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  1. #1
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    Dec 2007
    Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts

    need some advise.

    so ive been drawing since... mortal kombat 1 and xmen the cartoon came on fox.

    im 21 now. it got to a point where i was more serious about art so i decided to go to art school.. i then got even more serious and decided to start gathering reference books (disney works, the art of (blank) anatomy and life drawing books ect)

    the problem is. i feel like my practice far exceeds my outcome drawing. i feel like maybe im learning wrong? im not seeing progression.. and i know you shouldnt compare but i see people 17 and 18 years old (im 21) who technically blow me away. and over the summer out of an... angered desperation i studied anatomy doing 5-8 pages a day of studies and learning bones and muscles.

    so after a while of soul crushing failure. i find myself just saying fuck it. im losing my will to try and it sucks because i dont want this.

    lately i draw maybe.. once every 3 days and soon as i make one noticeable mistake i just throw the book and do something else. it feels like ive learned so many rules that i forgot how it was when i was little just drawing wolverine and showing my mom.

    i dont know.. i just need some advise. i would LOVE to keep at art, but i can only take so much constant sucking before it takes a mental toll.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Florida, USA
    Thanked 266 Times in 205 Posts
    Hi! I'm going to yell at you in a friendly way!

    If you start each drawing with the expectation of creating a perfect finished piece you may end up constantly disappointed or crippled by fear of failure. It doesn't matter if someone seems better. The only way to improve is to draw draw draw! Enjoy the successes and learn from the failures.

    Keep LOTS of drawing materials around you. Carry a sketchpad. collect scrap paper. Don't be afraid to do "throw-away" sketches. Fill pages with rough ideas. Get the creative juices flowing. Read tutorials, watch youtube videos of artists drawing.

    Start a sketchbook thread in the sketchbook folder of this forum. Be prepared to hear criticism and then draw some more and keep practicing until you have strengthened the weak aspects of your drawing behaviors.

    Sign and date every page you draw on. Draw live people. Do fast sketches and longer studies. Figure out what you like to draw and draw that the most but also draw a variety of other things.

    Don't make excuses about difficulty or lack of improvement. You'll only regret it later. If you love to draw, then just do it and do it alot.

    Don't hold yourself back. Keep moving forward!

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    US and Spain
    Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
    I agree with what PsiBug has to say.

    I think with practice and patience brings something close enough to perfection.

    Be proud of your work and don't compare it to someone elses'. Two people will never have the same image of something and will never express it the same way, so it won't be a fair judgement anyway.. if that makes sense.

    I'm confused, in your references to disney books if you are trying to draw from imagination or life? I think drawing something from imagination is 1000x harder than drawing from life, because you have no real ideal to compare your mistakes to, to see if it is anatomically, proportionally, weight(ly) correct. If you feel overwhelmed, put it down for a while and take a breather from the specific piece, some space can give you the piece of mind to come back and judge better what is wrong with it, instead of completely destroying it in a rage.

    Hope what I said can help a little. Good luck with your studies and progress!

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Birth Place of the World, NYC
    Thanked 1,051 Times in 687 Posts
    That's not yelling.


    But you gave sound advice.
    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director

  7. #5
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    Dec 2007
    Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
    i dont know. i guess i knew what was going to be said before i even posted.

    im tired of trying to figure it out myself. if somebody 17 can do what ive been trying to for years, then there must be that (oh just check out this book will help you 100%)

    i cant even draw 5 minutes without getting disgusted now.

    and it sucks.

  8. #6
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    Jan 2007
    Thanked 337 Times in 220 Posts
    First off, do not compare yourself to 17 year olds, or whatever age person. Age does not matter. And think about it. The stuff these artists are putting up are most likely a fraction of the total stuff they have drawn. They probably have drawing pads full of incomplete and abandoned drawings and sketches they think are awful, or for only personal study and are not meant to be seen by others. And most likely, they draw every day, even if they're doodles.

    Second, you said yourself you only draw every three days. As I just said, you need to draw everyday. Do what PsiBug says up above, draw all the time. You do not have to expect every drawing to be a masterpiece. Remind yourself you're learning, and that it takes time to build the skills (both muscle skills and observational skills) to get to where you want to be. Doodle, fast sketch, studies. Just draw.

