Our Drawing Tips

Yeah, yeah, we all know that walkthroughs are some of the best ways to try to figure out exactly what's going on when drawing a picture. However, these are made so that one day, after you have gotten the main idea of the picture, you can move on and draw your own things. Let's say you're at that point. No longer do you want to copy other people's things, you want to do your own! Here are some of our tips for people who are starting out, going on their own, and those who think they're all pro.

By the way, we aren't pros ourselves, we just have been drawing for a couple of years. That may not be much, but we remember starting out and being utterly confused! These tips helped us a LOT! We're offering them to you as a help. We ARE NOT saying that "This IS the way to draw". Some we really DO think you should enforce. But to sum this up, we aren't being big-headed, we're offering tips that helped us out.


      It's okay to start off copying. When you first start to draw, copy as many pictures as you can. It's wonderful to try to draw like the pros right away... but you're going to need an example to start with! Print out pictures for examples and pay attention to special details, such as wrinkes in the clothing, hair texture, etc. Make sure you never take credit for the original picture design, though. That would be BAD.

      Look in the mirror. Try and DO the pose that you're drawing. Well, some would be a little hard, but still, arrange yourself in the mirror and look at the way YOU do. Maybe your character and yourself do not have the same body type, but who cares? It's an example. Your own body is as real as it gets! Pay close attention to other people's style of clothing, how it wrinkles, what it looks like on different body types. no, not all anime women are skinny waifs with giant breasts. Not all anime men are spindly little things or big buff super-hero-esque like people. Sure, you'll look a little like a pervert... but just be SNEAKY! They'll never know.

      Observe other people. As stated before, it's as real as it gets when you look at your own body or other peoples' to draw. Just practice getting the main figure shapes down when first starting out. If you're copying from a life-form (person, dog, whatever), it's going to be tougher than if you went from another drawing. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't look totally real! You are working on it, which is probably more than most other people can say. Just take your time and don't beat up on yourself.

      Don't get a big head! Big headed people are as about annoying as they get. No matter HOW good you are - you are not the best. Masamune Shirow may be amazing, but that gives him no right to tell people to draw like he does. I'm not saying he ever has or ever will, I'm using him as an example. Giving people TIPS on how to draw better is okay. Just don't act like you know everything. Don't tell people to draw like you - chances are, no one cares any more. Besides, it gives people a better chance to knock you down. Of course, don't be too hard on yourself either!

      As stated earlier, copy pictures. The next day, try to recall that same picture WITHOUT LOOKING! This will help you memorize the human form, where to put what, etc. When you're finished, look at the original picture. Compare and see how well you did. If you think it looks all right, say so to yourself. Tell yourself good job, and then move on. If you think it looks HORRIBLE, don't tear it up. Keep it as a reminder of how you drew in your early stages. ^_- Besides, you can compare it to later drawings and see how much you have improved, and that's always a good feeling!

      Comparing yourself with others is okay Just don't get into a stink if you're not as good! (that would be like Megan - no one likes her when she's like that, not even herself!) Comparing to see how you can get better is a good, good thing! Improving is much fun! Don't worry if you're not as good as somebody else. Keep trying to improve and get better!

      Don't steal! Whether you're writing a story, drawing a picture, or developing a new product, stealing is BAD! People work hard to get where they are today. Even if you totally love CLAMP's style of drawing, DON'T STEAL IT! CLAMP has developed a unique style! You WILL be ripped upon for taking it. Change some things about it that make it totally your own! Having a recognizable style is cool.

      Whatever you do, try to improve. Improving is a very good thing. Don't rip on yourself, and don't tell yourself "I'm me! I'm great! I am so great! G-R-E-A-T!" Neither is a good idea. If you are particularly proud of a picture you worked very hard on, that's great! But don't BRAG. Bragging is annoying and no one likes it much. If you feel like you really NEED to improve, find something that you're not very good at. Work on it! Don't draw the same pose over and over; work with perspective! Perspective can get very difficult. But WORK at drawing; it's about the only way to improve.


      Look back on older pictures and see how you have and have not improved. Improving is good! (as stated a million times) See how you can improve and how your particular style works with things. Don't get discouraged!

      Don't get discouraged! This was said many times, too! Even when you're in a horrible mood from a horrible day, don't go and rip up fifty percent of your pictures because you think that they suck. NO! BAD YOU! You could go and look at what you think is back with them. Figure it out and WORK! Even masters like Satoshi Urushihara have to work. We're sure that he felt just like you right now! But look at him now. He's considered an "anime great". Don't expect to be great from the beginning. It will take a lot of time; we won't lie! But unless you really love to draw, you probably won't have much fun drawing and improving like that. A friend gave us a good idea: Try to draw at least one picture a day! Date your pictures. There can be improvement from day to day; even drawing to drawing! Work can be a lot of fun, though.

