I am J.C.T. Holmes and this is where my artwork goes on Tumblr.
Read my comic at sanpozeit.com, read my articles at twinfinite.net, and follow me on twitter at @Sonic9jct.
I draw cute things occasionally, I guess.
No, I’m not a judge or police or whatever. I make suggestions about the things I believe… often very strong and hyperbolic because ~I love words~ and ~I like to write~. But the thing is, I am leaving you guys alone. I’m not picking any fights, I’m not going to 4chan and bullying folk, I’m not outing them on twitter or whatever.
Honestly, a lot of people think how I spend my time is dumb. Yeah, peeps think games are dumb, peeps think me honestly considering a career in arts is dumb, peeps think having a “social justice mentality” is dumb, and a lot more other stuff about me is dumb (seriously, I have a magic track record for loving stuff that’s like never popular with anyone ever) but honestly, I just kinda keep on doing what I’m doing as long as I’m not stopping people from doing what they do.
Now, when asked about my PERSONAL FEELINGS on 4chan, I responded, and I knew I’d get at least one response back about me being high and mighty for calling it dumb and stuff and yeah, thats valid. But I’m never gonna act on that. When my friends tried going to 4chan, I gave em a “are you sure wanna do that?” but when they said yes, I let them go for it. And guess what, they’re not worse people for it.
It’s not my place to stop people from doing whatever, no matter how I feel about it. It never has been and never will be. And honestly, I’m fallable. I could be wrong. My experience and understanding of 4chan could represent a very vocal minority. Who knows!
If you’re lookin’ to be left alone, hey you got it buddy. I’ve got my own communities, friends, hobbies, and work to occupy my time rather than picking fights when and where I don’t need to.
In fact, I should be working on some art stuff right now.
Books: I love 80s-90s Garfield, and I love reading books of old fairy tales/fables
Games: I really dig games that are about nothing but relaxing, even if it means making them less of a game. Things like Pilotwings, Noby Noby Boy, etc. Also Quake is probably one my favorite games of all time for how dumb it is yet somehow still makes it work.
Movies: I love the sense of grand scale in Atonement. The same feeling I got from playing Mother 3, I got from watching Atonement and the first time I saw it, I went home and wrote a lot. a LOT. Didn’t expect that.
Whatever: Really well designed children’s toys. Can’t get enough of em.
Look, I don’t claim to be a professional artist. I didn’t study in the arts and I only work freelance as an artist right now actually (though surprisingly, I never thought I really would get a chance to in my life). But I have been drawing all my life. I just didn’t get super serious about it until the past two years, but in that past two years, I’ve learned a LOT and still have a lot to learn.
But for my friends out there who were once like me and wanted to get better at drawing or using computer programs like Photoshop and Manga Studio and the like, here are some little tips I learned along the way that helped me grow the most as an artist.
Maybe they’ll help you too.
1. IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO SCHOOL, TEACH YOURSELF
You don’t have to have gone to a fancy art school to start drawing. Hell, I went to an art school for four years and I only took like two art classes. But that doesn’t mean I’m immune to learning. Teach yourself the basics. Get a book from the library or google some tutorials. Don’t trace and don’t spend your whole life trying to just copy what you can see. Learn how simple shapes make complex shapes. Before you leap straight into cartooning or drawing anime girls or whatever, practice some figure drawing. Like human being figures. Like sometimes naked people figures. Get a feel for drawing real humans. You don’t have to master it, but once you understand that, constructing a lot of stuff gets a lot easier from there.
2. STUDY PERSPECTIVE AND 3D SHAPES
Simple as that. Sure you can carve a cube into your middle school desk, but can you reliably draw other 3D shapes? From other angles besides 3/4ths view? Learn to give basic shapes depth and dimension as well as how to shade them too. Once again, foundation stuff that will pay off in the long run.
