Here is a small tutorial on how to create a good tutorial. It is a short overview of the basic steps and in my opinion all tutorial writers can follow it, doesn't matter what programs you have. Just some things I have noticed over the years.
You forgot whitespace. Otherwise very nice. Admittedly I skimmed the walls of text (I like short paragraphs that I can scan over easily to get the gist as quickly as possible -- another reason images are good!), but covers most of the points I internally wince at.
silverrequiemwolfFeatured By OwnerNov 5, 2012Hobbyist General Artist
This is actually really useful and informative. Should I ever gain skill to the point that I feel I have something to pass on to others, it will be a great reference. Thanks for making it
(and because nobody seems to have done it yet: yo dawg, I heard you like tutorials so i got you a tutorial about making tutorials so you can use a tutorial while you make your tutorial. Meme quota filled.)
An important element of tutorial making that far too many people -- especially teens who are still very early in their learning process -- unfortunately ignore is this:
Don't make tutorials about things you don't know how to do well -- or at all.
I teach drawing and digital art workshops to teenagers sometimes and more than once I've had one of my students argue with me about something I'm trying to teach them because they read a tutorial online that contradicted what I was saying because it was made by a kid who didn't really know what they were doing. I've seen so many tutorials on DA that are like that. The kids who make the tutorials are still babies as far as artistic development goes and are still learning the basics themselves but they think they're knowledgeable enough to teach everybody else anyway. The inevitable happens because of that: 9 times out of 10 it's the wrong way to do it.
The worst offenders seem to be tutorials on coloring (both technique AND theory, like mixing black into colors to darken them and/or abusing the dodge/burn tool to shade) and anatomy to a lesser extent. The anatomy thing is part of what made me make a tutorial for male torso anatomy a few years ago, actually. I was sick of seeing anatomy tutorials that were completely incorrect and obviously made by kids who really didn't understand how anatomy worked in muscle structure, proportion, or foundation drawing. Anatomy is hard enough to master without being fed bad information while trying to learn!
Not only do these tutorials clog up search results and thus make truly useful tutorials hard to find, they also teach other amateur artists the WRONG WAY to do things. Beginners and amateurs don't know any better, after all; I certainly know that I didn't know any better when I was younger, so it makes me kind of grateful that internet art tutorials weren't really that common at the time (we're talking 1997-2000 when deviantART didn't even exist yet). How on earth are beginners supposed to know that the person who made the every-bad-habit-and-amateur-mistake-in-the-book coloring tutorial is a 14-year-old kid who has no idea what they're doing? They made a tutorial about it so surely they're doing it right.... right?
Sorry for the long tangent of a comment but that's just something that's always bothered me.
And I completely agree with you here. I made my first tutorial 8-9 years ago and now when I look back at it then it isn't that good. So I understand what you are talking about. Main problem is that you have to have some experience before you teach and even 1-2 years isn't good enough because you still don't know anything. Second requirement is to actually make art. You can't just make tutorials without creating art. That's why I stopped making my pixel art tutorials for years, just because at that time I wasn't into pixel art so much. And I did feel that I didn't have the right to teach someone just because of that.
I also remember when I was learning and I didn't have any tutorials. And I still feel that it might have been the best thing that happened to me because if you discover these things yourself then you will have much more experience later on.
However I do feel that we all should have the right to make tutorials. Yes, 90% of the tutorials aren't that good either. But maybe you do have something to learn from bad tutorials as well because later on you will know that there's a better way to do things. You can't teach them to understand the right and wrong so easily, a lot of it comes with their own experience. And once they have enough of it then they understand it themselves.
"Main problem is that you have to have some experience before you teach and even 1-2 years isn't good enough because you still don't know anything."
Yeah, unfortunately many in the teen age bracket don't realize just how much there IS when it comes to knowledge about art/illustration/whatever it is you're studying. I know I had no clue how much went into illustrating until I went to college for it. Combine that common misconception with the impatience a lot of the digital generation is saddled with and you get premature tutorial authors. lol
"However I do feel that we all should have the right to make tutorials."
Please don't think that's what I was trying to say because it isn't! Of course everybody should and does have the right to make tutorials. All I can say is thank God for the tutorial groups on dA that are for the best of the best tutorials. They're definitely excellent resources for beginners to find the best instruction possible in that area. I'm a member of a couple of those quality tutorial groups and have a whole folder in my favorites for tutorials because I still learn new things from them every day even if I don't end up using that specific technique in my own work. Sometimes it's just interesting and educational to see another artist's process.