How do you start, learning how to art?

Starting as an artist who has trouble drawing stick-men! 

Where do you start when comes to understanding and creating art in general!?

Sorry if this question is a little vague, and can definitely branch off depending on what type of art you wanna learn to do. But that's kind-of the whole point of it:wink:!

So. . .  how do you start?


  • JordanN
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    JordanN interpolator
    The question really is vague.

    Art can be anything from sculpting with clay to drawing digital pixel art. You need to pick a specific discipline that you intend to master. And when you do, consider there are countless resources available on the internet that deal with that topic.

    So if it's drawing/2d art, you look for painting tutorials. If it's 3D modeling, plenty of youtube tutorials on getting started in 3DS Max or Mudbox.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Have you taken fine art foundation classes before?  Those are a solid place to start from.
  • Green_Cheek_Conure
    But everyone starts from somewhere. And I feel that there is a basic starting point that becomes a massive core in any other discipline of art you choose to do.

    What that starting point is, is the big question.
    [I know, I know. It's very vague and artsi~smartsi. But play along with me here]
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    They start from a desire to be happy or satisfied.

    That's it.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Just start drawing. Quickest most fundamental way to get yourself arting.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi greentooth

    Green_Cheek_Conure wrote:

    So. . .  how do you start?


    ...I feel that there is a basic starting point that becomes a massive core in any other discipline of art you choose to do.

    Firstly learn how too draw then progress from there...that's how you start.

    (here's a couple of cross posts via these threads that may help you out)

    Starting to learn to draw, i feel lost from start, how to start." and "Should i bother with drawing? How to people make art like this?"

    sacboi wrote:
    Boyani wrote:

    I would like to start on my own, from books, tutorials, videos whatever. I don't have patience to go to drawing classes. I want to take the time to learn how to this. But, How should i start?

    Yeah, I think I know where you're coming from...

    A formal environment as opposed to self paced learning at home can also be a bit confronting for a novice therefor in my opinion alongside practical experience, it really depends upon the individual whether he/she is able too absorb instruction without the added 'pressure' of having their work critiqued in a public setting amongst a peer group even though in most cases students, in a manner of speaking are usually on a 'level playing field', aptitude wise. Similarly an insightful perspective covering life drawing aspects for those new too traditional 2D:

    Life drawing advice for beginner/intermediate artists 

    With that in mind, I'll only address the practicalities again based on experience, (text book theory aside for the moment) via a set of options how to 'get the ball rolling' essentially just a few pointers training hand eye coordination and muscle memory, pretty crucial attained skillset for anyone when initially delving into analogue drawing for the first time.

    Prior to recommending a probable learning pathway let me preface my reasoning supporting the following advice. I'm a firm believer in techniques refined under the Western School of Art, they've served preceding generations of artist painters including old Italian Renaissance Masters when in turn apprenticing under their respective Master artisan, one simply has only to google the awe inspiring breadth of work residing in art museums/galleries the world over, a valid testament too these centuries old methodologies.

    One such commonly used preparatory (fresco) painting process still to this day is, tracing the base design onto wet plaster thus in a contemporary context 'copying' a reference trains through constant practise a visual hand-eye dexterity.

    Anyways here's my personalised workflow.


    Pencil, eraser and pads of (an f'ing sh*tload...believe me you're going to need every sheet FRONT & BACK) tracing and cartridge paper 


    Whatever interest's you! however since your OP is oriented towards figurative drawing, may I suggest hi-res human anatomy photo sets for artists, eg: a popular online resource "Human Anatomy for Artist" site that thankfully filters model categories by partial/fully clothed, nude, postures, gender, age, race...etc. Though paid content, cost is fairly minimal across the board so browse and see if anything appeals too you or go with your own choice of material.

    Drawing Session Setup: (Position/Posture)

    This is wholly down to personal preference, either conventional ergonomic drawing desk/chair combo, kitchen table, sitting/lounge room chair/sofa, sitting on the floor or perhaps my usual setup which includes comfy bean bag with favourite tunes as background accompaniment whilst engaged in a sketching session...keeping in mind regular breaks are essential regardless of choice if you wish too avoid resultant assorted aches and pains from occurring.

