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Possible Resource for Furry Artists

I felt like I should post this here as A_B has been a huge help to writing out these guides!

I've started doing panels at conventions that talk about how to start out as a furry artist, and how to improve, AND customer/artist relations. Feel free to give 'em a look over, they're for the community! c:

If you have any critique about the information I've got in there, please don't be afraid to email me or comment here about it! I used the best of what I've gotten through my experiences and this community so educate me!

The articles and accompanying worksheet are linked here in my journal : http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/2531715/

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 21st, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
This seems to be the same thing someone is already doing?

Jul. 21st, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
Hadn't seen that before! Good to know other people are doing it too! When I started out 3 years ago I couldn't find anything :/
Jul. 21st, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
There are quite a few artists doing similar things, I found a few on the anime expo scene in 2007.

Doesn't mean more folks can't contribute. Differing perspectives and having the readers combine all that knowledge to make their own knowledge bank is a good idea.
Jul. 21st, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for doing this. I will give it a good read later on and add it to my memory files for reference. I don't do furry cons, but I do a few anime cons and this type of info always helps.
Jul. 21st, 2011 07:29 pm (UTC)
Awesome stuff, you can tell you worked hard on it! I'd love to see that panel myself sometime.

I really like the using of names as examples, that would give someone an awesome place to start their research on the community. Not a way of thinking I've seen before and I like it!

Since you asked for crits, these would be mine(it's pretty good as-is):

The sections on finding what kind of art you do, getting noticed in the community etc are excellent, but I feel the "how to improve" section is weak by comparison. I'd add more to the "how to improve" section, a lot of it is filled with "DON'Ts" rather than focusing on the "DOs," and is so broad as to be confusing or just too "general." Most of my suggestions are because you seem to be also trying to show people how to get the basics in an art education, which of course could be a panel in itself!

A suggestion of *where* one might find a class would be helpful as it's not something readily available for many people; it's something that annoys me about a lot of art "how-to" guides. Where I am you can only get into an art class at the local colleges if you are specifically a full-time art major, all other students are SOL. Maybe suggestions of places to find online classes, like Conceptart.org, or hiring a model and inviting local artists together to help split the cost? I always feel guides take it for granted that there are local classes readily available.

small crit but I also think of inspirational material (like "Art of..." books and pics by my favorite artists, photos I like etc.) as separate from reference material like my 7 gigs of dog park pics where my camera focused on random things like a dog's hind toe XD. They're used completely differently so lumping them together in the same paragraph seems strange to me.

Since it's an overview aimed at beginners as well including how to improve and the first parts focus so heavily on suggesting places to look at for inspiration/examples, I would balance that out with resource suggestions that move away from furry but would help massively with the basics like:
conceptart.org for amazing advice and critiques
and for those interested in more professional stuff:
And more specific book suggestions, like anything by Burne Hogarth, Figure Drawing: Design and Invention, Gurney's books etc or at least, what to look for in an art book. Libraries + their inter library programs are awesome for people on a budget!

That said, I know there's limited time etc so maybe I'm thinking too broadly =3 I've been thinking of putting together a panel myself on learning art without art-school, which is a topic in itself!

Hope that helps!
Jul. 22nd, 2011 06:20 am (UTC)
Where I am you can only get into an art class at the local colleges if you are specifically a full-time art major, all other students are SOL.

One thing that I've learned is to talk to the professors not the deans or administration. I started as a Bio major but was able to get into the intro art classes and eventually take pretty much any art class I wanted to by being serious and interested and talking to the profs. A lot of them would rather have someone really interested in it than someone who's just stuck in the class. Now granted, the art majors probably get first crack at it, but studio art classes have more flexible rules than say, a computer class where there are only x number of chairs.

And just as added proof to this story in all likelyhood I'll be attending a different university this fall based primarily on the "Please let me do this, I'm really interested!" begging. A big thing is taking a beginner art class (whether you have to beg your way in or not) and really making a good impression there. Then you'll have the beginner art professor to recommend you to the next level/other people.

Just my personal experience, but if it can help one person out there...
Jul. 22nd, 2011 02:06 pm (UTC)
I tried that. It got me into the first art class but no others; the art department's budget is really low and they have more students than space. I did contact the teacher but there was a long waiting list and I wasn't allowed on it. I even tried checking constantly during add-drop to see if maybe a slot opened up (that's how I got into the first one!)
When one did I went to the teacher and then the dean, Despite having a teacher willing to let me in the Dean said absolutely not. I didn't have any luck after that, despite putting a lot of effort in. I was an A student in the class I did take and was very engaged, so it wasn't lack of being serious/gumption etc.

