How I learned to draw | How I became an Illustrator

How I learned to draw | How I became an Illustrator

excited about the video I’m about to
share with you today. It’s going to be wonderful and scary! I am going to take
you through a majority of the artwork I have created throughout my life. Starting
from when I was four years old and up until the work I’m producing today. I’m hoping
to show you that art is not about talent Learning how to draw is just
persistence: It is spending a lot of hours it’s putting in a lot of time. It’s just
practice! So I hope looking through all this artwork, that you’ll see all
of the really poor drawings that I created when I was younger. I hope
that you’ll see how one step leads to another. You got to produce those not-so-great drawings to be able to produce the really good ones
later on, so let’s get started on this! First we have a drawing from when I was
four years old it’s an outline of my hand and it’s followed by a couple of
pictures of when I was little and portrait of my mother and some horse
drawings I was very much into horses for a long time. So a lot of these early
drawings are just you know childhood drawings it’s funny seeing how you go
through different styles throughout your teenagers as you kind of develop
mentally and physically I was very much into vampires for a
while in 2003 I gained a much deeper interest in doing artwork I’ve picked up
colored pencils and I started doing a lot of very inspired art work start work
with based on foreign fraud took good fairies bad fairies
now despite of doing so many drawings at the time I really didn’t understand how
to improve my drawings I was producing a lot but I was not using reference very
often I think the self-portrait is one of the only ones I used reference for
and unfortunately that kind of reflects itself in the quality of the artwork
that lack of reference and the lack of a visual library just costs a lot of
frustrations and struggles and not being able to draw what was in my head and
what I saw in the world around me I also hadn’t really learned how to draw from
life yet in 2006 I got my first wake and tablet and this was going to be a big
game-changer for me it was also the year that I was enrolled in my very first art
school and I learned how to study art now despite learning how to study and
going through all of these great practices I still didn’t quite
understand where my teachers were trying to tell me that by doing all of these I
would you know overall become a better artist I can’t say that I really applied
myself in studies I just wanted to draw my own thing and I kept practicing with
digital but not doing good studies of the digital art it just it wasn’t
getting where I wanted it to be so I became really frustrated in with my
artworks around that time I met two illustrators that live in New York City
and seeing their work and talking through them I started to realize that
if I wanted to become a good artist I really had to apply myself and I had to
practice I had to be serious about my studies and that’s when I made the
conscious decision that I really wanted to be an illustrator I wanted to apply
to art school in the u.s. because the schools in Denmark we’re not offering
what I was looking for and to oblige to school in the u.s. I really had to work
really hard so I started drawing a lot more than I ever had before everyday I
would draw and practice and try to understand shape and color and Anatomy
and it was very difficult because I was still studying on my own but it paid off
because in 2010 I was accepted into Pratt Institute of Art in New York City
I packed my suitcases I said goodbye for my friends and family and I moved to the
US and I began my year at Platt Institute which was without a doubt the
best year of my life on the first day at Pratt there was a teacher who held a
lecture to welcome us to the school and he told us about a previous student who
had said to him that during the foundation year he found that he never
knew he could do so much and those words really stuck with me throughout my time
there I was producing much more work than I ever had before I learned so much
about Anatomy about color about how to study about how to truly apply myself to
the art work now the motto of Pratt Institute is be true to your work and
your work will be true to you and I think those words are just you know so
true if you put in the time and the effort it’s definitely going to reflect
itself in the artwork you produce that being said it takes a long time to learn
stuff so while you mentally might be able to grasp something from you know
being able to do that and then being able to actually process it and put it
out in through your hand really can be really difficult and it can take a lot
of time to do so this little red riding-hood piece was a big milestone
for me it was my first really successful digital piece and I was extremely
excited about it it kind of spun my artwork in a new
direction you can also mark the end of my time at Pratt Institute I couldn’t
afford tuition so I had to stop studying now I started working on my own personal
projects instead the first one was a fairy pinup calendar which I worked on
throughout 2011 and published in 2012 at this time I still had a lot to learn
when it came to Anatomy and color and things like that but doing my own
personal projects and self publishing like this really helped me to learn good
work ethics and how to put out a product those are very important skills to have
as an illustrator this is especially important when you’re just starting out
you have to hire yourself while other people
are not hiring you yet and by hiring yourself take a story that you really
