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August 08 2017

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How to Draw : Hairstyles Pt. 1

After a really long time this is finally done, I still have a few request projects to work on but this was at the top of the queue.

A tutorial discussing the various methods and styles of drawing hair, specifically using shapes, tufts and strands.

August 07 2017

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on painting skin

imo painting skin is more about lighting than shadows or really anything else? if you create a dark base and build light up on top of it the shadows will form naturally.

a big thing is the coloring of the cheekbone area, it is NOT always like this. coloring the cheekbones is completely determined by the MOUTH!

in its most basic form the corners of the nostrils connect to the corners of the mouth and coloring the cheekbones should be determined based on the line between them! light hits off the highest point on the cheekbone and moves outward from there, a scrunched up face would have fewer highlights and more shadows for this reason. 

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my personal version,and yes i have a fetish for long ears elves

August 06 2017

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How I draw hands. Just a quick thing.

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people say they like how I draw eyes, and I was bored, so I made a little tutorial?? bc why not??

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Hey Team, 

Tip 02 is up! I wanted to talk about a subject I don’t hear come up all too often but can be very important. Please message me if you have any questions about this one or if you have suggestions for a future topics. 

August 05 2017

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How to draw human ears: realistic, manga & anime, simplified

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Tuesday Tips - The Mask Helps to figure out the shape of eyes in perspective by thinking of its surrounding area instead of guessing it. -Norm #tuesdaytips #100tuesdaytips #grizandnorm #themask #drawingtutorial #drawingtips #arttutorial

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Tuesday Tips - Drawing Through Put the guesswork away and draw through the forms to create lively characters and express solid volumes. -Norm #tuesdaytips #100tuesdaytips #grizandnorm #drawingthrough #drawingtutorial #drawingtips #arttutorial

July 26 2017

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In response to @lollinghippo ‘s ask, sorry if i took my sweet time answering and I hope it helps!

As for the commissions I’m really not sure but I’ll be posting an update here in my blog when I do! Thank you so much for your kindness.

July 08 2017

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Updated tutorial? My advise is – use references! All those hands were drawn from the references, photos and life. There’s also loads of useful tutorials on drawing hands that explain how hands work. It’s your job to understand the anatomy and find a way of constructing hands that’s easy for you. And thank you! :)


CamScanner: a must have for traditional artists!


hello! I recently found this rad app called “CamScanner”, a mobile app for android and iOS

what does this app do? well, basically it imitates a scanner, so even if you don’t have one, you can take real cool pictures of your drawings!

for this to work, i suggest you take a picture of your entire paper / sketchbook / etc. The app will automatically crop your picture and come out with something like this:

(sometimes it wont be too accurate, but that can be easily fixed by moving the frame yourself)

once scanned, the app will make it so your drawing looks like this:

(the app will have some presets, so you might want to mess around with those. OR you can mess with the settings yourself to get a look you desire)

this can be really helpful if you plan to color your traditional piece on a computer, or something similar.

this can even work with colored drawing, if you’d like!


edited with CamScanner:

if you mess with the settings yourself, i bet you could get the picture to look better, as i did this with the presets.

anyway, i hope this helps!

May 05 2017

Play fullscreen


I get a lot of tutorial requests, but today’s topic is hands-down the most-requested. Today, we learn how to draw hands.

My previous hand lesson explained the bones. Even if you’re not interested in drawing skeletons, the bones determine the proportions and range of motion. For the hand in particular, a lot of the forms of the bones are visible on the surface, so you gotta know them!


Muscles of the Hands

The hand muscles can be grouped into three teardrops: The thumb gets two teardrops and the pinky gets one on the palm side. Their teardrop-shapes are wider at the wrist and taper towards the fingers.


The one on the palm side of the thumb is the biggest and the one on the back of the hand is the smallest. They’re like the Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear…

But what about fingers? The fingers are made up of bones, tendons and fat… no muscle fibers in the fingers! All muscle bellies end before the metacarpophalangeal joint, (blue). That goes for the thumb, too.

As you can tell from it’s shape, the thumb is different from the others. There are a lot of muscles surrounding the thumb and it has a much larger range of motion.


