Frequently Asked Questions
welcome to my f.a.q! since i get a looooot of questions via deviantart and e-mail i've deemed it necessary to write this up, to save time but also give people the information they want in a quick and easy way. this f.a.q is the same one as on loish.net
, except with some additional information specifically intended for deviantart. since it is a lot of information i've divided the f.a.q into categories, here is an overview:
1. Digital art
General information, plus tips and techniques relating to my digital artwork.
2. Other activities
Info about drawing traditionally, my animation work and my web designs.
3. Education and work
Info about where I studied and what I do now.
Permission for PSP tubes, tattoos, layouts, and more...
5. Various requests
Info about requesting commissions, art trades, etc.
6. Deviantart related
Questions relating to my Deviantart activity
1. Digital art
1.1 General information
1.1.1 How/where did I learn to draw
The short answer is that I am a self-taught artist. I’ve been drawing my entire life, literally since before I can remember. It was always something I enjoyed doing and invested a lot of time into, which helped me to develop my skills gradually. I took a few art classes in elementary school which taught me a lot about drawing from reference, but after that my art education was limited to school electives and lots of practice in my free time. I started drawing digitally with a mouse when I was 15 and got my first tablet when I was 16, after which I spent a sizeable portion of my free time drawing digitally, teaching myself almost everything I know about digital software and using a tablet. When I was 18, I decided to study animation after high school. At these schools, I learned to animate and apply my drawing skills to a variety of school assignments, but learning to paint digitally and developing the style I have now was something I did on my own.
I am often inspired by other artwork that I find on the internet, through DeviantArt or browsing websites. I watch a lot of movies and animated films which are sources of inspiration too. I also have a lot of friends who draw or animate, and being in a creative environment is very motivating. The things which most often inspire me are colors or color combinations, which usually give me ideas for a drawing and motivate the drawing process.
1.1.3 Artistic Influences
When I was 15, I was inspired by japanese drawing styles (animé and manga), as well as various french comic artists (particularly the work of Aurore BlackCat) and Art Nouveau (particularly Alfonse Mucha). After joining DeviantArt I became very inspired by a wide range of other artwork on the site, mostly digital paintings. My DeviantArt favorites (a collection of images on the site which are my personal favorites) gives a pretty good idea of the type of artwork that inspires me, as well as this influence map I created in August 2010: [link]
1.1.4 Developing my own style
Developing my own style wasn’t really a conscious decision I made, nor do I have any specific methods for it. Looking back, drawing a lot, being self-taught, and developing my own methods of handling software had a lot to do with it. As for suggestions, I think it's important to draw inspiration from the styles that inspire you most, and to draw inspiration from a variety of sources rather than just one or two. I think working intuitively is also very important: try to draw what feels good to you, instead of getting too technical or over-thinking the drawing process. This makes it easier to develop your own unique approach to drawing.
1.1.5 Getting started with digital art
I’ve been asked by people who are just beginning to draw digitally for tips on where to begin. Personally, I have never made heavy use of tutorials. I started by just messing around in Photoshop and other digital programs, not expecting too grandiose of an outcome. My first drawings in Photoshop were simple, drawn with a mouse and blended with the smudge tool (something I don't really recommend, but it worked for me at the time!). It's good to slowly familiarize yourself with the digital drawing process, so that you're comfortable with the tools and options, before you start drawing elaborate and detailed pieces. I created a lot of smaller drawings in a day, rather than putting a lot of my time into larger, more elaborate pieces. My work became more detailed as my skills improved. So a more concise answer would be: draw a lot, draw fast, and experiment until you feel comfortable!
1.1.6 Traditional vs. Digital
I draw almost 100% digitally, using Photoshop from start to finish. I occasionally sketch on paper but it is not an essential part of my drawing process. I do want to pick up traditional media and learn to emulate my digital works with traditional tools eventually
1.1.7 Staying motivated / dealing with artblock
A few people have approached me with the question of how I stay creative and motivated when I'm in an artblock (which is a phase where you feel unable to draw). Personally, since creating artwork and animation is my profession, in many ways I have no choice but to keep going. I went through something which seems to be common amongst many artists: a phase of rapid improvement and high motivation (for me, this occurred in the last two years of high school), which gradually slowed down and sometimes felt like an artblock, because my enthusiasm wasn't as great as before. Although I craved the feeling I had when I was in my more productive phase, it is better to accept the change and to search for new ways to find motivation and develop artistically. In my most productive phase, I really loved drawing 4-5 pictures a day and spending every free minute I had behind the computer screen, drawing feverishly. However, if I were still doing that, I would either be suffering from a burnout or I would be totally sick of art and drawing. Accepting a slower, more steady pace of improvement and inspiration has helped me to move past artblocks, as well as just keeping at it – eventually you'll make a drawing you're happy with and feel motivated again! It also helps to find a starting point for your artwork to kickstart your creativity, such as drawing from life, doing a commission, or participating in forums that choose random subjects for people to sketch.
