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Hello everybody!

I've been getting an increase in notes and messages lately asking all kinds of things. Problem is, I'm far from having the time to answer all these questions individually (even if I did have it it would probably make more sense to spend it drawing), but I don't want to leave them unanswered either since I appreciate everyone's feedback a lot. So I decided to make a kind of FAQ, since I'm mostly being asked the same things over and over.

I'll try to group these semantically so reading though them makes a bit of sense.

Did you ever do any tutorials?
- Yes, I spent a lot of time on this one:

War - Tutorial by algenpfleger

There's a lot of explaining in there, so please before you ask anything technique or learning related, read it thoroughly first.

I also have a ton of step-by-steps in this folder here:…

And I also uploaded a ton of layered Photoshop files:…

Finally, I have lots of studies and sketches on my blog:

How do you paint/color/draw?
- You'd be surprised by how many people ask something as unspecific as this. There's really not much to reply to this other than: Play around with things, spend time learning and experimenting, be aware that frustration might be coming your way in fairly decent amounts. Practice, practice, practice, read, think, practice.

How do you do this or that in this or that program?
- Similar to the previous one, I get this question a lot too. The problem here is not the question itself, it's the attitude towards learning - that itself is something you have to learn and work on. How do you think you'll find out how to do a specific thing quicker - by asking somebody and then waiting, or by using the program help file and the internet? If you're going to learn anything, not even just painting, it's always, ALWAYS going to be about your problem solving skills. THAT is what you have to work on, seriously it's important, because even if somebody tells you the solution to a certain problem, you will be stuck with the next one if you don't learn to solve them yourself. Even if it seems frustrating or hard!

Do you recommend using the smudge or whatever tool in whatever program?
- It depends on for what! Again, play around with it, and see what you can actually do with things. Learn to handle your tools, and learn what they are good or bad for. Trial and error is how you learn!

I don't understand perspective/color/something that seems challenging at first, what now?
- A lot of these things require a good bit of theoretical understanding, and then are actually simpler than you think. Read up on stuff! There's infinite resources on the web, spend time digging through it, understanding the way things work in real life, then apply it to the stuff you do. It won't work at the first attempt, so you have to keep it up to get the results you're looking for. But don't underestimate the power of simple knowledge about physics and math!

How do you know what color/muscle/whatever to put there so it looks right?
- This is something that learning from nature will teach you. Do studies! Lots and lots of studies, from real life and from photos. And don't just copy, try to get through it with your brain, take it apart, put it back together mentally, apply it from imagination, do it again. Work from imagination, analyze what doesn't work out, go study that, apply from imagination again. This way you will tackle your weaknesses and improve where you need it the most. And don't give me that "I don't like realism". No matter how stylized, all representative art is rooted in nature, and you have to understand how it works to be able to distort it. The mangaka and cartoonists you like all learned to draw properly, and that is what enables them to do the stuff they do with such apparent ease.

What should I practice?
- Simple! The stuff you're bad at, otherwise you're never gonna get better! \o_o/

Where do you get references for studying?
- There's loads of sources for that. Deviantart is a good start (since you're here), also random blogs and tumblrs, google image search, wikipedia - there's a TON of resources. Don't worry too much about finding the perfect reference image for your study, it's better to spend two hours practicing than one with the other spent searching.

What resources do you recommend?
- Loomis' books above all, also Vanderpoel, Harold Speed, Gurney, Linda Bergkvist's tutorials, Hogarth maybe too, but actually most things are best figured out through trial and error I think! A lot of times getting caught up in the techniques of people more advanced than you might make you tend to put the cart before the proverbial horse o_o

How do you motivate yourself?
- That's a tricky one. If I'm honest, it's just the thought of working in a normal job that I can't quite become friends with. I'd rather draw for another hour than face the possibility of having to flip burgers D:

What do you work with
- It doesn't matter! Drawing happens in your brain, not your hands or tools. But to answer the question, copy paper, HB pencils, Photoshop, my trusty Intuos4M, Illuststudio and whatever I find lying around. My first tablet was an old Volito that I got from ebay for twenty bucks! I used it for ages, together with free software (oC1.1 and Gimp). So it really doesn't matter °v°