    And last, don't give up after five minutes. Harley Brown, an artist and contributor to International Artist magazine, recommends drawing from life for at least half an hour every day. This is to help get over the initial hump or resistance we tend to have when it comes to creating art. Think about it, once you get that first half hour done, you can choose to stop for the day or you can opt to keep going. Maybe you got in a groove and can't help but keep going. Five minutes is not going to cut it.

    Take advantage of the advice and people here. Look at some of the recommendations for books, and go study them. Keep at it. You'll improve, but only if you keep going.
    "It's all about the triumph of intellect and romance, over brute force and cynicism." Craig Ferguson on Dr. Who
    sketchbook :: my dA gallery :: my art blog :: old sketchbook

  9. #7
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    Jul 2006
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    What Asatira said is right, and I go by this rule. For every complete work of art , that an artist is satisfied with, there are at least 100 scribbles , or rough drafts of the piece of art.
    Ev'sSketchbook for the lazy minded but willing!
    Help an artist, leave a critique.

  10. #8
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    Oct 2003
    London UK
    Thanked 535 Times in 219 Posts
    I suspect that a lot of the people (including yourself) who post with motivation/self-esteem problems have an unrealistic concept of how art is done. I certainly intend no offence by this comment, so I'll try to explain a bit more clearly what I mean - please bear with me.

    I suspect that many people look at finished drawings/paintings, and think that the way these are done is "straightahead" - so when they try to draw something themselves, as soon as they make a mistake, the drawing is rejected, and their self-esteem takes a nose-dive. "I'm useless, I'll never be an artist. My drawings suck", and so on.

    I think this embodies a fundamentally mistaken view of the process, one which sets people up for "failure".

    So let's try and address this.

    First of all, I'd like to make a distinction between trained, mature, highly experienced artists, and learners - because the way in which highly experienced artists work is somewhat misleading, to those who believe in the "perfect drawing straight off" model (because that's what they appear to do). However, that appearance is deceptive (its rather like watching a concert pianist, and thinking - "that's easy, I could do that, all it involves is hitting the right notes appropriately hard in the right sequence/timing" )

    So, what's really going on?

    I'd like to suggest a different "model" of the learning/production process, which I think applies both to effective learners, and to the process that really underlies the apparently effortless correctly-produced artwork that characterises those with mastery.

    Drawing/painting embodies at its core an error/correction feedback loop

    When you make a line (mark, brushstroke) in your drawing, the basic questions you should be asking yourself are:

    is it (in relation to the rest of the image):
    - the correct length?
    - the correct angle?
    - (the correct value, and colour)?

    and if its not

    then revising it, and asking the same questions again. One continually refines, adjusts, revises.

    The questions, as the drawing/painting develops are:
    - what can I do next to progress this?
    - what is weakest about the image at the moment, and what can I do to improve it?

    Can you see how different this is from "I've made a mistake, I suck, time to throw it across the room and go get a beer!"

    Each "mistake" is a learning opportunity - drawing and painting are effectively a problem-solving process.

    The difference between learners and masters, is that masters tend to recognise the problems at an earlier stage and adjust them as they go - they tend to be able to efficiently categorise the nature of the problem, and are familiar with strategies for solving that problem because they have seen it, done it before.

    Learners (because they are learners) may not recognise the problem until its consequences are obvious (failure to establish correct anatomical proportions at the outset will ultimately impact the ability to get a likeness in a portrait, for example) - and tend to be reluctant to let go ("I'm not going to alter that, I 've got this far, I don't know if I could do the bits I like about this again") or to address the problem directly (for example - if you can't shade a cube, sphere or cylinder convincingly and make them look 3D, then what are your chances of painting Wolverine realistically? Go back to the simpler problem, and work on it until its resolved adequately, don't be over-ambitious)

    Often, learners also do this "I suck, I'm giving up" - failing to see that recognising that there is an error is the first stage in solving it and making progress.

