Frequently Asked Questions!

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0laffson's avatar
By 0laffson
Well, it was about time! Over the course of the years I often got questions on comments or notes, so I decided to answer to all of them here, hoping it will be kinda useful for everyone. If you have other questions aside those listed here just go ahead and ask! :D

What's your name?
Andrea, and before you ask it's a masculine name here in Italy :P

Do you take commissions / requests / trades?
This is the most frequent question I get, and the answer is NO. If I had all the time in the world I'd like to, but at the moment I have very little time to draw and I prefer to focus just on personal projects.

Do you have any job?
Nope, I'm a student at the moment, so we can say that is my "job" :P  I study biology and I plan to specialize myself in marine biology. you don't plan to draw for a living??
Nope! Art is mainly an hobby for me, and it's better that it stays that way. (also, I like sea animals too much).
I guess it can always be a source of revenue in case of need, in the future though.

How did you learn to draw?
I've been scribbling since I have memory, so I guess that helped. I started to seriously improve only when I was around 18 though, and when I discovered DeviantArt. Seeing all the amazing artists here really motivated me.

Have you ever attended art lessons?
A bit, but not as much as I wanted. I attended artistic nude classes for a couple years, but unfortunately it was just a lesson a week. Still, it's been really helpful to figure out the body proportions, not to mention the teacher introduced me to watercolor and ink too, which were the best things ever. :D

Most useful advice you've ever received?
I can't think of anything right now, also because after learning the basics I had to develop my skills all by myself (since I couldn't follow drawing lessons anymore). It's very useful to listen to criticism though, especially when the person giving you advice has a lot of experience and can find flaws in your technique.

What markers do you use to ink?
No markers, I use a flask of ink and a very thin brush (I'll write about it below). Once you practice with it, it can give you a finer inking than any marker ever will. I sometimes use markers for some rare details here and there, mainly round shapes.

What materials do you use to draw?
I use rough drawing paper, with 200 or 220 gsm (so pretty tough), of the Fabriano brand. It's made in Italy, so I'm not sure you can find it where you live. I prefer rough drawing paper over watercolor paper because the texture makes it easy for me to sketch and ink over it.…

To ink I use Black Indian Ink made by Winsor and Newton…

To color I use watercolor again by Winsor and Newton…   You can buy the "pills" separately when you need.

The brushes I use for inking and coloring are made once again by Winsor and Newton (not my fault their products are awesome), and they are a n°1 brush (very thin)…
usually I use this brush for coloring too, but for larger areas I use other cheaper brushes.

I also sometimes use masking fluid (always by W&N) to protect some areas when coloring (read a tutorial before using the masking fluid) and white tempera to make some small details (highligts on small items and stars)

How big are your drawings?
Quite small, usually. I use paper foils that are 24x33 centimeters long, and from each foil I make 2-3 drawings. (except for when I draw comic pages, which are the size of an A4 foil)

What do you use to scan your drawings?
In the past I used a camera, but now I use a Canoscan LiDE 210. It's the size of an A4 foil, so not very large, but bigger scanners were totally out of my league in term of money. Still, it does a very good job.

What program do you use to retouch your drawings?
Gimp. I know it's not the best, but it's free, and for what I do it's more than enough. For more recent drawing I started using Clip Studio as well.

These are the main questions I get. Again, if you have other questions that you don't see here, just ask! ^^
© 2017 - 2021 0laffson
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CelesteSpaniel's avatar
I really love the way you use watercolours! I started learning how to use watercolours about a month ago, and it's really fun! :)
I want to start doing comics in watercolour, but I'm not sure how to approach it. Your comic pages look so gorgeous. Would you happen to have any step by steps or tips/ resources for doing comic pages in watercolour? :)
0laffson's avatar
Apologies for the late reply!

Aw, thank you so much! :D Agreed, watercolors are amazing.
Unfortunately I don't have any step by step available, and I'm not sure about what kind of advice I can give (mainly because I'm still learning myself). What I can say is to work fast, otherwise it would take ages, and not to mind small imperfections when coloring, since few people will actually notice them. The other thing to keep in mind is there's a LOT of digital manipulation involved, mainly because scanners always make the page look faded and / or alter colors.
Aside for this, it's all like a normal watercolor drawing.

If you have any more specific questions I'm here! ^^
CelesteSpaniel's avatar
Thanks so much for the response!
Yes, I remember scanning in sketches when I was younger, and them always coming out really faded. I am prepared with some programs to deal with that! :)

I can't think of any other questions right now, but will return if I think of anything, thank you! :D

I'm really nervous/scared to even try doing a comic page in watercolour. It'll be my first time doing something like that traditionally, so I'm afraid of messing up big time =P I look at the blank page and think "Where do I even begin?" :P
0laffson's avatar
If you want another suggestion, don't start working immediately on a project you hold dear, because it's likely the first pages will be not up to standard. I think you should try to practice with a mini-comic first, like 5 pages or so, and start to work on your "real" comic only once you are confident enough.

