Posts from the ‘Tools’ category

3 Realistic Drawing Tips…

Want to improve your digital art? Follow these 3 tips & watch your drawings improve.   

The Mold.

One of the best, yes I said it. One of the best tip I can give you, to improve your digital painting skill is to think of painting like you’re molding clay. Think about it, all too often we think of painting, especially if you are a beginner as coloring on a flat surface. As you get better you start taking into consideration depth, lights & darks, form and so on.  While painting, think of it as molding clay. Having this thought process helps you think of form. This helps shading or painting in general.

Shading limits. 

Push your shading or painting to the limit. This varies from person to person. What I’m trying to say is, as far as you can, based on your skill level. It can be what separates a good work of art from great one. How far has the image been pushed to the limit? I look at my old images & I noticed that some of my old drawings needed to be pushed further. Most of them look incomplete to me now, as opposed  to back them, although I believe I somewhat knew at the time that something was missing & didn’t know what, let alone how to fix the problem. I think in retrospect this was all part of the growth process. 

The flip. 

If you are drawing digitally always flip you image horizontally on a regular basis. I found out that it helps to juggle your vision after working on an image for hours. This is because over time one gets used to “seeing” the image in a particular way. It never ceases to surprise me when I flip an image the amount of adjustments I need to make to improve the drawing. Of course if you’re drawing in a traditional medium you don’t have this luxury.  

Hope these tips will help someone out there, just dedicate yourself to constant progress & development & I’m sure you’ll get better.  

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Sorry it won’t save you

I think we’ve all tried it at some point, especially if you are a Photoshop user, you think if you purchase those brushes, actions or gradient maps your work will get better. Sorry to burst to your bubble it won’t.

We all want short cuts in achieving desired results, be it art or anything we do. It’s just human nature and it seldom works. 

The most important recommendation I can suggest is to get the basics right. It’s the foundation everything is built on. If you get the basics right these “extras” will add a bit of panache to your work. Conversely if the basics are off, no amount of custom brushes in Photoshop or unique photography technique(s) will make the work any better. 

Focus on the fundamentals, I can’t stress this enough. Use what you already have to get better. Talking from experience you’ll just waste money on things that you don’t need & wonder why your work isn’t any better, especially in this day and age where all your favourite artists are selling brushes, actions and so on. You just don’t need it, at least not yet.

So how will you know when you need it? When your work is good enough and you don’t really need it; that is the time. A bit contradictory, I know, but it is.

So have you wasted money on such? if so share, like & comment below. 

What you don’t see.

People often forget that what they get to see is the final product. The pictures posted on my website or Instagram feed has been curated. It’s invariably the best of the best. So much has happened in the background that people are not aware off or ignore. There are images that won’t see the light of day, for whatever reason. It could be because it is a bad shot (yes that happens even to the best of us), it could be because it just doesn’t connect with the viewer; the image may just may not work for whatever reason and so on. Artists only let you see what they want you to see.

We’re not perfect, we don’t always get it right the first time round. Art invariably needs to be refined until the desired result is achieved or abandoned. Yes, it does happen. What is key however, is the never ending pursuit of good art.  For example, some studio sessions can last 30 mins depending on the concept, some longer. It depends on the model, the vibe in the studio, the team synergy and so on. 

Furthermore there are days nothing works, it does happens. The atmosphere during the shoot may not be right no matter how hard you try or the drawing just isn’t working and needs to be scrapped. Trust me there are days like that. But it’s ok, don’t think that every endeavour works as planned. The important thing is to keep working. 

Next time you appreciate art, take time to think deeply about it. What is the concept, colours, what do you think the artist is trying to say, how successful do you think the artist was able to achieve what he/she set out to do and so on. Two things happen, you start to appreciate the work put in from a different perspective and subconsciously you start to incorporate this critical thinking into your work, which always works for the better.

Do you think about art this way already? or is it a new concept to you? If not, are you going to try it out?

Please leave a comment below, like & share. 

