Frequently Asked Questions
and General Information
If you want to purchase M:tG Artist Proofs or you would like me to sign your cards, please send me an e-mail at
FAQ - Art
People seem to ask me the same questions quite often, so I've compiled a little FAQ here. It's still a work in progress, so there will be more information to come.
If your question isn't in this list or if anything is still unclear, feel free to ask! The best way to do so is when I'm painting and talking live on my livestream channel (follow @depingo on Twitter to be notified instantly when I'm live).
Q: What painting program and tablet do you use?
A: I use Photoshop CS6 and a Wacom Intuos 4 Large. The color wheel is a Photoshop extension called MagicPicker - you can get it here!
Q: I have trouble getting freelance work. How do you find your clients?
A: You might be approaching this the wrong way. Focus on building up your skills and becoming a better artist first and the clients will find you! (Please refer to the list of books at the bottom for how to do that! ;) )
Q: How long did it take you to get to your current skill level?
A: I've been drawing all my life, but I only got really serious about art in December 2010. Since then I've been working hard every day to improve :)
Q: What do you listen to while painting?
A: Most of the time I like listening to audiobooks. When I'm trying to focus, I switch to soundtracks and other music without singing. If I'm very tired or bored, I tend to watch movies or TV series, as well as video playthroughs of games I'm somewhat interested in but won't play myself for various reasons (mostly the lack of time!).
Q: When do you know that an image is finished?
A: Every painting is different, but it's usually when I feel like what I'm doing isn't improving the image anymore ;)
Q: What brushes do you use? Where can I get them?
A: The one I use the most is probably Photoshop's default hard round, with opacity set to pen pressure and spacing set to 1% in the brush settings. Another one I use frequently is Photoshop's default soft round, again with opacity set to pen pressure, spacing set to 9% and the noise option turned on.
I like trying out other artists' brushes as well, some of my favorites being Jaime Jones' and Maciej Kuciara's sets. You can download them here.
I've also made a workshop for ImagineFX Issue 96 - some of my favorite brushes (including the modified soft round mentioned above) come on the DVD with that issue.
Q: What brushes do you recommend for a beginner?
A: Stick to your painting program's default brushes and learn how to paint all the textures and effects by hand first. Custom brushes should only speed up your process later on - they can't do the work for you!
Q: What art/anatomy books can you recommend?
A: There is an abundance of great educational art books out there and I've read and studied many, but here is a short list of my personal favorites with some reasons for why I like them:
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth and Drawing the Head and Hands
Andrew Loomis teaches the basics of anatomy and good draftsmanship in a fun and charming way! If you're only just starting out, his books are probably the best choice for you.
Check out all his other books as well - they're all fantastic learning resources!
Figure Drawing - Design and Invention
Michael Hampton breaks down the human body into easy to understand geometrical shapes. This book is very helpful in learning what I find to be the most important thing about anatomy (and drawing in general!) - which is to understand and imagine the three-dimensional shapes of objects in space.
Die Gestalt des Menschen
This book might be hard to find and only comes in German as far as I know, but the illustrations are self-explanatory. Bammes shows the human body in a very structured and scientific manner. This book is great if you want to go beyond the basic shapes and start memorizing smaller details, but for starting out I recommend the ones mentioned above.
Hogarth has an exaggerated and somewhat stylized way of drawing, but I've found that it works well in helping you memorize the complex anatomy of hands.
Art - General
Color and Light
This one is a must have! Everything we see is light, so understanding how it works is absolutely crucial. If you want to paint figuratively and actually know what you're doing and why, this book is what you've been looking for.
Another insightful book by James Gurney.
The best book on composition I've found so far, with beautiful drawings and great explanations.
The Practice and Science of Drawing
A very old book, but full of useful information on all sorts of topics that still apply to art today. The antiquated writing style might be a little exhausting, but it's well worth the read! And because it's so old, you can read it for free at Project Gutenberg.
Historic Costume in Pictures
A wonderfully illustrated compilation of clothing throughout history - use this to inspire your character designs and make them more believable.
Want me to critique your work live on the stream? Either send me an e-mail with the image attached or a message on deviantArt with the link to the image.
Some things to keep in mind before asking for a critique:
- Only finished paintings (no sketches or early WiPs!) - Critiques are supposed to make you realize problems with your work that wouldn't have occurred to you otherwise. Therefore please submit images that you feel you've pushed as far as you can.
- You don't need to 'defend' yourself while receiving a critique - We're all just artists trying to learn together and a critique is not an attack, but an attempt to help. When you reply to a part of the critique with something along the lines of "Yeah, I know that" or "I was going to do that later", it shows that you actually could have taken it further by yourself and I'm just wasting my time critiquing it for you.
If I've critiqued your painting during a stream and you would like to have the layered .psd file, write me an e-mail, and I'll reply with the file attached. :)