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ART STUFF I wish I'd known about earlier

Posted by Emrox - November 6th, 2017

I started going to college a little over three years ago, and it was a tough decision bc if anyone was around at the time you might remember there was a pretty strong anti-art school sentiment from the last generation of web animators (and I mean the LAST generation amirite?) Anyway the prevailing argument was that studios care more about quality work than qualifications, and everything you learn in school is stuff you can find on the internet anyway. Despite all this I went to school, and I found out that they were only half right:

YES, just about everything you need is online for free.

BUT, where the fuck is it?

I lied a little bit, I didn't go to school for art, I went for game design, and I learned a lot more about programming in my first few weeks than I ever had looking up tutorials online. The book we used was called "learning processing," and it rocked my fuckin world. I coulda bought it on Amazon and saved myself $10,000, but without having a guy to point me in the right direction, I probably never would have found it, and I would probably still be pretty bad at coding.

Anyway if you're an animator/artist, get FUCKIN ready cause here's how to get all the shit everyone told you was out there but no one told you how to find: 

1. 4chan

Alright if you're like I was two years ago, you probably thought 4chan was for weird nerds and that kid who knew about porn before everyone else when they were like 11. WELL boy was I surprised to find out there are more boards than /b/ and they actually have some smart guys on 'em. The sticky on http://boards.4chan.org/ic/ has links to a TON of useful art stuff, so get that bookmark button ready:


2. Tumblr - Ask

If you've been around the Tumblr block you know that maybe like 70% of the people on there have an "ask" button that lets you send in questions. If there's some aspect of art that you want to get better at, just find someone who does it well and ask for advice! As long as you aren't going up to super-famous guys with 20k followers, most everyone will write back, and if you didn't know, you can ask stuff anonymously. I've done this a bunch and have found some pretty great resources that way. (Most guys don't get a ton of engagement anyway, so go make some artist happy!)


This one wasn't about anything specific, but just some guy that I found that I liked! Here's his blog.

3. Friends

Alright you know how they say you go to school to make connections? You can make connections on Skype and Discord, and you can really get the same constructive/competitive environment you'd get out of school. I met most of my guys in a NATA-based group a while ago. See if you can find something like that I guess? (Hey if someone wants to help me out with some discord links that'd be great)

4. Books

If you have a library anywhere near you, get a card and start checkin out books! A lot of the time you'll find some shit you've never heard of that inspires you more personally than the more general reccomendations people tend to make on the internet. If it weren't for my school's french-speaking population, I never would have discovered the works of Andre Franquin, who I really think might have been the greatest cartoonist who ever lived.

There are also a few big repositories of art instructional books online. Now most books are copyrighted, so I'm gonna have to slip you this one under the table


^Tons of good shit in the 4th and 5th links. There are other ways to download books for free, but I think there's a rule on NG that says I can't tell you how to do that.

5. Reddit - How to learn anything imaginable

My brother showed me this one -

Think of something you'd like to learn, eg "game development," "watercolor," or "piracy"

Head on over to google and search for "_____ reddit" (or "learn __ reddit" or whatever works)

Usually you can find a sticky thread at the top or an faq in the sidebar, which will usually include a link on where to get started! Here's what I found:

Game Development



I didn't really read any of these I was just trying to make a point. Actually I read one of them. Maybe.

6. My own collection

Alright so this post was mainly geared towards how to FIND resources and not any specific ones I use, but here's a few of the guys I swear by:

John Ks Blog Probably the best free resource specifically about cartoon drawing

Animation Resources Stuff to read when you run out of John K

Proko Fine art instuctional vids

Animator reels Tons of these on youtube, highly recommend the ones on Hayao Miyazaki, Rod Scribner, Fred Moore, Koji Nanke, Jim Tyer, Milt Kahl, Tissa David. I'd link to them by name but I'm getting tired and I have to get up tomorrow

BOOKS (these are all amazon links cause yeah we get it "swoosh")

If you're just starting out and you want to learn how to draw, read both of these (yea both)

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Fun With a Pencil

These two embody two pretty different approaches - observational drawing vs construction. If you liked the first one better, keep lookin at stuff and keep practicing. But if you liked the second one better, try the other Loomis books, and Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair

Understanding Comics is super easy to read and tackles some really cool theory stuff. It's the kind of thing where once you've read it you really think about what you're doing more deeply and analytically.

The Little Book Of Talent is good for general meta-learning stuff. Good bite-sized info for you "tips" guys

Perspective! for Comic Book Artists

Did you think I was going to link the Richard Williams book? Get real ya fuckin nerd. Last thing cause I really gotta go to bed, here's some general advice:



lil amendment - be careful around shady websites, ok? don't be stupid!!!!


