art · comics · creativity · joy · learning · motivation · style · webcomics

Learning Is FUN! (no really, it is!)

Greetings, dear readers!

Today I want to share with you some resources I’ve been using lately to hone my skills as an artist. Unfortunately, the Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree I earned from my university purposefully ignored many important areas of art, such as illustration, sequential art, digital art, and anything pertaining to imagination or joy! Because apparently those things are “dangerous” to budding artists and would stunt our artistic growth. No joke, that’s literally what the tenured professors said to an art history professor who proposed teaching a course on 1800’s illustration.

So now I’m left with a huge amount of debt, a gaping hole in my artistic knowledge base, and a heaping mound of salt towards my university and their stupid, stupid pedagogy. What’s a poor millennial artist to do? I’m glad I asked! There are tons of amazing resources available online for people who want to learn and to hone their skills, and I’ve been having a blast exploring them. Let’s take a look at some of the ones that I’ve been using lately!

YouTube is a fantastic resource for tutorials on just about anything, and there are lots of talented artists out there who share their knowledge with people for free! It’s a great jumping-off point if you’re wanting to dip your toes into online learning. Reddit is another great free resource – there are so many cool, knowledgeable people on Reddit! The subreddits r/learnart, r/digitalpainting, and r/ArtCrit are fantastic places to ask questions, post artwork and get feedback, and learn from other artists’ experiences.

If you’re looking specifically for digital painting resources, a great free one I’ve just discovered is https://www.ctrlpaint.com/library/. I really, really like it so far! It’s a collection of short videos that covers traditional art skills that form the foundation for basic, intermediate, and advanced skills in digital art. The person teaching in the video does seem to have the most advanced form of Photoshop, so if you have a different digital art program or a different version of Photoshop, some of his more technical videos might not be as applicable for you. Either way, his videos are very informative, easy to understand, and really helpful!

If you don’t mind paying a little bit for your art tutelage, SkillShare is a great website with an immense amount of videos that teach both traditional and digital art! I think for the premium membership it’s only $15 a month? I’m fairly sure that’s what I pay. That’s not too bad, especially considering the price of taking a class at a brick-and-mortar school or art gallery. I like the variety of classes offered, the bite-sized lessons, and the set-your-own-pace style of learning.

If you don’t mind paying more than $15, there’s Schoolism – an online art class site that has a lot of great, in-depth classes that focus on specific areas of art, such as figure drawing, sculpture, storyboarding, painting, and a variety of digital arts: https://www.schoolism.com/ I haven’t taken any classes yet, as I want to try to get my skills as polished as I can with the resources I have, but I’m excited to take them in the future!

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of a good book – check out what your local library has to offer or what they can find for you on inter-library loan! There are a ton of amazing art books out there by lots of talented artists. For comic knowledge, I always turn to the wonderful Scott McCloud and his “Making Comics” and “Understanding Comics” books. “Drawing Words and Writing Pictures” by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden is another great book that teaches folks to make comics in a series of really rich lessons. Whether you’re into illustration, animation, or comics, I’d also strongly suggest checking out the official art books for movies or animated shows you like. It’s so neat to see behind-the-scenes processes for great animation, and there’s something inspiring there for everybody!

There are a ton of other resources available for you, both in print and on the World Wide Web, and everybody learns differently! Try a few different things and see what feels right for you. I hope you’ll find some of these resources useful, or at least fun to try! Thank you for reading!

What are some things you want to learn? What are some of your go-to resources for honing your art skills?

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