Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

Q and A: The A's (Part 1)

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 4, 2011, 9:36 PM
Here's some answers to those questions from part 1.
These are a bit long, so I'm only doing a couple here this time!


"How do you fit in social settings with other artists? I've been to a couple animation festivals and networking events but it's always weird, like I don't deserve to talk to anyone because I'm just a lowly terrible animator and they're obviously better than me. What does it take to remove that feeling, and talk to other artists as equal peers so we can have real conversations?"

This question doesn't exactly have a REAL solid answer, but I can try to explain a little bit using extraneous hand gestures you can't see.
Now, I can't speak for all artists out there, but from what I've generally gathered is that you have to overcome the feeling of professionals having no humility. Usually serious/skilled artists don't do the work they do just to gloat about it and hold themselves at a position higher than you just to stroke their egos. IF they are like that, they're probably not worth talking much to, or they're not really professionals since that kind of attitude would make them hard to work with. However, people who take themselves and colleagues seriously will usually have no problem answering some questions and lending a hand to someone also learning the ropes, if just one time. They were, after all, at an earlier stage of development at one time and had to go through much of the same -- so they SHOULD understand where you are right now.

That said, (and this is really the answer to the meat of the question,) networking with other artists comes largely with being genuinely interested in their work -- not necessarily just finding commonalities in subject matter / style / medium / technique. One of the great reasons to befriend other artists is the diversity they can expose you to. This has a lot to do with knowing  your influences, and being open to new (different) ones. Sometimes there are things you wouldn't even think you'd end up  being interested in that another artist can get you into. Do you just draw character art all day? Make some friends who do nothing but environmental work! You'd be surprised at how much you can learn from each other as you talk about your areas of expertise. Don't be surprised if you suddenly start adding some backgrounds to your work. Better relationships through diversity make way for collaborative projects where each can input their best. (An inker befriending a colorist, for example.) A LOT can be learned in the process of actually doing WORK with others. The key to the whole thing is to just not feel like you're a nobody, and that there's this exclusive club of "somebodies" that is invitation-only. If you show that you have genuine interest and devotion, no one should outright ignore you.

However, one important thing to remember is that the artists you get to know at events and online (especially online) are not really your friend. The truth of the matter is that you don't REALLY know that person, and you don't want to overstep your boundaries. If they don't really want to network with you in any fashion, it's not your fault. There are likely a lot of reasons, most probably dealing with a lack of time and availability -- not that they outright dislike you and your work for being "sub-par." (Sometimes that is the case. All I can tell you then is to just deal with it and remember that art is subjective.) The more important thing is that you tried -- which is better than not trying. A big part of the industry is finding the right people. Feeling like you're not apart of *it* will only allow possible opportunities to slip by.

Oh, also, always bring some means to show your work around. Slate devices like the iPad and Galaxy Tab are great for this sort of on-the-go portfolio sharing. They're great ice-breakers and much, much easier to pop out at a moments notice than something like a laptop or a huge portfolio in print form. Slates provide a more sociable method to talk about your work, since the devices themselves are easy to pass around and have multiple people look at at once.


"Is there a "good" way to make the transition from reference drawing to more imagination based? My from-life painting and drawing has seen huge improvement in the past year; but drawing from my head lags disappointingly behind. Are there any resources or exercises you know of that addresses this area?"

Ask yourself questions about what it is you're trying to create and what its functions are, and what it needs to function like that. If what you're adding doesn't look like it answers that question, then you should probably try something else.

