Art Advice Issue #9 - Debunking Common Art Myths

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There are many phrases here on DeviantArt that get passed around and repeated like they're The Art Law. Usually, these pieces of advice are well meant, and they may have been relevant to the person who first received them, but they are usually not universal truths - what applies to one person may not necessarily apply to everyone else. Let's take a look at some of these and see what's really behind them.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #1 - THE GREATER THE LEVEL OF DETAIL, THE BETTER THE ART




That's like saying coffee with twenty sugars is better than coffee with just two. :XD: Some people might like some coffee in their sugar, but it's not for everyone.

The general idea behind this may have been that if an artist can put believable textures and details into their work, they've honed their skills well. However, this idea often gets misinterpreted, resulting in beginner artists believing that if they draw a ton of really tiny details and objects in their piece, leaving almost no white space and no item not rendered to the fullest, they'll have created a masterpiece. This is very overwhelming to the viewer.

First, you need to decide what effect you want to cause in your viewers. ("Wow" is not an effect. XD You can get "wow" in many ways. Just make sure you get "wow" and now "ow.") What I mean is, while "Where's Waldo" -type of art is valid, only pack your work with that much detail if it's truly what you want. Be aware that the downside of this is that the viewer's attention is scattered throughout your entire piece, and while some might enjoy the search, others might be turned off by it and move on, away from your art piece. Having weighed  those things, if detail Level 10000 is what you really want, then, great! Go with it! If you're not so sure now, read on.

Consider, instead, using detail to direct your viewers' attention to a particular part of your piece. Think of where you want your viewer to focus, and apply a greater level of detailing there, leaving other parts less rendered/detailed. Like lighting and saturation (and line weight, when using lineart), level of detail is a way to tell a viewer "This part is important!" and you should use that to your advantage. You can even create a "visual trail" this way, guiding the viewer's eyes from one section of the painting to another, to whatever effect you want.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #2 - EVERY PIECE NEEDS TO TELL A STORY


Summary: No.

There are illustrative works that are indeed meant to tell a story (in different levels, depending on the purpose of the piece). However,  others are meant to convey an emotion without telling a story, and yet others are meant to just look aesthetically pleasant - or unpleasant, depending on the artist's goal. Spoiler: They're all valid and may all be "good" art.

Many people here on DA want to go into manga/comics (while landscape, portrait [not anime pinup art], and abstract art are not very popular here), and that's probably why this idea has been generalized so much, and eventually, some people came to think that it should apply to ALL non-sequential art. When you set out to create a new piece, do not feel like you HAVE to flesh out a whole scene, with action lines and interaction, to make a "good" piece of art. If your goal is not to "tell a story," that is perfectly fine, too.

In short, some art pieces are meant to tell a story, some aren't. Both are equally valid and can be awesome art.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #3 -  "CLEAN" LINEART IS IMPORTANT FOR A GOOD DRAWING


First off, you don't need lineart at all. Even if you're making anime-style art, you do not need lineart; it is completely optional. You can choose to have clean (I prefer using the term "smooth" since it's more neutral) lineart, sketchy lineart, or no lineart at all - and your piece will not suffer for it, if you do it right.

Here, we have to go back and remember that if many people are doing something, it doesn't mean you have to do it, too. Really stop and think about what you like (for your own art - it is normal to like something in the art of others but not want it in your own art) and what feels like "you." (Related: Art Advice Issue #5 - How to Find your Own Style ) "Yes, but the popular works all do ___!" OK, stop right there; there are three things wrong with that statement:

1) "All," no. You will find a bunch of everything.

2) Are you doing art for yourself or for others? Really think about this. You can think about this in general terms: "Why do I do art; for whose enjoyment?" or in specific terms: "Who is this particular piece of art for?"

For the first question, you should probably do art for yourself, and, by that, I meant the way you like it. If you do all your art for the purpose that "the general audience" likes it, at one point, you'll end up frustrated, because there will always be people who don't like your art, however you do it.

For the second question, ah! THAT is when you can do art the way other people like it - and by other people, I mean your client for that specific piece (assuming they're paying you). If it's not paid work, you have more leeway.

