How did you learn to draw?

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How did you learn to draw?

#1 Post by JayBlue » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:55 pm

How did you learn to draw?

Personally, I learned by tracing over character images when I was 14 and eventually learned body perportions, clothing, and shading. Eventually establishing my own art style.

How about everyone else?
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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#2 Post by sendo » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:32 am

For me it's a meandering journey. Okay, storytime because why not? :lol:

So I started taking art seriously when I saw Feng Zhu's videos back in 2013, he's a concept artist and at that time I became so inspired that I wanted to become a concept artist too. I watched all his videos and religiously followed his advice which is study fundamentals; perspective, form, anatomy, composition, values etc. I discouraged myself from drawing anime stuff because in my mind it wasn't what the pros do.

Unfortunately, I had very little stamina when it comes to studying. I'd do studies but I always end up becoming frustrated, I had a hard time understanding fundamentals and honestly it was too cut and dry. I started getting burnt out so I went back to my comfort zone, which is anime style stuff (not saying I was good at this point, but I just love drawing anime stuff since forever)

And whaddya know, drawing what I actually liked drawing boosted my morale and I recovered from my slump. So instead of just going back to studying hardcore fundamentals, I mixed it up with anime stuff; perspective/landscape studies using anime backgrounds, gesture studies referencing animators' stuff, color studies using anime stuff. This way I still studied fundamentals but the subject matter and art style was hugely relevant to my personal interests. That kept me going.

I also did real-life studies in between because I didn't want to always be in my safe comfy place in anime land, this was hard to do sometimes to be honest. I'm not done studying fundamentals though; there's still much for me to learn, but I'm glad I put in the time honing fundamentals. Seeing the hundreds of hours I toiled pay off is a reward on its own I guess.

I still look up to and appreciate Feng Zhu, concept artists and all the other types of artists out there. I simply don't have the desire to become a concept artist in the same vain as Feng Zhu anymore because I think following my love for anime stuff is the key to my growth in art.
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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#3 Post by TheJerminator15 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:45 am

I'm not an authority on the subject, because my art is awful and I'm very on and off with my drawing habits (as in I stopped for years and barely do it now haha).

I originally learned by drawing characters from my favourite games, mainly Sonic characters. Naturally, this left my general grasp on anatomy, clothing, shading etc very off so when I did attempt more realistic characters I found it very difficult. Eventually I just lost interest in drawing altogether for a plethora of reasons until around a year ago where I decided to take it back up.

Now, it's just a journey of me slowly working to fix my personal habits. I hate studying fundamentals rather than just drawing whatever I want, which hurts my already low motivation to draw. But it's necessary for me to properly learn them so I just push through and now I can draw a half decent anime male, so progress!
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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#4 Post by SinaAzad » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:55 pm

hmm, I'm not much of an artist but let's see...
I guess it started from tracing a WWII fighter from a military magazine when I was around 10, after that for some reason I could draw what ever I could see some times it would turn out great, some times I'd fail. I stopped drawing when I started high school (2007-2008) till 2 years ago. which I bought My first drawing tablet, the funny thing is that I didn't know if I really want to draw again or not, I guess I bought it because it was a special offer and it had a 2 years key for Clip Studio Paint!

I didn't know how to color stuff, so it was really hard at first, I started to learn Oyari Ashitos art style and wanted to make a VN for my A.D. Project.
The VN Failed but it was enough for me to get my mark. after that, I pretty much didn't study art... but I observe other peoples work trying to understand what they do. at first, all I wanted was a proper face! now I want to learn anatomy and who knows whats next? I think I have finished around 20 and dropped like 10 works in the past 2 years.

you can find all my works from day one on this topic here viewtopic.php?f=54&t=35468
I think I have changed a lot haha...

Nowadays I care about drawings a lot more, I buy art books and have a reference collection, a good thing about this forum is that I know my drawings can be useful at some point ... for someone ...
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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#5 Post by mikolajspy » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:55 am

I'm still not great at drawing, and I started around a year ago at age 22, but here's my story:

I'm self-taught 3D artist, so it might helped me with proportions, perspective etc.
Anyway, I started with a printer paper, a pen (yes, not even a pencil) and watched Mark Crilley's youtube videos (I really recommend him for start).