How long have you been drawing and what's your background? Personal things?
- I started drawing at about 18, 19, and I'm 23 now. I was in university, studying informatics, at the time I got serious about art. I then started practicing as much as I could find the time for, enrolled in an art school for a few months which turned out to be a waste of time, and since then have just been learning on my own, and now I'm just working as a freelance illustrator, hikikomoriing away. My family is full of musicians, but no visual artists, so unfortunately no talent or early childhood stories :{ But you don't need that, drawing and painting is a lot like science - you use your brain to learn how the world works. If you have a brain, you have all you need!

How is life as a freelancer? How tough is it finding work?
- Oh! Interesting, finally. Well. Life as a freelancer is obviously awesome since I get to sleep in every day. About finding work - this is a bit tricky. To me it seemed there is kind of a sound barrier regarding skill, something like the entry level. Before that, I never got any work at all. But from the moment I passed a certain point (about in the beginning of 2011) I suddenly started getting way more offers, consistently too. A possible explanation would be that there is some sort of industry standard skill level - "must be this tall to ride". So get there! It's possibly a better idea, in case you're not there yet, to spend your time working on skill rather than making connections. No matter how close you are with this or that person, they won't hire you unless you can actually do something useful for them °v°

Why was art school a waste of time?
- Well, it just stems from how a day looks studying at home compared to in school. School: Travel there, talk to peeps, wait idly for lecture to start, listen to boring stuff, heckle with profs, walk from room to room, draw a bit in between. At home: Get up, draw, sleep. So you just get way more practice in if you're learning by yourself. Also it doesn't cost a hundred grand.

Am I too young/too old to learn this stuff?

Will you share your brushes?
- Sure! Here:
Hannes' Brushes by algenpfleger

Deutsche: Ich bin 23! Kein "Sie", Ihr Penner!

Thanks for the psd files! I used them here, look:
- GO AWAY ;_; I upload them for people to learn from, they are not stock. Please don't use them for anything, it's true that I like angels as well, a bit, but seriously use the stuff that actually is in the "stock section" D:

Are you taking commissions/doing requests?
- Unfortunately the answer to these is usually no since I mostly am busy doing other stuff like rolling around on the floor, the bed, or reading manga. Sorry D:

Are you open to collaborating?
- This strongly depends on my mood and the stuff I'm working on at the moment you ask. If I'm busy thinking about other stuff, probably not, but if I'm excited about the idea, who knows!

Can I use your work for this or that?
- The answer for that will probably also be no. I draw these things for myself and myself only FUFUFUFU since I am such a mean egoistic person <3

That's about all I can think of now o_o If you guys have anymore questions, ask below and I'll add them here! :la:
  • Mood: Winter Downs
  • Listening to: Yoko Kanno
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VeRCeline Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Motivatioooooon ! 
ohman , ich hab dich gerade gefunden und finde deinen weg echt interessant :'D
ich bin gerade dabei meinen Horizont zu erweitern und ich bin total am verzweifeln ;_____;
ich habe nie menschen gezeichnet und jetzt wo ich damit anfange , habe ich das Gefühl , dass ich gernix kann, obwohl ich schon mit 12 oder so angefangen hab …jetzt bin ich 18 und  als ich gelesen habe , dass du mit 18/19 angefangen hast , ist wieder ein Funken Hoffnung in mir aufgekommen .
mal gucken wie lange ich durchhalte :'D
AllNamesAreClaimed12 Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love the way you respond to things. I laughed when you said 'GO AWAY ;_;' at the psd files part.
You're probably the best artist on DA, at least that I know of; when I first saw your works at first I thought they were photo manipulation they're so realistic. I had a double-take when I saw that you only started doing art when you were 18! I thought that with those skills, you'd have to have been drawing since you could hold a pencil!
Mmkaay Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Very impressed that you only have 5-6 years of art experience.

