Cadgame Artist
Hello everybody, as suggested me decide to leave my goal here.

The problem I see is that I still do not know how to design an effective line of study that do not waste time and get away from my real goal.
My main goal is to illustrate card game, but I know that for this requires a large number of skills, the illustrations should be well rendered and always tell a story.

Based on this know that it is essential to the study of anatomy, yet drew a timeline to study daily.
Gesture (30min) [I often use the youtube channel]
Anatomy - Micheal Hampton Design and Invention

I feel I'm just stuck in studying the basics and when I need to put into practice, and create my own illustrations I end up getting stuck just looking for references and look at the blank screen, a lot of the time bad start, especially when it comes to digital design, yet I do not know how to practice digital painting effectively, who can leave me a feedback would appreciate any tips that could be useful for me to draw a eficar method to accomplish this goal of creating illustrations for cardgame.

Besides studying fundamentals and always working on your weaknesses, the only way to learn how to finish illustrations is to....finish illustrations. Yup that's the magic key. Follow through and complete an illustration, the workflow will develop over time.
But you do need SOME ideas first, and they don't have to be extremely unique. The key is practicing finishing illustrations. Along the way you will spot more issues with your skills that you will need to address so it is an added benefit of doing completed work.

You can re-imagine cards that have already been done for an existing game, take the description for the card and do it in your own way. Or come up with something generic like doing tarot cards.
I recommend also making an easy goal related to this specific outcome. So for example completing one finished card illustration in a month. See what you learn from that and set another goal after that which might take it further. A list of study topics alone isn't exactly going to get you clarity on what you need to do and when you need to do it.

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Hi Felipe.

BrushNoir initiated a cart art illustration discourse. The thread can be found here:

BrushNoir, one of the super cool guys here, is on a similar path as you are! Might be a good thing to join forces and push the conversation farther.

Good luck!

If you are reading this, I most likely just gave you a crappy crit! What I'm basically trying to say is, don't give up!  
IG: @thatpuddinhead
Always up for a conversation about studypaths ^^.

Good move putting up a goal Felipe! This should help when you're staring at a blank screen wondering what to do next :).

Good luck and get to it dude!

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

Thank you all for the great tips.

My problem is that I can not paint without copying ... this is my greatest weakness, I can not work on my own lighting, not in my own colors, because of that when I try to work on any topic feel limited and stuck to copies.
How could work on these deficiencies?

It's good to know someone else with the same goal as me.

Hi BrushNoir it would be good to discuss this with you, as you have organized their studies to achieve this your goal?

I've been searching for a way to study for a very long time now and everytime I keep tweaking my way. In the end it will probably be the same as everyone else but here goes.

I've wrote a post some time ago before I chose a certain path:

I also agree with Amit, in the end it comes down to finishing illustrations to make any progress. I learned that the hard way.

At this point I really like card art, mostly legend of the cryptids (I don't care what everyone says...hehe). While looking at these pieces I try to look for certain things that makes them appealing to me. For me most of them are the poses, costumes/armor, colors, exaggerated armor even, details, backgrounds etc etc... So yeah where do you start? I tried breaking it down to basics, which for me is figuredrawing first. I'm now learning how to properly draw poses. You mentioned some books which are really good but in a way did not help me yet. I've been researching what could help me get through this wall and I stumbled upon this great comic artist named David Finch. Basically what he does is he starts his poses with a simple mannequin drawing that he knows inside and out. So I was like, yeah that's what I need, something simple that I can actually remember instead of studying something that I forget the next day. I found out he has some decent tutorial videos on his website and in the end I got myself some sort of mannequin that I start to get comfortable with.

Now that I have a sort of understanding of this mannequin thing I start to look up LotC art and study their poses, most of them you won't find in stockphotos since they are too exaggertated (I still do stockposes like you do on the youtubechannel). So this is basically my first step. After I did some poses I try to play with some imagination poses using the knowlegde I just gained from the studies. Try doing imagination stuff whenever you can even if it's for a few minutes.

This is one goal in progress to get closer to do card art. My next step would be to study the rest that appeals me in the same manner. The trick to figure out for yourself is to make everything really easy and quick to draw. Like this mannequin, details comes later. I figured that for me it becomes more important to get the idea down on the paper/screen and then think about refs, details, anatomy and all that crap (It used to be the other way around and drove me nuts).

