Today there was a post in the Drawspace forum asking some questions. I decided to put my thoughts out there for the person asking. Below are the questions and after that my answer.
"Well its been just over a year since i joined this great site and took up drawing/art. I have some questions for all of you and would love you opinions now i feel im in a position i will understand.
ok first am i just drawing or am i doing art i don't know.
How do i move on from needing reference photos and be able to pull it out my head is this going to be just practice and let my work go back ten steps to be able to make it go forward or is the use of ref photos used for even the greatest drawers/artists?
Paper!! why am i finding it harder to get (thinking how to word this) my pencils down on a more quality paper card than i seem to get it down on my sketch pad paper (lot less grain so i can force it on even though i want to use the stiffer paper/card as i know the finish is better
Its nearly Christmas :D I want some mechanical pencils BUT how many should i get i was thinking 3 one for HB one for say a 5-6B and one for 3H , what do you all have, is there a best type and a best type of lead, i want to up my game .
Colour pencils, this is a struggle should i just leave it and play some times as not to get despondent or have i just got poopy pencils. what would you recommend ,, do you use these lightly as i think i press to hard?
look forward to the replys :)"
I'm no expert but can give you my 2 cents worth. I think if you can produce art and have a great passion to do it, you are an artist. It took me a long time to admit that I was one. I think that is because there is always someone you think is better. The problem is that even the best artists have the same feeling. They are never satisfied with their art and feel they could do better.
I started out using photos and a grid. I thought that was not quite what an artist would do and strived to be able to draw without a grid. So I started drawing from life. I drew anything that came in front of me. And I drew something every day. Art is like anything else you want to learn. It takes lots of practice. The more you do from life, the better you get. Your confidence grows, your hand eye coordination improves. I was scared to death but continued and I never use a grid now.
Next step was that I found out that a lot of really good artists use a grid. Or they will transfer a basic outline onto their paper. And I have done that when I wanted to make sure I got proportions right with a face.
I draw with a mechanical pencil only and colored pencils for color. I have only #2 pencil lead in it and use pressure or layers to get darker. I haven't the patience for using different levels pencils to get darker. I started drawing on my lunch hour at work and only had one pencil and computer paper to draw on. I also use a fine lead of .5. They break easier but I don't like the thicker leads.
Colored pencils are a challenge. I like a dry pencil instead of a waxy one. I tend to go in dark and heavy right away. many people say they do anywhere up to 25 + layers. I really don't have the patience for that many layers. With colored pencil I think you just have to keep doing it and trying new things until you come up with a style that you are comfortable with.
Paper is just a matter of preference. I started with cheap stuff. Now I work almost only on Bristol Smooth or cardstock thickness paper. I sometimes will use the smoother side of watercolor paper. If you want more tooth, try the watercolor. Another paper is pastel paper. I have used that. I like the textured ones but not the ones that feel like sand paper. They use up the pencils too fast.
I've been seriously doing art since 2006. In that time, I have read everything I could on blogs and the internet. I have tried the style of lots of different people, adopted some and not others. Listened to and read about things that are wrong and right. I don't think there is a right or wrong way of doing things. You just have to find "your" way of doing them. And that takes trying them all. Finding what is comfortable for you.
If you are happy with the way you do artwork and enjoy what you are doing, just keep doing it and continue to learn and evolve your talent. I don't let the rules and restrictions keep me in a box. I do my artwork for me and hope that others like it as well. If I do a commission, I usually don't show it until it is finished. If they don't like it, they don't have to pay and take it. If I do it someone else's way, it becomes a chore and no longer fun.
Just enjoy and I hope this helps.