1.1.8 Old artwork and layouts
1.2.1 How often do I draw
When I started out drawing digitally, I made something like 2 – 5 small drawings a day and basically spent most of my free time drawing. Nowadays, I draw all the time because it is my job, so I guess it's reasonable to say that I draw every weekday for a few hours at the very least.
1.2.2 Using reference
When creating my personal illustrations, I try to take the image as far as I possibly can without using any reference, but usually consult some reference images towards the end of the process to perfect the details. These reference images are almost always photographs, my personal favorite source being the Deviantart stock photo section. Using reference images for artwork is fairly essential, helping you notice things that wouldn't otherwise occur to you if you were only using your imagination. However, I find it useful to challenge myself and get as far as I can without reference, as a way to train my memory and avoid the fragmented look that can sometimes result from depending too heavily on photo references.
1.2.3 Life drawing
I took some life drawing classes in college, but they were not intensive and were only given once a week for one semester. Although I really enjoyed them, they didn’t have a gigantic impact on my drawing style or technique due to their short duration. Although I don't attend life drawing classes at the moment, I like to consult the Deviantart stock photo section for reference images to practice anatomy every now and then.
1.2.4 How long do I take
I spend on average between 6 to 10 hours to make a detailed digital piece. Sometimes I take longer and sometimes shorter. On quicker speed sketches, I spend between 1 to 3 hours.
1.2.5 Original size of the images
When drawing digitally it’s important to start at a large resolution, and downsize later for viewing on the web. This is essential to being able to make high-quality prints of digital work. I often start with a canvas that is at least A3 format (300DPI) or larger, which is around 3500 x 5000 pixels.
I use Adobe Photoshop for practically everything. I am currently using CS5.5. In the past I have used Painter
I tend to use the standard set of brushes that come with Photoshop, and mess around with the flow and size until I like what I see. I don’t make my own brushes, nor do I switch between brushes very often – I like to choose one and stick with it from the beginning to the end of the drawing process. Click here for a rough indication of which brushes I use.
1.3.3 Mouse or tablet
I started drawing digitally with an optical mouse, but stopped doing this as soon as I got my first digital drawing tablet, which, for those who don't know, is a kind of surface on which you can control your computer's mouse movements with a pen. I currently use a Cintiq 24HD the majority of the time and sometimes use an Intuos4 large as well.
1.3.4 Tablet advice
Sometimes people approach me for advice on which tablet to buy. I would suggest buying a Wacom tablet, purely because I am completely unfamiliar with any other brand! As for which make and size, it depends on your needs and budget. I started out with the cheapest, smallest tablet available at the time (a Wacom Volito) and gradually upgraded to bigger and more expensive ones whenever I could afford it. In my experience, larger tablets are not necessarily better than smaller ones, and the more expensive the Wacom tablet is, the better it is likely to be when it comes to things like pressure sensitivity and responsiveness. I believe that a small, cheap tablet can yield the same artistic results as an incredibly expensive tablet, and that the main difference is that bigger, more expensive tablets allow you to work faster and more efficiently. If working fast is a priority (which it is in my case, as a freelance artist), then the Cintiq is the best option out there. Any other info can of course be found on the Wacom site!
For sketches, I try to put more emphasis on flow and expression than on anatomical precision. Shapes, movement and direction are more important than details, which can be filled in later. This approach reduces stiffness in the final drawing. I often sketch digitally using Photoshop, although sometimes I also sketch using pencil. For examples of how I sketch, please see the following links: [link] [link] [link] [link]
Lately I'm not big on lineart, preferring instead to paint over a very rough sketch and just wing it from there. When I do create lineart, I usually do the coloring on a separate layer, and then eventually merge the color and lineart layer, which allows me to paint over the lineart in some parts and really blend it into the coloring. As for digital lineart, I tend to draw it freehand on a large scale and downsize later, which helps smooth out the lines.