Comments (18)

Good read, glad you feel your college experience was/is justified. Looking forward to sifting through all these links and absorbing knowledge. Thanks for taking the time to compile all of this.

let me know if anything sticks out as being particularly helpful! I've only just grazed the surface of this stuff myself

who even are you, this was way informative

4chan also has /gd/ for any people who are more design focused .. which also has a really good font resource thread.

The Scott McCloud books are great. I only just read them myself this year and sure do wish I'd known them earlier. Love the way they are in a sequential comic style, the perfect way to learn the lesson he teaches. Plus the fact he included manga was great. What an awesome and knowledgeable guy. Also, any of the books he recommends seem to be fantastic. Currently going through Manwatching by Desmond Morris and I have learnt SO MUCH from that one book, it's unreal. Next up is Gary Faigins book on facial expressions, which is where Scott based his six rules of facial expressions on.

Yeah great resources here. Any newbies reading, take notes! These are all excellent top-tier learning materials. NewGrounds ftw.

I'll have to check those out! If you've got any other hidden gems let me know.

I hope Scott does another analysis book sometime! I think he says he's got another one in the works now

God bless this post


Well this is nice. Bookmarked.
P.S. - If you like Franquin (either cartoons or his work on spirou or gaston) you'll probably like the cartoons of argentinian cartoonist Quino.

Thanks for the rec! His stuff looks pretty cool

Great post!

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what do you have to get up for tomorrow??


So do you still stand by that idea that one could learn the same from personal education versus a formal education? Or is the whole idea of a mentor still very important? I'm sorry if it's a bit of an ambiguous question.

uhhh I don't know! I got a lot out of college that I'm really grateful for, but it wasn't any of the stuff that people said I would get out of it, and I wonder how much of that was just luck with choosing the right school and program and meeting the right people.

I'd like to shed some insight, but it's important to know the circumstances surrounding my going to college were REALLY specific to me, and I wouldn't be surprised if this info applies to almost no one else -

Senior year of highschool I was pretty confident in my animation skills, so I didn't want to go to school for it 'cause all those guys like hotdiggedydemon and oney said it's a waste. My parents put a lot of pressure on me tho, and essentially the deal was they would help support me financially if I went to school, but otherwise I was on my own. I didn't have any steady income so I decided to study game development (which was just a hobby at that point) at the cheapest school I could find, which was Sheridan College. Thing about sheridan tho is that it's like #1 or 2 in Canada for animation stuff, so I was still in an environment of really good artists who motivated me to keep working and improve.

Being trained in something other than animation made me realize how much everything I was learning had in common, and there was a period of two years where I was thinking really deeply about all the interconnections between different art forms, which got me real creatively juiced for a while. I think it may have been one of my greatest periods of artistic growth, and that's pretty invaluable. BUT there's no way that kind of thing happens to everyone :p

I also met a lot of cool people and made some good connections, but I've also talked to guys who went to school and only met a bunch of tumblr-y weirdos, so I might have just lucked out.

Also I've learned that I have a lot harder time motivating myself to learn when I'm not being forced to. Having a guy grading you is actually pretty useful. I don't know if I got much in terms of specific mentorship, but I probably could have done a better job of seeking that out.

I also don't even know if I'd recommend our program anymore because a lot of my favorite profs left the program for one reason or another. Not saying it's gotten worse, but I don't know how it is now.

Anyway I was really fortunate and I got a lot out of college. Would I recommend it? Probably still no. You can try and game it like me, but I honestly don't recommend you gamble $60,000 like I did

That had very little to do with your actual question so oops!

I second the fuck out of #4; I went to a community college art school dealio for 10 months and have made much more connections and learned more about the tricks of the trade in general through simply joining art-driven Discord servers.

I think that was the exact answer I was looking for. Your closing statement does give me some doubts about the choices I made. College here isn't as expensive as it is over there. Lots of budget programs. But then again, it remains a gamble. Also I was never very fond of the formal education system.
This was very eye opening, thank you.

Lookin' good. Thanks, fam

We joined on the same day

Holy smokes, thanks a lot for posting this.

ur color scheme is p gray :/ not a fan.

There isn't a way to reblog on NG is there? Fantastic post, I can vouch for all of this except for the school part 'cause I can't afford to go just yet. One day!

Nah, no features like that yet. I don't know how integral feeds are to most people on NG, but I assume some kind of retweet style signal-boosting thing has at least been considered. @tomfulp ?

@Shufflehound @Emrox yup it’s been something we want to do, hoping 2019 will be the year!