Art Learning Resources

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving art assets.
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Re: Art Learning Resources

#106 Post by asatiir »

I'm wondering if anyone here would find this useful, the Metropolitan Museum of Art now has 464 free artbooks for download on their site. Loads of good art references for those who need it: ... f-art.html

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#107 Post by Holland »

'Art Education for High Schools'
(c) 1908, The Prang Educational Company

This is a fantastic old book that's available online. (I can't verify sources on mobile, so just Google it. There seem to be several scans by different universities.)

I recently started taking notes from the physical version (*collects this type of canvas book*) & everything is super concise and easy to read. By ch1, I've already learned more than what years of modern HS art classes taught me.

Here's a rough overview -- so you can skip to the chapter you need, if desired:

Chapter one reviews values, composition, and lighting (plus atmospheric effects, like how climate affects the appearance of distant objects). Includes fun discussions of old photography techniques and exercises with viewfinders (use your fingers or make one with paper).

Chapter two reviews freehand and mathematical perspective, including horizon vs skylines, vanishing points, shapes at different angles etc. Has loads of illustrations and exercises to drill them in.

Chapter three is a very thorough overview of human and animal anatomy. Includes proportions, posing, bones, muscles, faces, movements, etc. Both humans and several (commonly drawn) animals have detailed diagrams of each bone/muscle by name and use.

Chapter four reviews geometry in the context of art. It's very mathematical and very long. I think its meant as preparation for mechanical design, like blueprinting, and as a lead in to the next chapter.

Chapter five reviews architectural design: floor planning (and its illustration techniques / expectations), walls / windows / chimneys, roof design, exterior design, interior features (room by room), elevation illustrating, things to consider during the design process (ex: does the town have zoning laws all buildings must abide by? etc), styles of architecture...

Chapter six reviews the principals of design. Has many exercises and reviews each principal in various contexts. Includes color theory and the differences in designing for various materials. Also has some cool "practical" exercises, like making your own notebook cover / etc.

Chapter seven explores the art styles and architectural features of various past civilizations. Includes ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and recent cultures. Fantastic patterning inspirations in here.

Chapter eight is art history. Reviews feats of engineering, famous artists, more architecture-across-cultures (this has more on exterior design than the previous ch), famous murals, and the general history of art / its movements and influences.

(Aside: There's also a primary school version I haven't read, apparently. I imagine it just reviews strokes / early color theory / etc.)

Fair warning: old books get a little racially insensitive at times. I haven't stumbled upon too much of that yet, but I expect ch7 to be a rough / cringy read.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#108 Post by Trafagal »


just thought of updating some resources here as well.

How to draw line art well for your Sprite:
Check out some of my stuffs here:

Art Portfolio:

Working on a personal Visual Novel~

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#109 Post by peterlewis »

Blender is the only thing I know, and I have learnt to pretty much everything that I need. I think people don't appreciate it enough, these days.

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Re: Art Learning Resources

#110 Post by Paintofview »

This list started many years ago, it seems, but it has most of the tools that are still 100% relevant. I skimmed through all the pages (and read more carefully the first post), but if I repeat one or two, my apologies... I do use many apps (free and commercial, but non subscription based), but some (very few) of them are probably missing :

- PaintStorm Studio (for Windows, MacOS, Linux, iPad) . Around 50 USD. It's really worth it, little app for painting, with smart guides ("auto guides") and many practical features, and a great brush system. It just works, the brush "feel" is great. I prefer it to most software out there (including my recent version of Corel Painter!), even while for very specific reasons related to my workflows, my main tools are ClipStudio Ex, Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer and Rebelle (from Escape Motions).

Word of warning, though: PaintStorm Studio mostly relies on GPU. It can work in CPU mode, I think, but if your PC or laptop does not have a GPU (even a nvidia 1650 would suffice!), like for example, it just has intel or AMD CPU's integrated graphics, then Paintstorm Studio would be far from ideal. While Clip Studio or PaintTool SAI are mostly CPU based, so, for such hardware these two would be a much a better choice. I have a nvidia 3060, and PaintStorm Studio works great with it.