I'll take you through a process I did on this drawing: 3.bp.blogspot.com/--CEtnhRZlZE…

So I was drawing a RTS-inspired structure -- a War Factory. So what does it need, right? This is a place responsible for manufacturing large machines of war. Tanks. Walkers. You name it. So every little piece of this design, how do I know it fits? A lot of it is based on common sense "duh" sort of decisions. If they're building big things, it's gonna need a big space to do it! So let's start with a big hangar-style bay where they assemble the stuff. They're probably doing some metal forging in there, eh? To make those tanks? Gonna need some smoke stacks from the blast furnaces. That might make things pretty hot in there, right? They're gonna need some good ventilation. Let's put some big fans up there on the roof. Well, aside from just the assembly hangar, there's gotta be the actual factory part of the structure, right? The place where the individual parts are manufactured then brought to the assembly hangar to be put together? Let's add a big 5-or-so story tall structure out the side of the hangar where all that takes place. Give them some good ventilation for all that crap that goes on in there, some windows...  What about deliveries? They might need a place for supply trucks to unload new raw material. Well let's make the factory raised up a level for loading docks underneath. What about the administration part of the factory? There's gotta be an office somewhere. So, put a little trailer-sized building down in front where it's all controlled from. What about the fuel this place probably needs to run? Well, let's make a pill-shaped tank off to the side, probably full of oil or something. And well, they gotta keep in contact with HQ, right? Add a little communication tower on the top, some little radio dishes up there, and bam! Place is open for business.

The trick is knowing what questions to ask yourself. Depending on how fine you want to get in detail with your design, you'll just need more questions that need answering. I could've gone way more in-depth with the design of that War Factory, but it was ultimately just a sketch, and I wanted to keep the questions basic. When I color that thing, and bring it up to a finish, there ARE going to be more questions, more EXACT questions. Things like "What material is this place primarily made of?" "Is there paint?" "How well kept is the condition?" etc.

When designing something, like, a concept for some aerial craft, don't just think "Okay I'm drawing a plane. They have wings... a body...... a nose... tail...." You'll get a very generic... uh... plane. NO. Instead, ask lots of questions! And each question can lead to more questions, to more DETAIL. "Who is this thing intended for?" "What will it likely be used for?" "How old is it?" "What would it need to (do particular function)." --- etc etc these are a couple good starting questions that can lead to a more enriched final design.

In terms of drawing DIRECTLY from the mind, like, "Visual Memory," as it was called at my college, it's really just a matter of using your eyes. Look. Like, REALLY look. When you walk around, look at stuff intently and think about its individual shapes/pieces as an overall functioning design. Look THROUGH things and pick out their individual traits. You'd be surprised how many of the things you look at can be reconfigured into new things in your head. Just as long as it looks like it's meant to function a particular way without you having to say a word about how it works, you're on the right track. And, of course, asking yourself all those questions will help you get there.



Also, just a little something unrelated that I wanted to talk about:
  • SORRY, I SOLD MY THINKPAD X201T A WHILE AGO.
I did a big review on the ThinkPad X201T, (a tablet PC,) last year when I got it. The original review I gave it was pretty positive, my impressions were pretty high. Then again, I was also only getting acquainted with the machine, so I was wondering if I was saying all of those things too early without any real field-usage?

Sure enough, as time went on, big, gaping issues became more apparent the longer I used it. My biggest problem with the X201T, (with ANY Tablet PC for that matter,) is that they all truly have crap digitizers inside. They work fine for some handwriting or some light sketching, but you can absolutely forget about doing ANY serious work like coloring/painting on one. You want pen accuracy? Forget it. The farther you move the pen away from the center of the screen, accuracy and sensor fidelity dive-bombs to the point of uselessness. The pressure on the pens are impossible to hold steady and go from 10% pressure to 100% in too short of a distance. The erasers are spring-loaded. Try doing some light-feathering with one of those -- you'll pull your hair out. Then there's the cursor lag. It exists. And it's nasty. (While with a client one day, I tried to erase the white space from a drawing and found myself having to concentrate completely on JUST keeping the eraser ON THE LINE. I've never had to do that with any other traditional tablet / cintiq. I've never had to undo so many mistakes from JUST ERASING -- AND I was using the eraser tool with the ink-nib side!) Whenever I went back to my Cintiq / Intuos4, I noticed immediately just how much better everything was. Which brings up the other nail-in-the-coffin -- a complete lack of ergonomic shortcut keys. I rely HEAVILY on shortcut keys for my tablet workflow. Alt, Shift, Zoom+/-, Undo, these are dedicated buttons I need. And just about no tablet PC on the market has them. I tried to find other devices to assist with the lack of shortcut keys, but they ended up all being either too clunky to be practical, or too unreliable in implementation. It eventually came down to the fact that all I could do with my X201T was JUST sketching at what felt like an experience just slightly better than drawing on an iPad.  I wanted SO MUCH MORE than that from it, so I realized it had to go since it would be incapable of delivering. -- so out the door it went to eBay.

