This site is a collection of my art knowledge. It's a sort of a textbook of how I make art. It won't be comprehensive and will likely change over time.
Anyone at any skill level can read this, but it's aimed at people with basic experience. I assume you're a rational person that's already actively practicing art. Enjoying art and wanting to get better are as important as anything else I have to say. Learning is a constant process. I'm still learning. Some of the stuff I will try to teach you is more complex than I'm even able to express. Seek more knowledge from other sources and be sure to practice and study often.
In a modern sense, art is anything that we say is art. It might have meaning, it might not. It might exist to look beautiful, or how it looks might not matter. The art that I want to talk about in this "book" is non-conceptual drawings and paintings. That is, the appearance of the art is the focus rather than the message or idea behind it. Not that the idea isn't important of course. The information I present here can be applied to abstract art, but I will also be mostly concerned with figurative, non-abstract, art. Abstraction still happens in even the most realistic pieces and so shouldn't be ignored. An image is just a representation after all. I also might use the words drawing and painting interchangeably. Fundamentally, they're the same thing.
There's nothing wrong with being bad at art. But being bad at something can feel bad, especially when you see others with skill levels that seem impossible to catch up with. This feeling is what make a lot of people give up on trying to get good.
The feeling of not being good enough does hurt, and these feelings are valid. They aren't something to apologize for or to try to ignore.
If you want to get better, though uncomfortable, take a close look at why you suck. Are things too flat? Is the lighting off? What parts are difficult for you? These are the things you need to address to get better. Don't ignore them.
Take a breaks of course. Especially if things are impacting you mentally or physically. But don't let the feeling of being bad at art stop you forever. If you're willing to put up with that feeling, use it to fuel your passion to create.
The key to making good art is good fundamentals. These are things like form, gesture, value, lighting, color, composition, and so on. The exact list isn't as important as the ideas behind them. These are concepts that will apply to any piece of art. The things that you draw or paint will have forms and materials, and exist in an enviroment that they interact with. We then translate this into an image through shapes, lines, and edges. Both of these things are important, but beginners usually focus too much on the second part and might not even recognize the first part. The fundamentals are a way to categorize this process, and what this site is all about.
This website is split into "chapters" that cover different sets of fundamentals. You can get to other chapters using the menu in the upper left.
The order that you read this isn't super important. Some parts of one chapter make more sense if you know some things cover in other chapters. Feel free to start any where you want, return to things you've covered before, and cross reference parts. This way you get different perspectives of the same information. Some content might change too.
The first chapter is what you're reading right now. It's about learning art and the site itself.
Dimension covers form and perspective. It deals with depicting depth and volume and thinking in three dimensions. I think parts of the next chapter make more sense when you understand the concepts from this chapter.
Light covers lighting and color theory. I also talk a little about vision itself.
Essence is an abstract chapter. Not abstract art, but the ideas are more abstract(though they can be applied to abstract art). It covers composition and gesture. Gesture is often consider one of the most important concepts, but it's hard for me to describe.
Design talks about design obviously. Also kind of abstract. But I also touch on technical parts of executing a drawing and expanding your visual library.
Practice makes perfect! A lot of your improvement will come from practicing a lot. By putting the knowledge you gain into practice, you can see for yourself how it works.
You internalize the information and start to gain a personal sense of it. Do your homework. I mean it.
The end of each chapter will have things for you to do. I can't grade them, but doing them is meant to help you learn.
This chapter only has one assignment. Start a sketchbook if you haven't already. Use it to take note of anything you find interesting or important. Also use it as a place to practice and study things you learn from here or anywhere else. Draw things you see around you, draw things from your memory, draw things from your imagination. Don't worry how it looks, but learn from it.