Anyways, your advice on studies and practicing things your bad at and how to apply them has been much more informative than most I've read. Thankyou.
Voena Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012   Digital Artist
Thank you so much for recommending the Loomis Books. I do the majority of my studies from life and observation but there comes a point where I require a bit of theory work to give me that extra push. Loomis Books really takes you beyond that. Absolutely love them! :D
Lenivaya Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Hobbyist
"Kein 'Sie', Ihr Penner!" <- buhahahaha, Du wurdest gesiezt?
Im Internet, oder besser: in Communities, nehm ich mir gern die Freiheit alle zu duzen.
Lenivaya Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2012  Hobbyist
Ich merke grad, dass der FaQ schon etwas älter ist *fail*.
Na ja egal, mir ist grad so eine Frage in den Sinn gekommen: "Muss man in Deutschland als freischaffender Künstler (<- ist doch dass Äquivalent zum Freelancer, oder?) eigentlich irgendein Gewerbe o.Ä anmelden?
Elena-Ciolacu Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hi! In one of your blog posts you show us some of your studies [link] Could you please tell me, what are you using to paint them? do you use a an iPad and paint on the spot, or do you take pictures and then paint after them on you computer at home? I'm asking because, although I know you can paint realistic stuff without needing reference too, these ones are supposed to be studies so I'm guessing you didn't paint them from the top of your head :)
thank you!
CeridwenTaliesin Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hi Johannes! Thanks for posting all these answers. They are really helpful! Best wishes!
Just-a-Bud Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You are my new inspiration.
I was just wondering. I use references, examine real life and practice. A LOT. But is there a good place to start, i.e. still life, and work my way up or something?
Thank you for your time.
kazerniel Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for putting this together! :D Awesome that you only had 4-5 years of practice O.o Actually, very inspiring, even if I'm not the "diver" type...
oneKATIE Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ahhh you are great, you have great discipline.
I learned that talent is simply the ability to retain knowledge that is taught to you. So you are talented.
GiovannyArce Featured By Owner May 17, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thanks a lot for this Algenpfleger, really love your work and your passion, you did a good work doing lot of practice since 2007, you are really really inspiring. By the way, one thing, did you actually read the anatomy books? or you just practice and draw the images from the books? that is something I have to work, I don't like to read :( I need to push my self to love it and improve. Again, thanks for this, you are really talented, keep the good work. ALWAYS! cheers!
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
endless-spirit Featured By Owner May 6, 2012   Traditional Artist
Hach, du machst mir Hoffnung!
Cerulians Featured By Owner May 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm surprised you started learning at eighteen. Your work is amazing. I've been drawing all my life and I'm not even that good. Makes me quite envious. Thanks for sharing. :)
Lulie Featured By Owner May 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I found that I only started to get decent when I got better at the "problem solving skills" thing, and then my improvement shot up. Just having an idea of what I don't know and what I need to work on, and how to find out the answers. That part is so important.
Cerulians Featured By Owner May 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:3 Yeah, sounds about right. To add to that, it was the determination and goal that I set for myself to start experimenting and not be afraid of the image turning out bad, but accepting it and working with my shortcomings(rather than just do what I am comfortable with), that I finally started seeing improvement. I'm still slow, but it's better progress than what I've been doing these past years.
jeremy-pretzel Featured By Owner May 5, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
if you could answer this question it would be very helpful to everyone thanks. hey i was just wondering when redrawing a master drawing for example when you redrew andrew loomis's heads is it vital to redraw the lines perfectly or over time with consistent practice will your line work improve and correct itself?

thanks man btw think it's amazing how you posted your sketchbook up give a good indication on how to go about practicing drawing.
MomoChi3 Featured By Owner May 2, 2012
This is wonderful and very helpful! But I do have one question.

How long did you practice a day to get to the skill you are at now?

I saw your amazing practice .zip files, and I can see how extensively you practiced, but how many hours did you really spend each day? Did you set time aside or did you just...go at it..everyday...all day 0.0. Seeing how skilled you are I could understand that you would have that kind of dedication.