1.4.3 Choosing colors
Choosing colors, for me, is largely an intuitive process. I just slap really rough colors onto the image and mess around with it until I like what I see. Using color editing controls plays a huge role in this process – hue/saturation, color balance, and replace color are the options I use most. When I'm happy with the colors I see in front of me, I start adding more details. A useful tip is to avoid using shadows or highlights which are simply lighter or darker versions of your base color. Try using a different color for the shadows or highlights to give more dimension and life to your picture. Another method I use is to add textures early on in the process, which can add colors, depth and interesting effects to the colored sketch (for more info on textures, skip ahead to 1.4.5 - textures). For examples of my coloring process, please see the following links: [link] [link] [link] [link]
1.4.4 Blending colors
As I explained in the previous section, I like to start out with a messy, rough version of the drawing. As soon as I like what I see and can envision the final picture, I start blending the colors more. I usually lower the opacity quite a lot (this applies to basically any brush I'm using) and just start painting in the details. A useful shortcut for this is alt+click, which makes the eyedropper tool temporarily appear. This allows me to pick colors off of the canvas and paint with them, which is why it's so useful to start out with a rough color version before adding details.
Textures play a huge role in all my work. They have an effect on the colors and overall look of all my illustrations. I use a method which is described here. I also tend to add a texture early in the painting process, merge it with the coloring layer, and basically paint on the texture, which helps blend the texture in with my coloring. As for the types of textures I use, I often use images of concrete or plaster walls, which have fine, grainy details and give a grungy look. I get most of my textures from cgtextures and lost and taken. For some before/after pics of textures in my artwork, please see the following links: [link] [link] [link] [link]
Nowadays I almost always use one layer to paint, adding extra layers for small tweaks and adjustments throughout the painting process but merging them with the main layer frequently. Especially when I’m painting in the details, I like to use one coloring layer and add layers only when I add textures or other details, which I end up merging into one layer after a while. I find this easier and that it brings the image together, so to speak, even though it is occasionally a very impractical approach.
I do not have any full tutorials posted online. I have received many requests for tutorials, but making them is very time consuming and I try to provide as much information as I can through this F.A.Q as a substitute. I have resources posted here and there on the web as well as a number of publications with comprehensive tutorials and walkthroughs.
List of online resources:
List of published tutorials:Please note: if you're interested in attaining any of these publications or magazine issues, please contact the publisher for information on their availability!
- A very old oekaki walkthrough: [link]
- Video screen captures of my digital sketching process: [link], [link] and [link]
- Various process posts on my blog: [link]
1.5.2 Videos + Livestream
1.5.3 Resources I use
2. Other activities
2.1 Traditional art
The pencils I use are just good old factory mechanical pencils
– the kind where you click on the back and more pencil comes out the front. I don't have a specific type of mechanical pencil that I use – just whatever's lying around.
2.1.2 Other tools
The other tools I have lying around are Pantone Tria markers and Van Gogh colored pencils, plus artline pens for inking. I don't use these much. Since I scan the lineart into the computer, the paper type is usually just standard printer a4 sheets.
2.2.1 Links to my animation work
Besides here on loish.net, my animation work can be found on my vimeo page
2.2.2 Animation programs
I use TVPaint
for frame-by-frame animation, a useful program which offers good digital drawing tools and a timeline. I usually make the backgrounds for my animations in Photoshop and composite my animations in Adobe After Effects, as well as animate with it. I sometimes edit my animations with Adobe Premiere Pro. Sadly I do not have much experience in 3D programs or compositing traditional pencil-drawn or cel animation, although I plan on changing that in the future.
2.3 Web related
I used to code loish.net using notepad, having learned some basic html and css from various resources online. I moved on to Dreamweaver eventually, coding most of the website myself and using Simpleviewer
for the galleries, but am now using Indexhibit
with the styling and graphics made by me (and some jquery help from my boyfriend Arjen Klaverstijn
2.3.2 Learning how to code
The best way to learn how to make your own website is search (with, for example, Google
) for tutorials, websites, and so on. I learned by starting simple, learning how to make a basic html page and then finding ways to expand on this basic knowledge. However, my skills are far from professional! If you want a strong website and have no coding skills, it's best to just have your site made for you by a professional.
2.3.3 Promoting myself online
I've been very active with posting my artwork on the internet ever since I started drawing digitally in 2003. Besides drawing on oekaki boards, I posted all my work to Deviantart and maintained a personal website. Over the years, I kept doing these things as well as branching out to facebook, twitter, and numerous other websites. Much of my online following is the result of actively promoting my work online for over 10 years now. For those seeking advice on how to promote oneself on the internet, I recommend staying active and keeping people up to date on your progress. Keep a blog next to a gallery site and stay in touch with people who start following your work, preferably through popular websites such as facebook and twitter as well as a personal website.