After some time I bought myself nice sketchbook (to keep it stored, loose pages might got lost) and mechanical pencil and simply started to draw every single day. At the beginning I was drawing like one page a day, but as I was drawing more and more I noticed quicker progress. Now I try to draw 5 pages a day + some digitally. Mostly some random poses, emotions, simple shapes and objects, with each page I try to improve on something I know I'm not good enough.

I was drawing mostly from imagination(I didn't want someone else's style influence too much my work), trying to get it right with every line. I was also redrawing manga/anime/games art from time to time (no tracing! just look and try to recreate it). From time to time I've also used real photos as references for poses etc.
I was trying many styles and finally I think I've come up with my own.
At some point I bought drawing tablet with Clip Studio Paint to go digitally, so in addition to daily sketches I started drawing on computer. I still have to learn more about coloring and painting backgrounds.

My suggestions to anyone starting:
Just keep drawing, don't get discouraged! And write date on each page, you might be surprised how you improved when you look at it few months later.

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#6 Post by morg » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:42 am

mikolajspy wrote:I watched Mark Crilley's youtube videos (I really recommend him for start).
Mark Crilley was the beginning of my journey too, lol. I remember having YouTube opened on one of those old computers that ran on windows 98 and going by his guide on how to draw 'an anime girl with a pigtail'. But I was really young when I started so I didn't have a tab or anything like that, instead I let out my creative spirit one of those magnetic boards that came with the stamps. Glad it broke because otherwise I wouldn't have converted to digital.

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#7 Post by Remayre » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:44 pm

I taught myself. I loved drawing from a young age and I would try to copy what I saw in real life. Then I was introduced to Pokemon and Miyazaki. That's why I fell in love with the anime style. I traced a few pictures in the beginning around age 9, but I hated not being able to create something fully by myself, so I abandoned that pretty quickly. I still beat myself up for not focusing more on real life anatomy, etc, when I was younger, because it would have saved me a lot of pain in the long run. I still have a long way to go to perfect my anatomy, but I've improved greatly. That's why I always stress the importance of learning real life first before going to anime when new/young anime artists ask for advice.

Age 9-12 I drew a lot on MS Paint

Age 12-14 I was introduced to Flash and started drawing on there and trying to make animations. I was obsessed with Newgrounds.

Age 14-17 A teacher gave me a copy of Photoshop for free, so this is when I started to learn a real art program. I used and abused the dodge and burn tool too much.

Age 18- 22 I discovered Paint Tool Sai and fell in love. It's still one of the main programs I use for lineart and coloring. I use Photoshop mainly for quick edits or animations. I also started to learn Adobe After Effects.

Age 23- Present I have a fancy new 2 in 1 computer that has a stylus and I can draw straight on my screen with pressure sensitivity. It doesn't work with Sai though, so that's when I discovered Clip Studio Paint. I do a lot of sketching and other rendering in it.

Throughout all this, I've also stuck with traditional art. I pretty much use any medium. I also work with leather and chainmaille, and other various crafts.

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#8 Post by Mikomi » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:45 pm

For me it was a lot of tracing over anime screenshots and watching random "how to draw" videos on youtube. I also super love Yu-Gi-Oh!, so I drew a lot of the cards since it was an easy way for me to learn how to draw as I could take the cards anywhere and draw them anywhere.
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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#9 Post by Zylinder » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:19 pm

I started out around age 11 with these books:


I copied them and some manga that I liked up until the age of 18+ as a hobby obsessively. I'd have notebooks after notebooks filled with drawings that I did, 8 hours a day, while the TV was on or in class. It just seemed a lot more interesting to me than academics, and I think by the end of it I must have had a stack of notebooks my height filled with trash-drawings and 800 similar heads. I think I have most of my pre-college art stored up here on DA.

At 18, I had to pick a career to train for and I picked art. By then, I'd somewhat move on to semi-realism due to the influence of DA and internet art. And yes, Feng Zhu. He was one of the coolest thing I'd seen growing up as an impressionable young artist, and was the reason I went ahead and tried to be a concept artist. I figured I liked video games and I liked drawing, the next natural progression would be to draw for video games.

