In the past few months, I have been asked again and again how can one improve painting skills. Each time it took a long time to provide an answer which due to the lack of time was somehow incomplete; hence I decided to submit this journal to present in an ordered format all resources for all who wish to know how to go to the next level.
The following suggestions and resources worked for me and might not necessarily work for all, but keep in mind that within the time span of two years I managed to bring up my skills from sub zero to being able to paint anything through these resources and completely self thought. So if it worked for me, it could also work for you. The other things that you should keep in mind before going through resources is that: A) here gathered I the best resources there is, but almost noun spoon feed you so you need to do independent research on areas in any of the following resources that you do not understand and practice what they do in the resources. B) Most resources are free, some need to be paid for, but almost for all, if you truly want them you should be able to find ways to have access to them for free. And lastly, DON’T RUSH IT. It will take years if not decades for any artist regardless of their talent to completely understand all the information in these resources. So take your time, enjoy and remember that in this world there are only two types of students: the self thought and the helpless.
Communities are very important. Whatever I tell you, you can find in the three websites above but abit scattered, which is why I am writing this journal.
Deviant art is a fantastic website where you could meet lots of people, be inspired and share. But due to its nature as a website for all, it’s not all that useful for improvement. Websites like Conceptart.org or CGTalk is where true treasure lies. Have a look through their forums and look at the stickers in each forum, you will find amazing information scattered on every page you open. Artstation is where you follow people from the industry. You can also follow some of them on Twitter and they will keep you uptodate on new trends.
Well believe it or not, I learned Digital Art from The Joy of Painting series by Bob Ross a traditional oil painter. You should definitely have a look at his series which you should be able to find with no problem. Schoolism contains lessons from some of the greatest concept artists alive and though costly, you would be able to have almost one on one lessons with the teachers online. There is nothing to say about The Gnomon Workshop besides that it is the collection of in depth tutorials by the very best artists you could think of, but naturally the DVDs are expensive. And finally Ctrl+Paint is a good way to start off if you have no experience and it takes your hand and walks you around the problems.
Academic Theory based websites
You could only thank god enough for these two website. READ THEM, EAT THEM, TEAR THEM APART until there is nothing left in them to understand. A bit high level, and a bit tough and wordy to chew, these two websites could be intimating. But trust me when I say, these two can tell you all there is know about the subjects which they have entries on, and all information on them is very accurate. I suggest you read through them a few times and check the information you receive in other resources with these because even some of the most classic and famous artists and teachers like Andrew Loomis or Betty Edwards have huge mistakes which have been presented in these two.
1. James Gurney
2. Iain Mccaig
James Gurney is one of the living experts when it comes to teaching how to use colors. His blog has hundreds of entry on the matter which you should check out. Ian Mccaig is in my opinion the best character designer there is, with classic titles on his belt such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, John Carter and … Well, just check him out from time to time.
2. Imagine FX
3. Noah Bradley
5. Tyler Edlin
Well, there is a lot of channels on Youtube filled with information, some wrong and some correct but all useful never the less. But even among these, FZDSCHOOL of design made by Feng Zhu a world renowned designer, is a true gold mine. Watch all 60 something episodes that are out.
Online Art Collections
1. Art Renewal
2. Art Project
The two things that will probably help you the most in your growth as a painter are real life studies and master studies. If you want to do master studies, A) you need to know who the masters are (have a look at the end of the journal, Old masters section) and B) where to find Scans of the works that are relatively close to the original piece. That’s where these two come in. Collect your favourite art works and study them with most tender love.
1. Andrew Loomis - Figure Drawing for All it’s Worth
2. Andrew Loomis - Drawing Head and Hand
3. Bridgman – Constructive Anatomy
4. Bridgman – The Human Machine
5. Burne Hogarth – Drawing Dynamic hands
6. Burne Hogarth – Drawing the Human head
7. Burne Hogarth – Dynamic Figure Drawing
8. Christopher Hart – Drawing Cutting Edge Anatomy
9. Eadweard Muybridge - The Human Figure In Motion
10. Robert Beverly - Anatomy lessons from the great masters
11. Stephen Rogers - Atlas of Human Anatomy for the artist
Don’t push yourself with anatomy. It comes with time, if you read three or four of these books; you should already have more than enough theory to work with. All that’s left is to truly understand them and that takes a while.
1. Gwen White – Perspective: A Guide for Artists. Architects and Designers
2. Joseph D’Amelio – Perspective Drawing Handbook
Joseph D Amelio has the best Perspective guide there is out there, perhaps except for the Hand Print website. I suggest, especially with perspective, to not read any other tutorials or books until you can tell wrong from right, because some are complete nonsense. It’s truly surprising how many school instructors or famous teachers have NO CLUE how our eyes see the world around us.
1. James Gurney – Color and Light
2. Betty Edwards – A Color Course in Mastering The Art of Mixing Colors
3. Munsell – Munsell Book of Color
James Gurney is a must read. Betty Edwards has some interesting information but also LOTS of wrong ones which is embarrassing for such famous of an instructor. Munsell Book of Color, is the Bible, and I am not even joking. Most of the current color spaces such Adobe ones, LAB and … have been based upon it. It is as close as you would ever get to understanding color as a painter.
1. Molly Bang – Picture this
You would be surprise how this little slide show can change your understanding of picture making. You can find this free everywhere with no problem.
Betty Edwards – The New Drawing on the Right side of the Brain
Andrew Loomis - Creative Illustration
Andrew Loomis – Successful Drawing
Andrew Loomis – The Eye Of The Painter
On the right side of the brain is a very good read for those who want to start off as artists. And Andrew Loomis’s collection is a must read that I think might even be available online as PDFs since it went out of publications a while back.
1. Imagine FX magazines
2. Digital Masters magazine
Both have some useless and useful stuff but worth reading nevertheless and most definitely good for inspiring and keeping in touch with the online world.
Well, read through them all. I will try to update this entry as regularly as I can, whenever I find a new source. You could also suggest sources I have forgotten to add to the collection. If you have 10 hours to spend I suggest to spend it browsing through Conceptart forum and then go through the other sources. And finally I hope that helps and contact me with whatever I could help with.
Artists to visit Online
Old Masters to look for
William Bouguereau ; Jean Leon Gerome ; Joseph Mallord William Turner ; Jeffrey T. Larson ; Rembrandt ; Norman Rockwell ; Paul Delaroche ; Steve Hanks ; William McGregor Paxton ; Thomas Cole ; Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema ; Thomas Moran ; Peder Mork Mønsted ; Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida ; John Everett Millais ; Juliette Aristides ; Maxfield Parrish ; Leon-Augustin L'hermitte ; Pierre-Auguste Cot ; John Singer Sargent ; Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat ; JohannesVermeer ; Edmund Blair Leighton ; Claude Monet ; John White Alexander ; Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore ; Fantin-Latour ; John William Godward ; Ivan Constantinovich Aivazovsky ; Jacques Louis David ; Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres ; Jean Béraud ; Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy ; Daniel F. Gerhartz ; Horace Vernet ; Herbert James Draper ; Frederic Edwin Church ; Albert Bierstadt ; Frederick Arthur Bridgman ; Giovanni Boldini ; Guillaume Seignac ; Gustave Caillebotte ; Gustave Courbet ; Edward John Poynter ; Edward Hopper ; George Inness ; Eugene de Blaas ; Caspar David Friedrich ; Alphonse Maria Mucha ; Anders Zorn ; Alexandre Cabanel
Edit: Another journal I found on deviantart with some useful information