3. WHATEVER GIVES YOU TROUBLE, PRACTICE DOING THAT
I use to hate drawing hair. I was bad at drawing hair. So I made a point to practice drawing hair. I googled hairstyles and tried to draw them, even if I hated it. I’m better at drawing hair now and I can still get better. But I don’t suck. Whatever your hurdle is, make a point to take some time and overcome it. Maybe you suck at drawing hands, maybe your eyes always look like creepy dolls, maybe you don’t understand teeth, whatever. Do your homework and learn to conquer the things you hate and can’t do.
4. GET A FEEL FOR HOW COLOR WORKS
Coordinatng colors is really hard if you haven’t been trained to do it. Its like trying to pick out the right colors from that rainbow in Photoshop all without making your drawing look like a Liquid Television reject. Once more, get a book, read up on colors and learn how to make it work. I say book because electronic screens do not give good use of colors any credit. There’s a good chance the colors on your monitor suck. And when you try printing something out, you’re gonna get something thats not what you saw on your computer. Trust me on this. Oh, and I also definitely recommend grabbing some books or pamphlets about coordingating colors for painting houses. A wonderful beginners tool for seeing what good palettes look like. Get a feel for expressing temperature with color. What colors make an image look warm? Cold? Both at once? This is important to know.
Practice drawing circles, over and over and over for days and days until you whip out a perfect circle without trying. Learn to master controlling your line thickness and widths, ESPECIALLY if you plan to draw digitally. Learn to draw solid shapes without guides and rules. LEARN TO DRAW STRAIGHT LINES. These are skills that need to be practiced for months before they become second nature, sad to say, but true. Be ready to put that time in.
6. MASTER THE RULES BEFORE YOU BREAK THE RULES
I get it, you wanna have a style all your own. You see something like Adventure Time which looks wholly original and pleasant but has a stylized simplicity to it. You wanna draw something in a way no one has ever drawn it before. To do that, you’re gonna have to draw in a way everyone’s drawn before. Learn a standard way to draw and the rules that come with that. Rules of shape, size, weight, and so on. After you’ve gotten to know these things, then you’re ready to break some rules. You’d be surprised how many of the best simple designs are age-old designs with simple twists on them. Plus this will just make you more versatile overall. Get what I’m sayin’?
7. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Go out and feed your brain. Read some comics, go to a museum (any kind will do), watch a movie with beautiful cinematography, watch a movie with shots that challenge your mind, pay attention to how cartoons are animated— this is all the stuff you will have to draw from when you’re, well, drawing. If you’re that kind of person who refuses to step outside your comfort zone of only consuming Japanese media or not watching any movie made before 1996 or some bullshit like that, I gotta be honest with you, you’ll never be as good an artist as you want to be. The cool thing about art is that art is a culture and culture is influenced by the world and people around it, present and past. To shut yourself off from experiences is to shut your mind off from new ways of thinking, of seeing. I think Akira Kurasawa put it best in describing the meaning of art as being unafraid to look at something that might be hard to look at. Never be afraid of expanding your world view and acknowledging that thousands of people lived before you and will live after you. And many of those people will be smarter than you ever will be— but that there’s also so much we can learn from them. That’s how I went from thinking that Westerns were shallow shells of a genre reserved for machismo fantasies to discovering that most of the best Westerns not only paint a beautiful original image of America but also tend to criticize masculine fantasies quite heavily— many aspects that I forever would like to carry in my future works. My point is, keep an open mind and always give your brain something to work with, even if you might not quite be hungry for it at the time. After all, the brain is a muscles and you gotta keep muscles in shape for them to work.
Now, like I said, I’m no professional. I’m still learning a lot of stuff and have a lot more stuff to learn, but I always get people asking me how i do my stuff or how I get started, and well, these steps are a big part of that. I essentially spent the better part of one of the most important years of my life learning these things alongside others. I just should hope that I can impart some of what I’ve learned onto my peers and perhaps others beyond that. I think we all have the potential within us to create something beautiful. The only thing is, that only begins when we sit down with the decision and the conviction to move ahead and actually do something with our lives.