Do you do tutorials?? Any tips??
The best thing would be to check out one or more of my How-to-draw books. Lots of advice and tips in those 🙂 The Artist’s Guide to Drawing Manga is always a good place to start. Search for ‘Ben Krefta Book’ on Amazon or visit your local book store alternatively.
The first question is kinda funny since half my career has been spent delivering tutorials and it doesn’t take more than a few clicks through this website or swipes down through my social media feeds to find a post advertising or mentioning one of my How-to-draw manga books.
The second question is so broad and without context (such as who you are, what level you’re at right now or specifically what you want help with) that I, or most artists are never going to be able to reply with much more than “you just need to practice” or “draw lots”. I’ll often see people complain about pro artists giving the unhelpful “just practice” line of advice. It’s even become a bit of an internet meme and sure, it’s obvious, generic advice barely worth stating. But as the saying goes, “if you ask a basic question, you’ll get a basic answer”. There’s some things you, the aspiring artist wishing to improve, should consider when seeking out advice from a pro or someone more skilled:
- Like I say, firstly, be specific about what you want. “Any tips?” or “how do I get good at art?” are horrible questions. Similarly, imagine someone asking you, “how do I get a job?” or “how do I make a good song?”. Without more context and details (in these cases, the job they want or type of music they’re interested in) an answer will always be generic, broad and obvious. Or an answer might potentially miss the mark and not tell you what you really want to know.
- Every artist of a decent calibre probably gets asked this question all the time and might be bored of continually trying to answer. Or perhaps they simply have many other things they could instead being doing. So consider how you can persuade them to devote their time to you (a stranger)? Don’t put a pro in a situation where they might feel like they’re wasting even 5 minutes of their time in replying to you specifically.
- Be polite, complimentary and sincere with your request. Explain you’re at your wit’s end, having tried and failed and in need or deserving of help. Perhaps a pro would be more forthcoming with some answers if they had some back story and knew you were genuine?
- One thing I notice- if someone isn’t enthused enough to message with more than a quick, “got any tips?” they’ll more than likely be less eager to implement any advice given. It makes a professional reconsider helping.
- Forget even writing a question to begin with! Instead, first ask yourself the question you’re asking of someone else. It might turn out, you kind of know the answer already. What do I mean by this? Surely you’ve heard other artists mention things like “learn anatomy, perspective, composition and other fundamentals”? “Learn fundamentals” had got to be the most frequent answer to any art improvement question. And so maybe instead of asking someone for tips, ask yourself, “how do I find some resources on anatomy, perspective and composition etc?”. It doesn’t take more than a quick Google search to find a site, article or pro willing to offer some basics to get you started.
- Furthermore to point #5 – Instead of asking questions, just buy a tutorial book, online resource or training course. If you’re not willing to invest even £10 on a book (even if just asking for it for a Birthday present), then any quick advice you get from an email or social media message probably isn’t going to be sufficient help much anyway.
- Lastly, give a sincere ‘thank you’ in response to any advice given. I’m more willing than most to reply and always try to respond to every question I receive, however it’s a shame that being sent a ‘thank you’ message afterwards is rarely given.
By all means, ask for advice. That’s what these Q and A articles are all about 🙂 But if you ask better questions, you’ll likely get better answers so it’s worth thinking about that, whether you’re asking for art advice or help with anything in life.
I want to print one of your pictures on my motorcycle. Can you tell me if that’s possible or not? Is it legal?
Practically speaking, I guess with any images you find on the internet, you could use them and so long as the owner doesn’t find out it technically doesn’t hurt anyone. Personally, I don’t mind my art being used for non-profit purposes. Especially since I know that once I post anything online I lose some control over it anyway. In this specific example about using it on your bike, go for it. However, if you want a high-res version of an image, or to profit from it, we’ll need to discuss a fee for that.
Legally speaking every image has an owner and unless it’s stated as being royalty-free or you specifically have permission to use it, there is always a chance of come-back and even being sued if you’re seeking to profit from another’s property. I don’t allow my artwork to be used for commercial purposes unless we have agreed a licencing fee, which permits it’s use on a product or for a service.
Aside: I’ve ranted about art thieves who persist on using low-res versions of my work illegally for profit- check out earlier Blog posts if you’re interested in this. It’s a real pet peeve of mine.
Morally speaking, to use images you didn’t create or without consent isn’t cool. Providing you can track down the artist with a reverse image search (if they’re not already credited), it doesn’t take much to just ask if it’s ok to use it. If you can explain it’s just for private, personal use, I’d imagine most artists wouldn’t mind it being used.
I feel like I’m getting worse at art even though I’m drawing more! Any help?
From what I understand of other artists, myself included, this is quite common of all of us. We will make progress, then make some more, then suddenly fail to create something even half-decent. We are left doubting our abilities. We may also plateau- being stuck at the same level and standard without seeing any signs of improvement for a long time. Progress needs to be measured over a long time and when it comes to art, you’ll take a step back for every two or three steps forward. It’s just part of the process and something to be aware of and accept.
If you feel like you’re going backwards, take a break from whatever you’ve been working on or struggling with and re-approach it later when your mind is clearer and had chance to reset.
If there’s a question you’d like answered relating to art, or digital illustration, feel free to contact me or leave a comment.