With knowledge you get from these studies you can start making illustrations. As Amit told me earlier, card art is not something special, in the end it's just an illustration.

Starting an illustration is quite hard I find. But joining for example the CC is really helpful. It's helpful because it gives you a timelimit. It forces you to do studies and best of all it gives you can idea already!

If you're still struggling with starting an illustration, there are quite some challenges going, there are random idea generators, you can look up magic card briefs (thanks John!). There is so much usefull stuff on the net that you can use to your advantage. I did not see them untill recently.

I'm sorry if I go all over the place and if this just does not make sense but here is a little sum up of a routine I'm doing for let's say CC.

- Read the brief.
- (Close my eyes) Let my mind go crazy with ideas of how my image would look like.
- Trying to keep that thought and with the simplified stuff that I study I manage to sketch some ideas on the paper/screen.
- While I'm drawing I stumble on lot's of things that I find hard and that's where I start to progress. These hard things are something for me to study (for example face expressions, foreshortening etc etc)
- Gather some refs, do the studies. (pinterest has great refs, the check out paid stocksites, their previews are mostly useable aswell)
- Go back into your sketch and keep refining the sketch till it looks right (as far as my skills go though).
- I keep going this way untill I finish a piece.

I think what I'm trying to say is prioritize what you want to learn first, in my case I want beautiful figures. Take one subject at a time. I was doing bits of everything at once and it did not get me far because I kept forgetting it. You feel when you will be ready to move on. For example, I did quite some head studies and now it comes together with the figuredrawing.

I hope that this is a bit helpful. Sorry again if it's all over the place. If I did not answer it all please ask and I'll do my best to cover that aswell, I'm quite a messy writer so I probably forgot something :')

Dude, you gave me a good idea on how to work for this unusual goal ... I stopped to read your article and I can tell you that I'm experiencing exactly much of what you mentioned about your trajectory, I'm so frustrated, more so frustrated that I can barely practice, and exactly for the reason you mention in your article about "want to study all subjects at the same time."

I'm not really know to do is split, but your tips clarified enough ... I already have a starting point would be the study of the figure, but to make these illustrations realized that the artists who create them are very good in light and shadow, types of materials such as iron, wood ... whenever I start to create an illustration my, I can not set the light and shadow, values, colors and end up dying with the illustration in this step.

How do you study these types of fundamentals such as values, light and shadow?

Struggling with light and shadow aswell, trying to work it out. You probably know the theory but don't know how to apply it. I figured that I lack knowledge of form. So when I shade I try to think of basis forms like spheres, cylinders etc. Then all becomes a lot more manageable. Not sure if this is the way but I shade my forms now imagining it with ambient light. After that you can add in a spotlight that lights up certain parts that you want. Check out some standard lighting schemes and apply them to you own work. When you get familiar with it you can play with it and tweak it to your liking.

As for values, I like to start in color and check values on the go with a b/w layer. Look up on some basic color theory ( has some nice explanations). I tried to read several books on color but I find experimenting with basic theory in mind more fulfilling. Check other artists aswell how they mix colors.

Painting textures can be hard, try to study that from ref. I see lots of artists painting these study texture spheres and save them so they can use them as ref whenever they need it.

*EDIT.  I wrote a whole thing below, before I checked out your work.  You asked the question as if you were a total beginner so I assumed you were, but looking at your work you aren't.  What's strange is you are actually doing a decent job with some of your study, but you simply are not applying it to your own work, and it feels like you are letting your uncertainty in this area stress you out big time and using "I don't know how to study" as an excuse to not face the real challenge. 

I reiterate my earlier point. Your deathline about what to study isn't fit for purpose (ie to address your fear of finishing an illustration)
FORGET the "what to study" and "I'm not good enough"  thoughts just for long enough to finish one damn illustration.  This should be your only goal in the next month. It doesn't matter what it ends up looking like, if it's a pile of dog shit smeared on canvas, Just do it. Any studies you do this month, make them applicable to this illustration.

Come up with an idea> gather some reference > do some compositional / value thumbnails > choose one and work up a more detailed sketch > Do any studies you need to prepare for rendering (lighting, materials etc) > Render it up
Please do it, then come back to us with an analysis of the process and show us what you did.  use the Critique subforum to get some feedback along the way.

Your fear is much much stronger than your lack of skills. If you want something to fear, I'm so onto you son...there's no escaping now.

Read only if you want---------------------------------aimed at beginners with much less time in it than you have.