like illustrate that at that to your portfolio and that way you are showing
potential clients that you have what it takes to make a beautiful product now I
really love going to art school and I wanted to finish my degrees on 2012 I
applied to the Cooper Union Art School which is a full scholarship School in
New York City unfortunately it’s extremely competitive so I was not
accepted in 2012 I started working on my second personal project a troll kin
calendar it was based around Scandinavian folklore and had a lot of
you know old stories from from Scandinavia it’s very near and dear to
my heart having grown up in Denmark all these personal projects also served us
great practice to improve my work in 2013 I began my career as a freelance
illustrator and I got my first jobs and it was really fun I enjoyed doing that I
started started getting torn between working digitally and working
traditionally my digital skills work quickly getting a lot better than my
traditional skills but I always felt like traditional art works seems more
like like real work you know like real art whereas the digital was just on the
computer and although you print it out you don’t have an actual product but
despite of that I just have a really deep love of digital art I really love
working digitally I love the way like the effects and everything you can
create always being able to paint on top and of course having an undo button my
traditional work is not as far along as my digital work is but I think the only
reason for that is because I practice a lot more with the digital in 2013 I created my very first drawing
of Montague Mouse and I did not know at the time that this
was going to be my one of my like first really major projects major personal
projects I just I really liked the drawing and the character just kind of
begged to be something more I brought the drawing to conventions and
people asking about it and if there was a story behind it and it just kind of
told me that I had to do something more with that in 2014 my freelance career really
started to take off I was hired for my first really big
project which was a tarot deck called the Greenwich Tarot they consisted of 79
illustrations I had 15 months to complete it and that is not a lot of
time for that many illustrations I set my own deadlines though so I kind of I
forgot about weekends and time off and I just put myself on a really tight
schedule nonetheless it was a really wonderful project to work on and I
learned so much from it I think my art skills have improved considerably since
then it’s impossible to do 79 illustrations and not learn quite a bit
from it but I’m still really happy with the result of the day I will have some
point do a full video on how to illustrate your own tarot deck in 2015 I
got my first mentorship where I was taught by illustrator Scott Brundage and
that was amazing I learned a lot about dynamic composition and how to tell
better stories and images it’s also the year where I won my very first award for
an illustration so I was so excited about that another big thing that
happened in 2015 was I took on a traditional drawing challenge called 30
paintings in 30 days where you have to create a painting everyday for a month
and this was really an eye-opening experience for me
I learned a lot about how to paint traditionally as opposed to just
painting digitally and it really seemed to resonate with the people who like my
artwork they were really thrilled about the paintings I sold all of them except
for – 2015 was also the year that our started working for Python doing
illustrations for the Pathfinder grant and that was awesome I really enjoyed
that the end of 2015 was when Montague Mouse became its own story project I
decided to turn Montague into a full Illustrated story and I am still working
on that you can find more about it at Montague Mouse com I will put a link in
the description I think the Montague project helps for a lot of growth in my
personal works 2016 kind of marked a year where I started
grasping a lot of things that I had been trying to learn for many years and I
think my artwork took a big leap forward during the year I just mostly focus on
my client work I’m not showing all of it here because I’ve chosen to focus this
video mainly on my personal work in 2016 I also went back to drawing a lot more I
realized that my drawing skills were not up to par with what I wanted and so I
began using my sketchbook a lot more and just really trying to learn how to draw
well I also started a new project called year
of the unicorn in 2016 it is a calendar featuring unicorns and it is going to be
published in the fall of 2017 I will leave a link for that in the
description there is something to be said for volume when it comes to
learning how to draw of course you have to study with intention and really try
to understand like the shapes and the forms and the gestures and all of that
but producing a lot of work kind of helps you do that it also takes the
stress out of making a perfect drawing when you’re producing a lot you can make
a lot of mistakes and from those mistakes you’re going to learn and
develop your style and all of these personal projects is really helping me
develop my work and grow my skills it’s also been a really nice way for me to
kind of find out what direction I wanted to move in artistically so I highly
recommend that if you are looking to develop your artwork you should look
into doing personal projects that is all for now and thank you so
much for watching like and subscribe if you enjoyed this and want to see more
content and I look forward to seeing you again next week

