(Has anyone ever stated the fact that coming up with post titles is incredibly tricky? )
I wrote somewhere (probably Facebook) sometime ago (probably because someone asked, but for the life of me, I can’t find the message/comment anymore… navigating Facebook’s archives is near impossible! ), that I believe one can “learn” to be “creative” just like one can learn any other subject or skill. “Creative” in the whole being-artsy / drawing-and-imagining / visual sense. At times it can be frustrating to hear, or be told that “oh you have such talent!”, because to me, it kinda belittles or ignores the truckload of effort that has to come along with the talent, in order to produce an artwork. For most of us anyway.
So as a continuation of my previous entry on how my drawing style developed, I shall attempt to recall & showcase some of the contemporary artists that I used to follow in the online world, mainly on deviantART. (I said used to because this was all during school age. At some point, I turned to crafting more than arting and abandoned dA for years!) Because part of learning any skill is to have mentors / teachers / role-models to refer to, yes? It’s always good to learn from others’ successes and mistakes alongside yours.
I don’t know whether any of these artists’ styles have influenced mine, but for sure, keeping up with their artwork, analysing/observing them, following their tutorials (if any), commenting and receiving feedback from other artists, have all been beneficial in the learning process, inshaAllah.
Eheh. Of course it started with HP again. There were MANY awesome fan artists out there. I’m talking geniuses. Some were on deviantART; others I subscribed to e-mail updates via their personal fan art websites. These are a few of the legends:
Tealin [Pottery Art] has a “Disney”-ish style, yet all the character designs seem so apt. Also check out the How to Draw section (which I totally printed out and stapled and referred to when I was a kid who wanted to know how to draw from imagination ).
Honestly, if I had to pick a favourite, it would probably be Marta. [Artdungeon via Wayback Machine] Because she uses (water)colour, her style is semi-realistic, and she draws eyes beautifully.
Oh, part of learning from others is to ask questions. And with some of the artists, I sent e-mails to “interview” them, ask for advice and tips. It somewhat surprises me how brave I was, but I think you’d find that most designers/artists/architects quite enjoy talking about
themselves their work. Here is Marta’s e-mail reply to my silly questions (this was in 2003 ) :
1~ You said you work on the arts field, so how old are you?
2~ Do you really use coloured pencils, like a blue pencil for a drawing that looks blue? (kinda stupid question, but I’m wondering)
Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t, and I just adjust the colour in Photoshop.
3~ Is the paper you draw on really that colour, or do you colour the whole page, or is this just another stupid question?
If you mean the OotP drawings — well, the paper is yellowish.
4~ How do you draw everybody’s eyes? They look so real!
Dunno. I just draw them.
5~ How do you make Ginny so cute? I love her hair!
6~ How do you watercolour on your drawings? Won’t the pencil lines run? Or do you paint, then put pencil outlines back???
I draw first with a coloured pencil, then I paint and I do again the pencil outlines.
7~ Last question; can you teach me how to draw like you? Please? PLEASE??? Maybe you can make a How To Draw page…Or at least can you tell me what I have to do to be an artist?
My tips are:
Draw as much as you can. Carry a sketchbook with you and draw from your surroundings — your friends, random people on the street, your bedroom, whatever.
Good luck and best wishes,
FYI, I’ve heard that tip many times. But was I ever consistent with following it? Nu’uh. InshaAllah I am trying again, though. I even made myself a few sketchbooks over the weekend. Might post another blog entry about that.
Another artist I interviewed was Ayne [deviantART, Ayne’s Harry Potter Gallery via Wayback Machine]. I think I also liked her style because she used watercolours. Generally now I am not a fan of manga/anime style though. Copypaste of her e-mail from 2003:
Thanks for your message. I’m glad you like my drawings *^_^*
I’ll try and answer your questions:
Chibi = the Japanese word for “small”. A chibi-style or SD-style (Super Deformed) picture consists of deforming the characters so they have a big head and small body, usually to make them cuter.
I first sketch my drawings on normal papers. Then I trace them (using the window or a transfer table) on Basik paper (or special paper for watercolours or for any technique I’m using) and redraw the main lines with a waterproof liner/marker or ink (since I’m using watercolours to paint most of my drawings, it must be a waterproof ink or it’ll blur when it touches the wet brushes).
My favorite coloring method is watercolour. You can learn to use them by practice but here are the basic tips for almost any technique (water, acrylic, liquid ink, pastels…):
- You have to start painting the background and then the characters or main figures
- Start with the lightest colors and end with the darkest ones
- Paint the basic figures with light colors and then add shading tones gradually
- Close figures are usually darker and more detailed than those that are far away or in the background
I mostly paint with watercolours, but sometimes I use designer’s ink for brighter colours. It’s often mixed with the watercolours so you probably won’t notice it. I used to put bluish black calligraphy ink on the Hogwarts robes, but it’s expensive so now I just mix blue and black watercolours or normal ink.
After painting everything with watercolours and some ink, I use markers for small details like eyes, freckles, Hogwarts house crests, jewels… stuff like that. And then I use colored pencils and crayons for background shades and textures, like wood, stone, a woolen sweater or jeans…
For example, in this picture everything was painted with watercolours, but I added crayon shades and textures on the wall stones and the wooden door. I also added some white crayon highlights on the costumes, because they were just too black. You can notice it especially on Hermione’s costume (the left part is highlighted). And I used markers for details like the eyes, Harry’s glasses and scar, Ron’s freckles, etc…
I hope you’ll find this useful! Good luck with your drawings!!! I hope you can show them to me someday
See? Artists can be super nice, just because.
It surprised me that when compiling the artist list for this entry, most of the ones I remember / still follow today, work in traditional media. But I know I love the look of traditional art, and might have lost a bit of interest in the smooth blended digital-painting look sometime ago. Actually quite a lot of the stuff I follow (on deviantART, Google Reader, Tumblr) gets rehauled according to how my interests change over time.
I think I’ll have to do this gallery-style with thumbnails since there are too many.
Vlad’s [Vladstudio.com] works are very unique because his techniques are unique (he used to design icons and graphics before venturing into illustrations). Lots of tutorials and insightful blog entries too.
Trenchmaker [deviantART] does have that smooth digital style, but her paintings are just too adorable.
Bakenius [deviantART] has this wonderful imagination and colouring style and sense. He works brilliantly in traditional paint, too.
Smashmethod’s [deviantART] gallery was one of my first encounters with 3D digital artwork. He’s also very prolific with tutorial videos and stuff.
You can always tell that thredd [deviantART] ‘s artworks come from deep somewhere within herself. The raw expression makes it kinda scary, but visually I love her style.
I guess, what draws me to each of these artist’s galleries is their style. The way the art looks. It took hard work for them to even find a style — and all of them are unique & recognisable. And I think, liking a certain style tells something about you. Obviously I love colours, “traditional” looks (eg. brush strokes, blending), maybe a streak of boldness with simplicity + a certain level of detail?
I admit that I haven’t been looking for new artists to follow (don’t have the time / don’t want my deviantART message centre to become a mess again), but if you have any favourite current artists to share, just let me know! Oh, and in case you’re going to bring it up — I too, have noticed a lack of local favourite artists… ha. Let’s just say the internet is great for bridging geographical gaps. Yay.