Today, taking its place is a new 2011 model 15" MacBook Pro. I had a few issues with Apple over the past few years, but whatever, I got over it recently when I realized that taking sides on technology/branding is a pretty stupid and useless thing to do. I'm a lot happier with this machine over the X201T. Using my Intuos4 with it is a far greater pleasure, and allows me to perform serious large-scale work. There are other reasons that I went back to an Apple laptop, but those aren't related to art so I'll leave that for another day.

Long story short here, I won't be available for any other consultation on the operation of the X201T. My impressions here are still my own, and a tablet PC may still work well for you. But for what its worth, I think just getting a regular laptop + a Bamboo is WAY better than a crippled tablet stuck inside a mediocre laptop.

Add a Comment:
 
:iconantimator15q:
antimator15q Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
i'm probably going to upgrade to the apple and the cintiq soon cause i need to see what my hand is doing on screen, you know? I feel like the intuos is good enough to get by drawing, where with cintiq you can create much better stuff, cause i feel like intuos stuff is never even as good as traditional. so that's why i was literally seeing what you said about the thinkpad cause i thought about getting an iPad at one point, an hp slate at another point and an hp touchsmart bullshizz at a whole other point. And i thought the thinkpad was that solution: great tablet and computer all in one. If someone can actually perfect that, they'll make a lot cause theres a place for it for every single computer artist in the world. That's all I'm asking for. It'd probably literally cost an arm and a leg but it'd be worth it. like a mac quality computer in a cintiq. how woulc your life not be instantly incredible with that thing. It's a pipe dream as of yet. I thought it existed but i dont think it does yet.
Reply
:iconziannna:
Ziannna Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2011
Thanks so much for doing this! It's always great to see stuff like this from artists I look up to -- it kinda demonstrates your point about professional artists being approachable and... stuff :XD:.

It's also funny how much of advise about art like this is applicable to everyday life =P
Reply
:iconfatlazyhomer:
fatlazyhomer Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2011
I canceled my order today. I think I'll pick up the x220 next time it goes on sale. Its just so damn hard to find a laptop with a respectable screen.
Reply
:iconfatlazyhomer:
fatlazyhomer Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011
Man, I just ordered a X220T a month ago (took em forever to put the gorilla glass one on the site), and its still being delayed. It was suppose to ship today and it just got delayed again for 2 weeks. After reading your review, I'm gonna try to cancel it and maybe just get the X220. Originally, I was planning on using the tablet in conjunction with this: [link]

