Tips and More

Fast Ways to Illustrate

This week’s tip of the week is all about illustrating!

As a professional illustrator you’ll need to show good results FAST and the three quickest ways to color your images are:

  • aquarelle (watercolors)
  • markers (“Copic” is a well known Japanese marker manufacturer)
  • computer

Each of these individual approaches gives more or less different results and varies in their purchasing expenses. While aquarelle is obviously the oldest coloring technique in this context it has proven to show great results after a rather sharp learning curve and is still far from being replaced. But let’s have a deeper analysis of the three methods:


This is only a simple overview. I can cover some of the points mentioned in detail in future posts 😉

Although I tried to avoid advertising specific manufacturers I mentioned some for the sake of giving you real examples you can work with!

Reference in Other Artist’s Artwork

Tip of the week time!

Got a favorite artist/artists? Then you should find some of their artwork and start analyzing it!

Let’s say you like how someone draws people. Then pick out a few simple images made by this artist and try breaking it down to simple rules you can remember. These rules (like proportions, forms, colors etc.) don’t need to be conventional. Try really finding your own helping anchors, patterns and definitions, this way you’ll memorize them much better than anything you are taught from the outside. Make the image’s construction your own invention! Perhaps there is more than one way to draw the human depicted. Don’t be afraid to create some crazy formulas! The more unique the better 🙂

Nevertheless you should avoid applying too many different patterns. This is going to get you confused later on when you try to remember how you constructed the image. Use what you already know and combine it with a unique theory you came up with. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not about inventing a whole new way on drawing no one has ever thought of. This whole exercise is about the process not the outcome. Your brain learns and remembers your own inventions over external ones.

I actually started using this approach not so long ago but I have to say it really works better for me! I learned a lot of things by only drawing them once but concentrating on finding my own patterns. By the way, this really trains creativity 😉


This week my tip of the week will be dealing with exhibitions, conventions and competitions connected to drawing.

You should attend one of the mentioned above every now and then if possible. You can learn a lot on this kind of events. And I’m not only talking about enjoying the newest comic books and illustrations.

First of all, you can analyze the market: What’s in right now? Which artists are getting a lot of attention and why? What’s making a good profit? How do artists promote their work?  You should at least try to find the answer to some of these questions. It can really help you define your own strategy to success a little bit better. On the other hand you can try to set a foot in the biz yourself if you feel ready for it. If you’re just starting out you don’t have anything to lose, right! You should approach other artists or publishers and ask for advice. Most of them should be more than happy to help you 🙂 Especially new artists are really talkative.

Last week I went to the ComicAction exhibition in Essen, Germany. There I met a few fairly new artists and asked them some questions on their work process and the materials/programs they are using to create their artwork. Everyone was very friendly and answered EVERY question I had in detail. I really learned a lot but more important my morale got boosted since now I saw with my own eyes how the artist’s reality looks like and I really liked it. But that doesn’t mean I ignore the hardships artists have to bear 😉

Now then, start planning your next trip to some drawing related event and don’t forget your note book (or con-hon if you’re in to that) AND your sketchbook 😉

The Book of Life

It’s time for a fundamental Tip of the Week!

As soon as you seriously decide to learn drawing you will have to start observing the world around you very carefully. If you have got a flawless photographical memory that alone should be enough. If you are not blessed with one you should start working with a sketch book like the rest of us 😉

Wherever you go you have to carry a small sketch book with you and as soon as you have some time to spare or when you see something interesting DRAW, put it down on paper! Perhaps you saw an interesting bird or someone on the bus did a particular gesture you can use for your next comic/manga or you just had a groundbreaking epiphany on color theory and you need to illustrate it really quickly. But don’t restrict your options with a sketch book, it’s not simply a collection of white sheets to draw on, you can write down any idea you get, copy the math homework or write down the newest cake recipe. The sketch book is your Book of Life!

To quote my drawing professor: “You must get accustomed to your sketch book to the extent that you can’t get out of the house without it! Just like with your purse or your cell phone.”

I used to ignore this most basic but crucial advice myself. But then I just forced myself to try it out and I was really surprised how well I memorized everything I sketched! It’s incredible! You really have to start walking around with one of those trendy sketch books, too 😉

And by any means do not throw your full books away! You never know when you can use one of those sketches or ideas you documented there.

Good Pen Eraser

Time for my tip of the week!

This week I finally found a relatively decent pen-eraser. I’ve already had 3 other ones, and they were no no-names, believe me! I made a picture so you can see what I’m talking about:

comparing 4 different erasers

Well as you can see, the inconspicuous Japanese pen-eraser really did a nice job in comparison to the rest. And it isn’t all too expensive either. It costs about 1,70 Euros! Really, it cannot get any cheaper!

This is of course my opinion, and I’m not getting paid for advertisement or something. Just my recommendation 😉

Collect your artwork

Actually I wanted to upload my own portfolio, but unfortunately I have to wait for a  while until I get a decent camera…I tried out the one I have but the results are unacceptable! So I decided to start a new category 🙂 “Tip of the Week”

It’s really about small but really helpful hints you can apply to your (art) working habits. The information contained in this category is meant for a mixed audience, meaning some tips will be for beginners and some other for more advanced artists. So check it out every time!

And the first tip is: “Collect all your sketches and note the date you draw them on.”

Probably most of you are already doing this and if you’re not START NOW! You can use old sketches and drawings for comparison. That’s the best way to keep record of you actual progress and it is a very powerful motivator, believe me! At the moment I’m working on the human anatomy, so I’m drawing constantly. At times I feel like I’m not getting better at all, I feel like I’ll never be able to draw humans like Bridgeman or Bammes…That’s when I look through some older images, a few months old ones in particular. Every time I end up really surprised. The progress is so evident and that gives me a huge motivation boost! You should try it out, too!

Another reason for keeping your old sketches isn’t that obvious but you can keep it in your mind for the sake of positive attitude: One day you’ll be famous and then you can sell your old drawings for major cash 😀 It’s something real good artists tend to do at times…

Keep going!