1. Usage of art:
2. ©vinegaria.com or ©Gracjana Zielinska and / or the link to www.vinegaria.com is required on anything of mine that’s used. Clickable link would be nice, but is not necessary,
3. If you wish to use my art for tubes or in signature tags, my official PSP tubes are available at CDO (Creative Design Outlet),
4. In regards to #1, there is no need to inform me about using my art if you’re following the rules, but it’s always welcome if you wish to send me the information,
5. Please save images to your own server, no direct linking to my website.
2. Commissions, free pictures, art trades & requests:
1. I used to find my art badly altered, with no credits altogether because ‘free to use’ apparently means ‘nobody cares’.
2. My art was treated as free stock art, shared in packages where some of the pieces were already “improved” and some weren’t even mine because ‘free to use’ meant ‘why bother checking’.
3. I have no time to keep contacting people doing that, asking them to remove the pieces or add proper credits. And when I did – people kept ignoring me anyway.
I went pay-to-use just because it ended those problems. It really did. I really don’t mind people using my art for free for their strictly personal projects, credited and unaltered. I even allow some people to use it for their commercial projects for free, when they are just starting out and it can help them a lot (like when they want to use some of my personal works for a book cover or illustrations inside it). You can see it in my TOU, and it’s not going to change. I made sure it’s written in my contract, the tube company have the rights to sell my art for tubes only, they can’t forbid using it for other personal projects.
3. Art techniques, tips & advice:
Digital: For painting I use mostly Adobe Photoshop, sometimes Corel Painter, PaintTool Sai and CLIP Studio (the last three mostly for sketches or getting sharp, fine lines). I also use Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and rarely SketchUp for my other digital work (which is not only painting, but also design). I also use Procreate app (iPad Pro with Apple Pencil).
As for tablet advice: get a Wacom. Even the cheapest one (and those come at really low, affordable prices) will still be a great tool. I worked on Graphire 3, considered cheap, and Intuos (series 3 & 4), considered professional, and honestly the difference wasn’t that big. It certainly won’t affect your art quality. As for tablet’s size: it depends on everyone’s personal preferences, but I’d say – if you doodle in A5 sketchbooks you’ll be fine even with A6 size. If you’re painting traditionally only on big formats – then you can give A4 or even A3 a try, although to be honest, I think A5 will be enough for you too. They really are very sensitive to even the smallest pen movement.
In Corel Painter I like to experiment, but in general my favourites are Scratchboard Tool / Fine Point (Pens), Palette Knives, Oils, Tinting, Captured Bristle (Acrylics) and Grainy Water (Blenders). I paint on a Wacom Tablet, just using the brushes like I’d use traditional ones. Or so I think :)
As for what I never do. In Photoshop I never use any fancy, standard brushes (like the famous leaves brush) – they give too “computery” results, but that’s just my opinion. I also never use Smudge and Blur Tools for general blending, as well as Dodge & Burn for colouring. For the same reason. It just screams “Photoshop” from far away, and it’s not a compliment. Although I use all those tools for little details – softening edges of hair, highlighting a piece of jewelery, that kind of stuff. As for why Dodge & Burn tools are bad for shading colours – they only make them darker or lighter. Let’s say you draw a red ball on a blue table, highlighted by a lamp. You’d need to add some dark blue for shadows, purple, probably some warm beige for lights and maybe even very bright green for extra highlights, and dark brown to shade the shape of the ball itself. All colours interact with each other. Even if you colour cartoon drawings – it still matters. When shading with Dodge & Burn the only colours you’re “using” are white and black. The worst ones to shade anything with, as they do not work like that in real world.
1. Sketch a lot, things based on real life. And paint whatever comes to your mind. Carry a sketchbook everywhere.
2. Try different media and varied things. If you’ll paint only manga girls in pencils, this is the only thing you’ll ever be good with. With more variety you’ll develop your own style and method of painting sooner, you’ll just have more experience and confidence in what you really like.
3. Collect inspirations & learn from them. Save interesting art and tutorials on your disk to browse it later, print some, buy artbooks. Money is no excuse (oh, how I hate this one!). Awesome resources are online and free, and if you really care about art you can save up for an artbook if you manage to save up for a cinema or coffee once in a while.
4. Learn to appreciate critique and to see what you draw. That takes some time. At first I thought I’m as good as the best ones out there, until I started to really see what I’m doing wrong. After that I quickly made a progress. You have to learn to see your mistakes and be your own harsh critic, otherwise you won’t improve. And yes, that means ‘practice’, again. It also means you’re never going to be fully satisfied with your work, but that actually is a good thing.
5. Don’t cheat, be original. It really is pointless to draw on other people’s work (art, photos) or to draw fanarts only. That means you’re not using your own imagination at all and, believe me, people will see it. That especially means overpainting or getting ‘inspired’ a bit too much.
6. Make a varied portfolio. Have some artworks on major art portals. Even if you want to specialize in one thing, it’s always good to show you’re capable of much more. And you are.
7. Be nice, be polite, but be assertive. Don’t pity yourself, don’t be a drama queen. Nobody appreciates that. Respect yourself, promote your best pieces and just work on your flaws.
8. Be prepared to work hard. I can honestly say that people who made it big are not the most talented ones, but those who worked hardest to improve. Just check oldest works of your favourite artists to see what I mean. There are always those few gifted in an unbelievable way, but they are not the majority of succesful artists.