But I figure if I am going to bother lugging around a silly little gamepad, I might as well just get a normal laptop and lug around my tablet.
Reply
:iconfox-orian:
fox-orian Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Sorry, typo:
"... a traditional tablet plus a regular laptop won't be much different..." etc etc.
Reply
:iconfox-orian:
fox-orian Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I tried the G13 + X201T combo and it wasn't the worst thing in the world, it's just that there's absolutely no way to use it in your lap anymore. It's a tabletop setup only. A traditional tablet + X220T won't be much different since the laptop will still have to be on a table since the tablet will be in your lap. For what it's worth, the X220T will be a sketcher's dream -- bu t if you plan on doing any serious work, beyond treating the laptop like a portable sketchbook, you will find that a tablet + laptop will be much more efficient than G13 + X220T.
Reply
:iconkaiazes:
Kaiazes Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for your answer! Sorry it took so long just to say thanks, but a particular game has held me pretty spellbound for the past five days... Anyway, it's much apreciated, and a great answer to boot. :)
Reply
:iconmooshakes:
mooshakes Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional Filmographer
Thank you so much for answering my question! I really appreciate your help, it's a lot to think about but it would have taken me years to figure it out on my own.
Reply
:iconscatterbii:
scatterbii Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2011
Hey! I was wondering what is actually the best tablet to put with my laptop. I have a friend who has a bamboo, but I don't think it is the best one out there... Could you help me decide what would be the best choices for digital artwork?
I would like to try digital colouring, but I don't like how unnatural mouses feel.
It would be nice to know the brands/models that would be best.
Please answer! :D
Reply
:iconfox-orian:
fox-orian Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
You may actually want to look at my journal post history XD
Reply
:iconscatterbii:
scatterbii Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
hahahaha, I forgot about this comment!
Don't worry, I actually started reading, and noticed the other journal entry :)
Sorry for the inconvenience :P
Reply
:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2011  Student General Artist
I pretty much have networking skills already. Ive got alot of connections through DA and Fanime with artists.

Ive joined BAAU (Bay area Artist Unite) too, so I go to their Deviant meets and they draw all day and encourage each other. Its great. I was a bit intimidated by the people meeting them in person (because they seem to observe better then me). Turns out they liked my work and we were trading sketch books and stuff. I was happy in the group and would love to go again.

THe second one, i totally agree too. Problem for me, is sometimes I don't get the answers, especially when drawing living things. I need more anatomy studies and stuff. Then again, when you make up stuff, you don't have to follow too many rules.
Reply
:icont5fx:
t5FX Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2011  Professional General Artist
I have the Asus eee Slate, and while some have had issues, this tool has been nothing but good to me. I have used it everyday since I got it (about a month or two ago). But when I return home to my Cintiq, I notice a huge difference. Which makes me unable to sell it. Just my thoughts on that.

And on the Apple thing, I too am subsiding my hatred and giving them a try. Truthfully, I don't see a difference in the way I use the two, I just feel comfortable having both Operating Systems. Though, the colors seem to "pop" on OSX (same monitor viewing).
Reply
:iconexperimettle:
experimettle Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011  Professional General Artist
this was a solid Q&A. love the insight. ima have to read again lol
Reply
:iconthedude-in-navyblue:
TheDude-In-NavyBlue Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011  Professional Filmographer
For the first question, you made so many valid points! Networking is the hardest thing for me to do, and I'll often times forget that professional animators are people too, which sounds like a pretty ridiculous thing to forget! I guess I just get that easily intimidated, that I automatically assume people won't like me because I'm not nearly as good as them.

But yeah, my networking skills are really going to be put to the test when I go to Paris to study at Gobelins in a few weeks. I've been told that a lot of professional industry people join that summer program. So that's why I found your advice to be very helpful! Thanks! :D
Reply
:iconlongiy:
longiy Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011
These impressions about thinkpad now really made me unsure whether to buy x220t or not :/ And is macbook's photoshop performance really that better as thay say?
Reply
:iconfox-orian:
fox-orian Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Any Adobe app on Mac OS is exactly the same in performance as Windows.
I've noticed no particular appreciable differences whatsoever, except for some small differences in UI.

The X220T is better than the X201T, but I think it's worth spending that $1300~$1500 on a more capable, long-lasting system. The hardware in a ULV (ultra-low-voltage ultra-portable) laptop really feels dated after even just a year. Those machines never have a GPU as well, for example.
Reply
:iconlongiy:
longiy Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011
Good, I was tired of rants like "you want to be graphic designer without macbook->looser", and as for x220t I thought it uses same procesor as any other laptop (since sandy bridge has optimized power managment) and I was hoping that thinkpad's famous durability will be usefull.
Reply
:iconfox-orian:
fox-orian Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
The X220T was probably updated, then. For an i7 though, it's likely only dual-core and not quad. (haven't checked.) The X201T had a ULV edition i7, which was underpowered compared to non ULV versions found in other laptops at the time.