3) "Popular" - They didn't become popular because they did clean lineart or whatever other specific aspect of style. They (probably*) became popular because they honed their skills so well that, whatever it is they do, they do it well.
I said "probably" because there's more to popularity than skill; there's also marketing and, yes, chance.


So, in summary, smooth lineart is not a must. What you should do, is pick something that works well for you.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #4 - IT'S BEEN X MONTHS SINCE I STARTED DRAWING; I SHOULD BE GOOD BY NOW!


Rome Not Built in One Day by barananduen
...and a  few months is like a day. Art, like anything else, takes years to master, but don't despair: it's worth it! And remember that the sooner you start, the sooner you'll start getting good. You have to go through all the work to be able to draw the way you want, so might as well start soon, no? :) Related: Art Advice Issue #3 - Advancing in Art: The 3 Ps


Star! MISCONCEPTION #5 - EXPENSIVE ART SUPPLIES ARE NECESSARY TO MAKE GOOD ART


It's not the materials, it's what you do with them that counts. Expensive stuff won't make you draw or color better; practice, on the other hand, will. If you know how, you can make great art with $5 watercolors, free painting software, etc. At least 95%, if not more (in most cases, way more) of an art piece's appeal is going to come from your skill in drawing, painting, composition, etc., not from what materials you used to make it.

For example, this got a DD and was made with MSPaint: pixel - Simon Rolfes (MS Paint) by barananduen

Personally, I have worked in many, many art media, and the only one where I've found that equipment limits you is photography, where having a camera with full manual settings gives you more freedom to take a photo exactly the way you want, instead of relying on the more automatic settings of a point-and-click camera. But, even there, you can create really good photos without a fancy camera, if you know your composition, lighting, etc.



Star! MISCONCEPTION #6 - THIS COLOR SHOULD BE AVOIDED


I honestly cannot fathom where this came from. There are no "bad" colors. Any color can be used in visually unappealing ways, but there are no colors that are intrinsically "bad" or that denote "bad" art.

I've also heard this applied to groups of colors/shades. For instance, there's the idea that "muddy colors" are to be avoided. "Muddy colors" are also known as "earth tones" (see how the negative connotation disappears there?) and there's a way to use them in visually appealing ways.

So it's not the colors themselves; it's how you use them.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #7 - PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT ART, ANYONE CAN TAKE A PICTURE




This is exactly the same as saying digital art isn't art because the computer does everything for you (which you all know is false). To put it into perspective, taking a camera and just pressing the shutter is to photography what doing exactly this Le Grand Doodle by barananduenis to drawing. Not even stick people; THAT.

To take a good photo (I actually like the term in German better: "Fotos machen" - to make photos), you need to know composition, lighting, and color theory - just like in painting! - aside from all the technical aspects of what you should do to make a photograph look the way you want it to: how far to open the shutter, how fast, what level of ISO to use, etc. And, non-photographers don't know this, but the three main variables in a camera tend to work in opposite directions, so as you add more to one (so to speak), it takes away from another, so you have to figure out a way to either strike a balance or compensate for that loss. In addition, unlike with painting, you often can't just make your subject pose or stand still (animal photography, for example), or put the light where you want it, and with the temperature you want it (in this case, you need to wait for a particular time of day, and for a day in which weather and lighting conditions match what you want).

I'm working on a separate article to explain how photography really works, to non-photographers, but for now, this should be enough. There's also this article where two other photographers and I were interviewed, and we explained our process for a particular piece each: Behind the Scenes: Still Life If you read that, you'll see that sometimes, we even have to make props ourselves.


