Updated: Jul 17, 2021
A general compiled list of resources I recommend for any artist based on my own personal experience or recommended by other artist as well. This list is updated periodically and some resources may change or be added in the future.
Art School Alternatives
Want to go to art school or learn more but can't afford the outrageous costs of school? Recommended by several artists here are a few alternatives that are cheaper and may help you hone your skills:
Schoolism- This site is significantly cheaper than college courses, offers multiple courses taught by industry professionals, live workshops, assignments, and workouts to teach you to become a better artist. This site does seem to cater more towards building a portfolio for concept artists but it is still a great resource to learn skills and communicate with fellow artists
Silver Drawing Academy- Very similar to Schoolism, Silver Drawing Academy offers multiple classes taught by industry professionals, daily lessons, art talks, and much more to help you develop your skills as an artist and towards an art career.
YouTube Lessons- One completely free option is to be a "YouTube Scholar" and learn by watching the numerous YouTube tutorials available. I always recommend using YouTube videos to better learn the ins and outs of your programs, but there are also many tips and tricks that can be helpful for learning how to color, shade, line, etc. Listed below are a few of my favorite artists on YouTube to learn from:
Self Study- Always remember that you do not have to go to art school at all to become a great artist. Many of us are primarily or exclusively self taught. While it can be difficult to be self taught since you do not have another person teaching you better or easier methods, it is cost efficient and allows you to learn at your own pace. Using books, videos, studying your favorite artists, etc., can help you think outside of the restrictions that some art courses may put on your work. Try using a mix of different techniques that you see, or color combinations you may never have tried before, try mixing mediums, working in a different environment, and using references to learn as you go. To get started here are a few exercises I recommend artists work on:
Gesture Drawing: Great for learning how to make fluid poses and learning how to make loose sketches
Color Block exercises: Make random shapes with random colors and try to draw faces, animals, or plants in the parameters of the shapes
Still Life: Yes. The dreaded still life. While it is a very old method and can be boring at times it is still a great way to learn value, depth, hue, etc. So do not overlook the importance of practicing them. You can spice it up by doing your still life with heavy stylization. Try pushing the boundaries of style to create something fun.
Breakdowns: Possibly the most important thing in regards to stylization is understanding how things are broken down into basic shapes. Studying facial structures, body parts, etc., and figuring out the basic shapes that they are comprised of will help you understand the fundamentals of anatomy and stylization. Practice by taking photos and mapping out the basic structure in shapes such as triangles, circles, rectangles, etc., and redrawing the, as those basic shapes. You can do this with just about anything and try resizing them in different variations for a stylized look.
Color Theory: Understanding color theory is VITAL to creating color palettes and art pieces that capture the eye and invoke specific emotions. Certain colors work better together than others and combining those with the wrong colors can also make a piece be too overwhelming for the eye. Much of my work relies on color theory, but of course do not be scared to try different color combinations to see how it works.
Silhouettes: If you're trying to design interesting characters one method recommended by many industry artists is to see if the silhouette is interesting. If the character is blacked out are they still recognizable? Is it easy to see the pose and tell what they are doing? If not try to redesign them with the silhouette in mind.
Art Prompts: There are NUMEROUS sites where you can get art prompts if you are ever having a hard time figuring out what to practice. These can be great if you're ever going through a bout of art block. I'd recommend Artprompts.org for a variety of prompts!
For references of photos, drawings, and tutorials I highly recommend using Pinterest. The ability to save different boards can make it easier to organize references for different things. To check out my references you can find my boards here:
Art Tutorials and Tips: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-tutorials-and-tips/
Furry/Animal References: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-furryanimal-references/
References and Studies: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-references-and-studies/
Food Art References: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-food-references/
Random Item References: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-item-references/
Illustration References: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-illustration-references/
Plant References: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-plant-references/
Color Palettes: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/color-palettes/
Buildings and Scenery: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-buildingscenery-references/
Monsters & Monster Girls: https://www.pinterest.com/Baphimet/art-monsters-and-monster-girls/
For free stock images you can also use Pixabay
Another fantastic resource that is also decently affordable is ArtPosePro. It can help with poses, as well as lighting. If you can't find the pose you need this gives you the ability to move the doll in almost any position you need. You can find it on the app store.
Skelly- Poseable Anatomy Model
Skelly is a poseable, bendable model that is excellent to learn how to draw anatomy. The camera is rotatable and the model an be configured in almost any position! You can also use this for light studies as well to learn how to shade. You can find it on the app store.
Handy Art Reference Tool
Another easy to use tool for artist that has numerous body part samples, a moveable camera, and adjustable lighting. This is a great quick reference tool if you struggle with hands, feet, or other limbs. You can find it on the app store.
How To Draw Manga Series
When I was growing up and didn't have internet access one of my favorite sources was the How to Draw Manga series! These books are FANTASTIC resources and learning tools! You can possibly find them at your local book store, or on Amazon.