I would highly recommend the entire Affinity suite (Photo, Designer and Publisher, all available in Mac, Windows and iPad) ( at ). It tries to accomplish similar functionality to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. In most cases they get a 80% of that functionality, but for indy game making, in practical reality these can accomplish a 100% of what is needed. These are also more "lightweight" than Adobe's. Once a year or more, you can get these apps on sale, for a very reduced price. Otherwise it is around 75 USD per each, or a reduced combo price for the 3, but it is worth for me, every cent. Affinity Designer works pretty well for creating vector graphics and artwork (logotypes, line-art, isometric art, etc), for a fraction of the cost of just a few months of an Adobe Illustrator's subscription. And it is handy for line artwork for those who prefer a super clean line. Clip Studio has also vector layers, but has lesser control over those, in a way. Inking in raster or vector layers in Clip Studio is absolutely amazing, though.

For me, the current Affinity Photo is such a work horse. It is almost like having Photoshop, for much cheaper (no subscriptions). One of my favorite workflows is to make the art in ClipStudio and do some final edits in Affinity Photo (which can be used for pure digital painting alone!) and/or Designer.

Rebelle (67 EUR and the Pro version -highly recommended- 112 euros) does really mimic very well traditional media; probably the best at it. Specially watercolors, but also acrylics, oils, gouache, pencils, pastels, etc, etc. Very flexible tool, and with a much better interface than Corel Painter, in my opinion, unless you are already used to Corel Painter for many years. By the way, HumbleBundle offers a very recent Corel Painter version once a year, often just some months old, for around 23 USD (a steal!...even while I don't recommend it); it's -as usual there- an offer that lasts only a few days. Totally legit, and Corel seems to be doing this with them every year.

Word of warning, Rebelle is not great for very large canvases. The amazing physics simulation that it does, makes it slow with canvases larger than 4500 pixels wide or so (for example). But with the Pro version (there's a moment of the year when this app is also sold super cheap), you can use the Nanopixel feature, which allows to export a perfect and very well "up-scaled" picture, with much higher resolution (for example, to print a very large surface/canvas), no fidelity is lost, at all (it's magic).

Gimp and Inkscape have been mentioned along these pages, but an important update: Gimp 3.0 is very close to be released (this summer or earlier). I have tried their nightly dev builds (not stable, don't try any development version if you are not very used to Gimp), and it has finally addressed the main key things. Like MUCH better support for Wacom tablets (and other brands), improved configuration, finally supporting to a greater extent CMYK color profiles, live editing layers, and (important for many of us) fixing some issues with Adobe RGB color space support. The UI has improved a lot. I am now (with an unstable dev version) comfortable painting with Gimp, which had never been the case before (but wait till 3.0 RC1 release!). Inkscape has improved a lot, too, recently. But still Affinity's UI is much more friendly, yet.

As many will only be willing to use free tools (they are no longer my main freelancing tools, though), I'd say that today the following ones are at a very high level, as to not need anything more, if one is not willing to allocate money (I quite recommend it, though) for graphic software : Gimp, Krita, Inkscape and Blender.

ClipStudio (Pro or EX) is probably the best purchase . And I mean the perpetual license, not their subscription. I suspect they will maintain that for ever for desktop (Windows and Mac), as a large portion of their user base would not do subscriptions. Together with Affinity Designer, if needing vectors, and professional export for print.

Edit: BTW, right now (written on March 18th, 2024) it's that time of the year ! still 2 days to end the sale of a 60% discount of Clip Studio (any version), for purchase or upgrade, for both subscription and perpetual licenses.

Coincides with Clip Studio 3.0 version release (most improvements in the "3D department", so to speak, though). So, quite a good moment to purchase or upgrade.

I agree with those praising PaintTool SAI, at least the latest 2.x . This little jewel is the best tool for painting on really huge canvases (like 35.000 x 35.000 pixels and larger) with as well large brushes, and doing so without lag, or work on big and "normal" canvases and brushes with very low end, cheap PCs/laptops.

Last but not least... I might have gone through the list too fast, but I didn't see my favorite tool for Pixel Art animation, Aseprite (20 USD) . It's great for pixel sprite animations, but also for painting static pixel art items. About free tools for this, quite at a much lower level, but surprisingly effective, there's an online tool to make both static and animated pixel art: Piskel.

I only mention these two because, to my surprise, being new here, I have just discovered some visual novel projects here fully made with pixel art! :) 8)

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