Another shape this idea takes is arguing that traditional or digital art is better than the other. No art form is better or worse than any other. They all have their pros and cons, their easier and harder aspects, and, most importantly, they're all art and you can use your experience in one to build upon your knowledge database and improve on the other. Yes! This transfer of skills is completely real. And, even if the exact way you go about doing something may be different in different media (though not necessarily), know-how in one medium can definitely be transferred to another.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #8 - EDITING PHOTOS IS CHEATING


Even after you do all the stuff in #7, photos rarely capture colors as your eye sees them. In fact, in the photography forum here on DA, they argue that camera manufacturers build cameras to take grey (desaturated) photos, in order to capture a greater range of values and detail, and they're assuming you'll fix it in post-processing. You can read the full explanation here: [link to full explanation] - excellently written and very informative; I highly recommend it! In addition, the in-camera white-balance settings are often more exaggerated than what you really want.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #9 - STUDIES ARE BORING




That depends on what you're using as a reference. You don't have to do studies of fruit spilling out of a bowl onto a crumpled tapestry if you find that uninspiring. Do studies of things in which you're interested! For example, find an object you really like and draw it. Find photos of your favorite celebrities and draw them. Draw a person from a reference photo and then turn them into your favorite character. These are all ways to make studying art fun.


Star! MISCONCEPTION #10 - PEOPLE OVER 25/30 SHOULD BE DRAWN WITH WRINKLES AND GREY HAIR


OK, more than an art misconception, this is really a life one. :XD: But, uhm, what? :XD: lol That's off by quite a few decades. ^^; That said, however, genetics play a huge part, and some ethnic groups tend to show greying hair and even balding much sooner than others (some people might start getting grey hair and even going bald as soon as their teenage years). Also, wrinkles depend on the quality of the skin and sun/weather exposure, too.

... but, generally speaking, still no. :XD: (And you younger ones will be glad for that one day! haha)


Star! MISCONCEPTION #11 - YOU CAN'T DO [THAT]


Whatever "that" is, the correct answer to that (in your head only; don't write it out and start an argument; the person most probably is well-intended) is "Watch me."


Art, in its many forms, is the premiere expression of creativity. However, sometimes, it seems like we get bogged down by all the things we need to learn in order to improve, that we may be tempted to take them all as unbreakable laws, and not as the tools they are. Remember they are tools: you may choose to adhere to them or not. They help us develop as artists, and you should always consider them, but, at the end, if you like something else better, you're free to ignore them - it's called "creative license." (Not to be confused with Creative Commons Licenses - that's a legal term that refers to something else entirely.)

Common things I've heard: "Outlining with black is n00bish; don't do it," "You can't create good art with this software," "[Body part] doesn't bend that way," "[Fantasy creature] should have the body structure of [real creature]," and so on... I've said it before on a different article, but just because one artist applies certain restrictions to their art (and it's fine if they do!) doesn't mean the next artist must take on the same restrictions for or apply the same rules to their own art. (Unless they're both producing art for the same company. In that case, the boss is boss.)

Art movements came about by people going, "Oh, you say I can't do THAT? Watch me!" Impressionism, abstract art, etc. were born this way.



And, with that, we end this article. I hope you enjoyed it, and, see you next time! :wave:


