Thursday, April 03, 2008
Getting an Art Education Online, Part II
You may be wondering why there is an alien baby in today's post. Well . . . I wanted to show you what I looked like before I started my online art education. This alien baby is actually a drawing I did of my daughter back when she was about six months old. And I thought it was good.
Ugh. Anyway, do the math. This drawing is a little over three years old. How far I've come!
As if you need any more encouragement about online education, right? I've decided this is such an important topic to me that I'm going to do an additional post about it tomorrow and hopefully attack the questions as well.
Today I want to post on the online resources I've made use of in the past three years. There are hundreds more that I'm sure I've not encountered yet, and I encourage you to post the ones that were actually useful to you in the comments. Not the ones you ought to post. Not the ones you thought about reading. The ones you did. The ones that really made an influence.
Now, as a bunch of the commenters noted in the last post, art education in any form is what you make of it. Essentially, all artists are self-taught -- it's just whether or not you have a professor to guide you. Online, you have to be your own professor, your own study-guide. You also have only you to be accountable for, which can be a problem. No deadlines mean lackluster study habits. So it shouldn't be a surprise that the first and absolutely best resource on my list is an artists' forum. Surround yourself with people who know what you're working on, because then you'll have an excuse to get your work done and to strive harder.
Without further ado, my top five resources:
Hands down, this is the best resource in my arsenal. There are other artists forums out there -- ScribbleTalk, ArtPapa, etc. and I'm certain they're also useful -- but WetCanvas just happened to be the first one I ran across and the one that became my home. Why was it useful? First of all, there were a ton of struggling beginners just like me, posting their works in progress for all to critique. Even if I couldn't work up the nerve to post my works for critique, I learned shovel-loads from observing how other people laid down color and attacked their artistic problems. Plus, as mentioned above, suddenly I had accountability. If I posted a work in progress, I felt motivated to finish it and post the next step. I'm Piper1 on WC and you can see just how far my work's come since I began posting on the colored pencil forum. It's a huge site -- plan on taking a while to get familiar with how it works.
Making a Mark: http://makingamark.blogspot.com/
The blog of art maven Katherine Tyrrell is a veritable haven for beginning and advanced artists alike. She covers a huge range of art subjects and writes about them sensitively and intelligently. I would say I'm biased because I'm also a close friend of hers, but we met on WC and became friends precisely because we approach art-making in the same way. There's always more to be learned.
Gurney Journey: http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/
This is the blog of James Gurney, the artist who created Dinotopia. Don't let that throw you. His blog is a wonderful resource for color theory and art techniques -- my mind boggles at how much time each of his intensely useful blog posts must take to write. I highly recommend it for intermediate and advanced artists -- beginning artists might find it a bit overwhelming.
John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery: http://jssgallery.org/
Ironically, the painter who had the most significant influence on my work is dead as a doornail. John Singer Sargent's work still hits me everytime I look at it, and I spent literally hours going through this site. I don't think everyone has to idolize JSS, however, I do think having an artist mentor, alive or dead, is useful.
Endless Summer Art Fair: http://summerartfair.blogspot.com/
This is one of clever Casey Klahn's blogs -- this one is full of tips on setting up art booths and generally not making an idiot of yourself when you're displaying your art in public. A must for working artists.
More tomorrow . . .