College further beat the anime out of me and these days I just draw Haloesque concept art and explosions and men in suits for my day job for video games like this:


It's been a long journey C':

Drawing anime-esque work for VNs is almost like catharsis. It's really fun that I can blend well enough to do a dozen styles and whatever it is that lands on my desk, but anime art remains a comforting bastion.

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#10 Post by lelelelai » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:58 pm

Back when I was a kid, my parents used to give me a bunch of anatomy and architecture books as study for future endeavours( somehow, I feel all parents want their child to be a doctor). I still can't say that I learned to draw since I studied mostly independently ( and formally starting to take art classes since October), but I practice daily and try new tehniques and styles. Aren't artists learning every day after all? :D

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#11 Post by fukairi » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:13 am

It's kind of just a journey of different memories of encouragements & jealousy. In kindergarten one of the teacher used to do this drawing of two potatoes (???) and I thought dang that's pretty sweet, and that was the first push. Then in first grade I became incredibly upset after class when I had seen what a classmate was drawing, since her drawings were incredibly polished and clean, and my teacher, to make me feel better, talked to me of how I had "the lineart of an artist" and how the other girl was trash...Lmao. Then in third grade I won some contest, and my homeroom teacher had footnotes in my report card about my "brilliant colour usage". In sixth grade my teacher called my mom and instructed her to apply me to an art-oriented middle school, which was probably the biggest thing, since literally all of my elementary school went to a school like 20 m away from it, so it was a fresh start for me since I was really harshly bullied & beaten throughout elementary school. Little moments like that kind of kept happening and pushing me forward.

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#12 Post by StarluoAngel » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:29 pm

I've been drawing since I was 5, and even though it's been 12 years since then, I still consider myself very inexperienced. Maybe it's because I have yet to go into postsecondary (in my last year of high school right now) but let me tell you... I've had quite the journey.

I think I started with watching anime like Pokemon and Bleach, which would appear on TV quite often. Anime was what everyone was watching back then. My older brothers would always draw anime characters like Aang from The Last Airbender or Sasuke from Naruto (I remember those specific drawings). My entire family was kinda involved with art at this time (my dad drew concept buildings and cityscapes) whereas my brothers would always draw anime. I sorta picked up on this and began drawing myself. My family also had those How to Draw Manga books. I think it's the same series... but by a different illustrator/author?


This is the one I had. The book did have some images that weren't exactly appropriate for children, but my brothers always left it laying around, so I would open it up and try to trace or copy people from it. After this period, I discovered MapleStory. Don't know if you know it, but it's a popular chibi anime MMO (the art is REALLY cute btw and it still is!) that my brothers often played back then (as you can see, I picked up a lot of things from my brother). I loved the art style so much that I began to draw the characters from the game. Eventually my characters' heads grew tenfold and the bodies became short and stubby. I kept this style of drawing for several reasons... First off, it looked cute and I loved it. Secondly, I actually couldn't quit the style...even if I wanted to. :/ For some reason, I had a problem with making the heads FAR too gigantic and the bodies extremely small. This style stuck with me for years and years... It was only around three years ago that I learned to make my heads smaller and bodies bigger.

This was back in 2010, and this is what my art continued to look like for another five years pretty much. I apologize for the blur!

Drawn in 2013.

I think what caused me to keep this chibi style for so long was that I was too afraid to try making the heads smaller, because I love how they looked at the time. I also stubbornly refused to learn proportions and anatomy at the time because I didn't think I needed it. I feel like I could have gotten much further with my art if it weren't for how stubborn I was back then (regardless, I'm happy with the progress I've made so far, and I hope to continue improving in college).

Around 2015 I came across Undertale and it was a ton of fun to play. I'll admit I was fandom trash at this point and regularly browsed the fanart and I became super inspired by all the amazing, professional-level art that people were sharing of the characters. It got me to do some self-studying on anatomy, using resources like deviantArt and YouTube. Mark Crilley and FOERVRAENGD's tutorials were extremely helpful in helping me transition from chibi to more proportionate bodies. It didn't help me with the specifics like hands, feet, different perspectives, facial structure, etc. because it was just too much to take in at the time. Now that I have the basic proportions down though, I think I'll go back to those tutorials again and hopefully I'll learn new things from them. It's surprising how much you can learn from going back to a tutorial you watched just years ago.

