Maria Lia Malandrino is an Italian illustrator and visual development artist working as a freelancer in Turin, Italy. Since 2017 she has been working for publishing houses and brands such as Disney, Oxford University Press, Hachette and others.
Do you love drawing and practice regularly, but somehow feel like you’re not progressing much? You’re not alone! This has happened to most artists at some point in time. The trouble is when we repeat the same mistakes over and over again without actually realizing it. But, never fear, there is a way to break out of this cycle!
When you can understand the exact reasons that make an amazing illustration work so effectively and know which weaknesses to target in your own artwork, that’s a HUGE step in your growth as an artist. Having a greater awareness and understanding of style will improve your artwork by leaps and bounds, as your mind will be trained to uncover the structure behind art, to recognize what your drawing habits are, and …(perhaps more importantly) to identify how you can do better!
HIGHLIGHT: Two lessons teaching the basics of Photoshop for digital art!
In this course, Maria will discuss many aspect of artistic style and share the strategies you can use to develop your own! With a good balance of essential theory and fun practice, you’ll find yourself learning a TON of valuable knowledge that you can apply the next time you pick up your sketchbook and pencil. Be prepared to be venture outside of your comfort zone! It will be fun, promise!
Are you looking to develop your style and want to learn how? You’re in the right place!
Join your instructor, Maria, in this exciting course that delves into the ins and outs of this fascinating topic.
What is stylisation? In this lesson, you will get a well-rounded overview of the foundation of artistic style. It’s vital to understand the basics of what makes a style recognizable and learn how to go about building your own.
Later on in the practice stage, this knowledge will help you progress faster, not just drawing with ‘hit-and-miss’ tactics, but having a keen awareness of what you are doing and why.
Maria will discuss the main features of characters that are most often altered in various art styles, making an illustration either more realistic or cartoony.
She will show you examples of popular character designs, so that you can see how these features can be tweaked depending on the style.
Jump on board for a quick tour of Adobe Photoshop!
Maria explains the main tools and features used by artists (like you!) to create amazing illustrations digitally. She also discusses the pros and cons of similar software, like Procreate and Studio Clip.
It may seem daunting at first, but with her guidance and clear examples, you’ll be a Photoshop master in no time!
Watch how Maria arranges her workspace in Photoshop and learn how to do so for yourself.
Having the workspace customized to suit your workflow can be really beneficial and time-saving, especially as you become more experienced. She also goes into detail about the major tools, functions and menus that are essential in digital drawing/painting.
After this lesson, you’ll be ready to navigate Photoshop with confidence!
At last: Practice time! Follow along with this fun exercise of changing a character’s primary proportions from a realistic figure to a cartoony one.
In this lesson, Maria focuses on the character’s silhouette shape in order to create a figure that works well, and to avoid getting distracted with all the little details at this initial stage.
In the last lesson, you learned about a character’s primary shape.
Now it’s time to move on to the secondary features, such as hands, feet, eyes and mouth. You’ll discover how to change the overall style, by altering or exaggerating these body parts in different ways.
Did you know that there are variations in line art, which also affect whether an illustration looks more realistic or stylised? You’ll discover how and why in this video and learn how to create different stroke styles for your character’s outline.
What exactly is Color Rendering? Maria explains this concept in detail and shows you how to do different kinds of rendering to achieve several forms of stylization, including 2D, 3D and realistic.
Discover her favorite brushes and watch her demonstrate how she uses them …. And guess what?? You’ll even learn how to create your OWN from scratch!
Follow along with Maria in this first stage of digital painting: Laying down the flat to achieve a ‘vector’ look.
She will also share cool tips, such as how to speed up your coloring process with the symmetry tool and various brush sizes and when to use either dark or light outlines, etc.
Dive into the world of shading, starting with cartoon-style a.k.a. cell shading! Using multiple light sources, you’ll practice creating shadows cast at different angles on the same character.
Also, Maria will teach you how to add color to grayscale shadows (a popular method with digital artists).
In this lesson, you’ll explore further styles of shading: Soft shading and 3D shading (without edge lines) and learn how to create both effects.
Also learn a neat trick to quickly create soft shadows with just one click using Box Blur.
Watch a demo of Maria implementing a ‘Painterly Style’ rendering technique and understand the main principles so you can achieve this look in your artwork.
All about textures and how/when to use them! Follow along as Maria applies textures on a flat color illustration to create interest and depth, and on a painterly style illustration to make it look more realistic.
Find out exactly what brushes she uses to accomplish this and where you can find them!
How can you find your own style? Maria shares her own experience in developing her own style and passes on some strategies and exercises that you can do to help you figure out what you like, to determine what resonates with you.
Keep in mind that style is constantly changing and so it is very likely that you might adapt your style later down the line.
In this final lesson, Maria takes you through a useful exercise that will help you learn to analyze people’s artwork style so that you can understand why it works and enable you to look critically at your own art.
Congratulations on completing this course! The important thing when it comes to your style isn’t so much about ‘finding it’, but to always be looking!
Remember, self-reflection and critical observation of your own work is key to your improvement as an artist!
Maria is an illustrator and story artist from Turin, Italy. She has a BA degree in Magazine Publishing from the University of the Arts London, has studied Traditional Animation at the International School of Comics in Turin and attended a masterclass in Storyboarding at the online school CGMA.
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21 Draw is an online learning community where students of all skill levels can learn how to be a better artist. Our contributing artists and instructors are the best in the world.
Our streaming platform on www.21-draw.com makes it possible for anyone to watch hundreds of video lessons by industry legends who have worked for Disney, Marvel, DC, Dreamworks, Pixar & more. A membership gives full access to our streaming platform.
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Each class includes 10-20 video lessons that are 7 minutes long on average. Most classes include exercise sheets, assignments, and layered PSD or PNG files.
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