Here I started a comic (and abandoned it after 8 pages) before jumping on my "big project", and I'm glad I did. I learned a lot from my mistakes during that experience, and it allowed me to deliver decent pages right from the start.
CelesteSpaniel's avatar
Oh, that's a great idea! Thanks so much for the suggestion!
I'll go and think of a mini comic I can do to practice :D
Techno-Universal's avatar
Okay so a good suggestion would be to create like an image idea suggestion journal where people can suggest drawing ideas and post refs to their OCs! That way you would have a much bigger range of characters to draw and you could still continue to do personal drawings by just using the journal as some extra inspiration plus when you choose to draw other people’s characters you would probably end up drawing them in a random scene of your choice with your characters! So really doing this would really increase the amount of characters you could draw and the ideas you have for your personal drawing projects! :)
0laffson's avatar
I don't really like to use other people's characters, unless it's some gift art. I prefer to focus just on developing my characters and setting, since I definitely have no risk of running out of ideas at the moment. :D
Techno-Universal's avatar
PS: I also have recently gotten into photography so it’s likely that my photos could be great references for your backgrounds to especially if you wanted to try drawing real life locations! Anyways the request box idea could possibly be most useful for times when you are fully available like during the holidays or in the time between when you finish your course and get a job in your field for example plus it could possibly also be interesting to see your own characters interacting with other peoples OCs so it could also allow you to further develop your characters if the drawings you did of other people’s OCs mainly involved interactions between your and their characters! Also your skills could possibly also serve a useful purpose in your field as it might allow you to illustrate scientific drawings of newly discovered marine species for official documents of the species so in that case your illustrations might end up in educational reading material to like online text books for example! :)
Techno-Universal's avatar
Anyways I also had the crazy consept idea of the characters putting their loincloths and clothing up on flagpoles when not wearing them so it might be something you could have quite a lot of fun with in your drawings especially if it’s extremely windy! :)
Techno-Universal's avatar
Yeah even if you want to practice with drawing outfits more you could draw or use a clothless image of an anthro character and then you could draw outfits onto them on a separate layer digitally! It’s a really good way to practice with outfits more plus maybe Egyptian or toga like outfits might look really good in your style so those sort of outfits might be something worth trying to draw in the future! :)
AliceSacco's avatar
Sono l'unica idiota che pensava ti chiamavi Olaf. Sarebbe stato figo? (ammetto che è anche perchè è un nome che mi piace).

Anche tu fai disegni piccoli e dici di essere miope. Direi che è una cosa comune a noi miopi allora, lo faccio anche io (però avevo quest'abitudine anche quando ancora ci vedevo bene, anche se ho letto che chi è predisposto alla miopia inizia ad averne i comportamenti caratteristici prima ancora di aver bisogno degli occhiali).
0laffson's avatar
Hahaha in effetti l'hanno pensato in parecchi! XD

Penso anch'io sia così, tutti i miopi che conosco scrivono piccolissimo :D Disegnare è la stessa cosa, più o meno.
foxanime101's avatar
Glad I found your profile and good idea to show your FAQs. Your comic looks amazing so far and I hope you continue on it even if it takes years. It quite captured my interest with the coexistence of humans and anthros as I also plan on creating a series with a similar environment. I can see some your influence comes from where you live since Italy has such unique history especially being the place with beautiful cathedrals and Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque art. 

I agree, Winsor & Newton is such a great brand. While studying illustration at school, my teachers would require us to get materials from them especially watercolor. After you mentioned about using ink, that actually is starting to motivate me to getting back to using that tool. Used it once for a project with a quill pen but a thin brush would definitely be useful. 

Marine Biology is a very fascinating major to get into. I've heard that 95% of our oceans hasn't been explored so there's so much more to be discovered. For a science requirement while going to college, I took marine science and loved it. 
0laffson's avatar
I'm really glad you liked my works, and thank you for the watch as well! :la:

You were "lucky", I posted the new page the day right after you wrote this XD And I fear it will indeed take me years at this pace, despte the fact it was supposed to be a quick experiment.  I always found settings with both humans and anthros really fascinating, so I wish you luck with your project! :D
Italy is definitely an inspiration, the historical buildings in particular. It's quite nice to just have a walk in town to find historical references!

Using a brush takes some time, and in the beginning it's pretty hard, but in time the result are totally worth it in my opinion. ^^

Indeed, most of our oceans are unexplored, and even in the known areas there are always new surprises! :D Being underwater feels almost like being on an alien planet!
foxanime101's avatar
Your welcome. Yeah take your time as I understand you have a lot of things to do everyday. 

