Forum feedback

Over the years I've made several different forums my 'home'. I was a regular in the 2D forums on CG Society for years and loved how in-depth and direct the answers were. No dancing around the issue with loads of compliments and tons of padding. Here are your issues and here's a few solutions you could take. I tried several and left them again when things shifted. Lately, I've been trying to focus a bit on Deviant Art and see where that goes. It's been around a long time and despite having made a profile 7 years ago or so I've hardly used it.

I'm not really the chit chat kind of person and choose to answer with help, feedback, critiques and such where I can instead. I notice that the questions that are asked tend to be about the same things over and over and some of the answer I gave can be applied verbatim to 'new' questions. I do understand that for a beginner it may not always be easy to recognize that you have the same problem as [random other person] and people don't like or know how to use the search function. This post is more for myself then to keep answers at hand for standard questions, but hopefully they'll benefit others too and we can get some more mileage out of them. I'm going to try and update this post regularly, perhaps on a bi-weekly or monthly schedule. At some point I'd like to link to articles and tutorials that explain a solution or facet in greater detail.

Career (planning)

How to be a Professional Deviant artist? by dinoloverXX, Oct 27, 2015

Issue: The OP is wondering how to go from a hobby artist to having a career, based on the kind of art the OP enjoys making.

Advice given: Others mentioned exposure, connecting with people and comparing with other industry professionals.

My recommendation was to choose what kind of work the OP would like to do, then look at what businesses buy that kind of work, what other professionals do that kind of work and what their level is for comparison. If the work is of a similar standard, find out who make the art buying decisions at the businesses mentioned before and try and get your work seen by them. Many art directors for instance will look at online portfolios, but also have special portfolio review times at live events for example. I referred to the dearartdirector tumblr, the Muddy colors blog and Jon Schindehette's The Art Order.

as a digital artist, how do you get jobs?, by keymomo, Oct 14, 2015

Issue: The OP wonders about being technically good, but unknown and how to get jobs then if people don't come knocking on your door.

Advice given: Keizaru makes some good points about the relationship between the quality of the art itself and marketing, explaining how regularly technically lesser skilled artists with better marketing skills can get jobs over someone technically more skilled with lesser marketing skills. Others mentioned the importance of a good portfolio and how an agent could help.

I only added a recommendation to Noah Bradley's the art of freelancing being a good resource.

Game art

Issue: ziadtqs is a programmer and would like to learn to make game art, but is lost in the sheer amount of resources and where to begin or what to search for even.

Advice given: Some of the advice given by others focused more on getting results quickly, rather than to get a good foundation.

Vineris recommended to start with drawing, at which the OP mentioned the whole left vs right brain idea.  I explained how 'technically' you don't need the creative side of your brain for game art production, but you do need it for the design part. Basically, the two are different, have different processes and different areas of focus, while overlapping enough that people often mistakenly consider them to be the same thing. I also address the left vs right brain myth: the myth being that people are only one or the other, while people use both to function normally. People just have preferences or are used to using one side more than the other.

At that point I circle back to learning the foundation of art production, which is the technical side of drawing and painting.  I mention some software, free like Gimp versus paid software like Photoshop and how 3D helps with learning, some search terms that give good results and some starter practices. I also still referred to the 10,000 hour rule as a rule, rather than a myth or putting it in quotes.  More on the 10,000 hour rule myth here.

Planning an image

Environment painting in photoshop? by Bigbeeff, Oct 6, 2015

Issue: The OP's struggle was with how to balance painting an environment, planning it and getting lost in painting details.

Advice given generally focused on the necessity of planning an image, working big to small and about suggesting detail rather than painting every single one. I referenced an example of the process used by the amazing Robh Ruppel.

Payment and protection 

Issue: When people pay with credit card (through PayPal for instance) the ability to issue a charge-back without the other party being able to intervene is costing artists a lot of time and money. PayPal has a seller protection program that until recently didn't cover digital goods. Their new digital goods protection would fix this particular issue.

Advice by others was mostly focused on work-arounds. Some are against PayPal's Terms of Service and others are mostly focused on trying to get digital goods to fall under physical goods. With the new digital goods protection however this may no longer be needed.

Another issue was that the OP didn't invoice or use contracts. My replies focused on that and included a few contract templates, as well as some of the ups and downs of going that route and how it's better to have a contract drafted by a lawyer.

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