I want to be a professional artist; Do I need art school?

One of the most pressing question for artists; “Do I need art school?” I think this is such and important, but also a personal question. I can not give everyone a yes or no answer. The undeniable truth is that art school can be a great asset for you. However, there are also

The undeniable truth is that art school can be a great asset for you. However, there are also workarounds and things to consider before you decide if you really do need it.

That is why this post is about getting a lot of the information, and different peoples opinion, so you can make the decision yourself.

So should you go to art school?

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5 things we can learn from successful artists

What are some things we can learn from successful artists? Learning from people who have walked the path is a great way to get insight in what leads to success.

Just to be clear; I am not just talking about the traditionally successful artist. A lot has changed in the ways artist make a living from their passions. The internet has given us many different ways in which artists can make money and grow a following.

These are things I have learned from some of my favourite artists online, that make their living from art in one way or another.

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A day in the life of an artist and solo-entrepreneur; lots of coffee

Working from home looks different for everyone. Some people have strict schedules. Other work when they feel like it.
There are no wrong or right ways, only the way that works best for you.
I love seeing how other people fill in their day working from home and how they handle everyday problems.
 
So I wanted to share a day in the life of me as an artist and creative solo-entrepreneur.

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5 youtube artists you should follow

My five favourite artists youtube channels

I love seeing other artist create and learning new things from other artists. As so I turned to youtube to find some of my favourite artists.I think youtube is a great way to learn since you can literally watch the techniques of others

I think youtube is a great way to learn since you can literally watch the techniques of others. The endless amount of artist is also very amazing. 

These are some of my favourite artists that I think I think I learned a lot from already.

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Fine liner vs dip pen; inking your drawings

Do you want nice beautiful dark lines in your drawing? Then maybe you would like to use a dip pen or a fine liner!

More and more people like to ink their drawings before working with them further. Inking means going over a pencil sketch with ink. This can make it easier to colour in with markers or watercolours afterwards. It can also be great for having a comic book effect or work on contrast and values in your work.

Which of the two will you be using for your next project?

This has been used for years but it is great now for combining with for example Copic markers.

You can ink a drawing with many different techniques and tools.

For pure line drawing that I am going to colour in afterwards (or have coloured in and am inking over the colour) I like two kinds of tools; Fine liners and dip pens.

Both have their own advantages. For anyone who is curious about inking and what tools to use.

ink and tools

Fine liners

Fine liners are basically very thin felt tip markers. They come in many variations both water based and alcohol based. The best fine liners  are smudge proof,  waterproof and don’t dry out to quick.

Another thing to look for is a good tip on the pen that are sturdy and which won’t; bend, break, fray or split.

Some people swear by one brand of fine-liners but there are many great brands out there.

Some of the best-known ones are the Copic multi-liners. Since I never used them I have no idea if these are superior but I heard they were quite good.

Personally, I like to use the uni pin ones a lot. They don’t dry out too quickly and the 0,05 is amazing for details.

They’re also a lot less expensive than the Copic multi-liners.

Dip pens

Dips pens are a little bit more classic. The great thing about dip pens is that they are cheap and you can buy a different kind of tips. A good tip won’t rust, bent beyond repair or split if treated right.

One of the cons is that you will have to buy the ink separately but this is often not very expensive and will last you a long time.

Plus, you can use the same ink for ink washes to create value in your piece easily

Another great thing about dip pens is that there are a lot of different nibs available.  This gives you the option to have one holder and different nibs giving your tool a lot of different options.

You have broader nibs, nibs that hold more colour and more fine nibs.

different kind of nibs





You also have the special types like ones made out of feathers or bamboo. These all come with their own effect and skill set to acquire.

Effects

The biggest difference between the two is probably the effect the will give you. Fine liners are generally a lot easier for neat straight lines.

bunny in fineliner

Like this bunny made with fine liners. My lines are quite neat and not very sketchy (you could still get those though). 

You can get these with dip pens but it will cost you some more effort. They are however great when your want to add some line weight to your lines because it happens almost automatically.

So while it is harder to work neater it is easier to get a lively drawing and a more dynamic feel to it.

Drawing made with dip-pens, however, need to dry before you can colour them. The ink flow is a lot heavier and uncontrolled. Fineliners only give a little ink of at a time and the ink almost instantly dries in the paper.