I understand the "scattered" panic that comes from not knowing what to study first. Try and ignore it, that is just your own insecurity stepping in to take control.  Like Brush said best way to dispel this is to prioritise according to your needs. From my experience I would say this is the most linear order to self study as each section tends to build upon the previous one. 

Basic Line control (curves, straight lines, ellipses, line weight etc) Examples like in Peter Han's dynamic sketching CGMA class (first lesson is free on YT)
Perspective theory and construction of basic 2D and 3D forms in perspective (grids, ellipses, boxes, cylinders, curved surfaces and forms.) moving on to more complex forms.
Form Rendering (Lighting and value theory) 
Colour Theory
Figure proportions and construction in perspective
Advanced Rendering (materials and advanced lighting)
Design (research, study and application)
Illustration (composition, focal points, narrative, workflow process) This is where you try and combine everything together really.

Nobody who self teaches really ever does it quite so linearly, because all of these things combine together in most illustrative work. So often you will try to do an illustration, and many of the things that go into making a good one, will just be lacking in your skillset and so the results don't please, and you get frustrated. I believe it is a great idea to attempt to finish things relatively regularly in your learning process for this reason alone, it helps you IDENTIFY major points of deficiency in skillset that you can then focus on in study. It also helps you get to grips with what the entire workflow of creating an illustration might be like. I find people who tend to do nothing but study, and don't finish work more regularly, tend to be deficient in some of those less tangible things, like narrative, composition and overall impact of their work.

If you are lacking at one of the earlier stages (eg perspective) most of everything you attempt will suffer, so it is probably the most efficient to identify the largest most fundamental problem you have first, and do specific practice towards addressing that first before moving on.  You can learn these in parallel to some degree as well, but the more you try and do everything at once the more frustrating it might be for you and the less you will be able to troubleshoot specific things to address.  So if you identified problems in lighting and form, you MUST do studies and work towards practicing that specificially.

Hope that helps.

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Amit, I do not disagree with you, and "yes" I am not a beginner, have a 3 year study ... but as you can see in my work is most copies, few were my creations ...

Do you understand me completely, I believe this is exactly my problem, "I do not know to apply what I learn in my personal work." It all makes me back when I think of trying to create my own illustration, I want at least the result looks similar to the studies, but tend to be worse, and so give up before finishing.

I will follow your advice and try to work on a personal illustration, even if leaving a full shit poop (it will be exactly what will happen).

Great! Do it. :)

I would suggest having a bit of an introspective honest look at your own attitudes and negativity towards your own work as well. You aren't helping yourself.
The thing is you are telling us that the work will be crap based on your judgement. Instead SHOW us a finished piece that you didn't abandon, so WE can decide if it is crap and how to help you better. If you don't finish something, you won't be learning the lesson. At the moment you are only teaching yourself how NOT to finish an illustration. Let me tell you this will not be a good thing for your card art goals.
Perfectionism can be a horrible disability if you let it be...and I think you are letting it be.

I will post something in your sketchbook a bit later relating to the "how to apply studies" to your final so I don't clog up this thread.

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So, it's just that my perfectionism just not letting me finish an art because I am already unhappy with the result before you even get finished. But his tips were very valuable, including how to apply the studies, I will work on an illustration to the end of independende as will be the end result, his words served as a great inspiration and motivation for me.

Great to hear it was useful. Well I can't say for certain, but I am a perfectionist too, and I've spent the last 5 years trying to control it. Nothing in life can be made perfect. To think you can is a delusion...almost a disease.
At some points it can be useful to drive you to keep improving, so there is benefit in that aspect, but once it rules everything you do tothe point it becomes negatively self're hurting yourself.

Looking forward to see what you come up with!

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Hi !!
Just to get an idea.
How much time -approximately- can take to make one card game illustration ?

LOTRO card game, as example

Ty in advance and best regards :)
Hey Carlosan, the time taken will heavily depend on the individual artist, the content and the style. My most recent cards for FFG, which were meant to be painterly with a "medium" amount of detail, took around 8-10 hours or so all up. On a $200/card, that's only about $20 an hour which is on the low end if you are freelancing. The larger companies such as MTG go for 1000+ a card so you can afford to go a little slower and take a bit more care.

The quicker you can do anything but do it well, obviously it will be better for you in terms of rates, but you shouldn't focus on speed above everything else; it's not important until you start working for money.

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Ty !
very appreciated :)

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