How Learning Photography Made Me A Better Artist (In General)

   I wanted to share something with you guys about a recent realization I had. Did you know that learning photography could actually make you better at other art forms? It wasn't something I've ever really considered in the past, but it makes total sense to me now. I've recently picked drawing back up again after having stopped for some reason a few years ago. I'm not quite sure why I ever did stop. In fact, I'm not even sure what made me want to pick up a pencil again in the first place, but I'm glad that I have.

   When I was younger, I used to draw almost every day. It was an integral part of my day to day living growing up. I was never very good at it or anything, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. One of the things that always tripped me up was learning how to shade properly. You might laugh and think, "Really? Shading? That's pretty basic" and you're not wrong about that either. Despite loving illustration, I've never really bothered trying to learn how to be good at it... As silly as that may sound for someone who's spent so much time doing it. It was mostly a fun aside to help me relax.

   I remember in middle school we had a few days dedicated to learning how to shade. The thing was, art classes were an elective. Because of this, the teacher assumed that if you were taking an art class of your own free will, you were most likely good enough to know how to shade in the first place. Really though, he just didn't feel like actually teaching. It never really clicked with me and every time I tried, it looked very unnatural.

   In comes photography. One of the most important things you have to learn in photography, if not the most important thing, is how to properly light your subject matter. Of course, there's a myriad of other important elements (like the composition, posing and what not), but without good lighting, your photos are gonna look terrible. So here's the thing, what is shading if not the shadows that fall off from lighting?

   It didn't even hit me that I was intuitively shading the person I was drawing without having to think about how it needed to be done. Learning lighting in photography helped me get better in illustration. With that thought still in my head, I started thinking what if there's something that I can learn from illustration that I can bring back into photography to make me a better photographer? Hell, what about another art form entirely?

   I still don't really have an answer to that question yet, but the potential for improvement has got me on a journey to try out other art forms to improve my photography. Maybe there's a painting technique that can help me in post processing my photos? What about niche art forms that I haven't even considered or known to exist? The idea is fascinating to me. I mean, just going to a craft store always has me finding new props I can use for my photos, so at the very least I've got that going for me. I do know one thing, I've got a lot of work ahead of me ^_^.

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