How to Art

How to Art

Tips, tricks, and a plethora of online art resources straight from an art student to you, for beginners or continuing artists.

How do you art? Well, arting is very hard. So hard in fact, that I and many others (better known collectively as artists) spend our whole lives trying to balance out the crushing weight of our own ineptitude and our desire to express something to the world. Art, much like sports, is about practice and technical skill repetition as it is about being naturally well-endowed with drawing fingers.

By this I mean that most people seem to think of art as some kind of unavoidable ultimatum; you either come out of the womb painting like Picasso or you are doomed to a life of completely and utterly ham-fisted hopelessness for all time while holding a paint brush, there is no in between. This is simply not true, I really do think that anyone can (and if they want to, should) make art. You don't need fancy tools, genetically perfect hands, or anything like that to become an artist, all you really need is extreme tunnel vision that you can accomplish any goal you set your mind to; this is true for most things, but especially art.

There are so many ways to do it these days anyways, art I mean. Many of them require no technical drawing, painting, or rendering skills at all (but still, traditional art can still be done and done well, even if you find yourself more in the can't-even-draw-a-stick-figure camp).

I'm an artist, and I thoroughly love to art, and I think anyone that wants to make art right alongside me, should. So I will show you how to art if you don't know how, or how to get better at art that you already are making with the many, many sneaky tips and tricks that me and other art students use to try to cram 12 years of experience worth of skills into our short four years at college!

Let me also say before I begin: in general artists are great, friendly, helpful people who usually love sharing experiences, tips, etc. with one another and especially with beginning artists! Even if they aren't friendly, great people, they still probably will be overjoyed to find anyone that actually wants to listen to them ramble on about paint brushes and color theory.

Talk to all the artists you can! Just hang out with them and ask them stuff. We are all kinds of show-offs too, so we like to tell you cool things we know to make you think that we know what we're talking about. Go forth and art and find us on Facebook, Dribble, Twitter, Deviantart, Tumblr, wherever and ask us questions along the way! Artists love talking to you about art. They also usually like talking about themselves, so this is fairly fool proof plan to learn things straight from the horse's mouth. Watch art steams, watch tutorials, watch speedpaint videos, and look at these tips and you'll be well on your way!

1. How to Get Inspired (Free Art Ideas for the Idealess)

The Inspiration Grid Website

Coney Island Art Institute Art Challenge

Creativity Cards

Mouse Movement Art

Make a Handwriting Font

Paint a Nebula

Make a Typography Edit

Make Sketches Digital on Ps

2. Good Art Books for Any Art Need You Might Have

Art/Work (A book that I swear by, this is directed mostly at my professional-doing-art-to-survive-and--afford-eating artists with everything you've ever needed to know about buying and selling art in the today's world, including how to deal with customers directly, copy right rules and regulations, packing and shipping art, how to negotiate third party art sellers, legal cases, taxes, etc.)

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (teaches you how the right brain works and how to communicate your vision, to your brain, to your hand, effectively as an artist. It covers pretty much everything you will ever need to know about figure drawing, though it might be lax on anatomy, it makes up for that in how extensively it gets you drawing from observation.)

Contemporary Color: Theory and Use (teaches you color theory, and how colors interact in art to produce different effects on your audience, this will teach you pretty much anything you need to know about how to use color in mixing paints, in drawing, in anything)

Classic Human Anatomy: The Artist's Guide to Form, Function, and Movement (This is from my research, one of the best anatomy books you can get ahold of, although I've read very few. Valerie L. Winslow's book is well researched, written clearly and comes with beautiful anatomy drawings. It's informative and if I can only buy one book, this would be the book I'd get.)

3. Free Legal Art References (Photos of Things You Can Draw from Observation to Improve Your Skills)

As someone trying to build a skill, you should be practicing your skill for at least 10 minutes per day to gain muscle memory as well as actual memory of how to draw. Draw things from life, if you're about to eat a banana, draw that. If someone got you flowers, draw those. This will help you make drawings that look like stuff. This is where all artists must start I guess. When someone looks at your drawing and can go "hey, that's a recognizable thing" and you're like, "yes. that is that recognizable thing! I did it!" You have done your first successful representational art drawing. The rest is up to you. Tools for Self-Educating Artists is a great resource for practicing to draw what you see in this way. They provide stock photos of beautiful figures and gestures that you can draw for free legally, it can be very difficult to get a model, especially a nude model, to pose for you to draw from, but doing this will improve your drawing and overall art skills very quickly and effectively)

Quick Poses is also good, it too has more drawing/painting reference stock photos to choose from!

