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Art 101 Resources
#1
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Here I am, back again with a resource thread that may prove to be a helpful directory for visual artists, writers, and graphic makers! This will be updated over time with more stuff I find on the internet, so stay tuned! If you've any resources of your own you'd like to share, you're welcome to post it.

For applications, check to see if they support your device/OS! Some are Windows or Mac exclusives.

I-A. FOR DIGITAL ARTISTS
ON THE MARKET (Usually allows you to try it for free first)
Adobe Photoshop: People apparently do art with Photoshop, but after Creative Cloud was launched, basically everything hides behind a monthly paywall. I personally don't use it even with the copy I own that I use to make edits for art. It's not something I've ever gotten the hang of, and its interface just doesn't agree with the way my mind lays out things. Also, it's expensive. :p
HOWEVER, it is a very useful editor for scanned images and post-editing for color adjustments than things like SAI which does not allow you to adjust RGB values with nearly as much fine tuning.
Clip Studio Paint (formerly known as Manga Studio): Usually you can catch the Pro package on sale at an affordable price every couple months or so (usually gets a big sale around the holiday seasons), and it's worth the investment for all the stuff it comes with. EX is more expensive. A perfect program to upgrade to when you have the money and feel that you've developed enough technical skill to go to the next program. Recently, they released an iPad app (6 months free it seems), so if you're always on the go with an iPad rather than a laptop, perhaps you'd like this app even more than the desktop one. Comes with lots of screentones and patterned brushes, lets you make paneled pages for comics with appropriate typography features and the like. Good stuff. (Basically, CSP master race)

Painttool SAI: Lots of ways you can tweak the brushes (though downloading brushes from others and the like is a bit of a tricky process), but it has an outdated interface. If you're a cheapskate like me, you can find free versions pretty much anywhere on the internet. Just be careful where you get it. They're working on Version 2 that comes with a text box and things like that, but if you buy it, updates are free, including the upgrade to version 2 when it releases apparently. 

Corel Painter: EXPENSIVE (arguably more affordable than Photoshop tho). NOT the same as Corel Painter Essentials, as there is a significant difference in pricing. (It's on sale for 40% off right now!). Perfect for digital artists who want to try digitally painting and are really just looking for a versatile program to color illustrations; it just doesn't seem to offer as much in the typography department like Photoshop, however. Essentials comes free with the Wacom Intuos Draw bundle tho!

WACOM: A common brand for tablet shopping, but they sell a wide variety of products. Some of their tablets come with an art bundle, which is usually a digital art program like Corel Painter Essentials accessible via a download key for no additional charge. WACOM is not the only tablet making company out there though!

Just a disclaimer, but expensive programs does not necessarily mean your art will improve drastically just because you threw a lot of money at the program for it. Your techniques should improve with practice, not with how expensive your material is. (This isn't exactly  as applicable to traditional art, as things like the quality of ink or flexibility of a pen nib can impact your final product)

Are you a cheapskate like me!? No fear! They have free programs for people like us.  Gar

OPEN SOURCE (FREE) PROGRAMS [Check back for more!]
FireAlpaca: Basically a free version of SAI with a similar interface, but you don't have to stick your neck out to get it. Lmao FireAlpaca is the free paint tool that is compatible with both Mac and Windows. Simple tools and controls let you draw easily. It’s Free FOREVER! Interface looks like a hybrid between SAI and Photoshop. Apparently its compatible with even Windows Vista, so if you live in a pre-Y2K cavern somewhere that strangely has WiFi, you can use it!
MediBang Paint: Looks like a free version of Clip Studio Paint, but also is supported on mobile devices! Neat.
Krita: Krita is a professional FREE and open source painting program. It is made by artists that want to see affordable art tools for everyone.
MyPaint: A simple drawing and painting program that works well with Wacom-style graphics tablets. Hosted on GitHub. Responsive to tablet pen pressure, but might not be very good for people who prefer to draw with a mouse. It also has a brush library right next to it! Neat-o.

