Monday, April 14, 2014

Having a Tumblr is pretty nice,but you can learn a lot just from hanging out in the right places!

For one thing, there are all kinds of Cassandra Cain-related discussions going on at any given time.  And some amazing art.  My Tumblr feed or page or whatever it's called has attracted a couple of followers, too.  The strange thing-- and also very flattering and gratifying-- is the popularity of my "Batgirl versus the Joker" drawing.  It's strange in that the one shared is the one I put on Deviant Art, rather than the slightly corrected version found on my Tumblr.  Well, whichever one, that someone, anyone, finds something I drew pleasing enough to show others is humbling and leaves me feeling very appreciative.  After all, the whole point of posting stuff is for people to see it and enjoy it.

So far my Tumblr is very Cass-heavy itself.  I tend to doodle or sketch her when I have no inspiration but feel the need to make marks on paper anyway.  Which happens every single day.  That's a lot of Cass!

And now for the other.  One of the coolest things about the Internet beyond the way it gives you a platform for showing off and garnering likes and shares is it gives you the opportunity to interact with working artists or to be a fly on the wall when they discuss their craft.

I've learned (or re-learned) a lot from reading some expert-level discussions on some John Buscema and Jack Kirby fan feeds on Facebook.  Another artist whose work I admire posts structure drawings on his Facebook just about every day and you can learn a lot just from looking at those.  Another educates her followers with some hair-raising personal experiences inside the business.  The other day, a pro whose work I'm a huge fan of (he co-created my favorite non-Cass comic book character) saw something I'm working on and took it upon himself to gift me with some direct-on-target advice.  It's proven to be incredibly helpful.  That certainly recharged my drawing battery, which was running a little low on power after a long weekend of putting down lines!  Last night, using his tips, I started revising the piece and I think it's going to be a stronger work.
Remember, these are busy people.  Don't be pushy, demanding, annoying or rude of their time and expertise.  That's what paying for classes is for, and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of perfectly useful "how-to" books available.  You can also find a lot of helpful tutorials all over the place online.  YouTube is a great resource, for example.  I'm way too shy to ever ask for free advice, so I tend to stick to reading and observing and trying to remain unobtrusive.  But if you find yourself in a position to receive some words of advice from a professional or any very experienced artist with teaching ability, or you find yourself reading shop talk where people who do this stuff in earnest every day discuss figure drawing, perspective, page layouts, composition and storytelling, take it to heart and learn as much as you can.

Whether you want to be a professional artist or you just draw for likes on Tumblr, you owe it to yourself to improve.  And if nothing else, learning something new is fun, especially when you can take it and use it to make cool art.  Open your mind to learning experiences wherever you find them--  then go and practice, practice, practice it on your own.

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