Thenar Eminence

Let’s start with the thenar eminence. That’s a fancy word for the thumb mass on the palm side. It’s the biggest and most important muscle mass on the palm. It emerges from the wrist and attaches along the thumb bones. It stretches out when you stick out your thumb, but even then you can see how thick it is. It’s even more obvious when the thumb is brought towards the palm, and all the muscles bunch up into a big mass around the base. Papa Bear has a fat pot belly. You can think of it like a cone or a chicken drumstick on the thumb’s metacarpal. It changes shape as the thumb moves, which makes it a little tricky, but as long as you know its origin and insertion, you know the area it fits into.


To fully understand it’s form, you gotta know the layering of the muscles. I’ll explain all the individual hand muscles in-depth in the Premium version of this lesson.

Hypothenar Eminence

Next up, the pinky muscle mass, technically called the hypothenar eminence. This one is long and narrow, not quite as thick or wide as the thumb mass. It may look like these two masses meet in the middle of your palm, but the muscle fibers actually stop a little short with a tendinous gap between. It’s the fat sitting on top that blends them together.


Don’t go overboard with the hard edge between them or you’ll end up with hand-butts! In general, it’s better to shade it with tone than mark it with a black outline. Unless the palm is squeezed together, bringing Papa Bear and Mama Bear in for a hug. In that case hand butts are totally acceptable.


The pinky mass starts at the base of the hand. It actually travels over the side of the hand and attaches to the outside of the pinky metacarpal. This is why the ulnar side of your hand is kind of squishy when you poke it, while the radial side is hard and bony.


This pinky mass has a weird muscle on top of it that’s kinda unique. It runs perpendicular to the other muscles of the pinky. This muscle is called the palmaris brevis. Sound familiar? There was that palmaris longus muscles we learned in the forearm lesson that had the wide palm aponeurosis at the end of it. Well, the palmaris brevis originates on this palmar aponeurosis. It inserts on the skin along the pinky border of the palm. Ok, interesting… What does this muscle do? It pulls the skin inward and helps to improve grip. Go ahead and try it. Squeeze your hand together like you’re gripping something. Notice that interesting indent it creates along the pinky side of the hand. That’s the skin being pulled. The skin and palmar fat bunch up on top of the muscle belly. I bet you’ve seen that indent a gazillion times, but never really understood it. Now you know.

First Dorsal Interosseous

The final teardrop shape is the first dorsal interosseous. It’s the Baby Bear teardrop on the dorsal side of the thumb. It creates an egg-shaped bulge between the thumb and index finger metacarpals, filling that v-shaped gap between the bones. Since it’s between the two bones, the dorsal surfaces of those bones are still subcutaneous. That means you can feel the back of the bones and the soft squishy muscle between. Go ahead and find it on yourself.

When the thumb is out, this muscle mass is stretched out. When the thumb is squeezed in, it pops out as a big round egg form. It’s not as thick as the palmar thumb mass. It’s shorter, too. The dorsal thumb mass only reaches the metacarpals, while the palmar thumb mass starts way up at the wrist.


Ok, so those are the muscles of the hand! You can find the assignment and photo reference images for the assignment here.

There’s 2 more lessons and a few demonstrations coming soon, so keep your eyes open. And as always, there’s a lot more content in the Premium version of this lesson.

May 01 2017

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Starting a mini drawing tips series! Feel free to suggest some topics you’d like covered// Hope you find this useful!

Also on: twitter / instagram

April 30 2017

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In this tutorial I show my workflow process for setting up my more intricate establishing shots for my comic work.  This method can be used for any art piece though.  The first 10 minutes are the bulk of the tutorial while the last little bit is just some examples.

The programs you’ll need are:
• Photoshop or a similar art program of your choice
• SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp) http://www.sketchup.com/
• PureRef http://www.pureref.com/

• SketchUp 3D Warehouse for props and refs: https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/

Play fullscreen


Steve Huston is one of the best artists and teachers of our time. His advice has been helping me figure out how I should approach making art and why I create art in the first place. 

In this interview, Steve Huston talks about how to grow as an artist, how to develop a unique style, how to find what calls to you, and much more. It’s a mighty 106 minute conversation filled with golden nuggets. Don’t miss this one.

Steve recently published an instructional book on figure drawing. I think it’s a must have for every artist learning how to draw: Figure Drawing for Artists: Making Every Mark Count


01:44:44 - Where can we get your book?

00:00:33 - Steve’s new book

00:00:45 - Going to Art Center*

00:01:21 - Drawing Comics as a Kid

00:02:15 - Illustrating after art school

00:03:36 - Teaching at Art Center*

00:04:21 - Taking over the classes of famous teachers

00:06:28 - Learning paint and color

00:09:00 - How did you learn color?

