Good morning, happy Thursday!

Let's exchange some wisdom today ^.^ :frida_y_animalitos:

Share a piece of advice, or a tip, from your preferred style of working. It could be something you wished you'd known when you started out, a nifty hack you've discovered yourself that others could benefit from - anything you think might be useful to people starting out in that field!

:bob_ross: :mastoart:

Here's one from me. Scour your local second hand book shops for unlikely art reference sources. These were all very cheap finds and are great inspiration and reference!


This one is more on digital art. But the below steps helped me a lot to improve my paintings with backgrounds.

1. When you finish a pice, create a layer below your lightings.
2. Fill the layer with one pastel like cool colour.
3. Change the layer mode to multiply.
4. Remove the parts you want to highlight using a soft brush.

This will make the colours more real and true to the environment.

Hope this helped 😊

@Curator When drawing a pair of eyes, draw them in tandem, one line at a time. For example, when you draw a line for the left upper eye, next you draw a line for the upper right eye & so on. This helps keep them in proportion & reduces the chance of “one good eye” from happening.

@Curator A general rule of thumb:

If you have a warm light, you have a cool shadow. The shadow can often be the complimentary colour of your light. And vice versa for both of these.

You have warm yellow sunlight? 💛 Try a cool, purple shadow! 💜

Cool, blueish light? 💙 Try a warmer, orangey shadow. 🧡

This isn't a hard and fast rule, but it can really help break out of the shadow=black idea and give more depth to your shading. ☺️

@Rheall I am struggling in remembering to use complimentary colours for shadows and lights. But very cool advice. ✌🏻

@Rheall someone told me this years ago before i was doing much work in colour and it was hugely helpful

@Curator What helped me a lot for learning and : Yes there's lots of free tutorials out there, but if you can scrape together cash for a high quality class you can level up so so much faster. I learned from Flipped Normals, Jama Jurabaev, and most of all Vaughan Ling/Heavypoly - got hired within less than a year of starting. Met people at a Blender Meetup who've been at it for years, yet still struggled with basics that are solved by a 30$ tutorial.

@Curator not worrying so much about having *a style* and just drawing how you feel like it is advice i give frequently; i dont see it as much here as other art communities ive been in, but a lot of kids i know get so wrapped up in trying to keep consistency that they end up not letting themselves grow (i was one of those kids!)

also (most ppl here probably already know this one), letting myself loosen up w fast loose charcoal or pen studies helped a lot :D anything you can't erase easily lol

@Curator another one more clip studio paint centric: gradient maps and exclusion layers are my BEST FRIENDS when it comes to making palettes really mesh!

a layer set to exclusion that's a solid dark, saturated color will do some real work pulling everything together, i especially like a very dark blue; you might lose a lil contrast but you can mess w that separately

setting a gradient map to multiply, lowering the opacity, and erasing highlights is the easiest way to shade hands down imo



You're supposed to expose for the subject of interest, but keep in mind how the rest of the image will behave. This gives us two opposite rules, depending on whether you're shooting film or digital:

Negative film can tolerate moderate overexposure. It hates underexposure (shadows block up and you lose detail). When forced to choose, overexpose a bit.

Digital is the opposite. Highlights blow easily. With a modern sensor, you can recover a LOT of detail from the shadows.

@Curator When working on fabrics and/or with threads or stitches your not use to, always take more of everything you will need and test your stitches before you start.

That's how you'll know how small or big you need to work.

When sketching with watercolor, don't give a damn about all mistakes and paint loosely. Making it timed sketch helps not to worry about it all. If you have to finish in 10 minutes, you will not care about corrections or unnecessary details. A lot of watercolor charm lies in all these little mistakes and looseness.

@Curator #Fibrearts Never be afraid to rip back your work. Use lifelines if necessary, but every single time you will produce a better product

@Curator for those saving images or video into lossy formats (think JPG, or video encoding) and wondering about the quality loss:

You can visualize the difference between an original image and its encoded version by
- opening them as layers in Gimp or Photoshop
- inverting the upper layer (that's "Linear Invert" in Gimp)
- making the upper layer 50% transparent

If the two layers are 100%, pixel-per-pixel identical, you'd get a solid 50% grey. If there are small differences (like it happens with compression artefacts), you're going to see them as darker or lighter pixels/areas (see pic here).

This makes it easier to visualize/quantify the quality of the encoding/compression process one is using.

(PS-centric, I thiink CSP has cool features bypassing this issue) 

@Curator When flatting (colouring in linework), to avoid spending ages using lasso/brush I tend to use fill (cmd/alt backspace for fg/bg colour) if my linework has enough closed lines. I think this is generally frowned upon because of the gap that can appear between line and colour. BUT selecting with wand/magic lasso then going to Select > Modify > Expand (or Contract) in the menu circumvents this. I've set these up as Actions.

@sajan This is generally frowned upon also because the *colours* have gaps between them underneath the lines, which can show up in print as duller lines or as white when the lines are slightly offset from the colour plates.

I use a script to expand+fill+deselect just like this that I use for doing big spot blacks in inks, but unfortunately it's not ideal for flatting. For that, selections that take nearby flats into account are needed.

@sajan There's a PS plugin called Flatten Pro that will take your "finished" flats done this way (or by bucket-filling aliased lines) and expand the colours until they meet, but unfortunately it costs as much as CSP.

For print-ready flatting though, as long as you start your selections from the background/larger objects and select all the inner bits (a quick Lasso will do it usually) before you fill, you'll be fine :D Select, expand, lasso contained smaller bits, fill, deselect, repeat.

