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Submitted on
January 8, 2012
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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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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.
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