If you remember or have an estimate that would help me so much! I just need to know if your kind of skill is even possible for me to ever reach. >.<

Thank you! (You are ...WONDERFUL!!!)
algenpfleger Featured By Owner May 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Just as much as physically possible o.o
MomoChi3 Featured By Owner May 2, 2012
0.0 Oh my...
v.v I see...
T-T I will do whatever it takes!
^_^ Thank you for your reply!
>.< You are my inspiration! (love you! >,<)
0_0 Was that too many smilies?
~.~ Sorry...
^.^ hehehe...
Voena Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012   Digital Artist
Very cool FAQ! I saw your sketchbook (Algenpfleger learns to draw) over at and it is truly an inspiration. But to be honest I'm not sure I have the stamina to dish out as many studies as you. >.<
x-rain-check-x Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012
Hi! I've got a lot of spurn and respect for you! <: No but seriously, this was really inspiring. Mad props, mad props.
Zasshu Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012
This is amazing inspiration. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.
Banjelerp Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I have to say, this made me laugh so hard:

Ich bin 23! Kein "Sie", Ihr Penner!

:happycry: I'm trying to learn German at the moment (my mother-in-law was born and raised there), and I was half like, "BUT I DON'T KNOW YOU THAT WELL!" and the other half was like, "C'mon, do you want people treating you formally right now?" It'd be like being called "Ma'am". (I'm also 23, so I absolutely understand where you're coming from, lol).

Also, your FAQ is both vague and intriguing. It gives enough for people to actually learn from, but doesn't spoon-feed us. :iconfistbumpplz: Just the way a FAQ should be when it comes to art. Good on ya, bruh. <3

Forgive me for saying this but I'm such a fangirl of your work and you are seriously one of my idols/pseudo-mentors on this website...:shifty:
LoSqui Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2012  Student General Artist
If you really started at 18 and now you're this good at 23....Just...fu**...Im 17 now and I have been drawing my bum off since as was a child...I better become great god darn it >.<;;
TianTCZ Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2012
I just want to say thank you for the tutorial, motivation and inspiration :)

Before I was like omg they can draw so good I'm so jealous blablablah *hides under blanket*, now I'm more like omg they can draw so good, I'm going to practice practice practice *D*!

Learning is a good hobby to have, know that for awhile but never did anything about it. Your wip + tutorials really helped me a lot. Thanks much!
ivanev Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2012
I was above to ask about your brushes. Sharing them is very altruistic from you. Actually i'm doing crappy pictures this season and I don't have too much time for digital painting or doing something that I really like. But I promise that when I do something I really like I'll do a good question for you (hint: is about job).
stoffkimba Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
"Am I too young/too old to learn this stuff?

Omo, love this. Asian work ethics ftw! o^___^o (Works for everything as well. We should write that sentence above every door of every educational institution everywhere!) *thumbs up*
stoffkimba Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Oh, and my doors as well. or maybe my arms or something. I'm such a lazy bum, so big fat kudos to you. kore kara mo gambatte kudasai. orz
JustIRaziel Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
sag mal beschied wenn du wieder live tuts machst..
LuLuLe Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012
fuuuuu! >.<
You inspire. I will draw now.

Ducere Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012
Now... I'm feeling a terrible pang of jelousy, I have been drawing since 10 years ago (23) only 3 digital.... oh... sigh -_- and my pathetic improvement... -___-

just a question:

Usually, what dpi do you use? 300 dpi, 600 dpi?

and about dimensions?? 2000px up? or?

I'm always messing up the lineart, because using small proportions forces me to work with smaller brushes, but then... working with bigger pieces leads to messed lines (my pulse is not the best even using my wacom) -___-

any suggestion?
blu01 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Another question: How could you get so much feedback? Commenting others or by something else.
UnicornSquish Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2012  Hobbyist
Ich hoffe, das hat noch keiner gefragt, wenn doch, dann Schande über mein Haupt:
Wie zum Henker bist du auf den Namen "Algenpfleger" gekommen? oO
Tinavy Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2012
haha, your FAQ is brilliant! I loved your answer to "How do you motivate yourself to paint?" - I use the same guidelines to motivate me to persevere with practicing to digital paint and one day hopefully become a concept artist. I use to attend a fine arts course where most of the students were in their 60+ and all of them admitted they had to wait til retirement to be able to finally pursue their love of art.

