Advice For A Wannabe Artist

Hey all,

I have seen such amazing DC artwork from all of you on these threads so I figured you could give me some pointers! I just started learning how to draw. I am taking a basic fundamentals course but I want to know your tips and tricks for getting started. Have any example tips of how you drew some of your favorite DC characters? What characters are great for a practicing beginner? Any and all advice is super appreciated!

Also keep those amazing and inspirational art posts coming! Special shoutouts to @biggedy , @Mickid0824.26654 , @jdebottis.93473 , and @KeyFamily for their recent posts that have really made me want to get drawing!

2 Likes

Thank you so much for the shout-out, @DukeGaga311! What a nice surprise to see this morning! I have 3 major tips for you (along with a dash of luck and a pinch of good vibes):

  1. Passion drives art!
    Draw/paint/mold what you love. Just as they say to write what you know, it goes the same with art. Use whatever drives you to drive your project. You’ll find that the hours of working will fly by because you’re getting it just right for you - the way that you envision.

  2. Practice makes progress!
    Don’t be hard on yourself. Take your time and work through each draft knowing that eventually it will turn out exactly as you want. You have to start somewhere and the art is molded and shaped as you go along, not from the very start. (Also, it can be so difficult getting what’s in your head to translate outside of your head. That goes for everyone.)

  3. Be inspired!
    Use others’ work as inspiration to craft your own style. I’ve heard it said that “copying” another artist’s work is bad but I don’t believe that to be the case. It’s not likely that you are creating the exact same thing and even then - it’s not the exact same thing! Here is a quote from The Watercolor Artist’s Bible (highly recommended if you’re interested in painting): “…looking at other people’s work is an essential part of any artist’s learning curve, and you may find that it helps you toward establishing your own style and becoming confident in handling the medium.” When I need inspiration, I hit the books.

I look forward to seeing your upcoming Fan Creations!

6 Likes

Thanks so much for the response! It’s good to know that just practicing and attempting to draw things you enjoy can make you better. Just the idea that you grab a pencil and try to draw something like Harley Quinn or Batman can improve your skills even if they barely look like the characters :sweat_smile:. Definitely helps me just relax and enjoy creating rather than imaging there is someone looking over my shoulder saying “Boo!” :joy:

1 Like

You are most welcome, @DukeGaga311!

It’s good to know that just practicing and attempting to draw things you enjoy can make you better. Just the idea that you grab a pencil and try to draw something like Harley Quinn or Batman can improve your skills even if they barely look like the characters :sweat_smile:. Definitely helps me just relax and enjoy creating rather than imaging there is someone looking over my shoulder saying “Boo!” :joy:

Exactly! If you really love creating, it will come together in time. Push yourself and work on your skills. Talk to other artists and be curious!

Here’s an example session of my practicing a basic Batman… repetition! :wink:

That’s just a “flat” design of a character. If you want to see a real master at work, check out this video of Jim Lee drawing The Dark Knight. It will change your life.

https://youtu.be/xQtvstrkPU0

4 Likes

That video was epic. Your photo really helped put things into perspective. I only see what the artist wants me to see, never the endless tries before nailing it. Even Jim Lee said “I can do this now from 0 to 60” but he didn’t start that way. Super cool

2 Likes

If you guys like the Jim Lee video, he actually does A LOT of this stuff now on his Twitch channel, drawing stuff from commissions to even full comic pages (he did a whole 5+ hour stream penciling a page for Action Comics #1000) that a whole lot of that stuff. He also imports them to his YouTube, if you prefer that, and there’s another YouTuber named VZA who imports and often condenses down the streams to just the drawing parts, as well as shows similar drawing for other artists.

3 Likes

I’m flattered you included me on this list. I’m always impressed with the people you tagged here, and saying you put me in their league is amazing. What I would say is make the time. Always draw. That’s been said and is the best advice.

Don’t quit if you hit walls or get bored.

As far as which characters to start with I’d say those with definitive physical characteristics. Weird costumes. You draw someone with big Barca’s big helmet it looks like big Barda.
Don’t worry about deep, dark shadows yet. Aim for basic anatomy.
Try to make different hand gestures in each thing you do. Those can be hard and it’s a good thing to use to force you out of a comfort zone.

Have fun with it.

2 Likes

I’m flattered you included me on this list. I’m always impressed with the people you tagged here, and saying you put me in their league is amazing.

:relaxed: Very kind, @jdebottis.93473. Thank you so much for the bonus compliment!

1 Like

As a fellow wannabe who’s made substantial progress recently: Practice is a big thing. And copying is actually a really good idea. Not tracing (though even that can help you get a sense of what lines make up certain shapes that you’re having trouble with), but using another artist’s work as a reference. For example, any time I draw a character I haven’t drawn before, I try to pick an artist whose work on the character I consider definitive and imitate something they did. In particular, I focus on how they do that character’s face so that I can get some good differentiation in the shape and features.