00:13:28 - Finding your style

00:14:34 - Working after Art Center

00:15:44 - Becoming a better artist

00:19:49 - Growing as an artist through teaching

00:21:20 - Making a finished art piece

00:26:25 - Thinking critically about the art you’re making

00:27:58 - Good copying vs bad copying

00:28:59 - Art as philosophy

00:30:26 - Developing an art style

00:33:34 - Creating a truly unique style*

00:46:36 - Drawing and painting better by asking question*

00:53:27 - Steve Huston’s inspirations

00:58:39 - What does an artist do if they don’t have any good ideas?

01:01:23 - How do artists balance idea and craft?

01:02:55 - Being afraid of drawing something “wrong”*

01:09:58 - The tools for creativity

01:11:40 - What is the purpose of creating art?

01:16:28 - How do you find what calls to you?*

01:27:00 - What was your creative learning schedule like?

01:33:52 - What would you have done differently in your art education?

01:36:16 - Did you study more from life or more from masters?

01:37:48 - Consistency in your artwork

01:39:13 - What do you enjoy more: quick-sketch or longer drawings?

01:41:09 - What medium do you want to learn?

01:42:02 - Any new books coming up?

01:43:18 - Where do you see your art going in the next 10 years?



heres yous go. a swaggy tutorial by me.

now accepting donations to fund my watercolor addiction n bad life decisions pleas help.




little art tip: the position of the ears on a human does a lot to communicate the angle of the head—whether it’s tilted forward or back.

tilted back with the chin forward, the ears are going to look lower down, closer to the mouth; tilted forward with the chin tucked, the ears look higher up & more in line with the eyes.

Sorry I’m not hijacking, but this is a really good tip if people don’t know this. Like it does look really strange at first, but it is more realistic than drawing them in the centre of the side plane of the head. So it looks like this;;;


April 23 2017

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Da, da, da, daaaaaaaa…… that’s a little more dramatic than I had intended. I love all these wonderful Sai tutorials that get posted on here but I haven’t seen much attention payed to Sai’s Lineart tool which I can’t get enough of. I’m sure there probably are Lineart Layer tutorials out there - I just haven’t come across one so I’m just adding to the pile. The Lineart tool is so awesome it deserves any number of tutorials anyway. It’s so easy to use, it saves me so much time, and it offers so much control which I really love. Honestly, the tool is so easy to use that this is less of a tutorial and more of just a general encouragement to just whip it out and start playing with it. Yeah. So say we start with a simple line like this swirly-wirly thingy that I drew with the marker tool. Well, the first step would be to create a linework layer by clicking the linework layer button.


There we go. Now, a lineart layer in Sai is different from any other regular layer in Sai and it will bring up a completely new range of tools. I’m gonna briefly go through them but the best way to understand exactly what each does is to just try them out for yourself. There’s no substitute for experience or however the saying goes.

  • Pen - This is your freehand lineart tool and to best honest I don’t really use it that often. That’s just me personally. I have an expensive gaming rig that has all sorts of magic running under the hood but we all know that Sai’s memory management is pretty crappy and I don’t need the lag or crashes that come with this tool when working at a high DPI. You may have a different, entirely pleasant experience with this particular tool but for me, if I’m doing freehand inking, I’d much rather just use the regular Pencil tool.
  • Eraser - Kinda speaks for itself.
  • Weight - This one I do love. Say you’ve drawn a line - or a path as Sai calls it. With this tool you can adjust the thickness of the particular line by simply selecting the brush size and then clicking on the line.
  • Color - Same as Weight. Simply select your desired colour and then select the desired line you’d like to change. Very useful. For the aesthetic.
  • Edit - This one comes with its own subset of mini-tools that I’ll get into in a moment. But this is definitely a useful tool - for me it’s probably the most useful.
  • Pressure - This is the one that adds the character to your linework. I’ll explain further below.
  • SelPen - A selection tool. Pretty standard. Since the Lineart layer works in ‘Anchor’ points (which again, I’ll get in to further down below) I don’t really use this one.
  • SelErs - Selection Erase. Goes hand in hand with the SelPen. I can’t say that I personally use this one  much.
  • Curve & Line - The Curve and the Line tools are the cornerstones of the Linework layer. I’m explain both further down.

The Edit tool, as I mentioned, brings up its own list of sub-tools. And they definitely have their uses. Again, it’s best to play around with them to truly get a grasp of what they do but I’ll just run through them quickly before I get on with the main tutorial.

