An Amateur's Mostly Pointless Babble.

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  1. #1
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    Angry An Amateur's Mostly Pointless Babble.

    Hey guys.
    Dunno if this is the right section, lol. It's Art-related I can give you that...
    The name's Jeff, I started teaching myself to draw a while back, but it was in December that I decided that I would get a few books and what not, so obviously not really that good at it, but I've run into a bit of a wall.
    So, I really like drawing and painting and stuff, or mainly the idea of it, no matter at what level at skill I am, I guess, but when you are doing something you like, you should be having fun or something along those lines.
    Often, I find myself really frustrated and tense over not being able to draw or paint what I want to, so I guess my source of frustration is my lack of skill?
    So the logical thing to do would be to learn stuff,
    Okay so there I'm learning, trying to get stuff down, reading books be it Loomis or Bridgman, Anatomy or that Juliette Aristides book, or watching stuff, , Structure of a Man, Hale's lectures or whatever (which I have trouble doing, to be honest, I play them at 1.5x speed, haha. [That means I'm impatient right? Is that why I'm frustrated? Would everything turn out the
    way I want it to if I just give it enough time?])
    Anyway, I look at my stuff and realise that it really isn't that good, I don't really like it at all,
    I guess it's sort of how people look at their bodies?
    "When it becomes what I want, then I will be happy."
    So in terms of weight, basically if you appreciate your body in terms of what it is now, then it will change to how you perceive it?
    I think that's how I look at my drawings, I think I will start really enjoying it when I can draw really well. I mean don't get me wrong, I really do love it, I do have fun, I just don't really love the frustration that comes along with it. I want my creations to be better, so if I start liking what I create will they become better? If I start appreciating my level of skill will that sort of stop me from telling myself I suck, hence removing something that could be hindering progress?
    I mean, the level of frustration is lower now than it was before..
    How does one go about learning?
    There is this arrogance people have about their work that really annoys me, it's kind of like randomly shoving your (not you, per se, but 'you' in general) business card in someone's face, they didn't ask for it! Why would they want it you self righteous pretentious little ASS. Man, I really hope that I don't come across like that.

    ANYWAY, so basically I'm not sure of how to go about this. Do I go back to basics?
    I read though it and sort of realised how pointless this whole thing was, lol
    but you know, I think I should post it anyway, there are a few questions in there... somewhere..

    So in summary: Am I reading too much into this? Am I worried over nothing?
    Maybe it's just one giant thing I made up as an excuse for my lack of progress.. hahhah.

    And in even shorter summary: AMIDOINITRITE?

    Thanks for reading, even if you only did read the short summary

    -j

    </rant>

    on another note, I'm writing a graphic novel! like actually writing, I'll hopefully be done with rewriting when i can draw coherently..

    Ugh. I still feel as if I didn't get what I meant to say across. DDD:

    Last edited by `king; April 27th, 2009 at 03:46 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Your post reminds me of the one reason why I think people who start to draw very young have an advantage over adults — when you're a kid, your terrible ninja turtle and G.I. Joe drawings seem completely awesome to you no matter how out of proportion or horrifically coloured they are. You're happy with what you're producing, so you keep drawing more and more and by the time you're a grown-up, you've gained enough skill that you're well past the awful stage.

    If you begin as an adult, you've developed visually and you're no longer so easily impressed, so those same beginner drawings only seem amateurish and wrong. You get frustrated and many people won't continue.

    The fact is, when you're first starting out, pretty much everything you draw will be rubbish. It will take a long time and many, many drawings before it's slightly less so, and many more after that before you start putting out work you are actually somewhat happy with. You're still a beginner, so your drawings are poor — and you'll probably have to suffer through a thousand more poor drawings until you get somewhere good. That can be a very intimidating feeling and it can make you want to quit, but you can spin it so your thought process is a little more positive about what's going on.

    In your mind, consider that every poor drawing you spit out is one less poor drawing you have to get through in the future. It's an investment. Plus, it's one that no one even has to see. If you don't like your drawing, throw it away. Even if it has no purpose except lining your trash bin, it still counts towards your goal. You still put it the work, you still put in the time... one drawing down, nine-hundred and ninety-nine to go, right?

    I think deep down you know you have a lot of work ahead of you and that practice is the only solution — it's just human nature to want to jump from point A to point C without taking the long way through B. But the cold, hard truth is that there's no way around putting in the time... the only thing that separates people who succeed and people who fail is whether or not they give up.

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    If I start appreciating my level of skill will that sort of stop me from telling myself I suck, hence removing something that could be hindering progress?
    Exactly.

    if I start liking what I create will they become better?
    Yes,but if only if you act on it, and make it better. If you love what you do, you'll eventually get to the point of overdoing, and then you have to learn to stop yourself.