MOBILE APPLICATIONS
CamScanner: a FREE mobile app for Android and iOS (you may purchase for full capabilities iirc, but I don't think you need to for what we'd use it for). No scanner? Scanner takes too long? Too lazy to scan it? You want to show your friends something you drew but it's 2 AM!? NO PROBLEM! This app essentially imitates a scanner. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it's much easier to use than the laborious task of using your printer's scanner and waiting for it to scan before doing how many other things.

How to use it:
  1. You typically will open it, and click the camera icon.
  2. click to "Docs" mode, focus the image by tapping where you think it needs to be focused the most (preferably try to get the entire paper/sketchbook page into frame) and snap a photo! It will then let you crop it or adjust the frame if you took a picture of a tilted paper. 
  3. After that is done, it presents a number of "filters" which are presets, and tapping each one shows you a different preview of how the image looks. You can also mess with the settings yourself by tapping the icon that has lines with notches on them; this allows custom editing, but requires more 'fine' tuning since it only has 3 scales [Contrast, Brightness, and Detail]. 
  4. When you're satisfied, click the checkmark. 
  5. To save it to your phone, you can go to where the image is located, tap and hold, then select "Save to Gallery". To send it to your email or someone else, use the "Share as [image file type] function".

Here's an example, using my drawing that was inked by hand and shot with my phone:
Original picture:
Auto (this one seems to do a fairly good job for black and white drawings).
BW 2: similar to Auto, but seems to show less gray around the bottom.
After a few tries of using it, I find this much easier to do for a lot of my traditional drawings without worrying about lighting and angle. It also takes care of the hassle of inking if I want to color this digitally. For colored pictures, you need more fine adjustments though, so it takes a bit more of a trained eye to edit them. 

Overall, I really like CamScanner and it's quite useful for traditional and digital artists alike. Even though the app was originally intended for office use.
Download Link from Official Site (click the device you want to download it for).

I-B. TRADITIONAL ARTISTS
Check out Elio's post down below for good sources that will surely help you on your quest to traditional artistry!

I-C. GENERAL ARTIST STUFF
Don't know what to draw? Try this!
Color Palette Generators: for when you're looking for a good set of colors to use or want to do a drawing using only the chosen colors! Coolors, Colormind
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II. GRAPHIC ARTISTS
dafont.com ; a font source website with all the different kinds that would fit your need. Perfect resource for sig makers and artists who like to incorporate text into their art every once in a while. Be warned that not all of these fonts may be free, as most font makers only allow usage of the font for personal, non-commercial uses. Every font that is downloaded comes with a readme document outlining what you can and cannot do with the font. Some free fonts are royalty-free in all cases, while others require a royalty if being used in images intended for profit.

Remember, use renders responsibly: not every render you find out there was made with permission from the original artist! If you're a highly ethical graphics maker, a safe bet is to use renders of official art (i.e. manga scans or poster illustrations, official character art, etc). If you do use a render of someone's work, it's worth looking into seeing if you can find the original artist and link the work. Maybe you'll find a new artist to follow! (I'd avoid using Deviantart for Renders in general unless the artist who drew it gave permission OR created a vector for that kind of personal use for others)

RENDER SOURCES (Coming Soon):

EDITOR PROGRAMS (WIP)

GIMP: Not Photoshop. It's Free at least.
PicMonkey Photo Editor: Not Free, but you can use a free trial and it's a monthly or yearly plan, with varying degrees of Premium to Supremium membership (Monthly's 5.99$ if you pick the cheapest plan, but none of them exceed 10 bucks a month). We all know anything's better than GIMP. C'mon... you know it... I know it... y'now.
Adobe Photoshop CS6 (?): Apparently it was free as of a few years ago, but Adobe's website is confusing AF ever since they launched Creative Cloud to replace all the CS programs. If you're someone with CS6, help a panda out and show me how to get this thing without being forced to click through a bunch of CC links first (God help you if you need to buy a subscription to use the Creative Cloud). If you know a good way to get this without being forced through the Cloud loophole, tell a friend. Eyeballs
Adobe Photoshop 7.0: Kind of an old version, not like CS6, but hey it gets the job done. Not sure if it's free these days, you can buy the full thing for a one-time fee, or you have to buy it on their new subscription model. (I'm biased against the use of monthly fees rather than a one-time fee especially for hobbyists like ourselves and not industry creators, so I ain't linkin to that kind of noise.)