@eishiya also yes! I tend to do this anyway as it's just how I colour, but there's usually one (/however many) blob layers beneath the colours

@sajan That should work :D My would-be-blobs (backgrounds) are usually too high contrast for this to work, unfortunately ;o;

...I hate doing colour for print so much.

@eishiya i'm toying with the idea of making some pitchable comics stuff this year so this is super good to know, thanks!! I think I tend to muddy and distress my pieces with all kinds of textures etc so it's not usually a problem, but definitely noting that indesign prep for future projects!

@eishiya Huh! I didn't know that could show up in print (at least if the black is fully black) - thanks!
I probably shoulda noted this is just advice for people wanting to colour stuff quickly, rather than people doing any actual professional flatting work, and especially stuff that's going to be riso or screen printed

@sajan I think it depends on how you set up your plates. If you create them from a flattened version and use True Black, then it doesn't matter whether your colours meet under the lines, but then slight misalignments can result in more blurriness.

If you create your CMY plates from the colour layers and your K plate from your line and text layers (as is often done by pros), then this issue comes into play, but when the colours meet under the lines, misalignments are much less prominent.

@sajan If you just send your flat RGB or quickly converted CMYK files to a printer, then it doesn't much matter (but it probably won't be true black anyway, so your work will always look a little duller than it could).

If you're doing print prep in InDesign or Publisher though, e.g. to get some True Black, you might as well take extra care and generate K from your separate layers instead of a flat image.

@sajan @Curator Check out colorise mask in Krita for automatic flatting of line arts. Krita's fill tool also has expanding built into it.

@raghukamath @Curator i have krita! I want to set aside some time in the spring to play with it and CSP. the few minutes I've tried on both programs I was excited by a bunch of tools

@Curator What helped me when I really wanted to draw but no line seemed to come out right are "warm up sketches", but nothing too complicated.
Just fill a page/screen with horizontal lines as quick as you can from right to left vise versa, then the same with vertical lines. Trying to get as close to the one before, doesn't have to look like its drawn with a ruler. Then to finish this warm up off, circles. Start with a big one, draw one inside of it, staying as close to the one before.

@julloyart I was actually going to post about the benefit of warm-up sketches, so I'm glad someone else did! I draw *much* better when I'm ten minutes in.

@Curator Same here, feels like all the wrong strokes have been put out because of those five minutes mindless scribble :)

Fun times in CSP here we go 😂
So have you ever tried to blend two colors but can't find the swatch that's an exact mix of the two?

Simple! Go to window > intermediate color
In those big squares put the colors you want and boom!

The alternative is approximate color where you can take your coloring swatch and change the brightness + saturation of a color.

Go to Window > approximate color for that one :3c


Using blue pencil to sketch out the basic structure before drawing over it with grey pencil.

It allows for very rough sketching without having to erase it. After scanning, you can separate the image into RGB with a photo editing program, and the blue layer yields a clean sketch, ready to ink.

(Basically the non-repro blue approach, except that with the computer, 'just' blue works fine.)

Every time when I want to precisely move a selected piece on canvas horizontally or vertically without a single pixel of error, I used to just hold the arrow key and wait for 3000 years for the piece to move over. And recently I realized I can actually use ctrl+T to enter transform mode and hold shift while dragging the piece to the ideal spot.

I think this works on both SAI/CSP/PS? I wish i know this auto-align trick earlier so i dont waste so much time waiting 😂

@haze1nuts Oh, also, it does work in PS and Krita but can't speak for the others!

@haze1nuts @Curator OMG so I don’t have to wait 3000 years :star_eyes: I want to try this

@Curator It might seem like a given, but if you're trying out , use watercolor paper (or something meant to handle water media). Strathmore makes decent quality, affordable student grade watercolor paper imho that should hold up well enough under experimentation. Specifically, you want to get something that is AT LEAST student grade, not something that was meant for kids. Budget allowing, of course, but the paper/surface quality is super important for watercolor.

@Curator The difference between student grade and professional grade is often cited as higher concentration in professional grade vs. lower in student. This is not necessarily untrue, but another important difference is the number of pigments used to make each "color". Student grade tends to have more colors that use 2, 3, or even 4 pigments, whereas professional grade has more variety in their single pigment paints.

@Curator There is nothing wrong with multiple pigment paints necessarily except that you tend to get cleaner mixes with single pigment colors. They do that with student grade paints to make it more affordable; some pigments are more expensive than others, so they'll combine cheaper pigments to make an approximation of a more expensive pigment.

@Curator The primary colors are not red, blue, and yellow, they are magenta, cyan, and yellow. This might seem obvious but I shit you not the university I went to was still teaching the old primary colors. 🤷

@Curator Okay, last one I swear. Fine art paint manufacturers only have access to pigments because those pigments are in demand in other industries (I believe the auto industry is an example of one that uses an insane amount of ). Artists' paint acounts for such a small amount of pigment consumption that it doesn't create enough demand by itself to keep pigments in production. That's why we no longer have Quinacridone Gold (PO49).

Here's a bit of wisdom: any DSLR of the last 5 years has more than enough image quality for most usecases. Unless you're in some highly specialized field (extreme low light photography, sports, etc.) there's no need to upgrade your camera in that regard.

Camera bodies only slightly vary in their "quality of life" features such as grip comfortability or controls.

Stop wasting money and hone your skills on the gear you have right now.

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