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Janet Chui

Artists Helping Artists

posted by marrael 2011-11-24 00:36:07

In the free-wheeling and dealing world on the Internet, it's always been interesting for me to note the wide range of artistic styles and abilities out there that are still quite dazzling to me, who managed to live the first 17 years of my life without it. Prior to the Internet, my exposure to art was in the form of books, stationery, art classes and museums. Even with regular exposure to the widest variety of books, it was still looking at art through the filters imposed by industry experts and book editors. It wasn't bad (on the contrary, it was all good stuff) but it was rare to find rough sketches or pictures of work in development outside of biographical books about artists. Even in the early days of the Internet, scanners weren't common, digital painting was (more or less) in its infancy, and the artists to be found online were probably just a fraction of a percentage of the artists you can find online today.
Recent explorations on the Internet revealed to me that it isn't just artists of various abilities flourishing online, but the tutorials written for artists of varying levels by artists at varying levels. It really shouldn't have been a surprise to me, because some of these tutorials have been the subject of hilarity in some of the forums I roll in (frequently, tutorials by obviously young-male artists trying to teach others how to draw ladyboobs). Maybe it's just the Thanksgiving spirit getting to me, but I had an epiphany looking at these tutorials yesterday, even some of the ones I know I'd have written completely differently: It's all artists trying to help other artists. And this motivation to help is found at all levels of ability--which is brilliant.
Now, I could end here after pointing out that we could be grateful for this alone (and I'll also provide links to general tutorial sites at the bottom) but I'd like to take it further. Sometimes I find stuff on the internet alluding to artists behaving badly, whether it's stealing (not cool), being flaky (as artists, we're allowed some slack being "creative types", but not too much), ungrateful, jealous, not good at sharing, et cetera. I'm not going to be schoolmarm here, because I've hardly been the model for any type of moral behavior for much of my life, but I will share something: It's definitely no fun being in an insecure place, and being in so deep that looking at other artists gets you down. And after looking at so many tutorials, I wonder if the trick to coming out of negativity is to turn it around, recognise one's strengths, and use them for helping others (this includes other artists). Because everyone starts somewhere. No one is born Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci right out of the womb. There are art teachers, there are informal art teachers, and there's art by tons of other artists we look at everyday, and all and every one of them is going to affect our own art, whether we're conscious of it or not. 
OK, so some artists may look like they don't need help anymore (if so, good for them; but remember there was a time they did); they're still vastly outnumbered by other artists and beginning artists looking for encouragement. And giving encouragement is something that will keep you in a positive place--and grateful when it's returned!

(Disclaimer: Not all generous acts of helping others will be received with 100% glowing gratitude--like these flog entries--but that's OK. ;) Do it to potentially help or to just feel good without expectations of things you may not be able to control. Easier said than done, but this is a disclaimer for you.) 

Besides art-hosting sites and artist's personal websites, art tutorials can also be found on sites expressly for providing tutorials and help for various subjects. And last by not least, there's always YouTube.

Art tutorials at:
Have a great weekend!

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