III. WRITING RESOURCES
Here to make your writing experience a little less painful!

i. GENERATORS
Make your brainstorming a little less painful!

[url=seventhsanctum.com]SeventhSanctum: Basically a website full of different generator types for all your needs. Fantasy name generators: Not just any name generator! This generator site has name generators for just about everything you'd need. It has many more generators than Seventh Sanctum. They even generate names for your story (genre-specified!), and have generators for franchises you may be familiar with. A helpful original & fanfiction writing resource. They have additional generator types, just take a browse along the generator hover-menus at the top.
Don't know what to write? Try some Writing Prompts!
Genre, Plot, & Story Generators
Looking for feedback on your writing? Feel free to make use of our Commentary & Critique subforum.
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#2
Here's my personal recommendations for traditional materials & tools that's (hopefully) light on the pockets! 

I. PENS 

I absolutely LOVE a good ink pen. You'll want an ink pen that's long-lasting, durable and versatile -- and preferably easy to get when you run out of ink. There's TONS of them out there, but my absolutely favorite (one that I've never gotten tired of buying over and over again despite having a lot of them already) is the Unipin Fineliner pens. They range from 0.05 to 0.8, and are incredibly versatile with good ink flow. Plus they cost around $2 each. They should be available at any art store/bookstore/stationery store near you, or you can buy them in sets at Amazon for around $30 at max. Not too bad! 

There's a neat tip I picked up from a Malaysian comic artist about how to make these pens work even better for you, but I gotta translate it and stuff. Remind me to post them later here.

AMAZON LINKS: 1 / 2

Another brand that I recommend is the Sakura Pigma Micron pens. They range about the same as Unipin pens, and have the added advantage of having a wider range of sizes, the lowest being 0.25, and also have brush pens in their repertoire. I like these because they're pretty resistant to fading when you rub off pencil lines* compared to Unipin pens. You can grab a set of 9 for about $20 on Amazon, or buy them individually at local stores. Expect to fork out a bit more than Unipin pens though, like about $4-$5?

AMAZON LINKS: 1 / 2

*note: All ink lines will fade if you rub off pencil lines immediately after you do your inking. The trick is to wait for a few minutes to let the ink dry and settle in before erasing pencil lines, so that you won't have to re-ink the lines over. Drying time depends on the type of paper you use. 

II. NIB PENS

AH, the pens that are practically the dream of every budding manga artist out there -- everyone knows it's the common tool many mangaka use, and I have to admit I'm one of those people. But nib pens come in so many varieties -- do you get the calligraphy ones or the cartography ones?? I'm about as clueless as you are unfortunately, but luckily Jetpens.com wrote a handy guide on the differences between pen nibs out there, and their purposes.

Nib pens are pretty cool and provide greater versatility in terms of line weight compared to standard ink pens, but a steady hand works to your advantage more. If you're looking to get one anyway, I suggest starting off with the Tachikawa School-G pen. It has the standard nib you normally see in nib pens, but it has the design and feel of your standard ink pen, and has refillable cartridges. Warning: you need to use this pen frequently, as the ink idries fast and can't be used any more if you haven't used it for a considerable amount of time. I learned this the hard way.