3. Education and work
3.1.1 Current work
I've been working as a freelance animator/illustrator in the Netherlands ever since I graduated in August 2009. I'm also working on producing two animated shorts which I am financing myself (for more info visit the Trichrome website
3.1.2 Future plans
I have the long term ambition of being able to live purely off of my own artistic ventures, but for the time being I am really enjoying the commercial work I am doing and the learning experiences it offers! Next to these freelance projects, I want to release an artbook and finish my personal animation project, which is forever at the end of my to-do list but I am very determined to finish them nonetheless.
3.1.3 Making a living off of art
I often get asked whether it is possible to make a living off of art, usually from people who are about to choose that direction in life and are worried about their future. Your ability to live off of your art depends enormously on what you do, where you live, and what your options are. I am able to live off of my art because of the exposure my work gets on the internet, the possiblity of being able to work from home, the fact that it's relatively easy to register oneself as a freelancer in Holland, and my ability to do work in both the animation and illustration field.
3.1.4 Finding work
People sometimes ask me for tips on finding work, building a portfolio, etc. It’s important to keep in mind that the commercial art industry is different from country to country and the workings of the industry in your location might be completely different from how it works in the Netherlands, where I work. If you're looking for specific advice on what your portfolio should look like or how to approach clients, it is wiser to seek this advice from people who work in the specific location and industry that you want to work in. As for my personal situation, I've found that online exposure has been the key to my career so far. Because I promote my artwork online, it is seen by potential clients who contact me personally. In this way, I have been able to build my client base and work on a variety of interesting freelance projects.
3.1.5 Commission tips
Commissions are paid requests, usually non-commercial in nature (i.e they are intended for personal use by the client). Commissions are commonly offered on art community sites like Deviantart. I've frequenlty been asked for tips on how to price them by people who want to start offering commissions. Personally, I started out offering very cheap commissions and then gradually raised the price as the demand for my artwork grew. But looking back as a professional freelance artist, I have to say that most of the commission prices I see on Deviantart are absurdly cheap, and far below industry standard – including the ones I used to offer before I became aware of how art is priced in the professional world. However, due to the wide availability of cheap commissions on the web, many people have come to expect and even demand these very low prices. If you decide to offer commissions, do not let anyone convince you that your price is too high – this happens a lot and is completely unacceptable. Be aware of the fact that there is a difference between the price of a product – such as an art print – and the price of design, such as an original drawing made in your own style. Design is always much more valuable and therefore more expensive. The best way to approach your pricing is to estimate how many hours would go into each piece, and to figure out how much money you feel an hour of your time is worth, and then do the math. For the rest, I would advise you to:
- Agree on the deadline in advance, and stick to it.
- Ask for your payment in advance, and if you can, use Paypal as the payment method.
- Agree on what your payment will be if the commission is cancelled halfway through the process.
- Show your client the rough sketch and a rough color version before proceeding to the next step, to ensure that the client is happy with where the image is going.
- Establish with your client how many modifications can be made to the artwork based on the client's feedback, in order to avoid a situation in which you might have to completely re-do your image.
- Be dependable and communicate well with your client. Your reputation as an artist is incredibly important!
3.2.1 My education
3.2.2 College tips - Outside of The Netherlands
A lot of people from all over the world ask me for tips on choosing something to study and finding the right college for it. I feel bad, but there is little advice I can give! I don’t know anything about colleges outside of the Netherlands. The system in Holland is different than many other colleges (we don’t work with majors and minors, for example), and as mentioned before, the commercial art industry is also different, which of course has a large influence on your decision of what to study. Also, each college has a different view on what your portfolio should look like, so if you need help on what kind of work you should have, please consult someone at the college you’d like to go to.
3.2.3 College tips - The Netherlands
Here in the Netherlands, I can only give advice on the animation course at the Utrecht School of the Arts. At this particular school they focus a lot on training students to work in projects with a tight deadline, many of them interdiscplinary (working with filmmakers, game designers, and other students at the school). The focus is more on getting these projects done than on training the students in animation techniques and skills. I really enjoyed my time at the Utrecht School of the Arts but found it to be a very flexible school where you can make or break your experience depending on how much effort you are willing to put into it. I sometimes found the learning environment to be chaotic and lacking structure, but I personally enjoyed that freedom and found it a good environment to thrive in, especially as a self-taught artist. However, if you are someone who needs lots of structure, the HKU might not be your best option. Information for international students can be found here: [link]
4.1 PSP tubes and signature tags
PSP tubes are images used to make (often animated) graphics, which are usually used as signatures in e-mails and forums. I do not allow people to use my work for PSP tubes or signature tags.
