I get questions quite often in email about my art. (From my blog - not from here - my dA seems pretty dead.) I think it may be because since I've had my blog, people can see my progress from Absolute Crap to A Tad Crappy, and this intrigues them. Hey - it's forward momentum, at least. I am a lot less embarrassed about showing it in public these days.
So, I figured I'd share some things I've learned along the way. Here are my rules of art:
Rule #1 - Ignore everyone's rules of art and make up your own. Read about art voraciously. Learn what value and line and composition is. Ask artists stuff. Bug them about how they did things. Then toss is all over your shoulder and figure out what really works for you, as opposed to some guy who lived 500 years ago and was painting with egg whites.
Rule #2 - Draw every day. Shut up. Stop whining. I don't care if you are busy. DRAW SOMETHING. Draw a frikkin happy face. Just draw. I've been trying to draw every day for about a year and a half now. This has been the one thing that has helped me most in drawing. Ever.
Rule #3 - Draw what you are interested in. I like TITS AND ASS. I draw TITS AND ASS. For years, I thought something was wrong with me because all I wanted to draw was naked ladies. To hell with bowls of fruit or pottery or my hand. Now, I fully expect - and hope - that one day I get out of my little mammaric niche and become interested in something else. Hasn't happened yet.
Rule #4 - Draw A LOT OF WHAT YOU A INTERESTED IN EVERY DAY. Okay, yeah, stating rules 2 and 3 again, but they are important. For me, the site Figure & Gesture Drawing: Tools for Self-educating Artists ( [link] ), has been invaluable. I set the Practice Figure Drawing tool up to spew naked lady pictures at me and I draw them as fast as I can. It's lovely.
Rule #5 - Ignore the asshole art critic inside of your head. Yeah. That one. He's not happy unless everyone is miserable. Why is he miserable? Because he's just a voice inside your head and he can't draw or paint because he doesn't have HANDS. He wants to be an artists, but can't. JUST LIKE HITLER. Ignore Hitler and your day goes by much more smoothly.
Rule #6 - Escape the computer when you can. I've learned a hell of a lot more sketching with a pencil that I have with a Wacom. Dunno why that is. Maybe it's the lack of an undo button in the real world - but it seems to be true. I ink 'okay' on the computer - but I bet if I forced myself to learn to ink with a brush, I'd be ten times better. I'm just lazy at the moment. Don't be like me!
Rule #7 - PLUSES. Don't sit around waiting for likes or thumbs ups or people to tell you how great you are. The picture that took you 87 hours to create will get you fewer comments than a smart-ass remark you spit out on the inter-webs with .5 seconds of thought. If you are drawing for fame - please go back to the end of the line. If you are not drawing for that occasional orgasmic brain explosion that you get at some point during creation - then you need to stop selling death-sticks, go home, and re-evaluate your life.
Rule #8 - Don't be afraid of references. For some reason, many artists I know - including me - are frustrated and ashamed that we can draw okay from a reference - but not from inside our heads. I saw an awesome artist field a question this way. Q. I can't draw from my imagination. I can only draw from reference. What should I do? A. THEN DRAW FROM REFERENCE. DUH. The point is that if you keep on drawing from reference, you'll eventually 'get it' and can take the knowledge you got from all of those detailed studies and draw from your imagination then. Well, I hope that is how it works.
Rule #9 - Draw real things! Real, 3d things, I mean. You know - things other than pictures. Pictures are fine - but real things are . . . finer. The recent improvements in my art - the point at which I suddenly wouldn't be embarrassed to have my work published in a book - coincided with me finding some women who didn't mind me staring at their boobs for hours and drawing them. Now, the actual drawings I make of those lovely ladies SUCK. But it seems to have affected my ability to draw from photo reference and enhances it quite a bit. Real boobs are magic, I tell you.
Rule #10 - Sketches are sketchy. Rough drafts are rough. It ain't gonna flow out of your pencil all perfect like. Those artists who have the drawings that seem to go all SWISH and the lines look perfect as if GOD HERSELF drew them? Well, that's decades of training. Or, sometimes it is 17 hours of work to make ONE LINE look right. Anything that I make that looks easy took me a freaking damn long and painful time to do.
There are other rules, but they get much more specific into technique - which is one of those flowy, changy, wibbly-wobbly things that as soon as you write into stone it changes. So I'll shut up about those.
Again, these are my rules. Go get your own . . . and happy arting.