Once you're confident about nib pens, you can buy a pen holder and some nibs to start off. I personally like G-nibs, as they're more flexible than Maru, Spoon or School nibs. Some Western pen nibs are great too -- the Brause rose pen nibs especially are awesome, because it's a LOT more flexible than Japanese nibs. Granted they're made for calligraphy, but they're pretty good for drawing too. I love them. As for pen holders, you might want to start with a holder that isn't too long or too short. Tachikawa makes some solid, medium-sized pen holders. If you're buying from your local art store, make sure you ask if you can test them to make sure the nib is compatible with its holder. (I personally like Tachikawa because it's super versatile for drawing pen nibs)

III. INK

Whether you use brushes or nib pens, you can't go wrong with a good quality ink. Artist grade inks can get pretty pricey, but they're a good investment if you're looking to work with ink more often (trust me they're better with filling large areas in black than markers). I like using Winsor and Newton inks as they're rich in color and are also workable with markers. Kuretake Zig Cartoonist black ink is also good too -- AND it's waterproof (you'll have to wait for it to dry first if you want the waterproofing to work!). There's tons of colors available, so experiment with them if you like! I personally love messing around with gold and silver ink.

If using brushes, make sure you wash them thoroughly after use -- when they dry up, the ink clogs the brush hairs and make it hard to work with. You could probably get a brush cleaner for it. Or if you're someone like me that doesn't really have that option at hand and don't know where to find them, you can probably use an alcoholic facial toner or non-washing facial cleanser to clean your brushes. 

IV. PAPER AND SKETCHBOOKS 

I have one simple rule when it comes to paper: the heavier the methods you're using for your work (like heavy inking with a LOT of black, or heavy marker work), the heavier your paper weight should be. 80gsm is fine for light work, sketching and doodling -- if you're considering also inking, get paper that's at least 120gsm. Printer/cartridge paper takes ink just fine (I mean, it IS called printer paper for a reason), but awful when it comes to watercolor work (trust me, I've tried). Watercolor work looks best with heavy-grade watercolor paper -- brands like Canson and Strathmore are reliable and aren't too expensive (for Malaysians like me, Arto is the budget watercolor paper).  

As for sketchbooks, you can't go wrong with having 2: one a good old sketchbook you can get at your local stationery store, and another that's at least 120gsm and made with drawing paper -- these kinds of sketchbooks can take anything from sketches to light-to-medium ink/watercolor work. The more pages and the heavier the grade, the more expensive -- but it's an investment well worth the money. I can't recommend any because sketchbook selection is pretty subjective; take whatever suits your needs! Alternatively, you can make one yourself! The video below is one of MANY tutorials on making your own sketch books:




V. WATER-SOLUBLE MARKERS 

I honestly only have one brand I really like: Sakura Koi coloring brush pens. They're water-soluble to a degree since they're water-based and not alcohol-based like copics, so you can pretty much use them like watercolors! The colorless blender is a DREAM. There's also Tombow pens that work the same way too! They work best if you use heavy, uncoated paper (they're nice with printer paper but work on it too heavily and they leave nasty pilling that's hard to get rid of -- you know how paper tends to leave these nasty little bits when you work with too much water or ink? THAT's pilling. And it can get frustrating to work with). 

I'll add more in the near future when I can think of more!
[Image: QhdP6y5.png]

A single death can change everything.
☆ Graphics requests: OPEN 
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#3
I also want to add: if you want to use Photoshop legally, but can't pay 19.99/mo for it, but can spare 10 bucks a month, I suggest getting the Photography plan. The photography plan includes Lightroom CC (great if you do photography on the side) and 20GB of cloud storage, AND Photoshop CC -- the full app too, with no limit on its features -- for 9.99/mo. If that's money you don't mind investing on Photoshop, then it's well worth getting. If you're an artist with a tablet, Photoshop CC now has the full collection of Kyle T. Webster's brush packs, many of which actually mimics traditional tools perfectly. Yes I know I'm biased because I like Photoshop & its versatility... but you gotta admit getting all of these for 10 bucks a month is a boon.
[Image: QhdP6y5.png]

A single death can change everything.
☆ Graphics requests: OPEN 
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