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
I've been drawing my entire life, ever since I was a tiny little kid. It was always something I enjoyed doing and put a lot of time into, which helped me to develop my skills gradually. 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. All of this was self-taught. When I was 18 I decided to study animation in college, which taught me how to animate, but didn't teach me a great deal about drawing (besides the influence that animating naturally has on how someone draws). So in short, I taught myself how to draw by spending a lot of time doing it.
Many people ask me where I get my inspiration and ideas from. 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. The things which most often inspire me are colors or color combinations, which usually give me an idea 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
Some people ask me how I managed to develop my own style. It wasn't really a conscious decision I made, nor do I have any specific tricks or methods to doing this. As lame as it sounds, I suppose developing your own style has to do with drawing a lot and very often. The more you draw, the more your work evolves and you start to find the ways of drawing which suit you best. It's important to nurture these unique approaches and not to be afraid to approach things differently if it feels right to you.
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. In my case, I started by just messing around in photoshop and other digital programs, not expecting too grandiose of an outcome. I draw a lot of smaller drawings in a day, rather than putting a lot of my time into larger, more elaborate pieces. The more detailed digital works came gradually as my skills improved. So a more concise answer would be: draw a lot, draw fast, and experiment!
1.1.6 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, I have no choice but to keep creating things, so it's impossible for me to stop drawing entirely even if I don't feel like it. I think it's important to always keep drawing and stay productive even if you are not happy with the results. Usually you'll look back on what you've made later on and be proud of it; at the very least it's important to keep moving forward and strive for improvement. It also helps to find a starting concept for your artwork, such as drawing from life, doing a commission, or participating in forums that choose random subjects for people to sketch. I've always found that making rough sketches (usually based on reference photos) helps me to overcome feelings of artblock and keeps my creativity flowing.
1.1.7 Old artwork and layouts
Occasionally people ask where they can find my old artwork. I used to be very active on various oekaki boards
and deviantart, and have since cleaned out my online galleries quite a lot! I put most of these old drawings in this folder: [link]
. I also uploaded screenshots of my old website layouts into this folder: [link]
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, and the amount of time I spend drawing outside of work varies so much that I can't really say how much time I spend doing that. Let's just say it's an almost-daily activity.
1.2.2 Using reference
Most of my finished artwork is created without reference. The lighting, shading, colors, anatomy, subject matter, and any other aspect of the drawing are pretty much always created from my imagination. Sometimes I use references for details of the image such as hands. Sometimes I draw caricatures or realistic images which mimic photos, which are always made using a ref. As for advice, my opinion on using references is that it's just an all-around good thing to do for your drawing skills, and it's also fun. I recommend it to all! It's just not something I do all the time because that's how I prefer to work.
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, probably because they weren't given that often.
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 A4 format (300DPI) or larger.
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. Click here
for a rough indication of which brushes I use.
1.3.3 Mouse or tablet
I haven't used a mouse in years and only use a 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 use a Wacom Inuos4 large, and occasionally my old tablet, a Wacom Intuos3, A6 wide format.
1.3.4 Tablet advice
Sometimes people approach me for advice on which tablet to buy. I would suggest buying a Wacom
tablet, since it is said to be the most reliable brand out there, not to mention that I am completely unfamiliar with any other brand. As for which make and size, it depends on your needs and budget. 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. Any other info can of course be found on the Wacom site
or through Google
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 added 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 a big user of lineart, preferring instead to paint over a very rough sketch and just wing it from there. When I do use lineart, I often draw my lineart with pencil, scan it in and then color it digitally. I usually do the coloring on a separate layer, and then eventually merge the two and paint it all on one layer, which helps to blend the image into a unified whole. As for digital lineart, I tend to draw it freehand on a large scale and downsize later, which helps smooth out the linework. I'm not a big user of the pen tool or any other non-freehand tools.
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 rough. 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. In the final phases of the drawing I like to pick a relatively soft brush and put the flow to just 1% as a way to smooth out everything. I personally do not recommend using the smudge tool.
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.com
. For some before/after pics of textures in my artwork, please see the following links: [link] [link] [link] [link]
Nowadays I almost always use only one layer. 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.
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:
- A very old oekaki walkthrough: [link]
- A very old photoshop coloring walkthrough: [link] [link]
- A video screen capture of my digital sketching process: [link] and [link]
- Various process posts on my blog: [link]
Note: if you're interested in attaining any of these publications or magazine issues, please contact the publisher for information on their availability.
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, and in the past I have ocassionally used Anime Studio Pro
to animate. 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
, and numerous other websites. 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
In the future I'd like to set up my own animation studio. However, I'm open to other possiblities too; it all depends on how my life goes the coming years.
3.1.3 Work tips
People sometimes ask me for tips on getting work, building a portfolio, etc. It's important to keep in mind that the commercial art industry is different from country to country and I can't give a lot of advice unless you also live in the Netherlands. It also depends on what industry you want to get into. In all cases, only include your strongest works in your portfolio and, if you're looking for advice, consult someone who is in the specific field of work and location that you are interested in. In my experience, promoting my work online has been the most fruitful way of finding freelance work.
3.1.4 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. Personally, I am able to live off of my art. This is due to 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 work as a freelancer in Holland, and my ability to do work in both the animation and illustration field.
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 these projects 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. 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
I ocassionally take commissions. For more info, please e-mail me (email@example.com).
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, the only place where you can buy my prints are at my DeviantArt prints shop
, although I have plans to make my own web shop in the future. DeviantArt prints are all done through the internet I upload the images to DeviantArt and the prints are all sent out via the website, so I never actually come into contact with them myself. For help with prints, please refer to DeviantArt's help and f.a.q
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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: [link]
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: [link]
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 with a comment below, my formspring account
, or an e-mail to email@example.com. Before asking, please be sure to read through this page before typing your question!