrie
(@clfors)
Posts: 294
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

I am not an expert in digital art options but when I do digital now I use procreate on an iPad. I do also use photoshop because it’s what I learned first. I have a discounted educator subscription. 

3x Finalist Illustrators
5x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
7x HM Writers
1x SHM Writers V39 Q3
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : January 7, 2022 10:49 am
Cherrie
(@clfors)
Posts: 294
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

@disgruntledpeony thanks for sharing your knowledge!

3x Finalist Illustrators
5x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
7x HM Writers
1x SHM Writers V39 Q3
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : January 7, 2022 10:49 am
DoctorJest
(@doctorjest)
Posts: 834
Platinum Member
 
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony
Posted by: @physa

Okay, I have a question regarding digital art and IOTF contest. I completed 2 pieces of artwork using the program that comes with windows 10: Sketchbook. I started with pad and pencil, took a picture of that, and used the program to color and finish it. Then I created a folder for when I have my 3 entries and looked into the requirements for digital uploads and see the minimum is 300 dpi. PROBLEM, Sketchbook maxes out at 72 dpi. 

What do you use to create digital art suitable for IOTF contest? Back in the day I learned out to use Photoshop, but nowadays you have to rent it (no way to own). I'm looking for a writing program I can load onto my laptop which has touch screen that's a one time purchase (so I want to own it).

Any suggestions or ideas are welcome!

Best, Amy

Clip Studio Paint is a one-time payment, and it goes on sale periodically (current listed USD price on their website is $49.99; I got lucky and caught a Black Friday sale a few years back). It's designed with comics and/or manga creation in mind, but it can give you pretty much anything you'd want from a digital art program. They have a free trial option so you can see if you like it, too. You can check it out here:

https://www.clipstudio.net/

I want to add my voice to this, albeit largely by proxy--when I got a drawing tablet as a gift from my wife this Christmas, my friend (a pro illustrator himself, when he can find the work) recommended exactly this same piece of software with nothing but glowing reviews. Aside from celebrating its features and capabilities, he also pointed out that there are quite frequent tutorials from the community that can teach you how to make great use of the package. It's the software he uses himself, and he is frankly bafflingly good at what he does. I've barely had time to play with it yet very much, but the three-month trial appears to be pretty much unrestricted from what I've tried so far.

DQ:0 / R:0 / RWC:0 / HM:14 / SHM:7 / SF:1 / F:1 / Pending: 1
Published prior WotF entries: PodCastle, HFQ, Abyss & Apex

 
Posted : January 7, 2022 1:13 pm
Disgruntled Peony, Cherrie, Wulf Moon and 1 people reacted
Physa/ Guthington/ Amy
(@physa)
Posts: 398
Gold Star Member
 
Posted by: @doctorjest
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony
Posted by: @physa

Okay, I have a question regarding digital art and IOTF contest. I completed 2 pieces of artwork using the program that comes with windows 10: Sketchbook. I started with pad and pencil, took a picture of that, and used the program to color and finish it. Then I created a folder for when I have my 3 entries and looked into the requirements for digital uploads and see the minimum is 300 dpi. PROBLEM, Sketchbook maxes out at 72 dpi. 

What do you use to create digital art suitable for IOTF contest? Back in the day I learned out to use Photoshop, but nowadays you have to rent it (no way to own). I'm looking for a writing program I can load onto my laptop which has touch screen that's a one time purchase (so I want to own it).

Any suggestions or ideas are welcome!

Best, Amy

Clip Studio Paint is a one-time payment, and it goes on sale periodically (current listed USD price on their website is $49.99; I got lucky and caught a Black Friday sale a few years back). It's designed with comics and/or manga creation in mind, but it can give you pretty much anything you'd want from a digital art program. They have a free trial option so you can see if you like it, too. You can check it out here:

https://www.clipstudio.net/

I want to add my voice to this, albeit largely by proxy--when I got a drawing tablet as a gift from my wife this Christmas, my friend (a pro illustrator himself, when he can find the work) recommended exactly this same piece of software with nothing but glowing reviews. Aside from celebrating its features and capabilities, he also pointed out that there are quite frequent tutorials from the community that can teach you how to make great use of the package. It's the software he uses himself, and he is frankly bafflingly good at what he does. I've barely had time to play with it yet very much, but the three-month trial appears to be pretty much unrestricted from what I've tried so far.

Thanks @disgruntedpeony and @doctorjest. I got the program and found out I can use it to change resolution to 300 dpi from what I already did. This is great! I'll also learn how to use clipstudio to do artwork directly. Smile Happy dance, Amy

WOTF results:
6 Rs, 3 RWCs. 5 HMs
Vol 41: Q1 P
IOTF results:
3 Rs, 3 HMs
My story “Thunderbirds, Kraken, and Other Dangers to Dragon Reproduction” was accepted by Androids and Dragons and should come out in their April 2024 issue. It won first place in the Southeastern Writers Association’s Vega Award for Speculative Fiction [June 2023] and received an honorable mention in WOTF volume 40 Q2.
My story "Baba Yaga and the Water of Life" is now published in Haunted Words Press Issue Six: Ghoulish Grimoires: https://issuu.com/hauntedwordspress/docs/issue_six_ghoulish_grimoires. It was my first RWC [Q1, Vol 39].
According to Winston Churchill, "success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm"
Somehow I lost my Guthington profile, but it's me. Amy Wethington = Guthington = Physa

 
Posted : January 7, 2022 3:28 pm
storysinger
(@storysinger)
Posts: 1491
Platinum Plus
 

It's great that you are a parent that interacts with your offspring Charles. How are things with your writing?

