This is a culmination of my too many interests. It's is an in-between place. It's more focused than my Myspace blog, but less so than my author blog. Here you can find artwork, photography, writing, poetry, book covers, manga and pointless videos. All of these things mesh together to become a reflection of their creator in an in-between place colored like shadows and flavored like frappuccinos and chocolate. It's one heck of a world.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Draw with No Money and No Talent - Part 1


I've heard EVERYONE say at one time or another "I can't draw", but I beg to differ. You can do anything you want to– it just takes time and, if you've checked out the price of art supplies lately, money.  But, I'm going to show you a method of creating cell shaded art that can be done cheaply and, possibly,  without any artistic talent at all.

I will take you from finding the image to finishing the work – but to do this I am going to break it up into several blogs. When you've finished you will have a piece of art work that should have cost you nothing but time.The blog series will go like so:

  • Blog 1- An explanation of image copyrights/licensing, how to find a "reference" or stock image and how to print our image.
Sound easy - well it is! And, if this goes over well I may do a second tutorial using a photograph of people - perhaps a "How to managnize" them one, hmmm?

So, the first thing we need to do is decide what we want to draw.  It can be anything in the world; people, flowers, buildings, etc.  The only limitation is don't get too clear of a picture in your head right now!  Just a vague, shady idea of what you want because we may not be able to find the exact thing/pose you're seeing in your head..
Once we have a subject in mind (for the tutorial I think we'll just go with some pretty flowers) we need to find our reference image – or stock image.  A stock image is an image that is already "in stock", basically, and available for you to use - but sometimes for a price. So, before we find one I am going to explain to you the way that the different licensing work.
On a technicality every image in the world is copyright to the person who took it. Some people relinquish their rights to their images to allow others to use them, while other people are very, very picky about their ownership of an image. To help explain this, here is an overview of the different kinds of licenses you may find on an image (Flickr, for example, makes it a point to mark each image with the kind of copyright directly below the photograph on the display page)

ALL rights reserved – This means they own the image completely. Technically you are not allowed to even display this image on your site without their permission, let alone use it as a reference or stock photo.. If an image has no copyright information of any kind then it is safer to assume that it is an All rights reserved and navigate away.  But what if you have the perfect image – maybe it's from a magazine advertisement or a google search or whatever and it is copyrighted with this license? Technically if this is just for your living room or wallpaper for your personal computer, or even a present for your friends, the chances of the true copyright holder ever finding it and/or suing you, is pretty slim. Does that make it legal? No. So,if you want to sell your image in any capacity you should not use images with this license.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons – this means that you can download the image, display it, manip it, use it as a reference, and you can even give it to other people, but you should credit the original source image AND your work has to also be free of all restrictions too. In other words, you can't use one of these images and then freak out if someone else uses your artwork as wallpaper or draws a mustache on it and puts it on their website – so long as they credit you as well.  This image can only be used for non-commercial projects, however.

Attribution-NonCommercial Creative Commons – This means you can download the image, display it, manip it, use it as a reference, etc, but only in non-commercial endeavors – meaning you cannot sell your finished product. However, you are free to use any license you want on your own creations, so long as you credit the original source.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons – This is exactly what it sounds like. You can use the image so long as you credit the original author and do not change it in any way. This means no derivatives – aka no reference work or manipulations.

Attribution Creative Commons – This one basically means you can do anything you want with the image – whether commercially or non-commercially. You can manip it, use it as a reference, give it to everyone you know, even make Christmas cards with it. The only thing is that you should credit the source image but other than that there are no limitations.

Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons – This is exactly like the non-commercial share-alike license, except that you can use these images for art work you sell, but again you have to license your product the same and few people will pay for what they can get for free, so keep that in mind. Still, these can be handy as this is a fairly non-restrictive license, especially if you don't mind others building on your work.