    How does one go about learning?

    As Enthusiastically as possible.


    ANYWAY, so basically I'm not sure of how to go about this. Do I go back to basics?
    yeah, but don't tear your brains out over it.

    Am I reading too much into this?
    yes, and everyone does, one time or another.

    Am I worried over nothing?
    Most definitely.

    AMIDOINITRITE?
    GETTING THERE.

    Lol, It sucks that I'm asian. I can't help it if I look like a million other people.

    My Sketchbook: Critics and Comments would be AWESOME.
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  7. #4
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    Ahaha. Wow, thank you both so much for your awesome advice!
    Brought a huge smile to my face.

    Wow this place is awesome.

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    @sharpe

    A question for you - if the art the child draws is riddled with mistakes, and we agree that learning requires knowing when you make a mistake, then how does the child achieve any progress?

    After all, how can it improve its drawing skills when, as far as it's concerned, its drawing skills are already awesome?

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    Quote Originally Posted by l33t fl33t View Post
    @sharpe

    A question for you - if the art the child draws is riddled with mistakes, and we agree that learning requires knowing when you make a mistake, then how does the child achieve any progress?

    After all, how can it improve its drawing skills when, as far as it's concerned, its drawing skills are already awesome?
    Because, as a child, your brain is growing, developing, and making new connections all the time. People who have studied children's art see a series of pretty universal developmental stages (Betty Edward's books have good info on this). Most children only start to be concerned with the results of their drawing, rather than the process, in pre- or early adolescence. That's when we start to want to make pictures with a predefined goal in mind, to be concerned with things "looking right," and as a result, that's when most people decide they "can't draw." If someone is particularity talented and/or has had early encouragement or training, their work will be at a more advanced stage when those critical faculties kick in, and they're less likely to get frustrated and give up.

    Last edited by Elwell; April 27th, 2009 at 10:58 AM.

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    @Elwell

    So you're saying that conscious understanding of the material is not needed? That you can progress without noticing your mistakes and working on fixing them?

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    Don't give up king, you will get better but it takes time :>

    Quote Originally Posted by l33t fl33t View Post
    @sharpe
    how does the child achieve any progress?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_art
    child = from 0 to 12 years
    In this time the brain develops/ the mind changes/ the abilities make massive jumps
    Improvement comes naturally

    Last edited by Kiera; April 27th, 2009 at 12:47 PM.
    I just took a break to post this.
    But sometimes I also draw stuff
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  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiera View Post
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_art
    child = from 0 to 12 years
    In this time the brain develops/ the mind changes/ the abilities make massive jumps
    Improvement comes naturally
    So you're basically saying that yes, they don't need conscious understanding (ie, noticing their mistakes) to make progress?

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  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by l33t fl33t View Post
    So you're basically saying that yes, they don't need conscious understanding (ie, noticing their mistakes) to make progress?
    I think certain things can improve without conscious understanding. Hand eye coordination improves. Your ability to perceive or "see" improves. Your ability to stay focused on a task improves. So I think even without an understanding of your own flaws, you'll naturally spend more time, have more attention to detail, and have the manual ability to draw better, all with time and encouragement.

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    I think it's also important to differentiate knowledge based skill, vs accumulated experience. For something like anatomy, or linear perspective there is specific information that you learn in order to rectify your mistakes. Granted it's all laid out in front of us, but we have to learn to deconstruct the unified experience of reality we typically live in into un-signified parts in order to analyze it objectively. Theoretically we shouldn't need to learn a single page of anatomy, or perspective rules, but our brains are so good at making reality a seamless (most of the time anyway) construct and integrated with our ideas about things that it's difficult for us to "de-signify" our experience. Anyway, we have to study the accumulated thinking and teaching to help us along in those pursuits. However I think aspects of image making which require less intellectual responses like composition, color theory, and medium handling can totally be shaped and improved upon without conscious understanding of the formal rules and whether or not they should or shouldn't apply to your work. I think this applies especially to children who're in the middle of soaking up and still signifying the world.

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  18. #12
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    As the mother of lots of kids, I can honestly tell you that as they got older they learned things much differently. When they are really young they don't have nearly as many experiences to relate to. As they get older they begin to notice that some things work much like other things they have already figured out. For example: Stacking dishes in the cupboard is much like their stacking cups they had when they were little. They began to learn by relating the new experience to one they had already mastered. By the time you are an adult, you have gained so many experiences that there is rarely a new experience that doesn't somehow relate to something you have done in the past.

    Learning to draw is a lot like starting from scratch. Although you have seen bodies and landscapes and objects, you have never experienced them in the same way as you are currently experiencing them. The frustration often comes from not being able to relate this experience to past experiences to accelerate the learning process.