I think after going through that studying period, I became a little depressed because I wasn't progressing as fast as I wanted, and I had a habit of comparing myself to other artists a lot (I saw this one artist who was only 15 but made amazing-quality artwork. She was also part of the Undertale fandom; that's how I found her). This depressing state lasted for a few months. It finally stopped once I took a look at my old art and then at my new art. I realized how much I DID improve. It was only because my expectations were unrealistic that I became sad. I've learned a lot about myself thanks to art. I've been learning how to do a ton of new things like using references (I was originally too stubborn to use them) and doing studies of specific parts of the body. I've also learned to stop comparing myself to my friends and other artists and getting jealous over it. What I tend to do now is look at people who are better than me at art and dissect their drawings a little more closely; to find out how they did a certain thing or how they approached a certain style of colouring/shading/etc. I'm learning how to create dynamic poses and also getting my start in drawing backgrounds.

I'll admit I'm still kinda stuck being an 'anime' artist and I know that's looked down upon by art professors (from the many art school stories I've heard) but I really think it's a part of me. I'm also going to art school for the purpose of learning plain realism and other styles of illustration, aside from anime. Anime will always be a part of my art even if I figure out another style, because it's what helped my get my start and I've always loved drawing anime (not to say I won't do other styles, but I think anime will be a prominent style in my artwork in the far future)!

Sorry for rambling!

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#13 Post by hyuei » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:09 pm

I started out maybe just like most of the people: I liked cartoon, comic, anime and manga, and tried to imitate them. I will try to draw them as much as I can. I have my own “sketchbook” from 4th elementary school, which is a notebook that is solely for drawing. I have thin notebooks since I tend to rip the middle page of the books for drawing, haha.
It was all fun and feeling like I’m the best, until I got into high school and I met my junior who has similar hobby, but his drawing is waaaay better. At that point, my fun & draw whatever world changes, and I started learning more seriously. I learned a bit about proportions (still sucks until now tho, lol), color, lineart, and most importantly: digital painting. I always thought that digital painting was unreachable until my junior shows me what he can do with just scanned lineart and mouse coloring. It was eye-opening.

I attended design college but it didn’t help too much with my illustration skills, since I’m mainly designing there. These past few years feels stagnant for me, but I did realize some improvements when I look at my past galleries. But not as drastic as when I met my junior in high school.^^;

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#14 Post by ComputerArt.Club » Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:49 am

For me, life drawing classes initially influenced me most and the animation and vector art later made me simplify.

As a teenager I found some cheap life drawing classes at a university. I ended up going to that university later on and helping out with the classes. I later worked as a portrait artist and then taught life drawing classes. As a result, I use a lot if references when I draw.

Then I got into animation and worked on a few animated series. Now I teach art and computer art classes and make games and books for children. So yeah, lots of changes in style and technique. The one thing that remains contant is that generally I use a lot of reference images.

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Re: How did you learn to draw?

#15 Post by nerupuff » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:40 pm

I guess it was important for me to establish that drawing is something I would like to do, and that I would put in extra effort to learning how to draw.

Originally I just drew without really looking at any reference photos. This occurred about 5-7 years ago, when I just sketched for the heck of it. Then eventually I just stopped. I think my skills have deteriorated ever since then. Fast forward to November of last year, I decided to take drawing as seriously as it can get (aka second priority after academics). I bought a lot of sketchbooks and pencils and erasers. Then by December, I bought my first pen tablet. I decided to draw more diligently than I ever had in the past combined. I bought some reference books, borrowed material from my fine arts student sister, and primarily looked at references.

I still revert to my stylized anime/manga-esque drawing though, because that's what I find to be easier.

Things I attribute my learning to:
[*] Looking at reference photos
[*] Tutorials on youtube/deviantart
[*] Going out and sketching things I see
[*] Watching anime/reading manga (which has heavily influenced me)
[*] Reading art books like Loomis etc for figure drawing
[*] A desire to drawing all my favorite characters beautifully

Tada! I still have plenty to improve on.
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