Star! PREVIOUS ART ADVICE ARTICLES

Making Feminine + Masculine Features (Stylized)ART ADVICE ARTICLE #11: TIPS FOR DRAWING FEMININE FEMALES AND MASCULINE MALESI'm not saying that all female characters should look feminine and all males should look masculine, not at all! But the point of this exercise was to effectively convey a character as either male or female despite hair length, clothing, etc. Every so often, I see people working in anime style asking how to make cartoon/anime guys look male even if they have long hair, so I made this to help in these situations. For this exercise, we'll take the same base sketch (so, in this case, we're not changing either the hairstyle or the face shape), and then use certain visual cues to make one look female and one, male. The results are interesting. : D,BASE SKETCH. I started off with an androgynous face and hairstyle for the base sketch. This is the same sketch used in all the drawings in this article.LINEART. The first thing I did was vary the lineart style. This is optional, but we're just throwing all options out there, and it's interesting to see the difference it makes. ,For the middle one, I turned the line stabilizer ON and used smooth, curving strokes. For the rightmost one, I turned the stabilizer OFF and used straighter lines and more jagged edges.Before we even get to the face, you can see the difference the lineart style alone makes. Now let's add the actual facial features...,Here, I drew the face, using the same lineart technique described above. In addition, I used the following differences:FACIAL FEATURESThin, curves eyebrows vs. thick, angular eyebrowsCurves for drawing eyes (round, oval) vs. straight lines (rectangular)Upper lip vs. no upper lip Rounder bottom lip vs. more rectangular bottom lipSmoother jawline (it could have even been rounder) vs. angular jawlinePointed or rounded chin vs. square chinNeck curves inward to appear slimmer vs. straight lines for neckI didn't even add eyelashes and makeup or facial hair; it wasn't necessary. These items above, alone, were enough to make a difference.It's important to note that most of these in the list above are not actual, real differences between the faces of real men and women. Instead, they are ideas for stylistic decisions(*) to quickly get the idea of "female or male" across to the viewer.I kept the same face shape for this example to keep the base sketch unchanged, but you can, of course, vary face and bone structure, etc. In fact, this is encouraged!CLOSINGThese are not chemistry lab instructions - you can pick and choose what you do, do things differently, etc. and it won't blow up in your face. XD However, it shows several things you can do to make a character look male or female, without changing the basic character design.These are two articles I recommend reading in conjunction with this one. (*)The first explains what style really is (and walks you through finding your own), and the second explains why studying realism will help you make better cartoon/anime art:,Art Advice Issue #5 - How to Find your Own StyleAugust 16, 2016By far the most common concern I see people on DA,,The Misconception Behind 'Study Realism'November 28, 2020 ART ADVICE ISSUE #10 - THE MISCONCEPTION BEHIND(I'm sorry, I can't put them one next to the other)I hope someone finds it helpful. : )OTHER ART ADVICE ARTICLES:Issue #1 - Don't Let Anyone Make you Feel Bad About your Art: Assumptions & Artistic VisionIssue #2 - Dealing with Art Mistakes: How to Have a Positive OutlookIssue #3 - Advancing in Art: The Three PsIssue #4 - a - Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better b - Advanced Tips for Photographing Traditional ArtIssue #5 - About Style and How to Find your OwnIssue #6 - Dealing with Art BlockIssue #7 - How to Ask for and Provide CritiqueIssue #8 - Random Traditional Art TipsIssue #9 - Debunking Common Art MythsIssue #10 - The Misconception Behind "Study Realism"You can also find these (and other helpful stuff) linked in the "Art Motivation Corner" (green) widget on the bottom right of my profile page. The Misconception Behind 'Study Realism',ART ADVICE ISSUE #10 - THE MISCONCEPTION BEHIND "STUDY REALISM"Most people who draw anime/cartoons have, while asking for ways to improve, at one point or another been told to "study realism." A common response to this is, "But I don't want to draw realism!" But, did you know that the purpose behind this suggestion is NOT so that you draw realism? They're not suggesting you change to a more realistic style. What, then?Let's look at this through an analogy: Say you don't know music yet and decide you want to learn how to play the Happy Birthday song. You're not interested in playing anything else, just the HB song, and you haven't started learning anything related to music at this point. OK, that's fine, and now we have our situation set up. Once you've decided this, you set yourself to learning the sequence of notes to the HB song. You practice and practice, and, after a while, you can play it really well without a hitch.After a few years, it starts feeling bland to you, and you ask, "How can I make my HB song better?" And someone tells you, "Learn all the other music notes," and "Study classical and other genres of music." And you reply, "But I don't want to play that type of music; I want to play the HB song!" (And that's FINE! It's valid; it's what you want to do.[*Footnote 1])But without having learned all the other notes and other types of music, you can't make a remix of the HB song, or an "epic version," or a hip-hop-fusion version; you've capped at the end of the first paragraph of this story. So drawing anime or cartoons is like playing the HB song, or any one song in our example. And here's where our misunderstanding comes in: "Study Realism" DOES NOT MEAN "Draw Realism"Yes, you'll have to draw it to study it (not only your brain, but also your hand needs to learn the skill), but it doesn't mean that's what all your artwork will look like. It is meant to give you more tools to make your anime and cartoon work stronger, more appealing, and more unique. How will it do that? The more music notes you know, the more types of music you understand and can play, the more original a remix/version of the Happy Birthday song you'll be able to make - and it will be unique. Because you will be able to take all that diverse knowledge and apply it to your song, making it stand out, and the next time you play the HB song, people will go, "Wow! This is a really cool version!"So now we can be clear: There is a difference between learning something and performing it. You can perform whatever you choose, but by learning all the things, your performance of your "Thing of Choice" will be stronger.What, Exactly, Will Studying Realism Teach You, Then?,I. VALUESIf you learn how to paint/shade with a full range of values (by learning realistic shading) that properly depict both volume and lighting, you will have no trouble simplifying that to cel-shading or gradient-shading in your anime or cartoon drawings, because you will at once spot when something is undershaded or the shadows are in the wrong spot. On the other hand, if you try to do cel- or gradient-shading first, you are way more likely to a) undershade, and b) have an inconsistent light source. And when these things happen, you won't be able to tell *why* your drawing looks "off" or bland.II. COLORBy studying realistic coloring, you'll be able to learn how color varies across an item (say, a shirt) that is a "solid color." Example: you're drawing a character with a pink t-shirt, standing in the sun, at the end of the school day. The t-shirt is solid pink, however, the colors on it will vary from orange-ish to purple-gray, with some areas almost a bright red (and that's not even considering items around the shirt that would bounce light back onto the shirt and change its color). But you'll only know this (and how to do it) if you study realistic coloring.Then you can apply that knowledge to your stylized artwork and make it stand out more.,Photograph of real pears, by @Daykiney | Drawing of a stylized pear, by me.See how studying realism can enhance your cartoon work.III. MAKE BETTER STYLIZED ANATOMYBy studying and learning realistic anatomy, you will be able to make stylized art that, for example, doesn't have one arm longer than the other, because you will have learned how to measure proportions, even if you don't draw realistic proportions. So that if you decide you want to draw unrealistically long legs (eg: Sailor Moon), you'll be able to make them look good and keep them consistent.You will also be able to draw figures in any position, because you will have learned how body parts are made up and how they move, as well as foreshortening/perspective.So when you go to draw a pose you haven't drawn before, it will be WAY easier.IV. UNDERLYING SHAPESAlthough this is one of the least-mentioned aspects of art-learning, it is, in my opinion, one of the most important, because when you learn to see underlying shapes (the quasi-geometrical shapes that build up a figure), couple with learning how to measure a form using other parts of the same form as reference (measuring the length of one body part by the number of times another body part fits in it, as mentioned in Section III, above), you will be able to DRAW. (Period.) You won't be able to draw just people. Or just wolves. Or just cats. You will be able to break down a new subject into its building blocks and come up with a very reasonable likeness. And whatever's different, you'll easily be able to make relative measurement to spot why and fix it.,Once you learn to identify underlying shapes and how to measure proportions in anything, you will also be able to pick up and reproduce any existing style without much trouble. For example, this was my first time drawing anything Peanuts. I didn't have to do practice-sketches for it (though there's nothing wrong with doing that). But I knew, from realism, that to achieve a good likeness, you need to measure body parts relative to other body parts, so I looked at Schulz's drawings and was able to determine: OK, Charlie Brown's head is roughly this shape, his body is so many heads tall, his eyes are this % of the head, the ears are this far in, the arms reach down to here, etc. I knew what to look for.V. FOR THOSE WHO WANT SEMI-REALISMIf you want to do "semi-realism," you'll have a way easier time of it by learning realism and then stripping it down as much as you like, than by starting off with "100% anime" and trying to build it up without knowledge of realism. People think the latter is easier, because it *seems* less intimidating, but it's like trying to drive to a store you've never been to without knowing its address: you'll be driving around forever trying to find it, and it will be frustrating. What people call "semi-realism" is stylized realism, and you can't really hit it without knowing how realism works.CLOSING NOTESIt also doesn't mean you should stop drawing anime/cartoons and focus solely on realism for X amount of time - you can do both concurrently. In fact, the most fun way to study realism is to do so on your favorite subjects; you can even turn your reference into your favorite character!Studying realism is also one of the best ways to help develop your OWN, unique style; one which, when people look at it, say, "Oh, that's [your name]'s work!" For more on this, see: Art Advice Issue #5: About Style and How to Find Your Own.*Footnote 1: It is fine as long as you are drawing for yourself. As soon as art is a job and you're drawing for an employer, you have to draw in the style they tell you to. So, in this case, it's to your advantage to be flexible. I hope this was helpful and helps clear up a common misunderstanding people go through when receiving feedback. OTHER ART ADVICE ARTICLES:Issue #1 - Don't Let Anyone Make you Feel Bad About your Art: Assumptions & Artistic Vision Issue #2 - Dealing with Art Mistakes: How to Have a Positive Outlook Issue #3 - Advancing in Art: The Three PsIssue #4 - a - Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better b - Advanced Tips for Photographing Traditional Art Issue #5 - About Style and How to Find your Own Issue #6 - Dealing with Art Block Issue #7 - How to Ask for and Provide Critique Issue #8 - Random Traditional Art Tips Issue #9 - Debunking Common Art Myths Issue #10 - this oneIssue #11 - Making Feminine & Masculine Features (Stylized) You can also find these (and other helpful stuff) linked in the "Art Motivation Corner" (green) widget on the bottom right of my profile page. Art Advice Issue #8 - Random Traditional Art Tips
GENERAL
* If you draw or paint on a table, keep a paper tissue under your drawing hand to keep the oils in your skin from transferring to the paper (this happens even if you've just washed your hands), which may keep the pigments from being properly absorbed in some places.
DRAWING
* To check for errors in your sketch, especially those relating to symmetry, rotate your canvas and place it on each of its sides, step away and look at it. Also, take a photo or scan it, and do a horizontal flip on the image with your computer.
* To easily transfer your sketch onto watercolor paper, board, wood, or other surface, color the back side of your sketch (scan and print it onto regular printer paper if it's in your sketchbook) with a graphite pencil (2B works fine, HB is harder to transfer), tape it graphite-side-down to your watercolor paper, and go over the lines with a pen or sharp pencil. This works like carbon paper but th
Art Advice #7: How to Ask for + Provide Critique
Critique - if asked for and provided correctly - can be beneficial and doesn't have to hurt. Here, we'll talk about some things to keep in mind when asking for as well as when providing critique.
I.    For both the artist and the critiquer - Opening notes
II.   For the artist requesting critique / improvement help
III.  For the person providing critique
IV.   Closing remarks
I. FOR THE ARTIST AND THE CRITIQUER - OPENING NOTES
DeviantArt is a great platform for interacting with other artists and growing your skills, as well as helping others do the same. Critiques may be exchanged in many ways: in a forum or journal post, in the normal deviation comments, via private Note, or even via chat. Be aware that if you don't have a Core Membership, you can still ask for critique - just say so in your deviation description or make a post about it! :)
It's important, however, to rememb
Art Advice Issue #6 - Dealing with Art Block
There's something really important to keep in mind: "Art Block" is a mental state, and, as such, it is temporary and you can overcome it!