      Make a file. Do you have many old clothing magazines just lying around because you haven't thrown them out or organized them or anything? They CAN be put to good use! Get a binder, like 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Cut out styles of clothing that you particularly like. Get many different kinds. Don't just take jeans. Get jeans, leather pants, cotton, silk, Lycra, etc. Get as many as you can get your grubby hands on! ^_- When you want to draw a leather jacket, look at your pictures of leather jackets! It'll help a ton. (this tip we actually heard from American artist Adam Warren. He's done Dirty Pair revamping, Bubblegum Crisis, and others. He's mostly known for his lips in characters. Personally, we think that they're cool and unique!)

      Work with more difficult poses. Try drawing new poses: perspective views, new facial expressions, different views of the body, etc. Try to master the body so that you can draw it from any view, any angle, and any perspective.

      Try other things. Try to draw animals, trees, grass, furniture, water, magic, weapons, automobiles, everything! Work on things besides characters. For this, we recommend using your file (mentioned above). Not only should you cut out pictures of clothes to draw from, but try cutting up your Corvette magazine (just keep telling yourself that it's all for a good cause!) or something with snowmobiles, motorcycles, or even a Sears magazine. They have everything from household appliances to instruments, so put those in the file as well.

      Don't become egotistical! We know we've stated this often, but DON'T! People who think they're the best are AGGRAVATING! If you think you're doing well, please say either mildly uplifting comments about your drawings, or keep them to yourself. And most certainly, don't say that you stink when you know you don't! Intermediate artists definately don't stink, and they know it. Just keep striving to improve, and keep in mind to NOT boss around other beginning artists. By this point, they'll want to seek your help because they think you have talent. Never tell them that they suck, and never discourage them. But teach them to be modest like you ^_^

      Try to get your work critiqued. So you think you're good enough to go all pro-like? Well, see what others think. Prepare yourself for a slew of different opinions. Remember, not everyone will think that you're the greatest thing. Some people will say horribly mean things just because they're jealous. You can usually tell these comments apart from the positive criticism, because they will mock your style. A professional artist HAS to have a unique style, so don't let someone try to make you change that. If someone points out that you have an odd habit of making certain body parts excessively large, you don't NEED to change that. However, not everyone has the same size this or that, so try to vary it a bit. Others will tell you that you're doing great, and they will appreciate your hard efforts to be where you are today. Thank them, and remember to not brag yourself up.

      Expose your art to others. Let others see your work. Post it on sites on the internet- it's a vast place, and people from all over come along to view different things. You never know when a company is browsing for the newest talent. And if they see your wonderful personality with your outstanding artwork, they won't pass you up. Let other people email you about your art, and if they ask for tips, let them know what has worked for you. Maybe you could submit your art to a local magazine or newspaper - many artists start out doing things like that locally.

      Help the strugglers! If there are people who want to draw like you, help them. Don't just snub them off because you think that they'll never be as good, or that they'll be a waste of your time. Remember how desperate you were for knowledge and help when you started out, and try to help them in the same way that worked for you. Try to share your knowledge with as many people who are willing to listen. They'll really appreciate it.

      Keep practicing. No matter how good you become, you can always improve. Always try to see both the good and the bad in your art, because the bad can be seen as an area to improve on - making you a better artist. Try making a short comic to test your skills as the ultimate artist. People who can draw realistic backgrounds and make their own unique characters mesh with them are wonderful. If you can do this, you can feel very proud of your hard work and accomplishments.

      As you already know, don't get big-headed. If you are considering becoming an animator or cartoon/manga artist for a living, don't praise yourself too quickly. Companies are very picky, and will shoot you down. Don't get discouraged if this happens, just keep trying. Your art will be appreciated if you don't flaunt it. Take it one step at a time and allow room for criticism as well as the praise. You need both.

      Everything is OKAY! (how cheesy is that?) It's okay to be proud of your art. We even recommend being big-headed ONCE IN A WHILE. Do it when you're alone. Yell about how great you are and your strong points; what you're proud of that you can do. Then remember that when you feel like poop. BUT! Don't tell people this! ^_- Remember that you're NOT the greatest artist; no matter how many times you tell yourself. Don't overdo it. Keep modest. Work on weak points and all that stuff we mentioned before! Room for improvement is always there. Critique yourself and praise yourself. (don't overdo EITHER!) Let others do so! It is good for you.

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