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)
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.
Pixeylove.com 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.
5. DIGITAL DRAWING TABLETS YOU SHOULD USE!
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.
6. A BUNCH OF WEBSITES FOR HELP WITH USING COLOR IN ART!
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 tumblr.com, and I used them to make a portfolio that got me into art school, so trust me, they must work!