    If you can see there's something wrong, but cannot see what it is, then:
    - compare the drawing with your ref - try to break it down to basics, to abstract shapes - you may start from "that eye's wrong", but look at it as a set of curves, and areas, and values, and compare each back and forth.
    - if you can't pin it down, take time away from it - work on another area, or take a break - when you come back to it, it may be clearer what the problem is.
    - ask for help - other artists (esp the more experienced) are likely to have seen similar problems in the past.

    .................................................. .

    Now I'd like to return discussing the "I suck, I'm giving up" mindset - as I said earlier, I think this embodies a mistaken model of how art is done, because it seems to often go along with an unrealistic assumption that art should be created in a perfect process where each mark is put down flawlessly, and the entire painting/drawing constructed as a "perfect 10" performance.

    I hope I'm getting across the message that this is not how its done, but that greater mastery comes to better approximating to it (rather like driving along a curving road and avoiding running into the ditches by increasing subtle and elegant corrections of the steering).


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  12. #9
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    Dec 2005
    Thanked 230 Times in 143 Posts
    Dude, I totally feel you. I'm 22, bailed on art school, and now I feel like I'm "behind" pretty frequently. It's not a pleasant feeling. I have my bad days, where I start a drawing but end up flinging my sketchbook across the room in frustration. The lines on the page mock me, my hands don't respond to what my brain is trying to tell them to do... basically, I feel like a talentless turd.

    Here's the secret to my perseverance:

    I punish myself. When I get angry with my drawings, I self depricate and become self destructive - we're talking eating an entire bag of Oreos in an hour out of spite or watching half the fourth season of Farscape in a single sitting. But I've learned to put that self-destructive, self-depricating energy to use by malicing myself with the original source of frustration, drawing, as the "punishment" rather than Oreos or bad TV. Sounds odd, but it works - after a while, all the anger burns off and I've actually drawn something. The best part is, I was so angry at myself for being a talentless turd while I draw in that state that I forget to be angry at the drawing itself, allowing it to actually come out pretty well.

    And in a weird, twisted way, the fact that I've produced a good piece of work despite my self-depricating mood becomes a satisfying self-slap in the face. Proving myself wrong never felt so good.

    Then I celebrate by eating a few Oreos; or watching an episode from the second season of Farscape.

    Masochistic? A little. Effective? I'd like to think so. I've been told that I'm probably a little insane.

    Peepul: Tulokyn :: Nakhon :: Deadlyhazard :: raminafshafari
    :: Mr. Magic

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    that place between Sleep and Awake
    Thanked 62 Times in 46 Posts
    It's a good thing to compare yourself to other artists . . . to know what your peers and competition are capable of and who they are looking to (its poor business sense not to!!!). In the same instance compare yourself to the great masters or modern day masters . . . compare yourself to who you see on this site and see where they are strong but more importantly where they fall short. Concept Art isn't about capturing the smallest detail in an image, its about the story and visually capturing what words cannot express.

    As much as anything else its not how well you can draw but what you can express with what skills you have. Hell, have you seen Tim Burtons old stuff or any of his concept work? . . . dude can't hold a candle to some of the 17 and 18 year olds that I've come across but what seperates him is his ability to tell stories that none of the little 17 or 18 year olds could even dream of.

    Only after you accept where you are in your quality of work will you be able to recognise what you have to do to better yourself as well as the value of your work. The trick is just rememberbing why you decided to pick up that pen or piece of conte'.

    This being said there will always be 17 year old punks who can draw better than you or me, but what you have to realize is that you have to find your place, right now it sounds like your still learning but ask yourself where do you want to be when your able to be competitive? and understand that we aren't all meant to draw for Disney or Marvel Comics but that isn't to say that there isn't a place in the concept art / illustration world for what you are able to produce.

