A Few Fantastic Resources for Artists

30 Nov

I thought I’d take a breather from my current illustration project to share with you some wonderful online resources for artists. The internet is a treasure trove for free educational tools and materials, so let’s take a look at some really fantastic links that will get your creative juices flowing. These are some of my personal favorites!

One of the most important tools for digital illustration is the graphics tablet. With Plastic Shards’  Wacom Beginner How-To, you will learn everything you need to know when it comes to choosing, configuring and drawing with your tablet. I recommend reading through this site even if you’ve had a tablet for awhile and you feel you are adept at using it. You might learn something new! I can’t recommend this guide enough.

One of my favorite “secret weapons” is  Posemaniacs.com. I probably would have never known about this site if I did not discover it through a Japanese artist’s webpage. Posemaniacs is a 3D human model that you can use for your drawing reference. Take note that in addition to full bodies, you can also view specific body parts such as hands in many different positions and rotate those models 360 degrees. This is fabulous if you cannot take a life drawing class or can’t afford to buy books from the VirtualPose collection. If that isn’t cool enough on it’s own, there’s also a FREE Posemaniacs App for iPod Touch and iPhone, which is mega cool for drawing on the go.

It is important to realize that when painting digitally, the result of your work is largely reliant on your technique. Your mileage will vary with the tools you use, whether it be Photoshop, Painter, OpenCanvas, Paint Tool SAI or any other number of programs that are popular for digital coloring. That being said, there’s no “right” way to color, and I’d discourage anyone from ever settling on one specific method of painting until they have tried many different kinds and found what works best for them personally. Armed with that information, you can confidently browse through thousands of online painting tutorials, with the knowledge that none of them are a definitive guide. The best place to get started is most likely DeviantArt’s Drawing/Painting/Airbrushing Tutorial section, where you can choose the software you’re using to paint with and start perusing. Doing a search works just as well, if perhaps you’re looking for something more specific like cel shading or blending.

Any Photoshop guru is familiar with custom brushes and the many sites online that can provide you with them for free download. However, you may not be aware of the variety of special brushes that other artists create that are made specifically for painting. These brushes usually try to replicate natural media or make it easier to apply textures or fill in details such as foliage. For Photoshop, you should definitely check out My Brush Pack by adonihs and Essential Illustration Brushes by fox-orian. If you are looking for Painter brushes, try out what-i-do-is-secret’s Brush Pen or Morgalahan’s Painter Brushes. I can guarantee you’ll enjoy using these more than default brushes for drawing and painting.

Hopefully this humble yet powerful collection of invaluable resources will help you in creating fantastic new works of art. Good luck!

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