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100 Replies to “How I learned to draw | How I became an Illustrator”

  1. I love your paintings but I think you could benefit from broadening your style / theme. At the moment, it's mostly fantasy based.

  2. Me: amazing artwork
    She: didn't use reference and that is reflecting in the quality of these paintings
    Me: wwhatt?!

  3. Absolutely fascinating works! I started to learn art recently and want to improve myself 😀 This video gave me a lot of hope!

  4. Thank you much! It's so easy to get overwhelmed by all this amazing 19 year old artist. This video is really a motivation to push my self and keep practicing

  5. Thank you I’m 10 and My dad is teaching me how to do a bargue drawings and I’m half way though I i was thinking I just wanna drop the whole thing and draw my own stuff and you mad me realize that I can’t do that if I wanna get better at art, thank you so so much :3

  6. Thank you for this video! I will be an illustrator someday too 🙂 And you inspired me a lot! Thank you again

  7. Wonderful to see your development and your personal projects are so interesting. I'm just wondering how much time to spend with traditional vs digital art. Thanks for sharing!

  8. lol, the portrait of her mother she did when she was six has better proportions of the head than i can easily do today, haha

  9. This video really spoke to me on a personal level. I had the same "I didn't know I could do so much" moment when I went to audio school. I went from kinda knowing how to make basic beats on a computer to being able to track and record anything in professional studios. Art really is a journey with no end.

  10. First … I didn't know yay where danish. And second … you rely had talent when you was a kid – I have never seen a "normal" 4 year old drawing that good. And you just kept getting better and better. 😀

  11. 5:03 This here, your "milestone", for me exemplifies the distinction between being able and knowing how to draw, and being artistic. You don't get something like that incrementally simply by practicing 10,000 hours – it just won't happen. Sorry to contradict your opening message, but there's technical skill, and there's vision aka. the inner eye. Your mind must be plugged into another world. Maybe immersing and involving yourself in art by being actively creative and producing art will help find and form that connection, but I have a firm belief that some people are born with those plugs, while others are not. I'm not talking about technical quality, but the sense of enchanting otherworldly harmony and familiarity that emanates from this picture, that seems to bypass a lot of the higher-level clutter in my mind, as if it was a memory of my own from the time before I got here. Just by seeing, I can smell, taste and hear this place, and I long to return to it. I envy you.

  12. Thank you for that. I've just started my art journey at the age of 45 and it's so inspiring to see people who are making it work in amazing ways. 🙂

  13. I like your illustrations – Portraits, Proportions, Gestures, and Colors – WOW!

  14. Love your work 🙂 Can I learn to draw & illustrate as an adult without joining an art school? I used to be good at drawing as a kid but haven't said even "Hi! !" to my pencil for years 🙁

  15. So, you can become a great illustrator by drawing a lot, but there are things that you wont get with just practice. Your drawings are alive, thats something you cant just repeat and eventually reach. Congrats.

  16. I'm a 14 year old and I started drawing 4 months ago, I'm currently in high school and I'm trying to get better at drawing, I've been trying to draw everyday, learn anatomy, form, color theory, shading and other stuff, but I've got so much work to do for school that I don't really have time to improve my drawings at least every month. On top of that, I have so many chores. So, now I only draw on weekends which is my only free time and learn more of the fundamentals of drawing. If anyone else just wants to get better at drawing, keep practicing and keep studying art and you will get better results the more you draw. Just remember hard work can beat talent and let's get through all of this together.

  17. As a self-thaught in Illustrator I must say I always said it to people. It's about constant work. Try to draw every day, always have a sketchbook and pencils with you. Though I know I still have a lot to learn I believe that one day I will make it. 🙂

  18. The person in this video is improving very very slow. I wouldn't be able to keep going If I was in their place… If they're really working that hard, Then I guess Talent really does exists.

  19. I need to stop watching these kinds of videos damn it. Every time I do I just demotivate myself because I see how much time it took and I just realistically don't have that much time in light of all the other aspects of my projects (writing, gathering talent, recording, editing, etc) and being 30. Never should've listened to my teachers that I just wasn't cut out for art.

  20. I'm totally agree it's much about work. my art is not great, but when I spent more time on than, it looks much better

  21. Well me instead of learning from watching just YouTube I'm trying to read books and understand basic fundamentals, Right now I'm reading "Drawing on the right side of the brain", combining it with Stan prokopenko. I improve from 4% to 9% not to include i am just starting a 5% increase on my artwork. So, my best guess don't just watch one youtuber to learn how to draw try finding other sources and books that will help you with the basic fundamentals like Loomis books because people have different perspectives on seeing things.

    Edit: Im pertaining to people might be starting like me😁

    I am good at understanding humans perceptions but not yet in drawing

  22. Hi I hope you can give me an answer, but I've started drawing recently and I sketch out the outline with a pencil but when it comes down to coloring, do I need to use a special pen to make the outline thicker?

  23. Dine illustrationer er fantastiske! Elsker de små historier dine seneste illustrationer indeholder.
    Hvad så? Bor du stadig i New York eller er du flyttet tilbage til DK?