4. Art Programs Similar to Photoshop/Illustrator That You Can Download on Your Computer

There are tons of awesome art programs out there. Some of them are free, some of them are not. While I would recommend the two best known (and most expensive) tools Photoshop and Illustrator, I realize not everyone is taking nightly money baths.

I started out with Gimp , which is easy to get the hang of, and best of all free! Gimp is a vector program like Illustrator and it's scriptable (if you even know how to script. I don't. I never used it. But I'm sure this is useful somewhere to some people). This program can also make very basic animation by putting a new frame on each layer. The website has all kinds of tutorials on it and a community forum available if you need help and was vital to my growth.

Firealpaca is another good free one! This one is great for beginners and can teach you most of the basic tools that you will encounter in other programs, it's great for sketching and conceptualizing, and for quick practice. It's not super optimal for making finished, professional work.

Easy Paint Tool SAI costs about forty bucks, but this program has a TON of tools and settings and STABILIZERS! WOO! The biggest, hugest upside is the blending tools. These tools are AMAZING for digital painting realism, if that's what you're into. A word of warning: it's considered a little outdated and there's low quality support for the program because it's old and out of Japan.

Manga studio 5 - (Buy 5, don't buy previous versions, just don't) This one is 50 USD (or 209 dollars for the really fucking big fancy version with extra stuff for making full-on comics) really it's not that much more though. This one is great if you make comics or manga type art. Just buy the regular program probably, don't spend 209 dollars.


Wacom tablets are the shit! They rock! but you don't NEED one to be good. (In fact, you don't need one at all. But let me say that they help. A lot. A fuck ton, if you will. Seriously, having one makes life better for drawing and coloring anything. Mistakes can be fixed instantly. Experiments with color or positioning can be made and undone in 10 minutes.

The one I use Is a Wacom Intuos Pro in Medium size. Not to be confused with the regular Wacom Intuos. This one is the pro!!!!!!! (See a little while ago, wacom had a tablet called bamboo, and intuos. Intuos became the intuos pro, and their bamboo became known just as intuos. There is very minor differences between them if you ask me, it just makes them sound fancier and better to confuse people into buying the more expensive ones marked as "pro").

Wacom is a fantastic brand for both hardware and software. If you want to go for the cream of the crop, get Wacom 100% in my opinion.

But for beginners, I would suggest something a little less scary in price, like monoprice:
These are cheaper versions of the Wacom, the pen isn't quite as sensitive meaning that some of your trademark style and "hand" will be lost in translation into the digital realm from the physical movements you make on the tablet, but for beginners I don't think this will be noticable, you will just be very happy that you can now hit an "undo" button instead of just crying about the paint you spilled on white paper that will never come off.


Generate a color palette using a photo here!

Great color scheme generator here!

Blend 2 colors together and see what it looks like here!

Find color palettes!

Random color generator!

Hex codes and colors!

A Reliable Color picker!

What color is it? (Shows you the time hex code for any color you input!

Color hex encyclopedia!

Color palette blog for other reference about color palettes!

Remember, in general artists are helpful and kind people who more often than not love sharing experiences, tips, etc. with other artists, and especially with beginning artists! Go find us on Facebook, Dribble, Deviantart, Behance, and Tumblr and ask us questions about whatever. We honestly love talking to you, and if we don't we at least do love talking to anyone that wants to listen to us talk about color theory for awhile. Watch art streams, watch speedpaint videos, watch and do it all… play copy cat, you learn so much from watching and then recreating what others do and then making it your own after!

These are just a few of the many, many tools I used myself to self-educate as a young, growing artist with no formal training. I found them all online by myself, and have done my best to compile them for anyone who needs help here, because art should be uncomplicated. You don't need fancy tools or special hands to make art, you just need time and dedication. I used all of these tips and tricks and more that I just found by browsing tags and art blogs on, and I used them to make a portfolio that got me into art school, so trust me, they must work!

Happy arting!

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...


I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

Related Content

Facebook Comments