What do you think is the most important thing in art to learn first?

Alright, let me give some context for this question. I would like to be of most assistance to people who are just picking up a creative hobby. Before lunging into making tutorials/ tips-&-tricks content, I wanted to figure out what topic I should cover first. What are your thoughts?

Patience, perseverance and the ability to learn for yourself.


I’d say to just make tutorials on what people want. A lot of beginner artists want to learn specific things such as male anatomy, female anatomy, eyes, hair, etc. Try specific topics that you think would appeal to a lot of people. Sorry I’m not very specific, but this was the first thing that came to my mind.

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I am a mostly self taught artist, but the one thing I got out of the few art classes I took that I would not have learned myself is that half of visual art isn’t learning to draw, it is learning to see.

Even if you aren’t going for realism, you need to start drawing from references, you need to learn to be a very careful observer of what is there, so you can pick and choose what you want to capture, and what you want to evoke with your work.

And drawing what is there rather than what your brain knows is there is tricky!

Foreshortening is hard, because you know that forearm pointing mostly towards you is a long tube, so you want to draw it as one, rather than the short stubby bit that you see.

Your brain knows the shape of a thing wants you to draw the outline of a thing even when there is a “lost edge” where the color of a thing at a certain point, often in shadow, is the same as the background.

Color is hard because color is relative - the colors nearby really determine what a color reads as to you. There are many optical illusion examples where the exact same tone reads as “black” in a lit part of the image and “white” in a shadowed part. But its true with color. It’s easy to want to draw the color you know something “is” rather than what color you need to render it in the particular lighting it’s in. Even a cool grey can read as a hint of orange when next to a saturated teal, because it is indeed more orange than the surroundings.

A lot of the exercises to help with this involve tricks where you’re drawing a thing quickly, so you don’t have a chance to overthink it, or drawing a small portion of a thing, so your brain isn’t trying to fill in what you “know” about the overall shape, or drawing a thing from an unusual angle or position, to shake loose what you think you know and pay attention to what you actually see.

Even if those examples are more high level than what you find you need to practice at your skill level, the principle remains the same. A large part of being a visual artist is seeing, not just doing.


What @Zalz said reminds me of a book in reading now: “Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain” by Betty Edwards (it’s been updated). It’s a great book to read if you haven’t done so already. :+1:t2:
So, not only do students of art need to know what guidelines to make in order to get their drawings right, they also should learn about the struggle with the Left vs Right brain and how to see and notice things about the subject they’re drawing. :+1:t2::slightly_smiling_face:
(How to turn the chatty Left brain that tells you that you can’t draw off and let the artistic Right brain do it’s thing and get the drawing to come out correctly.)


How to break things down as shapes? maybe? I think it something that benefits all the style. :sweat_smile:

alot of struggles with tutorial i see and experience myself is my lack of being able to break down things to the simplest shape.

Before you can draw a basket of apple in still life, you need to know how you can break that to shapes including shadow - even the crudest form.

Learning the anatomy of the eye , is easier when you know the shape you can go for.

Shading things get more intuitive - when you break it down.

I think we know the shape as whole and wanna tackle it as a whole - when we begin. Breaking things down to its simplest form doesn’t mostly come naturally and might need guiding.

Sometimes we see the shape as it is in our brain as how we remember, than its shape relative to how we see it in front of our eyes or relative to its surrounding.



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