Today's science fiction is tomorrow's reality-D.R.Sweeney
HM x5
Published Poetry
2012 Stars in Our Hearts
Silver Ships

 
Posted : December 11, 2022 5:12 am
Cherrie reacted
(@christaelrod)
Posts: 3
Active Member
 

Useful thread. I will share some useful resources shortly. Eager to see the resources from other members.

 
Posted : January 18, 2023 11:30 pm
Cherrie reacted
V. R. Lassmann
(@vrlass)
Posts: 78
Bronze Star Member
 

Cool tip from my side.
Painting a scene makes it way way easier to describe. 
Learning how to paint now Smile

 
Posted : February 19, 2023 6:49 am
Sarah Morrison
(@tashari)
Posts: 16
Advanced Member
 

Skill building, always a good thing to be doing!

 

I know everyone learns differently, so if book reading isn't your thing, a video tutorial might be.  I've watched some of the instruction videos by the artists on Muddy Colors (if you don't know Muddy Colors, you should check it out!), as well as Aaron Blaise.  (Some videos are free, but some you have to pay for.)

 

Practice practice practice, of course!  I primarily draw and paint people, and I find that when I am doing regular figure drawing/painting (ie, nude, or clothed models), that all my art in general tends to be better.  Something something about practicing looking at things and representing them.  But if you can't do a live model, there are free resources to practice from as well.  Croquis Cafe for example!  Reference.Pictures, AdorkaStock, Pexels.

 
Posted : July 20, 2023 10:57 am
Cherrie
(@clfors)
Posts: 294
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

@tashari So cool to see you in here. Your art is gorgeous! 

I love that you mentioned YouTube as a good option. I like it for different time slots. Like on a walk I can watch art videos and absorb new techniques. 

 

3x Finalist Illustrators
5x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
7x HM Writers
1x SHM Writers V39 Q3
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : July 20, 2023 6:02 pm
(@martin-l-shoemaker)
Posts: 2135
Platinum Plus Moderator
 

All this art talk makes me happy! Historically the Forum is almost entirely writers, with almost no artists. We have tried various ways to get more artists involved, but nothing seems to draw them out. Whatever we did to get a bunch of art talk, let's keep doing it!

http://nineandsixtyways.com/
Tools, Not Rules.
Martin L. Shoemaker
3rd Place Q1 V31
"Today I Am Paul", WSFA Small Press Award 2015, Nebula nomination 2015
Today I Am Carey from Baen
The Last Dance (#1 science fiction eBook on Amazon, October 2019) and The Last Campaign from 47North

 
Posted : July 20, 2023 7:56 pm
Cherrie
(@clfors)
Posts: 294
Silver Star Member
Topic starter
 

Now I’m all excited to talk art!

…I’m curious about other artist’s thoughts on tailoring entries to the contest vs submitting passion pieces.

I’ve historically tried to tailor submissions to the contest but my last piece and probably the next one are passion projects from a themed series. I’m definitely curious to see if that affects my results for quarter 3 and 4…

3x Finalist Illustrators
5x Semi finalist Illustrators
1x HM Illustrators
7x HM Writers
1x SHM Writers V39 Q3
https://clforsauthor.com
Author of the Primogenitor series: Progeny, Adaptation, Reunion Available on Amazon under CL Fors

 
Posted : July 21, 2023 12:22 am
storysinger reacted
(@johnalex20)
Posts: 18
Advanced Member
 

Such a useful and cool thread

 
Posted : August 1, 2023 10:46 pm
Cherrie and storysinger reacted
Sarah Morrison
(@tashari)
Posts: 16
Advanced Member
 

@clfors

I vote for doing personal pieces and not tailoring! 

I've heard so many professional artists tell stories (about themselves or people they were mentoring) who kept trying to do art they thought other people were looking for, but when they finally "gave in" and just made art they wanted to, or whatever "came easiest" to them, their work was stronger.  It may even have filled some niche they didn't realize people wanted.  Basically, play to your strengths.  Make what you enjoy creating.  Sometimes it can help if you stand out from what other people are creating.

It might not hurt to at least make sure what you're creating is the traditional vertical illustration format?  If that's what you want to be doing.  Or you can just crop it appropriately for your submission.  Though I'm pretty sure I also saw horizontal formats in winning submissions.

I'd love to hear how your passion projects do in the next quarters!

 
Posted : August 5, 2023 7:13 pm
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