Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
was wondering mostly at artists, what they did to improve and start off, did you follow tutorials draw something everyday even if itwas practically stick figures and abstract strange drawing, what tips and advice do you have, also if I want to create digital drawings should i practice on paper first or buy a drawing table and use a program ?
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- Projects: King of the Cul-De-Sac
- Deviantart: vimislikart
- itch: vimislikart
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Honestly, if it's not something you're interested and/or passionate about, don't even worry about doing it. If saving money is your primary concern, there are plenty of art resources online where you can get access to cheap or free art that is available specifically for game development, and your time will be better spent learning how to edit and adapt these images rather than learning how to make them from scratch.
VNMaker comes included with a bunch of available-for-use art, and the Creative Commons section here on Lemmasoft has a bunch of stuff too! If you check the "Game Assets" section at itch.io, you can find plenty of resources available for free or for sale like this thing (although that is actually in progress, and has export disabled so don't buy that, but keep your eye on it).
If you see all this stuff, and say "Yeah, but I need some UNIQUE pieces of art to tell my story," then it's always an option to edit the assets you have available. Look up tuturials on photoediting with GIMP or any similar free paint/photo programs, and use them on the images directly. With minimal to no practice, you can easily:
- Change a character's hair color
- Give a character a different character's body
- Make a background look like it's in a different time of day or season
- Change a character's facial expression (mix and match with other characters again)
So back to the first point; if you're just making VNs for fun, work on the parts that are fun. If you legitimately love making art, then don't even worry about it being good or bad, just have fun making art and put it in your game. But if making art isn't your thing, there are plenty of resources available to make sure you can focus your time on the things that bring you the most joy.
I cannot stress this enough, but do not let your current skill level discourage you. Trial and error is how we all learn to become better at what we do. Generally speaking, watching others who have already developed a skill that you would like to have, finding a coach to guide you, practicing, and reading about the craft can help you improve faster than you might imagine.
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I stumbled and crawled and clawed my way up to my current skill level tbh. But along the way, I realized these things are probably at the heart of learning to draw, in case you want to go about it a little less haphazardly:
1) Knowledge. You need to learn the fundamentals of art in general, as well as the fundamentals of whatever art style you want to draw in. Anime and manga put more emphasis on linework than most others. Some styles put more emphasis on anatomy than others. Some games will have more emphasis on cluttered rooms than landscapes or vice-versa. Whether you choose to learn specialized knowledge specific to the game you're making or to expand on all fundamentals in general is up to you. How: Read relevant books. Watch YT videos (educational ones, not tutorials). Take a class. There are tons of resources out there for learning the basics.
2) Practice. Drawing is the same as any other physical activity. It will take practice, time, and self-control to build up the muscle memory, strength, and endurance required to quickly draw many good-looking things over long sessions. There is also a lot of practical knowledge to be gained through practice (
3) Exposure. You can't draw what you've never seen. When you first start drawing, you have a lot of biases towards what you know and aversion to what you don't. Maybe your trees always look like pines because those are the ones you had in your yard growing up. Or your characters are always slim because you were never into shows or comics with buff characters. It's important to expose yourself to new things so as to open your mind and build up a mental library of visual references. How: Flip through visual-heavy books at the library. Search for interesting things on Google Images. Try consuming content (anime, manga, movies, other visual novels...) that aren't your style or sound bad/uninteresting. Draw many variations of one thing you have trouble with (like a study of many kinds of flowers, nose types, hairstyles, hand positions...).
4) Patience. You won't need as much of this once your endurance has been built up. Until then, you need to find a way to enjoy the process, even when you're frustrated by it. Finishing a piece of artwork is like detangling Christmas lights -- it can get annoying very quickly & the temptation to hand it off to someone else to finish is immeasurable. But you've got to keep going or else hanging the ornaments will get delayed by another day. How: Try to be mindful. Respect your mental health. Journal about how you're feeling when something related comes to mind. Think back to something tedious you completed when you start struggling on a piece. Emotional regulation is something you have to learn on your own, for the most part.
But finishing a game and getting better at art are two different things. If you want to make a game right now, then work with your current skills and knowledge. If the best you can do at this very moment is sketch a stick figure with #2 pencil on lined paper and photograph it with a smartphone camera, that's good enough. Your best is always good enough. If that's not satisfying, you can always work on your skills inbetween projects, or practice by iterating on placeholder art.
It depends on your budget and priorities. If you want to make your doodles into VN-ready digital files as quickly as possible, a tablet and digital art program will let you do that. But a tablet won't teach you how to draw or increase your art knowledge. It's just a tool that cuts out the scanning/editing process by letting you draw directly into the computer. (A tablet can also save prolific artists money on art supplies in the long run. Good paint isn't much cheaper lol)