The term "art block" is misleading, because it makes you think it has one definition, when, in fact, it is a term used to refer to several quite different situations. Here, we'll talk about the different types of art block and how to overcome them.
Star!  TYPE 1 - I WANT TO DRAW, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT!
This is the easiest type of art block to deal with. DRAW ANYTHING! It doesn't have to be something spectacular; drawing an object on your desk or in your room will do; it will help you break out of this art block. Here are some ideas for you:
Ask your friends or watchers or random people for suggestions. You don't have to draw all of them; just take the ones that seem appealing to you.Draw random objects: dec
Art Advice Issue #5 - How to Find your Own Style
By far the most common concern I see people on DA mention is, "I wish I had my own style / How can I get my own style?" Hardly a week goes by when I don't see different people saying this. Because of this, I decided to write this article with some tips people may find useful, when searching for a style to call their own. This is what I did, ten years ago, when I was trying to find my own manga style; and I've mentioned this method to some other people and they found it informative and useful as well, so I'm sharing it with you all.
The first part of this article will talk about what is included in what we call "style" (did you know personal style is also found in realism?) and the reasons behind common stylizations (as commonly seen in anime and manga).
The second part talks about how an artist arrives at his or her style, and describes a method you can use if you don't want to wait for your style to surface organically ... in other words, if you wan
Tips for Photographing Traditional Artwork
A more advanced expansion on my "Basic Tips" article, Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better. First, let us recap on those basics:
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING ARTWORK:
Make sure your picture is laid out flat, either lying flat on your desk or attached to a wall. Minimize wrinkles. Set your camera perpendicular (at a 90-degree angle) to your picture. You can use the paper or the canvas' edges as guides against your camera's display to align the picture properly.Unless you have a DSLR with an adjustable flash and are well versed in flash photography, do not use a flash.Take the photo in a well-lit area.
This probably doesn't work if you use a phone camera, but if you use a regular camera and your hands aren't steady enough, set your camera on a pile of book (or use a tripod if you have one) to keep it steady, and use the timer to take the phot
Basic Tips to Make your Art Look Better
This month's article is a two-parter; one with basic presentation tips for different media, and one with more advanced suggestions for photographing traditional art. For the more advanced article, see here: Tips for Photographing Traditional Artwork
This part s super basic and requires no skill whatsoever, but for people who do this, it REALLY helps your art look better, when displaying online, and minimizes rejections from Groups.
I. ALL MEDIA - MAKE YOUR OWN WATERMARK OR SIGNATURE