2 Likes

I can’t thank you all enough for your advice and motivation. I have been practicing quite a bit and I just finished a piece I am somewhat proud of. I know it is nothing amazing. My proportions are off, the image is too flat, etc. But i did do this with a bad stylus and a free iPad app. I get an Apple Pencil on the 26th so atleast my hand wont hurt so much after :joy:. I am also very open to tips based on what you are seeing here. I have a long way to go but you have all motivated me to keep trying and helped me at understanding where to start. Thanks for being such an awesome community!

3 Likes

I can’t draw my way out of a wet paper bag, but I’m always sort of amazed by people who can. Everyone has different talents and abilities, and practice is the only way to improve. As someone once told me long ago: The only way to really learn to make good stuff, is to not be afraid to make lots of crappy stuff.

No one starts off life an expert in their craft after all…

3 Likes

Thank you for sharing your “rough draft” on here, @DukeGaga311. I just noticed this post. If you’re looking to draw faces, my recommendation is to focus on “mastering” each facial component and then moving on. For example, I can see from this illustration that the hair looks disproportional and flatter than it would in real life. If you were to learn how to sketch a head shape first and then how to lay the hair on top of it, the head would look more accurate. That being said, you really nailed the mouth and it seems that expression is your strong point. Take it one piece at a time so that you can acquire those skills before diving into specific characters, otherwise you may only know how to draw Batman (for example). Keep at it! You’re off to a great start!

How is the new pen?

1 Like

Awesome suggestion @KeyFamily. Thank you for taking the time. I actually got the Apple pencil and not only have I been drawing like crazy in Procreate but it’s so much easier and I’ve already improved. To be fair Procreate makes my stuff look way better than it would on paper :joy:. I def recommend it for iPad users if it can run it.

2 Likes

Very cool! It sounds like you’ve found a nice rhythm, along with some excellent tools! I’m not sure if you’ve seen this clip, but Alex Sinclair talks about how he uses Procreate on his iPad so you are in good company. :blush:

Keep checking in. I’d love to see your progress and Fan Creations!

1 Like

Hey @DukeGaga311 ! Sorry I haven’t responded in awhile, it has been quite busy for me with family and work. But thank you for thinking of me!

I think the best advice I could give is to keep drawing. As a kid I drew everyday, it was unrefined, it didn’t look that great, but I didn’t care. It was fun to just draw and I loved to draw comics… so I copied everybody, all my favorite artists, swiping panels and putting them into my own comics. In the process, I ended up learning through that. You don’t even have to have a great drawing at the end, just draw for a few minutes a day and draw everyday. @Aurora had good advice that was similar to what my college teacher told all of his classes. Everybody has maybe 10 great drawings in them. But to get to it, you have to draw like a million drawings first before you get to them. So get drawing!

But the flip side of it, is I would pick up idiosyncrasies and bad habit from some of them as well. In fact, I would purposefully copy ‘style’ because it was cool. Nothing wrong with it, but it would only be learning the surface of drawing… I wasn’t really digging deep into the why they drew it that way.

So, another piece of advice is to draw from life. Take some time to draw people that you see when you’re traveling, at the zoo, in a coffee shop or wherever. Draw your face in the mirror, your hands and feet, your family, etc. This will help you get into the habit of figuring out how things ‘work’ with your drawings. Things like, how do clothes fold or drape over things… how does my knuckle look when they’re clenched? What do eyebrows do when I’m surprised

Another tip I learned in college was to learn to loosen up when you draw. Like for your Lobo drawing, if you want to mess with placement and proportions just use ovals and circles to block in shapes and where things would go. Your lines shouldn’t be final yet and can be scribbly to start. Your lines, at the beginning, are there for you to figure out where things should go and how big things would be. Then when your comfortable start adding on top of that until finally you can get in there tighter. Take a look at your drawing as a whole. Don’t get stuck drawing details on an eye without working on other parts of the drawing.

There are some artists that can just go straight to tight details from the get go, but in general loose and scribbly was a good start for me. If you go in tight right away, you might find that placement and proportions are all out of whack and you end up with a lop sided drawing.

Lastly, my teacher taught us (and this was a hard lesson to learn) not to be so precious with our artwork. Each sketch and drawing we were doing was to learn to make a better one for the next time. And on top of that if there was a part of the drawing that was really good… but it didn’t work with the rest of the drawing… we shouldn’t be afraid to erase or correct that good part to make the rest of the drawing work.

Anyhow, I hope some of that droning on helps you out! Have fun learning to draw! Every artist on the planet is still learning and re-learning, the minute we think we know everything is the minute our artwork starts to suffer! Good luck and post up your work here so we can see!

1 Like