  24. Thank you so much, this was SO interesting ! I'm only fourteen but I've been drawing random things since I was small. I was happy with whatever I would draw most of the time, but a few months ago only I started getting more self conscious about me and my drawings. I started following artists on instagram and suddenly felt like I wasn't good enough. Now I have decided to practice, because if I don't work I won't just…get better. So now I've decided to sketch a lot, everyday, and I'm sure I'll get better everyday. For now being able to do accurate sketches is my main goal, though I also draw and use different medias for fun. Sorry my English isn't perfect, but I just wanted to thank you because your video gave me so much motivation !

  25. I clicked on this video expecting the usual kind of tips and tricks bullshit that was going to piss me off. I'm walking away from it genuinely glad I clicked on it instead, glad to have seen a video with a bit of genuine insight.

    Also I'm a little surprised I just so happened to stumble onto a video from the artist who drew the Greenwitch Tarot. I've seen that deck around a few times while looking through tarot decks myself. "It's a small world," much? And I actually have been thinking about making my own deck, too.

  26. I was just showing my 3yo and 5yo the illustrations you are doing for your Montague Mouse project. We are all very excited to see how that story turns out. It's the kind of imagery that stays with you for life. I have a book from my childhood with illustrations by Eric Kincaid, which I absolutely adored, and I think your illustrations are even more mystical and amazing. Maybe a Montague Mouse film one day too? Off to check our your other projects now 🙂

  27. U draw really well tho. But if u needed to spend sooo much time to get better to each it's own that's how u become a professional anyway. But let's not exclude talent just yet, cuz there's such a thing as creativity.

  28. I think you're my spirit animal. I just decided to take a step in the right direction after six years of focusing on jobs that had nothing to do with my art.

  29. I would have never drawn any of the stuff you did until 2006 (22 years old). Not to say your choice is bad. Just amazing how different people can be xD

  30. i am an artist from Iran i really loved this video it gave me an awesome feeling .first i think the talent really exist. for many years i practiced and studied over and over but i never liked my works and never enjoyed the process of creation. you may laugh at me but the key element helped me to "believe and trust myself" was a very sad thing happened to me which opened my eyes and made me stop comparing myself with others and everyyyyyyyything aside taught me to enjoy my own art no matter they are better or worse than others. in the end that is all that matters

  31. My mom went tp Pratt and my dad went to Cooper Union. These are two of the finest art schools in the world and not only do they make fine artists, they make the greatest parents anyone could ever dream of.

  32. you are talented you just improved while doing what you love. people everyone has talent in something let's talk about drawing for example… talent isn't about how you draw it's about what you draw. for example person has talent in drawing. talent is something he is born with. talent is in his soul in his mind. so talent is something that naturally wants to come out from the person. that person starts to learn how to draw he gains skill in drawing and now he is able to express his talent thru drawing. now people I believe everyone has talent in something maybe drawing or carving or making food or business or singing or dancing there are many other things. I believe every single person is special. we just need to try and find out what we are talented in and use it to express our great soul and mind thru skills. I'm talented in drawing so this is something I love this is part of my identity from my early childhood. do what you love and enjoy life <3

  33. l've recently rebooted my journey to become a better artist and eventually illustrator, and this video was incredibly inspiring. Seeing where you came from and how you improved over the years was awesome. Thank you for sharing!

  34. yes maybe anyone can become an artist, but not everyone has the talent of persistence and patience, that is the real talent, that you are born with. and that is what you have!

  35. We're a very similar age and comparing your adolescent stuff to mine are very identical. That's about when I stopped though to keep pursuing the saxophone as my major and education credentials. And I see some interesting parallels with your visual art to my musical arts over the years.

  36. WOW! So much motivation!! I started a channel but wanted to give up because I didnt think it was all that good.
    Practice is key I see. Her drawing level started off not so standoutish but as she continued and drew a BUNCH, Her artwork is seriously amazing and could be picked up by major animation houses instantly. I'm so motivated to keep trying!!

  37. Starting to draw again at age 26. I’m finally learning to be patient with myself and that its going to be a journey to getting better.

  38. Hey Kiri, thanks for sharing your story. It's relieving and it gives me hope to know about success that took a while to arrive at. Your work is amazing.

    I'm learning to draw and I'm currently sticking to drawabox. Those will teach me some fundamental analytical and practical skills. However, it doesn't necessarily talk about dramatizing situations. You mentioned the time you spent with Scott Brundage, and how you learned to tell better stories.

    I understand "telling better stories" to mean that we're able to move viewers not only by the colors, the textures, even some aspects of construction/composition, but also by WHAT we're choosing to show them. Her hand in my lap as we break up. An exaggerated mad eyebrow… Is this what "telling better stories" means? I'd love to be able to do that. 🙂

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