    (Pro Tip - Too mitigate the aforementioned, try getting into the habit of setting your phone and/or other device's alarm as a reminder prompt, between 20min - 30min should suffice although by all means customise timeframes to suit)

    Holding the Pencil:

    Some useful info highlighting various grips when drawing/sketching, I prefer traditional tripod for detailing and 'drumstick' for shading/contrast work: 5 Grips for Holding a Pencil for Drawing

    Tracing the Reference:

    When a workable setup is tailored to need, begin tracing, concentrating at this stage on your chosen image's outline, paying particular attention as accurately as possible by drawing a solid line, repeat until satisfied you've nailed a precise copy. This initial exercise gradually develops muscle memory coupled with a artistic foundational attribute, namely "Observation" 

    Shading/Hatching in Detail:

    Once you've decided the outline represents a close facsimile to the original start shading in as best you can, by tracing the ref's detail and again repeat the process until satisfied with the result. Oh and...fear not open the link below, there's a host of invaluable info how to achieve a correctly rendered drawing, which at this point will only be traced. Pencil Shading Tips and Tricks 

    Drawing Freehand:

    This is where things get a touch more interesting...

    After exhaustively (kidding...) practising the above steps transfer the outline you'd traced using an 'old school' trick. Just apply probably using a HB2 leaded pencil, a heavy line with hand pressure, as close as possible following the ref outline, when done, simply reverse the traced outlined sheet of trace paper on top of a sheet of cartridge paper, then using a blunt tipped pencil, in a side to side motion via pressure a "transfer" should result. Now by hopefully utilising newly acquired, hand-eye coordination plus observation attributes try filling in the detail free hand and as per usual  "Rinse-and-Repeat". 

    Over time, I assume with growing confidence, do the same with the outline until a precise copy drawn freehand by YOU.  Another pro tip of sorts, always remind yourself to introduce an element of challenge to forestall motivational fatigue every artist at some point experiences. Thereby those hi res photo sets I'd previously linked, also capture differing poses, lighting, tonal contrasts...etc,etc, in other words extend your Visual Library, so have a crack drawing them as well.

    Lastly at some later date you may even consider enrolling in a local life drawing class, at the very least if you'd taken on board all or a few facets I've shared here today, you'll not undertake the activity totally 'clean'.

    Anyhow a very, very basic introduction into the vast artistic array that encapsulates the traditional 2D medium and remember whichever avenue you eventually choose...have fun with it.



    Mainly a morale boost for all the time and effort invested together with an unbiased critique. Enlist the help of a family member/s, relative, partner or close friend show them your best drawing. Make up some fictional story like - "Here's a picture one of my friends had drawn freehand...waddaya think!?" after they've offered an opinion, tell them the truth, which typically evokes a reaction priceless too behold :D 

    sacboi wrote:

    Optimus wrote:

    Sshould i bother with drawing?

    In my opinion you doubt! 

    Because Traditional Art requires you too learn Foundational knowledge i.e. Observation, Perspective, Composition, Lighting & Form values, Anatomy Studies and Figure Drawing/Sketching, so actually there are no shortcuts, period! However conversely the same can't be said for someone with a 3D background, simply due to how digital content is generated. In other words dependant upon the user's familiarity implementing their app of choice bundled feature set he/she is able to render out something, at a glance that look's "finished" but under closer scrutiny an artist with exposure too those conventional artistic principles listed above will immediately identify poor overall execution. For further info, an intuitive article I've posted a number of times on this sub-forum clarifies Why 3D Artists Want to Learn 2D

    (...merely one of a series of perceptive write-ups from another CG forum, I'll link here) 

    How to people make art like this?

    The core issue I think most people seem to have problems with, is namely how or what to practice efficiently and affectively alongside a healthy serving of "Perseverance"  first of all, otherwise pretty much a pointless exercise even beginning to self teach yourself drawing in 2D... 

    Accordingly, I'd strongly suggest browsing through this resource, a selection of Art Tutorials, Foundational Knowledge, and Book/Video Recommendations as a starting point plus in addition if you've time to spare an insightful discussion on the topic of Practice Practice Practice makes perfect... pay particular attention to comments made by @Lunatique they may help you out not only in the short term but long term as well. 

  • Eric Chadwick
  • sacboi
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    sacboi greentooth
  • Sage
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    Sage polycounter lvl 13
    Look up Scott Robertson on youtube...
    Here is his link to his channel.

    This is another good resource.

    Art classes will start you drawing still life, which are a collection of objects, square, sphere, cone, cow skull, etc organized in a nice composition. You are then instructed to draw what you see. You get to choose what part of the still life you want to draw. There really isn't much to explain here, it's something you have to experience by doing.

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