    As you learn to see, your brain starts noticing the problem areas that it did not notice before. It is relating what you are learning, or have learned and making connections. Your first few drawings seemed better than they were because it was the first few times you experienced drawing. Because the experience had very few experiences to compare to, your brain told you it was acceptable.

    The problem is that as we learn and grow in experiences, we also get nice little ego's to go with all that education. Those ego's are in place to keep us going forward, but sometimes they are a huge hindrance to our learning process. Instead of letting our inability to understand something push us toward analytical processes, our ego's will often tell us to "skip it" and "move on". When we try not to listen to that advice, it can get quite brutal.

    If you really want to know how to learn something, teach a 1 or 2 year old to stack blocks. Every block is worthy of celebration. They don't stop stacking one block on top of the other just because they celebrated the last one. For that matter if they make a mistake and the stack topples over its worth as much, if not more celebration. Then they start again. We are such great learners as children because we are not involved in the result of our activity nearly as the process.

    Sorry if this is rambling. I am not an expert. These are just my observations.

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    Awesome thread and discussion.

    Sometimes even if you've done this your whole life, you can hit a brick wall/point where you feel terrible about your work and all its mistakes. If you've grown or developed self esteem problems for one reason or another, it can feed this sort of mindset. I went from being a sketch machine to being afraid to pick up a pencil and all it took was one terrible man in my life (woo sexual coercion and assault - I'm all better now, that jerk can go to hell)

    How did I flip back to the path of the drawing jedi? Affirmation: telling myself I was learning and every piece I did was far greater than the one before it. Every sketch was more beautiful, quicker whatever; it was positive. Admiring others art instead of constantly beating my self up for not being like them.

    This does not mean do not critique or accept critique btw, this means highlight your successes, accept your faults.

    That was a bit of a tangent...

    I love watching children's artwork develop btw. My little brother has a knack for woodworking, the other for sculpting. I've watched their forms go from elementary to refined shapes and beyond and it's just amazing to watch it unfold. I wish I could look back on my old stuff, but it was destroyed in a flood.

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    I've been thinking about this thread since yesterday.
    Didn't really know what I could add till I noticed Shehaub's posting, specially the part of the child stacking blocks.
    She said: "We are such great learners as children because we are not involved in the result of our activity nearly as the process."

    I'd like to add something on this subject.
    Part of this involvement is because as children we don't fear how others think of us and the result. When we get older others will 'judge' us on the abilities we should have. And when we think we ain't good enough in from their point of view we tend to fear their reaction.

    This gets even worse when we encounter 'experts'.
    People get here with the perception that they are talented only to find out there are others on this world who can draw a lot better than they do.
    And all of a sudden they are not that keen on showing their work anymore.
    Which reminds me of something someone here (forgot who) told about his/her entry to art study. A group getting in as being the best in class, drawing something and the teacher giving some harsh comments on every work.
    And he/she told that this was one of the best lessons he/she learned.

    Now why does this work?
    It works because it puts us back in 'learning-mode' again.
    We can't learn when we think we know it all. Think that we are experts.
    Or think we should know it all by now because of education or experience.

    Well, we can stack blocks. But what we want to do is build a huge pile of blocks that also looks like something. And it ain't Lego that sticks in place, it's blocks that fall easy. Building a small tower, let's say 4 or 5 blocks is easy. 10 blocks is a challenge. 100 blocks is much harder. And mastering the 1000 we need to put together for what we want is a task that will take years.
    We think 10 is easy, 100 is very doable and 1000 is unreachable.
    While the true challenge is in mastering the first 20-50 blocks. Get that right and you can get to 100 and 1000 isn't that hard, it just takes time.
    But when we start we get discouraged by the struggle with those first 20 blocks. Some 'talented' people will find those easy, they will struggle at 40.
    And since they see all those people who master 100+ blocks they get afraid. Afraid that they will never learn. Afraid that others will laugh at them for not being able to stack 25 blocks. Afraid they will be rejected. Or afraid that stacking blocks is pointless. Afraid of people telling us that stacking blocks is for kids. Afraid of .... well, I've seen, heard and made up many more reasons to avoid stacking blocks.

    Stop making up excuses (also mild reminder to self on a certain subject).
    People will know you are still learning, there is nothing wrong with that.
    Conquer the fear and start showing others that you are still learning.
    Some might laugh at you, many will be indifferent and some will care and teach you.
    When you remain afraid you will never show others you are still learning and you will miss some great teachers because of that.

    The difference between a student and a master is that the student thinks becoming a master is a struggle while the master knows becoming and staying student is the real struggle.

    Now teach me how to stack blocks, I'm still having difficulties doing that and I'm already able to stack 6 of them

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