How to create a fancy painting of a person

Part 1

1. Look at a face. Try to copy it, line by line. See the slope of the forehead, the crook of the nose? Transcribe that to the paper.

2. Keep doing this over and over. You’re going to suck at it for a while and your faces will look unintentionally Picasso-like, but just keep rinsing and repeating.

3. Get a mechanical pencil. It’s easier to draw with.

4. Keep drawing faces until people see them and say, “Wow, that’s good! You can really draw!”

Part 2

1. It’s time to learn how to color your pencil sketches. Get some crayons or color pencils, whatever you like. Color like you’re 5 years old. (Hair… yellow. Lips… pink.) You can fill in the lines, yes you can.

2. Now study shadows. Put an apple down on the table, observe where it casts a shadow. Draw the apple, and the shadow. (It can be just a dark mass of scribbles).

3. Then see how the apple is lighter where light hits it directly, and dark where it doesn’t. Use a darker red over regular red to reflect this.

4. Hooray! You have mastered basic shading. Now transcribe that to people’s faces. It’s a big trial and error process, but just keep shading in people’s faces as best as you can guess like you did when you were trying to draw the lineart of their faces. You’ll get it eventually. Or, you’ll find a way to shade that you like (even if it’s not entirely accurate).

5. Now, sign up for an art class.

6. Learn absolutely nothing.

7. Go online and see beautiful artwork by extremely talented and professional individuals. Teach yourself to color more by observing their work and trying your hardest to replicate it. You will never succeed at replicating it, but you’ll learn a trick or two. And again, you’ll find ways to color that will incorporate what other people do along with what seems to be most visually appealing to you.

8. It’s time to turn digital, because that’s what all the cool artists do. It’s so much easier to draw with computer programs, anyways. They’re much more forgiving about mistakes.

9. Save up $500. Buy the best, medium-sized, decent art tablet you can afford.

10. Admire your new product. Touch the sleek stylus. Believe that the power of money will now allow you to become the Monet you always knew you were.

11. Open your new Painter program. Become absolutely discouraged and daunted by the mass number of buttons, commands, and options that you know nothing about.

12. Peruse some instruction manuals on how to use Painter but become immediately bored and frustrated. You’re an artist, not an engineer!

13. Ultimately, it’s time to resort to what has always somehow worked out for you — trial and error. Time to start drawing with the stylus (that’s straightforward enough), then color in your lines by pressing different buttons and seeing what they do. You can select a brush size and brush color easy enough, at least. Oh, and layers. You read enough instruction manuals to know that this function called layers is important.

14. Find out what buttons make you happiest, and begin to color in your pictures like the novice you are. You’ll never create a work of art worthy of being in a computer game, but you’ll do good enough that the multitudes of other people who suck more than you will be in awe.

Part 3

1. Time to try to tackle the big boy — making a real work of art. To your degree of self-taught skill, anyways. Get your computer and tablet ready.

2. Take a shower.

3. While in the shower, daydream like you always do. Listen to the sad music you’re always playing.

4. Take a bunch of showers until one day boom! Inspiration hits you and you have a beautiful image of a waify girl doing something sad and pretentiously poetic, like dancing with a skeleton or sitting insensibly at a deserted café in the rain.

5. Now that you have a mental image of what you want to draw in your mind, it’s time to draw it! Implement all the skills you have learned from earlier and over the many many years you’ve been following these instructions (right?) to create your masterpiece.

6. Draw the girl, color her, shade her, maybe draw the skeleton. This is where you need a lot of patience. A LOT. It will take you days, weeks even. Coloring is not an easy feat, even on the computer. (Perhaps coloring on the computer takes even longer, since you sometimes work pixel by pixel).

7. Run out of steam by the time you’re done with the girl completely. Screw the setting and background! She looks fine dancing with a skeleton against a plain background… right? Right?!

8. Convince yourself you’re satisfied with what you have. You’ll never truly be able to draw what you imagine anyways, just like you’ll never be able to act like you plan to. But that’s okay. It’s all about doing well enough to tell yourself it’s fine.

9. Save your fancy painting of a person (or two, if you count the skeleton). Tell everyone that it was just meant to be like that, just colored lineart. They’ll buy it.

10. And I mean literally, they’ll buy it. They’ll pay you money for that shit.

11. Profit???