Gary Marshall lines up his favourite sites for artists, snappers, designers and dabblers
The web is a blessing for creative types: instead of starving in a garret, you can discuss your work with like-minded people, discover new techniques and learn the secrets of getting your novel, art or movie out there for others to see.
The distinctive visual style of Manga is everywhere, from comic books to adverts and videogames. If you fancy creating your own manga-style creations then Manga University is the place to start. You'll find tutorials on drawing hands, bodies and clothes, as well as a dedicated section showing you how to draw manga eyes.
Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame describes Shooting People as "a necessity for anyone who works, loves and breathes independent film". More than 37,000 members share advice and information, recruit cast and show off their films on this enormous movie-making website.
Digital Webbing isn't just a great site for comic book fans: its talent search section is where writers, artists and publishers look for work, while its forums are an excellent resource for anybody who's interested in creating comic content. Whether you're trying to break into the industry, recruit collaborators or just discover what inspires your favourite writers and artists, you'll be able to satisfy yourself here.
I Love Typography
As the name suggests, I Love Typography is a website for people who really care about type – both in print and on-screen. Here you'll find free fonts, interviews with designers, advice on type design and articles covering subjects such as whether Arial is something more than just a Helvetica clone. The site has spawned www.welovetypography.com, a spin-off which is a kind of Delicious for type-related content.
Arts & Letters Daily
Literary criticism, sociology, philosophy, essays, opinions, blogs and columns: if it's interesting and it's been written down, posted or published, you'll probably find it somewhere in this regularly updated collection of the world's best brain food. Arts & Letters Daily comes from the Chronicle of Higher Education, and its mission is to find and link to anything interesting. Just bookmarking the site increases your IQ by 50 points – or so we've heard. On Arts & Letters Daily, funnily enough...
She goes on a bit – deliberately – and repeats herself a lot – again, deliberately – but if you're an aspiring novelist, Anne Mini's blog is one of the best resources that you'll find online. It's particularly good when it comes to the business side of writing, covering everything from finding a publisher to avoiding the clichés that guarantee nobody will ever buy your book. Take a look to get your novel rolling.
National Novel Writing Month
They say everyone has a book in them, and every November the National Novel Writing Month encourages people to get it on paper in just one month. The site's a great resource for would-be writers, with interviews, Q&As and advice.
All kinds of websites offer screenwriting advice, but few of them are as straightforward as this one. Here you'll find step-by-step advice on creating and formatting a film script, including the rules you must follow if you want to be taken seriously.
There's more to graffiti than teenagers tagging trains, as fans of Banksy will tell you. Art Crimes is an online gallery of graffiti art from around the world that also links to upcoming events and interviews with top graffiti artists.
The selling point here is that the most popular writers will get their books read by HarperCollins publishers instead of languishing in the slush pile. Even if you don't catch the editors' attention, Authonomy is a kind of MySpace for novelists, with writers submitting their work, critiquing each other and offering advice on all aspects of fiction writing.
If you're performing or recording music, MusicRadar is a must: it's a huge resource site featuring technique tips, gear reviews, interviews with musicians and extremely busy discussion forums. It's not a luddite site either: electronic music making gets as much attention as guitar, bass and drums.
DeviantArt aims to provide a place for any artist to display and discuss their work. You could spend weeks browsing it: the site has more than 10 million members, many of whom are incredibly talented.
From pen and ink to acrylics and charcoal, ArtGraphica's free online tutorials take you step-by-step through the processes of sketching, drawing and painting.
Acclaimed landscape artist Roland Lee is a generous man: on his site he provides lengthy tutorials showing exactly how he takes a blank page and turns it into something superb.
Watercolor Painting and Projects
It looks like it was designed in 1991 and the navigation is appalling, but the tutorials provided on the Watercolor Painting and Projects site are excellent. If you're new to using watercolours, this is a good place to learn the essentials.
Part social network and part how-to guide, Photo.net is an enormous collection of articles, galleries and forums where amateur and professional photographers share advice and critique each other's work.
First published in PC Plus Issue 286
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