Art Tutorials Wiki Improvement Guide

How this project got started

This project started out in 2006 as a gigantic link list to art tutorials. I had just purchased a graphics tablet, but soon figured out that I needed help with improving my art.

Fortunately, I discovered that the internet was full of art tutorials. Unfortunately, I discovered that they weren't organized in any major way, making it difficult to find the precise tutorial I needed.

So I began collecting links to art tutorials, and organizing them myself. And in July 2007, I discovered Wikidot.Com and decided to turn these link lists into a wiki so that others could use them as well. After all, I figured, I could hardly be the only person out there wanting to improve his art! Furthermore, since this is a wiki, others could add their own links to their favorite tutorials as well, thus improving the content of the wiki over time even without my personal involvement - and possibly write their own, original tutorials exclusively for the wiki.

However, after more than three months I am still largely the only person who has done significant amounts of work on this wiki - and I want to change that. Because frankly, this is a task that's beyond a single person (especially a person who also has a day job…). There's only so much time I can put into this wiki on my own - and furthermore, there are more than a few fields of art in which I frankly don't have the expertise to judge what a useful tutorial might be - my own interest is in digital art, and as a result other art forms are underrepresented here. But I want to change that and make this wiki helpful for artists of all kinds - but I can't do that alone.

And this is why I am writing this article - so that others who want to help out with improving the wiki will know how to do just that.

Spreading the word

The simplest but possibly most important thing you can do to help improve the wiki is this: Tell others about it. If you found it useful for your work, mention it in your blog, on your website, on forums on which you might be active or anywhere else you can think of. The more people know of and use this wiki, the more people will eventually be willing and available to add their own content to it. Every visitor counts.

Adding your own links

If you know of any good tutorials that aren't linked to in the wiki, simply add them. For the time being, I have set permissions so that anyone can edit the wiki. All you have to do is to go on the page you want to add the link, and then click on the "edit" button at the bottom of the page. The edit window for that page will then show up. Enter your link in the same format as the other links on the same page (make sure that the link is listed alphabetically like the others!) and save the result. The format for external links looks like this:

[http://artwiki.wikidot.com New Tutorial] by TutorialMaster

In other words, first you have to put the URL and the title inside of [square brackets], and then add the author of the tutorial behind the brackets.

That's all there is to it! If you want to know more about how the formatting for this wiki system works, then look at the links with further information on the subject directly below the edit window.

Telling others about new resource sites, or adding links others have found

There are more than a few sites out there with a multitude of tutorials - so many that they might be beyond your ability to create links to every single tutorial in the wiki. If that's the case, post a link to the entire site into this forum. Hopefully, someone else will find the time to tackle it.

Or perhaps you are that "someone else", in which case you can simply start going through the site and adding links to all listed tutorials. Don't forget tell others about how far you have progressed with them so that there won't be any dublicate work…

Adding link descriptions

In most cases, what a tutorial does should be pretty clear from the name of the link. But sometimes it isn't. In most cases, I've simply copied the name the author of the tutorial has used (mostly because I already spend so much time with adding new links that I don't have the time to come up with more descriptive names for them as well). When this name isn't informative enough for your tastes, please add a description after the link. For example, if you see a link that is listed as:

New Tutorial by TutorialMaster

change it into something similar to this:

New Tutorial by TutorialMaster - explains how to draw anime-style ears

Leave the actual names of the tutorial and its creator intact - the authors of the tutorials should remain fully credited in the links list.

Cleaning up existing pages and adding new ones

A few pages have become so large and unwieldly that it becomes hard to find the speficic tutorials you want - defeating the point of the wiki in the process. The Special Digital Effects Links page is the most obvious example, but as the wiki grows there will certainly be others (the Crafting Links page is a likely candidate). If you come up with a scheme how to subdivide such pages into useful categories - or even split them up into several distinct pages - please don't hesitate to do so. However, this will mean that you will have to go through all existing links and decide which category they belong to.

When you want to add links to new tutorials, you might also find that none of the existing pages cover tutorials of that type. In that case, simply add a new page to the wiki. You do this by first adding a link to the name of the new page on the main page of the wiki or any other relevant page (such as the Digital Art Links page). These links - so-called internal links - need to be in triple square brackets, as opposed to the single square brackets of external links.

Once you have saved these links, they will show up in a different color to signify that the page they link to doesn't exist yet. Click on this link, and you will automatically go to the edit page of the new page. Enter all the relevant details to this page (including the external link you wanted to add) and save the result.

Adding original content

This is the most difficult way of improving the wiki, but possibly also the most rewarding. The Art Tutorial Wiki strives to be more than "just" a giant link list - it is also the intention to add wholly original tutorials and other useful material to the site itself.

Of course, not all original content needs to be a full-fledged tutorial. Take a look at the Bibliography section - it lists books that may be of use for artists. Feel free to add new books to the list - and then create new pages for individual books so that you can review them there. General essays that give advice to artists are also useful - take a look at this essay for an example.

If you want to add a fully-fledged tutorial to the wiki, then the process is going to be a bit more involved. First of all, if you want to upload any images to go with your tutorial, you must register at Wikidot.Com. You can do this by clicking on the link on the upper right corner on every page. Once you have done that and logged in under your user name, you can upload files to a specific page by clicking on the "files" button on the bottom of the page. You will also likely need to learn more about how the wiki syntax works, especially how to embed images into the text. Apart from reading up the wiki syntax on the links I mentioned above, I can also recomment simply clicking on the "edit" function for existing tutorials like this one - they should give you enough examples for getting started.

Any questions?

If you have any further questions on the process of improving the wiki, don't hesitate to ask on the relevant forum!

Have fun!

- Jürgen Hubert

The contents of this document are © their respective authors.