Keep creating.

It’s one of the closing statements made by Umesh Dinda one of my favourite YouTube instructors. The statement is so apt. You create to put out your vision into the world. To satisfy a burning desire to give back, that which you love that brings you joy and hopefully others. 

You learn, you grow and become overall better.  There is always something to learn, there is always something to aspire to. So what happens when a goal is achieved? On to the next one, I’m afraid. You push your limits as far as you can and as you do, you get that addictive feeling of accomplishment. 

I find the joy is in the creative process more than the accomplishment itself. Achievements are very short lived. In so many instances the moment I’m almost done or nearing the end of a project, another one has invariably commenced, maybe mentally or in my sketchbook. It’s like reading a good book on amazon, the algorithm immediately recommends something similar for your next read or Netflix recommended another similar movie based on your previously watched movies or shows. 

As an artist keep creating. 

What are your thoughts? Can you relate? How do you start a new project?

Please remember to like, share and comment. 

Practice! practice! practice!

If I were ever asked to give a simple advice on how to get better at anything. What would my advice be? I’ll say practice a lot. Put in the work, because you can only get better through mileage, of course this is after you’ve acquired the relevant knowledge and understand the basics. How much you might ask? I’ll say a lot, yes it is vague I know, but this is where things vary from person to person.

The key is you’ll subconsciously start noticing things you need to change & some things will become muscle memory. I think this is how instructors especially omit key information while teaching. It’s not intentional, it’s just that they’ve done it so many times that they omit it while teaching, without ever thinking of it. Ever wondered why you did something exactly as instructed, I mean exactly and it still didn’t come out as the teacher did his or hers. Its muscle memory, the instructor may have omitted something important however minute.

Practice!, practice!, practice!, it’s imperative, you need to put in the hours to get better it is that simple. It applies to everything from public speaking to drawing to painting. It is a prerequisite. You will definitely have days were you don’t feel like it. This is where self-discipline comes in. According to Elbert Hubbard 

“Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it whether you feel like it or not”.

Push through, you need to if you want to get better. 

A common obstacle will be time, not enough hours within the day. Sadly we all get the same number of hours within the day, 24. I can’t help you here. What I will however implore you to do is to make time no matter how little and make it a routine to practice regularly for that is the only way to improve your craft.

How many hours a day or week do you practice your art whatever that may be? Do you think you’re doing enough or do you think there is room for improvement? 

Please leave a comment below, like and share. 

Don’t be mediocre.

So you’ve been told that your work isn’t good enough. For example, in photography, the light isn’t good; in art, your colours aren’t right or your proportions need work. They may be right, they may have a point, but be careful, it may lead your work down the path of mediocrity.

If you go ahead & tick all the boxes as required by the so called “best practices” you won’t stand out and you’ll just be one of the many. I’m by no means advocating you jettison “best practices”, no not by long shot. But have it at the back of your mind that your work should be yours. It should be for your audience. It should be a combination of the things that inspire you, with a bit of “you” added to it.

A bit of you can be many things. It could be what you’ve discovered while experimenting, it could be you going against the grain. It could be you embarking on what a lot of people shy away from. Whatever that may be, let it be that which puts a smile, a question mark, or that which puts an aha! moment on your face. I think that indicates progress on this never ending journey.

Now don’t get me wrong it doesn’t always work out, but I believe the day you stop doing these things is the day the mundane creeps up in your work.

So while you check some “best practices” boxes while working, have it at the back of your mind that the mundane is your enemy.

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That is a really nice photograph.

“That’s a really nice photograph. You must have a great camera.”

⁃ A well-meaning friend

I love this quote, mainly because people ask this question all the time. Forgetting or not knowing that it’s really the ability to “see” that matters. This is what counts particularly in photography. What do you see ? What is the concept? What are the colours, is it a location shoot or studio shoot? How does the model come across in the image? 