Skill

Another thing to consider is that dip-pens cost more effort to learn anyway. Getting even lines might take some time. I had the luck that I was forced to work with them in high school. (And I thoroughly cursed them already back then.)

Starting with the dipping. Your dip pen has a little hole in the tip. When you dip your pen you want that to stay clear otherwise you will have ink blots. Loading your pens to full will result in inkblots, working too fast will result in ink blotting, breathing might end in ink blots.

The best thing to do is practise a lot and you will get a feel for how much ink you need and how far to dip.

Some other side notes;

  • When using a dip pen, you can scratch the paper if you aren’t careful.

  • Don’t wash your pens with water unless you dry them thoroughly or they will never be used again.

  • Fineliners can dry out when you leave the cap off so don’t do that.

So overall you might even say that fine-liners and dip pens are different mediums altogether. Trying both out is a great way to get to know which you really like better. Personally, I just like both for different kind of effects.

dippen

The secret weapon

 There is one more thing I need to share. Maybe some of you already know about this one but what if you want the quick drying effect of the fine-liners, the line-weight of the pen and ink and the effect of using a brush?

Then you want a brush pen.

Brush pens come in all kind of sizes and kind. A very known one is the pentel brush pen. It has great ink and the brush is quite flexible. Since I don’t live in America/the UK, however, I pay a lot for such a brush pen.

That is why I prefer using the Fabercastell Pitt artist pen in Big. This one is basically more a felt tip, but the amount of control you have is amazing.

The things you want to look for when buying a brush pen are the kind of tip you want; hairy, more bendable or more like a felt tip.

The second thing to watch for is the kind of ink it contains. Most artist pens will have waterproof non-smudge ink. But doing a little research never hurts anyone.


So overall this are all your options and I hope you find something you like.

Let me know what your favourite is out of all of these or if you don’t use any of them?

3 things to know about markers before using them


Markers are a great medium for illustrators and artist. I personally never used until last summer but when I did I fell in love immediately. However, like all mediums, there is all kind of tips and tricks for markers.

I thought I would include the basics for anyone who also wants to take a dip into markers.

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How to get the most out of your sketchbooks

Did I talk about my sketchbook obsession already? Yes? Well, not enough. Besides the fact that I have a lot of them, I also love working in them.

But sometimes sketchbooks can be overwhelming and scary. Feel like you never will fill them or o idea what you should do in them. I thought I ‘d write a little piece about the things that make sketchbooks so awesome.

Draw everyday

Masterworks will probably not roll out every time you draw. But when you draw in you sketchbook every day it will get you in the habit of drawing and also coming up with ideas.

No this is something that is kind of hard for me. I get caught up with work and business and don’t spend enough time being creative.

But whenever I do get in the flow of working in my sketchbooks every day I see dramatic improvement.

That is one of the reasons that I like this tip so much!

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Draw things you like and are interested in

Of course, practise is important and sketchbooks are a great place to do that. But don’t just spend time on studying things you might not like.

Anatomy and such can get boring or dull. When you don’t love what you do, it can hinder you. When drawing in your sketchbook is something you don’t enjoy anymore it will only make it more likely that you won’t.

Drawing anything is better than drawing nothing!

Experiment

You know those weird thigs you think might not work. Those colours you never combined or a style you never tried. Sketchbooks are the place to do just that. It might not be the neatest, but you will learn and discover.

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Thing to experiment with;

  • new materials
  • new techniques
  • different styles

Copy

Nobody likes art thieves and copying work isn’t the best idea when you post it. But coping can really help the newer artist find new skills or style.

In your sketchbooks, you can always just try to replicate some things just for learning.

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Try to recreate a style you love and improve on it. Or for example, draw a piece you love in your own style!

(unsure about what is acceptable with copying? Watch this.)

Date your drawings/sketchbooks

I’m so bad at this but when you try this seeing the improvement in your work might be easier.

You can easily compare work over the weeks, months or even years.

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Sketchbooks are fun and useful all in one! Need more inspiration on what to fill your sketchbook with? I have found some great CalArts sketchbooks full with inspiration!

I’m thinking of making a prompt list so do let me know if that is something you are interested in!

I hope this gave you some ideas how to fill your sketchbooks! What do you fill your sketchbooks with?