Human Anatomy for Artists
This next one is a book I read years ago and thoroughly enjoyed. This book breaks down the human body in detail and shows various examples of poses, musculature and the skeletal system in ways that I found easy to break down and understand. While there are numerous anatomy for artist books available, this one was a personal favorite of mine. Of course be sure to branch out and look for numerous resources! You can never have enough resources for art!
You can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Human-Anatomy-Artists-Gy%C3%B6rgy-Feh%C3%A9r/dp/3833162562
Highly recommended by numerous artist, you can find various angles and photos of just about any animal on https://x6ud.github.io/#/
Written by a former Disney animator, this book illustrates animals from two different perspectives, realistic and cartoony. This is a great source for any artist wanting to learn more about drawing animals from either perspective.
You can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486274268/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=conartemp-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0486274268&linkId=7c8f1210e4a2f528fbbe9cedbc05dad0
Another book that comes highly recommended from various artists is An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists. This book takes an in depth view at animal anatomy and breaks it down in ways illustrated specifically for artists.
You can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486200825/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=conartemp-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0486200825&linkId=6e481f09414619b2ea653628137088cb
Online Reference Sources
Thankfully for those with limited funds there are also plenty of free online resources available as well! Below are a few recommended by numerous other artists.
Pose references with numerous photos: https://line-of-action.com/
360 degree 3D model references: https://figurosity.com/
While not all are free, there are some great frame by frame references on: https://www.bodiesinmotion.photo/
Some artist may have come across shops on Etsy claiming to sell color palettes. DO NOT BUY THESE! It is a scam to trick artist into buying something that isn't copyrighted! There are very few exceptions where a artist has copyrighted a color *COUGH (Anish Kapoor) *COUGH, but they do not own those palettes! One of my favorite sources for color palettes is Pinterest! There you can search various color schemes, moods, etc. If you have Procreate there is even an option to import a color palette from any image! You can find out how to do so in this YouTube video below!
Currently I use Procreate for my animations and I recommend it for any beginner. It is fairly simple to use and it automatically comes with the program. To access the animation feature you must create a canvas, go to the wrench and click canvas. From there you will find the animation assist option pop up and once selected you can start making animations.
For Twitch style animations programs such as Photo Shop and After Effects have shown to work very well!
The Animator's Survival Kit is also a fantastic source for artists of all skill levels to learn the basics, methods, principals, and techniques to master animation.
Where to legally sell fan art
Want to sell fan art but scared about the legal consequences? Thankfully there are some companies partnered with big brands that have a fan art program. Here are a couple that I recommend.
Design By Humans is partnered with brands such as Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and Magic the Gathering, and Nintendo as well as many others. They provide a marketplace for artist to sell their art and they produce, fulfill and ship all of your custom products while you maintain the rights to your work.
RedBubble is also a great site to use to sell your fan art, Much like Design by Humans, RedBubble also produces and ships products for you as well. They are partnered with brands such as Rick and Morty, Steven Universe, and Adventure Time. However the artist only gets a small portion of the profits since the site handles the bulk of the labor.
Stickers are an integral part to many art businesses. Many artist don't know where to start when it comes to finding quality stickers that are also affordable in bulk.
Sticker Mule is a long time favorite of many artists and their website is very easy to navigate. They give options for holographic, magnets, labels, and even tape. They can however be expensive for many artists so I would recommend waiting for sales.
VinylDisorder is a sticker company much like StickerMule that offers many similar options but they also offer car decals, wraps, and wall decals as well. They offer samples as well and if you're interested in making custom stickers I would recommend getting samples before buying in bulk.
StickerApp is another artist recommended site to use for stickers. They offer stickers, labels, as well as decals and have a very large array of materials to choose from! They also offer skins and phone cases as well!
Silhouette is also a great option for cutting your own stickers from home and may be a better option for many. It's a great alternative if you would like to cut out the middle man, and if you have the income, to start becoming a self sufficient business! While these machines are expensive they give you the ability to control every aspect of the sticker making process and insure they are the exact quality you desire. Be sure to research thoroughly and watch YouTube tutorials to learn to operate it properly if needed.
Prints are also another source of income for many artists and it can often times be difficult to find a place that is affordable and has good quality prints. While you can outsource I recommend printing at home since long term it is actually more cost efficient. For at home printing you do not necessarily need a very expensive printer. The Epson Expression Premium XP 6100 is a good printer that will not completely break the bank in comparison to most. The Canon PIXMA TR4520 is also a good alternative as well.
If you can afford to outsource and you are looking for very good quality prints with numerous printing options then CatPrint is a great source for you!
If you're looking for a source to get multiple merch items at once one I have currently found is called The Studio. There you can order custom enamel pins, patches, stickers, and even clothing items such as hats, socks, beanies, etc.