I was also a bio major =3 I couldn't even minor in art, as they didn't allow it. It would have had to be a double major and I was already with a full schedule from advanced biology studies.

Now that I've graduated I've looked around but there simply aren't classes available in my area without going for a degree that I can't afford--I took the "summer" classes offered locally which were *incredibly* basic so as to be useless--think early highschool stuff: "YAY You're making ~<3~*ART*<3~"

I think some of it does depend on where you are and the people that happen to be in charge. I'm in the country, so there aren't a whole lot of options.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
Aw, that stinks. I don't know what your school was like, but it may also be easier to do it at a private school than a public school, that sort of thing. (Just because private schools can usually bend the rules a bit more). It may also help at a university with an art school where they may compete less for basic budget stuff.

Hehe, I did double major in art by the end of it (but not in the art school), well now it's illustration and bio (so I am in the art school), but close enough. It may also be one of those things that varies by department too. I don't think I would have had that much luck if I tried the computer art class, they're a lot tighter.

I'm really lucky that in my town it's full of yuppies so that there is an art league or such with $10 figure drawing, however, depending on where you live you may be able to talk to an artist in your town that you feel some sort of kinship to (in subject manner, technique, etc.) It seems like a big part of learning art after art school is finding another artist to be a buddy with, sometimes in the form of a mentor. Of course this is better for more advanced artists (which I think you are, but just as opposed to the beginners that might be going to the panel).

Though now that I think about it, a good suggestion for the panel might be "Find a professional whose work you particularly identify with - someone who you want to be like in 10 years" or something like that. It doesn't have to be a carbon copy (because you won't be a carbon copy), but I know it helped me a lot because you can look at how they do what they do. James Gurney is a great person to look at to do very realistic oil paints, not so much if you want to learn how to do work with heavy line and lots of stylization (vice versa for Chris Sanders. It doesn't mean that you can't like him or learn from him, but it is helpful to look at a person who draws/paints in a similar fashion.
Jul. 21st, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't mind seeing some info on the legal side of things - when to start worrying about taxes etc. Nothing in-depth, but I don't think it's a something a lot of new artists think about.

But as someone who is (tentatively) considering opening for commission work, this (and the comments!) is a big help, thanks!
Jul. 21st, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
One thing I'd say is that the first document doesn't have much encouragement, and I'm assuming you're talking to the beginner or near beginner audience.

One thing I'd add is that Drawing Nothing <<< Drawing something from your head <<< Drawing something from a "master" <<< Drawing from a photo <<< Drawing from life, but the most important thing is to draw something rather than nothing. If you can't get a live model, yes, draw from a photo, it's so much better than nothing and can help you learn the simple shapes before adding a 3D aspect to it. (They're also far less expensive/likely to move.)

I'd also specify with tracing/referencing that a big thing is whether it's your own art/photo or someone else's. As much as fandom people don't like it when you trace your own stuff, there's nothing illegal about it. (I'd also argue that if you trace right, no one will be able to tell you traced it, but that's a separate argument on whether you view it as a tool or a cheat.)

Another thing that seems to be missing is a section on materials which is another huge part of things. A lot of the more professional artists will have more that one style, and a couple of mediums. Maybe discuss digital, watercolor, markers, pencil, and maybe oils and acrylics?

Another thing I'd discuss is whether you're better at animals or people and how they can be meshed in different ways (although if you don't have time you can drop that point). Also, both human and animal studies are needed to make a good anthro.

I'd also be really hesitant about having a professional IM in particular, but professional email or something is good. People have to think and rethink an email, but don't need much thought at all for an IM, it's inviting unprofessionalism, imho.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 06:42 am (UTC)
Shoot! I forgot something. A common thread seems to be that "art shouldn't look like your reference photo/should be from your head," but that's a really big mistake to make for a beginner. My one prof pretty much said that when you're starting out with illustration, it works a lot better to essentially copy your reference photo as closely as you can until you learn how to make it better (particularly with form and shading; color's pretty easy to change). Your best bet is always to set up the picture exactly how you want it with the correct people, setting, and lighting. If you can't do that, it's easiest to get one person shot just as you want them and combine it with the other person, etc. Obviously, you don't have real anthros to pose, but you can take a photo of your two buds, then dogs in the same light and angles.

There's no shame in having your finished piece look like reference you shot. In those cases you've decided on the composition, lighting, angle, expressions, etc. If a photograph can be a work of art, why should you give your reference photos less credit?

Also, while experienced artists can use projections and tracing responsibly, yeah, probably when you're starting out, never trace/project anything (but your own drawings) for a paid piece. It's a good way to get a sloppy result.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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