I often feel that I’m hindered when I first try more traditional methods. I notice that in my writing, but this is a case where this is especially so in my art. I’ve noticed that when I sit down to draw, it feels like I can’t do it as well as I would when I use my tablet. This is a mindset that I have, unfortunately, instilled for almost as long as I have been drawing. However, it’s not that traditional means of art expression hinder me. It’s more that I have grown accustomed to the short cuts that digital art has provided for me. This has stemmed from a near avoidance of traditional means of art, as well as not having a full understanding of the basics needed within art. So how does one combat this issue? This is something that I’m still learning. Even so, I’ve seen improvement in my work, and I think that what I’ve ;earned thus far can be useful to others.
Learn the Basics
There is a quote that I remember that pertains to this very lesson that I learned. I’m sure many are familiar with it. The quote is “crawl before you run, jump before you fly”. Before you can go doing things that you may want to, you have to learn the basic mechanics of how to go about it. In regards to learning how to use a traditional medium in art (painting, in this case), I had a lot I needed to learn. It wasn’t just narrowed down to understanding the tools that I planned to use, though that is also very important. I had to understand the basics of the art for itself, and relearn how to draw through that. I had to learn the basics of human anatomy before I even thought to go into my typical illustrative style. I had to understand and learn how to draw realism. My best friend, and artist, gave me a really good piece of advice when it came to revitalizing my style. She said that I should learn realism and then I can “morph it” into the more cartoony style that I usually do.
An understanding of the basics is also necessary in writing. Understanding what it is that makes various aspects of a story well rounded helps in making said story a more enjoyable read.
Understanding the Tools
I mentioned this earlier because it is extremely important on the road to understanding traditional art. In digital art, many programs tend to have a “tool” that is intended to mimic the look of a specific art tool. In Paint Tool SAI, the program I tend to use, there are tool options that have the look and texture of various tools; pens, water colors, brushes, etc. However, it’s functionality varies completely from the actual traditional tool. My understanding of the tool was limited to my experiences in SAI, so the real world tool was initially difficult for me to get a true understanding.
Each traditional art tool brings a separate look to the piece. An oil painting creates a different story than one using copic markers. Understanding what tool fits with what image I’m trying to create. I am not at the point in my relearning process to be able to use any tool to fit into a particular image that I’m trying to create. I do, however, understand that no particular tool is constrained to one type of image.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist. This is something that made me unwilling to work on things that I felt weren’t going quite so well. This was an attitude that I had to break in many facets of my life, art included. I had to learn to accept that I was going to make a lot of mistakes on the path to learning traditional art. Mistakes are lessons. Embracing them teaches me what I need to do for the next piece to make it something that I like.
In a very digital age, I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who has struggled with traditional art. I’m hoping that the lessons I’m learning can be of some use to someone else.