Thanks, I will be working on some visual development projects for mine. :D 

As I majored in Illustration at school, I was required to take several art history courses while there was a list of choices for the upper division ones. This allowed me to choose to take Italian Renaissance and Baroque art history which are my favorite time periods. Though the Baroque class was more than just Italy, I felt like my teacher the most time with that country alone since there is so much amazing art to explore. Out of all the cities there, I want to go to Florence since that's going to be the setting of my upcoming (hopefully) series. 

If you do finish yours, I think you should publish copies of it. The water color illustrations would look great on prints. 
DJcroc2016's avatar
Nice to see someone who got inspired to do art after seeing DA too.
And someone who does art just as a hobby too. Though my reasoning was that art doesn't pay and family stuff.
Did the nude art lessons teach you to draw humans only? I assume so, but that's mostly applicable to anthros too.
Little drawings? Nice, they're more economic.
Do you wait for your piece to dry before scanning?
0laffson's avatar
Indeed, finding DA was a blast! XD

Only humans, but the anatomy is more or less the same. Except maybe the legs.

Yep, but it's mainly because I have myopia and I see extremely well close details, even my handwriting is super-tiny! XD

Yeah, no way I could scan it if it was still wet, it would smear the color everywhere and look horrible  :D
DJcroc2016's avatar
Oh yeah, the legs. Digitigrade versus plantigrade.
I know the reptiles you draw are more like raptors, but have you noticed in regular lizards that their back feet actually look like reverse human hands? With the thumb sticking out away from their body.
Does it take long to dry? Do you place it by the window in the sun?
0laffson's avatar
Indeed! It took me a bit to figure out how to draw them in a way that made sense.
I know! ^^ And at the beginning that is how I was planning to draw them, but then I realized I didn't like it and it didn't make much sense. So I went for the current design.

It depends by how I'm coloring, really. It can take few moments, or when I need a lot of color it can take several minutes.  And most of the times I use an hairdrier to make it dry quickly, it's a secret technique! :P
DJcroc2016's avatar
Clever secret technique. Well, just clever now.
AudeS's avatar
Marine biology? Something certainly fascinating, as the oceans are so deep we will probably discovery new species every now and then. Yeah, I can see why you want to do that above art. That and the fact that biology delivers a good career potential. Yet, I have to say it is interesting to know what tools you use overall. Definitely showcases a solid set of skills as well, since your traditional art is one of the best I know. And over six years I did have the pleasure to comment on a number of traditional artists.

Admittedly, I did at first look a bit confused about the name Andrea, as I had in mind you are male, but the clarification eased that up. It is like with the name Marion, and a ton of other names.
0laffson's avatar
Yep! And that is certainly the case, they discover new species all the time! Who knows how many disappear without us even knowing though, due to our actions.
I'm really happy you like my works that much, it's really motivating believe me! ^^

haha yep! XD Here it's a masculine name, but many times I noticed people from other countries were confused.
TEK427's avatar
Being a student is most definitely a job! As Hunter said, Photoshop CS2 is free to download. It's what I've been using lately to adjust the contrast of my drawings (which are photos because our stupid scanner can't fit my drawing book in it :shakefist: ) Although I should take another look at GIMP. I forget how they compare. 

I've also toyed with the idea of becoming a full-time artist. But that was a long time ago. I'm perfectly happy having art being a hobby. It's awesome that you're studying a science! I got a bachelors in physics and a masters in civil engineering. Science is hard stuff, but so rewarding! 

Have you ever thought of making anthro versions of marine animals, like sharks, dolphins, or whales? It sounds like it would be quite a challenge! 
thereallinebyline's avatar
I haven't really ever used CS2, but I've used CS4 and it blows GIMP out of the water. Don't get me wrong, GIMP is great for what it is, but most of what it can do, Photoshop can do better. The difference between Photoshop's vector-based brushes and GIMP's bitmap-based ones is the biggest deal, at least off the top of my head, because you have to have the GIMP brush you want at exactly the size you want, while Photoshop brushes scale up and down as much as you need. This makes GIMP a pain to use for high-resolution images. (Unless of course GIMP has added that to a recent version.) 

I have heard great things about a different open-source program called Krita, which was designed to be more of a Photoshop alternative, but I have yet to use it personally. 

Also, I feel your pain WRT scanners. It's so hard to find a scanner that accommodates anything wider than letter-sized paper. Heck, many of them won't even handle legal-size, which is longer but the same width as letter. I guess the options are: Take photos, have someone scan it for you professionally (a copy shop, maybe?), or scan it piecemeal and stitch it together in your favorite photo editor. *sigh*

Then again, I don't run into this too often because I draw everything way too small. :P
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