The purpose of this FAQ is to answer all those questions that I get asked pretty regularly all in one tidy spot.
If, after reading this, there is something else you would like to know, please send me a Note and I'll answer it for you, or add the question here and answer in more detail.
Thanks for reading.
"How long have you been drawing?"
Cliched I know, but I am told I started drawing the moment I learned how to pick up a pencil. I used to draw a lot of trees that looked like lollipops... houses on wheels... Superman's 'S' logo (even though I didn't realise it was an S for several years - child interpretation I guess)... and Spiderman from the 70s TV series with Nicholas Hammond.
And ducks. Don't ask me why.
My imagination is pretty limited and trust me, it's very annoying. This explains why what you see in my gallery relies strongly on reference images. I consider myself an 'observational artist' and I get a lot of "incredible details!" type comments. Those are the ones that give me the biggest buzz.
"What art training do you have?"
I'm mostly self-taught. Sure, I studied art at school but that is a bit of a generalisation since most people take an art class but not all enjoy it. I enjoyed it, but did not really learn anything as such.
I tried a couple of higher education courses - BA in Illustration - but didn't conform to the teachers standards. So technically my art schooling ended at the age of 16.
"What software/hardware do you use for your digital painting?"
I use Photoshop CS2 and a Wacom Intuos3 graphics tablet for all my digital work.
If you can't afford Photoshop, try The Gimp - a program that I'm told is very similar to Photoshop - and the best part is it's FREE.</strong>
"How long have you been painting with Photoshop?"
I started painting digitally in 2003 using Photoshop 5 Limited Edition and a cheap Trust graphics tablet. Currently, I use Photoshop CS2 with a Wacom Intuos3 graphics tablet.
"Are graphics tablets worth the fuss?"
In a word - YES!
Having said that, they're not for everyone but a lot of people (myself included) find that once they understand how they work and the benefits they provide, wonder how on earth they managed using a mouse. I compare it to trying to draw whilst holding a brick. It's nowhere near as precise or natural.
Drawing with a pen makes a lot more sense!
There's no need to go out and pick up the most expensive tablet you can find. I usually recommend buying a smaller, cheaper version from a PC store and seeing how you get on with that first. It will feel quite strange to begin with but use it to play Minesweeper... Solitaire... scribble in Paint... all just to get a feel for the thing and you might find you take to it pretty quickly.
Then you can decide if you want to get a Wacom...
"What do you do for a living?"
I currently create diagrams for examination papers for a company based in Cambridge. Remember those pictures of leaf cell cross-sections? That's probably me. The hypotenuse triangle where you have to calculate angle X? Yeah, that too. Technical drawing, geography, physics, biology, chemistry, agriculture... a whole heap of subjects.
It's all black & white line-art created using Adobe Illustrator. Not a movie director or actress in sight. It's a pretty varied job but is completely different to the work I have on here - again, kinda frustrating, but I could be doing worse jobs, right?
"Do you make much money from selling your artwork?"
I made no money from having my Prints on dA and I don't have time to do private commissions - at least not right now. Everything in my gallery is just a hobby.
"Do you do commissions?"
I prefer not to receive unsolicited requests.
By all means ask me via a Note but I'm offering no guarantees. I have a 9-5 job during the week so I have limited spare time. And you wouldn't want to deprive me of that, would you?...
I tend to work on pieces that I find personally gratifying. I definitely don't do Manga, Star Trek, adaptations of your original character, DS9, Buffy or RPG-based pieces. I have no attachment to these things. There are plenty of other artists on dA who would be happy to oblige I'm sure.
I usually only accept 1-2 commissions per year.
"Can you teach me to paint?"
I've created several tutorials which you will find in my gallery. They cover the various techniques that I use. There are plenty of other more specialist tutorials on dA covering other things.
As much as I would like to, I am unable to offer a personal mentoring service. I will, however, try my best to answer any questions you have.
it seems as though your experience with the "learning of art", classes, and self education has been very much like my own. It's nice to know that I not doomed to failure if I don't enjoy and conform to in-class standards (of which i completely and finally gave up on about a year ago).
Anyways, I just got myself a tablet (the Cintiq as a large b-day gift), and am very excited, anxious, and hesitant to start my first piece, because there is so much I don't know about digital art. So, if you wouldn't mind, might you know a way to make the transition smoother, or perhaps some beginners tips, or simply words of advice to a noob? I would appreciate it greatly.
Wow - congrats - the Cintiq is a nice piece of kit. Usually my first piece of advice to someone unsure if a graphics tablet is for them is to buy a relatively cheap, small alternative rather than splashing out on the most expensive Wacom straight away. Having said that, I'm fairly sure that most who try one work well with them and upgrade anyway!
I first used a tablet about 6 years ago and for me, the best way to get used to the feel of working with a pen rather than a mouse, was to play games with it - Minesweeper, Solitaire - something you're already familiar with. I can't imagine anything more daunting than using new software and a new input device! So yeah, get used to the feel of the pen and maybe even customise the buttons (I have right-click and double-left-click assigned to mine).
As far as painting tips go, graphics tablets - Wacom tablets in particular - open up a whole new world of opportunities. Pressure sensitivity and the lightweight design all make working digitally a lot smoother. I've several tutorials in my gallery that cover some general painting rules that I follow - layout of workspace etc. Have a go with those and don't forget there are lots of other tutorials on dA, each covering more general or quite specific topics.
If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to try and help.
Very interesting to read. I recognise a lot of the things you say about yourself, being an observational artist relying on ref. images alot.
Also the fact that you don't do commissions. I personally think it would take everything away that I love about drawing: time to myself to do create what I want and the peace and enjoyment that goes with it.
I guess the difference between you and me is that you're good and I'm might get there one day
Interesting FAQ. It's good to find out a little bit more about you.
And you're right about the art class thing. I studied art in high school, I passed the theory with flying colours, but my drawing skills are laughable. So not all art students are Da Vincis or Bikerscouts.
Hi Scout...I LOVE all of your art. Nice for me to know there are incredible artists out there who aren't making any money at it...(not nice for you though).
Tired of hearing "Man, why are you working here...you could be RICH w/ your talent....LOL"
Good idea w/ the FAQ....might have to do one someday.
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