4.2 Licensing artwork
I am not interested in having my artwork licensed for use in signature tags or any other stock usage.
I only allow my artwork to be used in layouts if my website link (loish.net) is visible on the image being used. Please e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) before using my artwork in a website layout so that I can indicate whether I approve of its use or not.
4.4 Avatars and icons
I do not allow for my artwork to be used in avatars or icons unless "loish.net" is visible on the actual avatar or icon.
4.5 Pixel art
Using my art as an inspiration for pixel art (dolls) is not a problem as long as I am credited properly; however, I'd prefer if my artwork was not used as a reference for bases.
Using my artwork as a reference for your own is not a problem. This applies to referencing specific parts of my art as well as 'style borrowing' or trying out elements of my digital painting approach. All I ask is for you to link to the image you used as a reference and provide proper credit (with a link to loish.net). Also, I would love to see the artwork you created with my work as reference!
No need to ask my permission to have my art tattooed on you. Go right ahead! Please send me a photo of your tattoo when you have had it done.
4.8 Personal use
Using my image as your desktop wallpaper, printing out a small version for yourself, or any other small-scale personal use is perfectly fine. Please just don't sell my art or claim it as your own.
4.9 Website or blog features
I am always happy to have my artwork featured on your journal, blog or website. Feel free to post my images with a link back to loish.net.
5. Various requests
While I used to take commissions a few times a year, nowadays my schedule is often too full to accept commissions. If I do have time, I announce the opening of commission slots in my Deviantart Journal, so keep an eye on it if you're interested. Otherwise, you can always feel free to send your request over to email@example.com, although the odds that I am available for work is very low! Because I am never sure when my schedule will clear up, I do not keep a waiting list of any kind.
5.2 Requests + art trades
I don't do requests or trades, sorry!
5.3 Free artwork
Sometimes I am approached to do artwork for free, in the context of projects such as games, comics, and animations. At this point in time I don't do any artwork free of cost.
5.4 Buying prints and merchandise
Right now, prints of my work are available through the DeviantArt prints shop as well as Society6 and INPRNT. For each of these sites, I am not personally involved with the creation of the prints, which are all shipped from the U.S. If you are interested in a signed print, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, although please be aware that the further you live from The Netherlands, the higher the cost of the print will be due to additional shipping costs.
If you'd like to interview me for a blog feature or basically any kind of publication (online or other), I'm perfectly willing to do that! However, I no longer do interviews for school projects or other formats which will not be published, since I get a lot of them and they are seriously time and energy consuming. In these situations, I hope my f.a.q is a good enough source of information! If there is anything which is not dealt with here and is very urgent, you can always e-mail me (email@example.com).
5.6 Reviewing artwork & mentoring
I sometimes get requests from artists to review their artwork, give opinions and tips, and sometimes even mentor people in their artistic development (sometimes in the context of someone's schooling, sometimes not). At this moment I get too many messages like these and have too little time to actually fulfill all of these requests. Sorry!
6. Deviantart related
5.1 CSS journals
I learned how to make CSS journals by applying the knowledge I already had about CSS from building my own site, as well as looking at various resources here on dA. I also modified a lot of already existing layouts that I found by browsing the journal CSS section
, using a system of trial and error to find out how the coding worked. I found the following to also be a useful resource: fav.me/do2c8e
Nowadays I am able to code my own CSS journals from scratch. The graphics for the designs are all made in Photoshop.
5.2 Gallery CSS + icons
Again, my already existing knowledge of CSS helped me to code my gallery CSS, and also found this reference sheet very useful: mindfuckx.deviantart.com/art/G…
The icons were designed in photoshop and uploaded by uploading them to the 'options' section in each gallery.
If you have any questions about me or my artwork which are not answered in this F.A.Q, please do not hesitate to ask. You can do so by asking it in a comment below, sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or using spring.me. However, I will not answer questions that have already been answered in this F.A.Q, so please be sure to read through this page before typing your question! If you are curious about other questions people have asked, feel free to read through the comments below or my spring.me profile.