:new:UPDATE Jan. 2022: This section used to advise against using intrusive watermarks, providing examples as to why they make your piece less attractive, and offered more aesthetic alternatives. However, given the recent mass-scale wave of theft the art community is currently undergoing, I feel I can no longer advise against intrusive watermarks. Thieves have brought us to this. Do what you must.
SUGGESTIONS:
Art Advice Issue #3 - Advancing in Art: The 3 Ps
For people who are new at art, or new at a different medium.
Keeping what I call "the three Ps" in mind will help you power through and not quit before you've reached your goal.
I. - PRACTICE
It sounds cliché, but practicing is necessary; not just for art, but for everything. Much like athletes spend years in the youth levels, learning the skills, before they can become professionals... and then even when they're pros, they go to training every day, to hone their skills. Just like they do, so, too, must an artist practice.
Footballer fella (Sports) Da Vinci Fella (Artists)  
Practice can be anything. It doesn't mean you must shade so many spheres before you can-- no! You can shake it up! You practice and hone your skills with every drawing you make. You can practice drawing your OCs, your pet, your favorite piece of decoration in your house. Practice with s
Art Advice #2 - How to Have a Positive Outlook
When doing art, we know what we want something to look like. When it doesn't turn out the way we want it to, it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling discouraged. But don't!!
:bulletyellow: First, if it gives you some consolation, know the fact that everyone screws up sometimes, even professionals. People just tend to not show their screw-ups, so it's easy to make the false assumption that everything they do is wonderful and they never mess up. Just because you didn't see it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Mistakes and product the artist doesn't like happen to everyone at all levels. It's completely normal!
:bulletyellow: Change your outlook about mistakes. When we draw something that doesn't come out how we intended it, keeping these two things in mind will help you move forward:Every time something doesn't come out "right," we get one step closer to getting to the point where it does come out just the w
Don't Let Anyone Make you Feel Bad About your Art
INSPIRATIONAL ART ADVICE JOURNALS - ISSUE #1
DON'T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT YOUR ART + ASSUMPTIONS AND DIFFERENT ARTISTIC VISIONS

I see so many people with destructive rather than constructive comments on people's art or even general styles of art. In my [previous journal entry], I mentioned how, if you're doing art for your own enjoyment, the only person your art has to please is yourself, and I mentioned about people having different artistic visions.  Since my return to DA, I have seen many people being made to feel insecure about their art. Here's a very old anecdote that I'm using just for illustrative purposes here, and hopefully it will inspire you to not give up...
Back when I was in elementary school, I'd made this little painting for art class (the assignment was to paint whatever we wanted) and was insanely proud of it, thought it was


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madmaddy80's avatar

Just starting to read your art advice-- thank you for this series!


Also, as a 39 year old getting back into art, especial thanks for #10 :D