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How I learned to paint

A lot of people ask me how I learned how to paint so I thought I'd write it down. It's an ongoing journey, still, but it is my hope that some people might learn a bit from my process, especially since I didn't have any formal instruction. ^_^

I've always been drawing and painting ever since I was a kid, but I didn't take it seriously until two years ago. It actually started with a couple of stationery sets I got from Shibuya. I was fascinated by the shabby chic art on the paper, so I decided to learn how to do something like that in watercolor. I bought a step-by-step book as well as a fashion illustration book (because I loved doodling women in pretty clothes) and thought, how hard can this be?

It was apparently very hard. I couldn't follow the step-by-step book, much less draw any sort of anatomy. So I started scouring the bookstores for more basic books I could study. I watched YouTube tutorials and read all the relevant articles I can find online. I also went crazy shopping for art materials, haha. I would always be the weird starey one in Deovir trying to decide what to buy. I also hunted for materials whenever I'm abroad.

Here are the top four books I found the most useful: Painting With Watercolors, Oils, Acrylics, and Gouache (Powerbooks) / Watercolor Secrets by Robin Berry (National Bookstore) / The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Handbook by Gordon MacKenzie (Fully Booked) / Light and Shade in Watercolour by Hazel Soan

Here are the top four books I found the most useful: Painting With Watercolors, Oils, Acrylics, and Gouache (Powerbooks) / Watercolor Secrets by Robin Berry (National Bookstore) / The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Handbook by Gordon MacKenzie (Fully Booked) / Light and Shade in Watercolour by Hazel Soan

Soon enough, however, I realized that I don't think in pictures. I'm a voracious reader growing up which means that I generally thought about concepts, ideas, and even memories in words. Of course I think visually too but they're never as sharp as when I describe them in words. That's my primary road block. I am not able to intuitively process images in my head so I can draw and paint them the way I want to.

I then started teaching myself how to do that. I bought more art books - not instructional this time, but more focused on the art of other people - got into graphic novels, and anime. From these materials I can reference color, movement, poses, things like that. I particularly love the art of Hayao Miyazaki, Yoshitaka Amano, and Charles Vess. 

I also trained myself to see my world, not just look at it. I started to observe light and shadow more closely, how the sun changes the quality of light and the colors of objects during the day. Aside from collecting art materials, this is probably my favorite part in my process. I began to appreciate the world more. I began to find beauty in even the most mundane of things.

There's still a long, long way to go before I can be the artist I hope to be. There are still so many things to learn! It takes time and practice to understand the concepts I read about. My next step would be to find a mentor or another artist who can train me...but that requires a bit more commitment than my schedule and budget allows at the moment. This is definitely something I want to do in the near future though!

And that is that. ^_^ Thanks for indulging my ramblings, haha. If you have any questions about drawing and watercolor I wold love to answer them either here or via email at lizlanuzo at projectvanity.com.

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