It’s not just the camera, not by a long shot. The camera is just a tool at the end of the day. To help you achieve your artistic vision. Anyone can get a good camera but it takes years of practice & lots of experience to develop the skills you need to be good. It’s more important to spend time experimenting and learning what is relevant to your art than getting a new gear. At the end of the day you’ll just get the same results but at a higher expense. 

There is always something to learn and room to grow. This is a more valuable way to spend your time. I recommend you spend your money on relevant courses, on studying other artists than on new gear in this day and age where your gadget is outdated every 6 months. I mean we all know that artist who makes great art with the most mundane tools. It sure is the way to go. 

What is your take on this? Please like and comment below.

Time in your cave

The conundrum, the number of post versus the quality of posts in your social media feed. I don’t know if other artists have this problem but I do. As an artist you need time in your “cave”. It’s a time and place to learn, experiment and push your limits. 

Your audience ultimately gets to see mostly your best work. Yes, these days it’s normal for people to see how you work but I feel invariably most of them are doctored. People generally prepare a lot beforehand and they mainly just execute what was pre-planned. In truth I don’t think the audience really gets to see the amount of work done and the amount of hours put in behind the scenes. They don’t get to see the artist’s frustrations, the amount of abandoned projects, the amount of re-starts and so on. These tend to be done when one is in his/her  “cave”. 

Your time in your “cave” is important, for you to grow. Your time in your “cave” is needed for you to discover. Your time in your “cave” is important for you to learn. 

So regularly go to your “cave” and work. Yes your social media algorithm may not work in your favour because you have to get away for a while. However it is more important to produce your best work for your audience. So do that instead. It is more important. 

Please remember to comment and share. Thanks.

They are all interconnected.

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Try not to work in isolation, I believe everything is interlinked when it comes to art. If you are a photographer or aspiring to be one, you have to study a lot of different subjects. Yes you need to understand your photography stuff like your gear and lights, and so on, but that is just the beginning of your journey. You then have to make what you are shooting interesting, it depends on you, it can be very simple it can be very dramatic. So what other things do you have to consider?

Ever wondered why you love some images and you just can’t tell exactly what it is about the photograph that makes the image tick? Yes it can be beautiful, yes the colors may pop, yes the location may or may not be exotic or grimy or grungy depending on the type of photograph. I believe it’s the subtle stuff that goes unnoticed that make the difference e.g. things like the model’s pose that you never actively noticed, give the image grace, make the image regal, movement, subtle facial expressions like squinting of the eyes, the time of day the shot was taken e.g. the golden hour and so on. Trust me as an artist/photographer you have to be aware of these subtle details, I don’t think you can ever actually master them, but noticing them is alone is the beginning of getting better in the long run.

So going forward learn as much as you can on an ongoing basis, be it posing, styling, makeup, be it communicating better with your subject during the shoot to get “that” expression. e.t.c learn as much as you can because for a fantastic shot all these things come together to make it what it is, so learn as much as you can to be able to tap into them and make your images stand out.

Something to Consider In Photography.

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Are you familiar with the quote “spray and pray” in photography? I think we’ve all done it, at least when we first started out. You take pictures, lots of pictures hoping that by magic you get that good shot through luck. It happens make no mistake, but rarely. Let me recommend an alternative………..

Do it with purpose. Before your next shoot and during your shoot keep asking yourself the following questions.

Why are my shooting?

What are my shooting?

What makes it unique?

What am I trying to say?

What is the concept?

What is the setting?

What angles will I shoot from?

What kind of light will I be using?

What type of light diffusers will be ideal?

e.t.c

By doing so we give the whole experience a sense of purpose, a direction. Thereby controlling the whole experience. Brooke Shaden (check her on instagram) gave us a template to start with, she recommends we consider the following when coming up with a concept for a shoot. They are:

  • Color
  • Prop
  • Wardrobe
  • Setting
  • Theme

I think that they are a great starting point for any shoot and we should consider them when next we are shooting. So for your next photography session you may want to consider or incorporate these suggestions. So get out there and start shooting.

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