  • Select - For selecting anchor points of paths. Honestly, I don’t really use this one too much simply because hovering over a point or path and clicking will select it.
  • Move/Add - Now this one I use a lot. Moving an anchor will affect the curvature of your line if you’ve used the ‘Curve’ tool, or you can add curves to a straight line by clicking and dragging in between anchor points.
  • Delete CP/Curve - Kinda speaks for itself. It will delete an achor point in your line. Sometimes this can be useful for making your curves rounder if you’ve added too many points to it.
  • Deform Path - Again, kinda self explanatory. It will warp your line. I don’t really use this one myself but that’s not to say that it couldn’t have its uses.
  • Deform Anchor - See above.
  • Move Path - Instead of moving just an anchor or adjusting the curvature of your line you can move the entire line at once. Can be useful.
  • Duplicate Path - Does exactly what it says - creates a copy of your line. Haven’t found much use for this simply because I don’t particularly like copy/paste stuff in linework. Faults or differences add character.
  • Delete Path - deletes a line you’ve drawn independently of other lines on your linework layer. Can be useful as well.
  • Connect CPs - This is difficult to explain the benefits of. It’s one that should be experimented with. It basically joins lines together. I use it quite often. Just pick this option and drag from one anchor point to another to join them.
  • Pointed/Rounded - See the diagram below for this one. I find it very useful.

As you can see I used the Curve tool to draw a simple curve (left) and then I used the Pointed/Rounded tool to convert the curve into a point (right) by selecting the tool and then clicking on the anchor point at the height of the curve. I find it very useful. Anyway, back to our swirly-wirly thingy.


Because our swirly-wirly thingy is basically one long curve, I simply select the curve tool and start clicking. Starting at the centre point on one end, I click to add anchor points as I trace the shape of the object. Each point adjusts the curvature from the last point. It’s kinda hard to explain verbally or even visually but try it out and you’ll quickly see how it works.


Once I have a line over whatever I’m inking done I like to adjust the weight to suit my preferences. I like to work with thicker lines because they give more room to play around with weight. So to adjust the weight you click on the Weight tool, select a brush size and then click on your line. If only it were that simple in life.


Once I have a good weight selected I move on to the Pressure tool. The pressure tool gives you two options. Pressure for width and pressure for density. Width is like controlling the weight of the line at individual points and density controls the transparency. I don’t usually use the density option. As with traditional inking I prefer to denote depth, shadow, etc. with weight as you can see in the image above. To adjust the pressure, simply select the pressure tool and then select an anchor point. Click, hold and drag to the left to make the line thinner of more transparent and to the right to make the line thicker and more dense. As you drag, a percentage will appear over the anchor point you’ve selected. This can be useful for keeping things consistent.


That’s all well and good for curved lines but what about straight lines? That’s where the line tool comes in. It works exactly the same way except it won’t add a curvature to your anchor pints. Still very useful though. Especially when combined with the Weight and Pressure tools.


Here’s an example of one my drawings. It’s Dark Empress Kitana from Mortal Kombat. The one in red is the pencils which if converted to black would probably make a pretty good linework layer. I’m a firm believer in taking the time to clean up your sketch/pencils layer because it will dictate your entire drawing. The one below in black was done using Sai’s linework layer feature. Although not entirely.

As much as I love Sai’s linework layer, it can look a little too clean which is not great when you’re drawing people. Although, it’s all art so it’s all up to personal preferences and personal style. There’s no wrong way to do it. For me though, I prefer to do skin, facial features, hair, etc. by hand using Sai’s Pencil tool on a normal layer and reserve the Linework Layer for architecture, clothing or any non-organic substances. I inked Kitana’s eyes and eyebrows freehand ( or as freehand as you can be with Sai’s amazing stabilisers) but everything else such as her armour or her fan weapon thingy was done using the Curve and Line tools on the Linework Layer.

I hope this tutorial has been useful. Or if not useful - then at least encouring to try out Sai’s linework layer. It’s such a robust feature that I don’t see get much attention and I can’t even begin to describe how much time it saves me or how much I adore it. If you have any questions (because I’m well aware how unsuited I am to writing tutorials - this is so damn rambly - sorry!) then feel free to drop me an ask here at keithbyrneart.

P.S, sorry about my handwriting in the stills. It’s gotten a lot messier these days.

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