Attribution-NoDerivs Creative Commons – Images with this license cannot be changed – aka not used as a reference or manipped. However, you can download, distribute and display this image so long as you credit the source for either commercial or non-commercial endeavors.

for more information see

I know that some of you may be scratching your heads now and saying "what"?  This can seem pretty confusing-and limiting – and I know that many people's first thought might well be "but I drew it so who cares where I got the idea from? Or whether I drew it off of someone else's photograph?" but unfortunately that's the way the "real" world of copyright works. Honestly, as I said earlier, there's a good chance that the "owner" of an image will never see your work and never know, and even if they did it's highly doubtful they'd ever sue you, but it depends what you want to do with the image. For instance most art contests don't like it if you use copyrighted images for your work and you shouldn't try to make money off of it either, and deviant art will not allow you to display your work without the proper permissions. But, if it's for your personal use… well…. I can't actually SAY "sure, go ahead and use it" but….

For the sake of this tut, however, let's play it 100% safe and go to Deviant Art – . yes, deviant art is a web community where people display their art work, but there is more to it than just that, including stock images.

Once you're at deviant Art, you will see a menu on the left side of the screen. Click on resources:


Since Deviant Art offers lots of resources, we need to select "STOCK IMAGES" now:


At this menu you need to choose your category – and there's a lot to pick from. But,
we want flowers so we'll choose plants:


Now we have a pretty good selection, but if we view deviations from "ALL TIME" we'll have an even better one!


But let's say we want to narrow it down (as is very handy when you want, say, a woman kneeling). So, let's do a search by typing in our key words – in this case "flowers":


Browse through your result, and once you find one you like click the thumbnail to be taken to that image's page:


The stock images may be free to use here, but a lot of people have different usage rules. These can be anything from "You have to link to me" to "You can't use this in an image depicting sex or anything anti-religious" etc etc. Each stock photographer can set their own rules here, so we need to double check what these rules are. More often than not, these rules are often in a comment UNDER the picture:


But, sometimes it says "Rules in journal" or has even been left blank. So, where do you find out the usage guidelines then? Usually it's on their profile. To get there click the profile link:


This takes you to their profile page. Usually the rules will be in a journal entry:


Once in awhile instead of being in the journal they will have an image tag somewhere else on the page – but unless I'm absolutely in love with a photo, if I can't find the rules quickly I look for a new picture. Though we've easily found the rules for both of these images, I have also rejected them because they have too many stipulations. For this tut we want something completely" free for all", so to speak, and I found exactly that at


This is a good picture, but let's see what else our deviant has to offer by clicking on their gallery link:


Sometimes people have more photos than what you can originally see. By clicking the BROWSE link you'll get all of them instead of just the ones they have chosen to Feature (note, this sometimes makes no difference, especially if someone has very few photos):


As it turns out there are some beautiful stock images here – but only two of them flowers. Now, we can look somewhere else, or take this, and I am taking this one, personally. So, to do that we need to click the download link:


this takes you to a new page where you can right click and save as.


Now that we have our picture we need to print it. If you don't have a printer at home you can put this image on a disk, or a jump drive/thumb drive and take it to a library and get it printed – I believe it's a dime a page at our library. Or, if you work somewhere with a printer, you can probably do it for free ;)

For those who have a printer at home, I'll show you a fast – and universal - way to print it up.

Go to the place you saved your photo and right click. Go to "OPEN WITH" and choose "WINDOWS PICTURE VIEWER":


Then click the "print" button:


This will open a printing wizard:


Make sure that your image has a check mark next to it and then hit next


Use the drop down box to select your printer of choice and hit next


Choose the fax setting and hit next


Your picture should print without any trouble – if it doesn't you may need to double check that your printer is turned on and plugged in. Yes, this sounds self explanatory, but you'd be surprised how often we all overlook the obvious!

I think this is enough for today. Next time we're going to make a cheap/free lightbox!


For more information on creative Commons Licensing please see:


Of course, there are many other ways to get images to work with besides deviant Art. The most foolproof is to use one of your own photographs, but if you don't have any then here are some more places you can look: - Flickr has all of the images labeled with their licenses (look UNDER the photo) – and only those with creative commons licenses can be downloaded. If you don't see the words "All Sizes" above a photograph then you can't download it.


All of the photos on my Flickr have a creative commons – non commercial license – so if you want to browse what I have then go for it.

Stock.xchange is a photography community that has a LARGE variety of royalty free photos that you can use for anything you want – for free.

Stock Image resources has a list of several stock image sites, and also tells you what you have to do to access the pictures. In some cases you have to join the websites to access the free images.

I hope this has been helpful!


Post a Comment

Typie, typie here!