9. Remember to take a brake once in a while. It’s easy to burn out quickly if you paint non stop. Let your mind focus on something else for a moment.
1. It can take me a while to get back to you, but I eventually will. I’m usually pretty busy (who isn’t?).
2. I won’t answer rude e-mails from people demanding magical tricks (“I know you use some tricks, don’t tell me to practice, just tell me which filter does it“) and also people “wRit1ng liek Th15” (argh!). True stories.
3. If you want my advice and critique then be prepared to hear some negative comments about your work. I’m not your Mom or Aunt to tell you your work is the best out there, as most probably it still isn’t. I try to be honest and always tell people, when they want to know, what’s wrong and what looks good. Believe me I’m more harsh towards myself than other people anyway.
Patterns & textures: I try to use my own resources. Everywhere I go I take photos (even crappy, mobile ones) of interesting textures and patterns and later adjust or re-paint them. Quite often I just paint them from scratch (especially laces and small foliage). My goal is to have a self-sufficient database one day, but I know it’s impossible, I’m always looking for new things and it’s fun. I try to avoid using other people’s resources, but in case I don’t have anything suitable, I usually go to CG Textures. I share some of my own here, on my website.
4. Background, art education & influences:
I like to call myself a self-taught amateur, but this is not entirely true anymore. Thanks to that I can babble about it from two different angles! :) I actually got my first Master’s Degree in History of Art. Hence my a bit cynical attitude when it comes to talking about art, I guess. After studying it for a while I thought art is actually fun and, because I doodled all my life, I decided to give it a more serious approach. Back in 2003 I started to work really hard on my skills. After a year I got my first commercial commission and started doing more of those. Then, with a bunch of art friends, we decided to actually get a Master’s Degree in art, even though we already worked in the industry (mostly advertising, though). And so we did, I got my second M.A. – this time in Art – in 2010, already working full-time as an artist since 2008. Although I actually studied Graphic Design specialization at the Fine Arts Academy, so they didn’t teach me about drawing (except obligatory classes where we just drew models and still lifes with no real feedback or learning), it was more about layouts, design and logotypes. Still useful, though. Problem with local art universities here is that they don’t teach any foundations, and honestly it’s the foundations we should be focusing on, the rest comes with practice. If your school has a great foundation course – I’d consider that.
I have to admit I went there more for fun, than really expecting to learn a lot. Was I mistaken? Well, no. After graduating I’m as clueless about drawing, perspective and colours as I was before, and my skills are only those self-taught, even though I graduated with honours (meaning: I didn’t have to try too hard, even though at first I thought I won’t even pass entrance exams). Was it worth it? Yes. The experience of having to work with others on the same topic and comparing your interpretations, meeting experienced professors – that’s priceless, if you can afford it (public universities here are free, but hard to get into, but I know they’re pricey in many countries). As for things I’d like to improve in, like colours and perspective, I just ordered some books on the topic and work on it, as usual, on my own. In January 2016 I took my own advice and started a perspective class at CGMA with Mr. Robert St. Pierre. Learnt much more there in just few weeks than I ever did, thanks to the class environment and the teacher. So I’d say – art school: not really, art courses – go for it. The benefit of those is you can focus on your flaws and choose the exact topic you want to master. Also – you’re not there for grades, so (in my experience) people work harder, as the only benefit for you is actually what you’ll manage to learn.
On a side note I still think everyone should get some kind of a proper education before deciding to focus on art only (yes, I mean it). But I also believe people should have brains and not spend their days talking about how “current cliche art movement is deep and only real artists can understand it”. If I had to say which of my studies were more useful – Fine Arts or History of Art – I’d definitely choose the latter. It gave me lots of knowledge, inspiration and required to think more, which is always useful. As I said – at my art studies I didn’t learn anything that wouldn’t be possible to learn on my own.
When it comes to learning how to draw – I never really learned. It’s not that there haven’t been teachers around ready to give advice, I just never listened, as they didn’t paint themselves (at my schools ‘art teacher’ was usually a job taken by every teacher that just had a gap hole in his lessons plan, and their advice was like “make it look more happy”). At my art university I was already ok with general proportions and technique (traditional, they didn’t give a damn about digital painting, considered it “cheating”), so my teachers tried to convince me to paint in the style they preferred (like ‘more painterly’ or ‘just use 3 colours, don’t mix them’ or ‘try to stylize rather than draw real portraits’ or ‘focus on realism, don’t stylize anything’ etc.) – so I never treated that seriously, as they didn’t try to improve anything, but shape my works in their own, varied images, often contradictory to each other.
Right now my most favourite artists are Symbolists, Surrealists and XIX/XXth Century illustrators, especially: George Barbier, Aubrey Beardsley, René Magritte, Odilon Redon, Gustave Moreau, Fernand Khnopff, Virginia F. Sterret, Józef Mehoffer, Alphonse Mucha, Edward Okuń, Stanisław Wyspiański, Paul Delvaux, Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham. I could just go on and on with the list, but let’s stop here. I mentioned quite a few Polish artists on purpose, I feel they deserve much more worldwide attention than they have, so do check them if you never heard of them.
As for contemporary artists – I adore and get inspired by many. The best way to know what influences me is checking my DA favourites. This is my constant source of inspiration.
5. Various questions I get:
6. Your other questions:
If there’s anything else you’d like to know please send me an e-mail. I won’t reply to the questions already answered above, though.