Very cool journal! :D
jcpahl Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2012
You're so cool. Phenomenal skills, and always posting tutorials and stuff. Much respect.
IamCitizenZero Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks so much for sharing so generously. You really must be a fantastic person as well as a great artist. I find myself teaching more and more and I found your thoughts on this very inspiring and so true. Many times a student shows that they've fallen off the path by looking for answers in the wrong place. It's not the tool or technique, but rather it's the constant study of our visual world where all the answers are found. The rest is just constant practice and making lots of bad images is sometimes necessary too. Thanks again!
hikohohodemi Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012
Are you still open to questions?
Do you have any advices for concept or composition?
I have massive problems with those.
hikohohodemi Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012
No need to answer if you don't feel like it, bc my questions are similar to the forth question.
hikohohodemi Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012
*fifth sorry lol
LutherTaylor Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
HAHAHAHAAHAHA this is hilarious somewhat! there definitely is a sound barrier or a entry level mate. It's really inspiring that you improved soo much in such a short amount of time compared to people that have been drawing all their life.
natural talent will only take you so far and then it's study study study practice practice practice.
gungrave515 Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2012
have you really been drawing since 18? really??

ive been drawing for like 20 years and ive worked my ass off and im not even half as good as you.

man thats discouraging.
Herr-R Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012
Hallo Hannes,

eine Frage bleibt trotzdem offen. Auf welcher Originalresolution malst du? also wie viele Px by Px?

achja, wie lange brauchst du durchschnittlich für ein Bild?(ich weiß je nach schwierigkeit, aber sag einfach mal den durchschnitt |D)

Ich hab dir schon auf Mexx geschrieben, aber man merkt schnell, wie beschäftigt du bist.

tsu-reku (Herr R auf mexx : D )
onyan Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012
Danke for posting a faq! I thoroughly enjoy your work :)
Minaem1 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012
What's your IQ? :D
Vivian-Mule Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I've got also a different question,
I read that you couldnt take markos offer to work at sixmorevodka due to your injury, so how is your injury doing and will you work for sixmorevodka someday?
Oh, here is also a nother good one; is freelance artist better than fulltime employee artist?

Lovely greetings
The rabbid
ChrisBjors Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Well that depends a bit on what you want, doesn't it?

Do you want to work in an office with other creatives 8-18 and pretty much push out art all day, every day and work on whatever project your boss tells you, even if you don't like it, with the promise of a pretty decent paycheck every month (till you get fired).

Or do you want to sleep in all day, sit at home in your underpants, work on projects you would enjoy and roll around on the floor.
The amount you earn is proportional to how much you work and how good you are.

Structure and scheduled creativity vs. Freedom but with more responsibility and solitude.

I'm sure those who work in studios see it differently though. Just my 2cents :>
Vivian-Mule Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Well judging from your awesome gallery, you surely know what your talking about.
But isnt it necessary to have been in both situation to know for sure? Lets say you have a great boss whos funny and helpful where else at home you become more and more a vegetable and lonely, what then?
I am the kind of person that needs company. Its not for the money or safety but Its also important to me, i dont even know why, to be able to devide work/school and home physicaly.


Seriously dude, you gallery is one hot sot! :-0
Tinavy Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2012
That's a great question! ChristBjors makes some very valid points. :) I guess it really depends on what type of artists you want to be.

The idea of working full-time for one company seems the more stable choice (guarantee work and pay) but I don't think there would be as much diversity in your work compared to a freelance artist.

If you follow some other artists on DA like Adonihis or Alexiuss you will notice that they personally prefer to work on their own ideas as opposed to creating other people's worlds.

You should consider the nature of the job itself - Art. People who veer towards an art career are usually those that require a creative outlet which can be restricted when you have a boss that tells you what you can or cannot draw.

Something for all aspiring artists to think about. Just my opinion. Personally, if I ever get the opportunity to be a concept artist in the future I would choose the path of the freelance. :)

(Hope you don't mind me butting into your conversation) ^^;
ChrisBjors Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
It's really just a matter of opinion, nothing is really necessary.
If you're unsure, gun for a Studio job. Best way to figure something out is to do it, repeatedly.

Thanks for the comments, too.
I try. :>
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