What do you listen to while you draw?
For me personally it depends on my concentration level. For maximum concentration when working on challenging artwork, silence is best. When things ease up, instrumental music (no lyrics). Songs with lyrics or Podcasts are for when I draw something more routine when my brain is in less demand and I’m more able to take in information.
How to you make sure inked art doesn't smudge?
How on earth do you make your drawings so clean? Whenever I erase the pencil lines on mine, it smudges.
I know the feeling. Smudges are so annoying and I still get them from time to time. I usually wait a few hours before erasing pencil lines to make sure the ink is dry. Another tip is to carefully sandwiching a piece of toilet paper or paper towel between sketchbook pages can help it dry quicker and reduce smudges. Too much graphite from pencil lines can cause the ink to sit on top of it and then smears, so lighter or less pencil strokes can help. And lastly, try experimenting with different pens and papers. As soon as you find a good combination, you know you're good to go for life.
For those of us who can't get to Photoshop, what tools (color pencils, marker, paint or etc...) have you worked with to get really bright/shiny colors?
Are those artist gloves necessary? If so, how do they benefit you? (Been thinking about getting one.)
Originally smudge guard gloves were used to prevent graphite smudges on paper then became a thing for digital artist to minimise friction and to avoid a sweaty hands on a graphics tablet - particularly screen based tablets like a Cintiq.
If I'm just doing, say, 20 minutes of touch ups I don't put mine on, but for longer sittings I find it very useful.
Just gotta ask yourself, are you finding it a bit annoying when your hand or fingers aren't gliding around the screen so much? If so, buy one and try it out. They're not too expensive and come a single gloves (not a pair) with either one or two fingers covered (pinky and ring finger).
How do I bring my characters to to life- giving them personality and story time?
You could try writing down what you want from a character before even putting pencil to paper. Ask the question- what do they do and what to they want out of life? Then ask yourself how could I represent this?
For example, a mechanic will be dressed more practically and isn’t going to be too concerned if they look dishevelled and dirty, where as a princess from an upper-class aristocracy will more likely be well-presented, perhaps with a big, flowing dress where practicality is secondary. Are they lazy or indifferent? Determined and ambitious? Happy and energetic? These traits can effect their pose, facial expression or even physique.
I think once you can build a mental picture of what you want from your character, you can then start sketching with an objective and you’ll have something specific to aim for, opposed to doodling without any focus.
What type of art request do you immediately say no to? Regardless of whether you're being paid or not?
I'll turn down anyone who uses the line "I won't pay you but It'll be great exposure for you". They might as well just say, "I don't like to adequately compensate professionals for their time and expertise and I think artists are so dumb and worthless that they will settle for a credit in a project no one's ever heard or probably never will".