    Your not learning wrong, nor will you find that magic book that will teach you tecnique, but rather your just reaching a point that even some pros hit at some point its just a matter of continuing after making such a realization.
    Last edited by Musselfarmstudios; December 25th, 2008 at 05:20 AM. Reason: clerificaiton

  14. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    even I don't know
    Thanked 84 Times in 75 Posts
    Ever heard the philosophy "FUCK YEAH". I really suggest you read it.
    Firstly let me commend your courage for posting anything up on the internet. I have a mate how refuses to post anything up until he views himself as good enough. Secondly if you want to improve create a sketchbook and make a link to your work as I feel you get some great advice from the people here.
    Finally (and possibly the most important) realize that you are your own worse critic. this is a double edged sword as you can gain experience in knowing where you went wrong bu lose confidence. This is going to be harsh but the masses won't give a hoot if you succeed or not, this is the same with me and everyone else. Here comes the fun part Make people give a hoot, sketch in public, enroll in an art course (if you can), forget pride and draw for the sake of drawing and the want of getting better. If someone says that's crap just say practicing or experimenting and not gone how thought it would if someone goes "wtf how did you draw that oh my god you are my hero, take my sexy supermodel daughter as your wife" (not quiet happened to me yet but still time) then you know you done good.

    When you get a sketchbook up plz PM me as I would love to see you develop.

  15. #12
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    May 2008
    Thanked 6,573 Times in 4,531 Posts
    I seriously don't know what you're complaining about because your pen and ink stuff is just fine. You're just not confident in colouring them, but they are all environments. Try something smaller and practice.

  16. #13
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    Nov 2006
    Thanked 16 Times in 12 Posts
    the problem is. i feel like my practice far exceeds my outcome drawing.
    Just in case nobody else said it (don't feel like reading it all)

    If this is the case, you should practice more on concept, design, and color. Make at least 10-20 thumbnails for your next finished piece (thumbnails being small, very sketchy ideas of what you want your final piece to look like).

    If you continue to have problems, it might be more of a skill level issue. Study up on great artists who use lineart, color, perspective, mood, energy, etc. Start practicing these things everyday.

  17. #14
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    Jan 2006
    Thanked 962 Times in 505 Posts
    and please learn to spell "advice"

    some time it helps to tackle one concept at a time
    and if you get hung up on something in particular ask for help withthat particular thing.... most folks here are pretty helpful..but more so to specific questions (ie,, I feel the perspective in this landscape has soething wrong can you help me to resolve it?, rather than my art sucks , how do I become a genius)

    keep working
    To see the world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.

    Sketch book

  18. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    CT, USA
    Thanked 1,082 Times in 231 Posts
    Good drawing comes with practice and maturity.
    Sometimes, time is more important than work.

    Instead of getting frustrated with it, try challenging yourself with something new.
    Mix it up.
    Ever try painting?

    Painting will help you see things in a new light and perhaps give you insight into what your drawings lack.
    This is how it happened for me anyways.

    Painting is a lot like sculpting, you are pushing around forms until they look believable in a 3-dimensional sense.
    Sometimes things become more apparent this way.
    My drawing at the time was far too linear, and I was too caught up in shading.
    Eventually, those concepts from painting worked into my drawing and improved my skills with a pencil.
    As my drawing improved, it then influenced my painting... and so on.

    Some suggestions:

    1. Try drawing in charcoal and erasing highlights with a kneaded eraser.
    2. Try painting in oils.
    3. Try drawing in a completely different style, maybe like a kids cartoon.
    As silly as it seems, you WILL learn new things. By not falling back on the things you already know, you are forced to discover new solutions to your problems.
    Those solutions are universal.

    Good luck!
    - Dan Dos Santos

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  20. #16
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    May 2008
    Thanked 6,573 Times in 4,531 Posts
    Sorry about my earlier post, I got you muddled with someone else.

    Why don't you start a sketch book instead of moaning here and then maybe we can help. Unless we see what's the problem, I can't really see that any words here are going to help.

  21. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Fayetteville, AR
    Thanked 40 Times in 19 Posts
    To mis-paraphrase: sometimes a cigar is not a cigar at all. or what I mean to say, or rather Freud would, is that it might not be the art that is what bothers you but your self perception of 'what your skill level should be' that is at fault. Heck, it could be that you are ticked off at something a bit deeper than even the artwork and it's spilling over. I find if i'm stressed out/depressed about non-art related things it can very very easily cause me to have difficult times even producing works. Motivation is difficult to maintain if you are prone to these kinds of things. Working other issues in life out can really make a big difference. just my 2 cents.

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