Any thinkpad, X220T included, are excellent laptops with a strong build. Make no mistake, tablet PC's are great computers, actually. I loved my X201T as a notebook and a great way to kick back and browse the web in tablet mode. But using it for art? No, I wouldn't completely recommend it.
Reply
:iconlongiy:
longiy Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011
I checked x220t and it really isj ust 2core i7 :/ geez well, so then best choice would be buy x220 non tablet and attach regular table right?
Reply
:iconenzudes1gn:
EnzuDes1gn Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
interesting read, thanks :)
Reply
:iconrelevancy:
Relevancy Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Useful stuff to know right here.

Come to think of it. Ive never in my life found a good review for a tablet PC that would work well for the digital artist of today. My friend got one and it was such a terrible experience! Like you said.. everything lags sometimes, pressure can be weird. I like the idea of adding functionality to design. I really want to keep that in mind

Anyways, Thank you very much I enjoyed the read and your tutorials are wonderful! I couldn't figure out a thing with Photoshop but a lot of them really shed some much needed light on the subject!
Reply
:iconcloneddragon:
cloneddragon Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ah, was wondering about your continued thoughts on that tablet PC. my sisters current ones broken to disrepair so i'm out looking around again for her. its a little disappointing that it completely failed your expectations, however kind of as expected, your tablets are really nice compared to the digitizers in tablet PC's.

so, do you think that some one not seriously interested in graphic arts would like it? (my sister hardly uses the tablet function on hers but refuses to get a computer whit out that functionality)
Reply
:iconfox-orian:
fox-orian Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
*just made minor adjustment to the end of that part of the post*

Well... I don't doubt that a lot of it has to do with being spoiled by traditional tablets. Still, even a regular ol' Wacom Bamboo is better performing than the digitizers in a tablet PC. They don't suffer from the horrible pen inaccuracies, and are a hell of a lot cheaper comparatively -- AND they have some expresskeys!

I'll admit. I liked having the tablet functionality on the X201T. I was actually going to sell my X201T to get the new X220T. I remember wanting the boost in performance while keeping that "just in case" tablet functionality. But you know what? I ultimately decided against it. A part of me felt guilty of relying way too much on digital means to draw. Really, I should be using a sketchbook and a pencil to draw when I just want to draw! I mean, that's all I did with the X201T -- was sketch! Except it had a limiting battery life! Why even bother at that point?! It's a laptop that costs $1500 for the mostly-decent configuration, and it has $650 laptop performance! I'd rather spend that $1500 on a stronger notebook that has the power I need, which is way more important than the crippled tablet functionality built-in.

If your sister isn't an artist or anything, she may like the novelty of being able to use a pen or touch input (since all tablet PC's now are touch+pen,) to get around the OS and do... the stuff she does. Or even occasionally sketch around. There's really no problem in that if she wants it. I only have a hard time now recommending one of these things to people who are looking for an "On-the-go Cintiq Experience."

(It's really no surprise that the digitizers in Tablet PC's are half-crap, though. Yes, Wacom made them -- but they did NOT make them with artists in mind. They made them with bussiness folk, doctors, logistics workers, etc in mind. Handwriting is the test it really only had to pass. Wacom saves the good stuff for its own products -- the Bamboo, Intuos, and Cintiq.)
Reply
:iconcloneddragon:
cloneddragon Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i see, knowing my sister the limitations you found she wont mind. (i would still prefer to get her a laptop with a good keyboard, she primarily uses it to write her story's on)

well i think you greatly for your feed back.goign to share this with my sister and let her decide.
Reply
:iconoyasumiyumiko:
OyasumiYumiko Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011   General Artist
awesome answers and questions, a good read : )
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
June 4, 2011
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
2,148
Favourites
3 (who?)
Comments
26
×