Ever looked at your old artwork, and realised it was better than what you did now?

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    Ever looked at your old artwork, and realised it was better than what you did now?

    I realised today that I enjoy looking through my old artwork more than I do my recent stuff. Back when I was a member of dA an a proud furry *Avoids bricks* I did work that made ME happy. I drew what I wanted to draw and finished it because I didn't care about compositional mistakes, clichés and anatomical errors. Nowadays I'm so wrapped up in making everything right and correct that I'm beginning to see art as a chore...

    Don't get me wrong of course, the fundamentals are important. But part of me wishes I went back to not caring about being perfect, know what I mean? I suppose I'm just a little lost at the moment. What do you all think?

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    so draw things that make you happy also just draw them right lol

    but seriously theres no reason you cant draw things you like and also do studies and whatnot.

    for instance i do alot of from the heart geometric stuff thats not really abstract cause the perspective and lighting as closely reflects true as i can achieve at thsi time (or the time i painted it) and i feel this kinda stuff reflects my soul and emotions at the time i painted it. like this Ever looked at your old artwork, and realised it was better than what you did now?

    and i also do value studies and other stuff that isnt my favorite thing to do (but it helps me improve) example Ever looked at your old artwork, and realised it was better than what you did now?

    so i dont see why you cant do both

    Www.facebook.com/anthonycareyartworks I'm between personal websites.
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    All the time. Especially when doing drawings after really good ones and think the following ones are big disappointments, only to return to them months later. To look at them from an unbiased persepective.

    -Edit

    One thing I've found in the last few months of my Illustration course is how it's freed me up from being too picky over whether a drawing will be perfect or not, basically they've wanted me to cover as much ground and experiment with as many materials as possible, throughout the first year. And if If I put a high expectation in everything being a perfect finished product, I'll only produce 5 images in the first term. (Which will stint my growth in skill, knowledge, and ability to tackle problems)

    The expected workload for projects is usually quite large, for one three-week project we had to produce at the least 10 A1 size rough drawings in the first week, for the second we had to fill a A4 Sketchbook with material experiments along with A3 final piece and for the last week we had to make a 3D model.

    Course some of the work looks like crap, but I know that in the long-term that it's there to help me develop my skills. So maybe you should stop worrying about how others will percieve your work and consider how the next drawing you make will push you further. And you could end up finding the direction your happy with.

    Last edited by Kagemusha22; December 28th, 2009 at 09:37 PM.
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    its good to do both. ive learned its not a great idea to get too hung up on either of them....i mean with perfectly planned art and imperfect on the fly art.
    i felt a similar way when i was in school. my art from before college was all free style, fun and flowy, without a care for what the end result would be, etc. in school i got to the point where my art was so planned out that there was no life in it.....
    then i started live painting, allowing myself the freedom to go back to the flow, the uncertainty, the imperfection. there is an incredible beauty in imperfection, especially when you are attempting to paint a concept that is perfect. i did a mandala where every shape was repeated, but slightly different....just like life. the imperfect mandala...mandalas are supposed to be perfect

    let yourself go, give yourself freedom. then you'll feel less annoyed when you DO work on your planned, technical artwork, and it wont feel as much like a chore.

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    its like bruce lee once said to someone , practice technique technique technique then when you need it forget everything and use instinct

    or something to that extent

    anyhow i try to use it in reference to art too

    Www.facebook.com/anthonycareyartworks I'm between personal websites.
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    I've never felt that way, honestly. But if you're feeling that way, go back, look at your old stuff, see what worked and what charmed you, and try to repeat those same things. the improvement you've made in your foundations and such will just happen automatically

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot Wolfwhistle View Post
    Nowadays I'm so wrapped up in making everything right and correct that I'm beginning to see art as a chore...
    If this is really the case...
    UR DOIN IT WRONG!
    Draw what makes you happy. It's more likely to make other people happy too.


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    ShotgunTony mentioned it. I think you learn the fundamentals so that you can later forget them and focus on the fun part .

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    There are certain elements of my old school drawings that I wouldn't think of anymore, because I didn't know what I was doing back then. I'm a completely different artist now, but with influences of my younger self. People keep on mentioning my graffiti influences and I don't even see that anymore. Some would say I have a foundation based on bad study habits, but that's just the real me peeking through. I have grown up allot, but the juvenile is still their flipping the bird and drinkin 40's somewhere in the back of my mind.

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    I've never looked back at older work and thought it better than it is now, no, not in the long run at least. Occasionally there are immediate works that I appreciate greater than others, but as a whole not at all.

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    My mind plays tricks on me. I'll remember something I did long ago as being good, then I'll look at it and realize it's full of mistakes.

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  17. #13
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    I think some of my older stuff looks than what I'm doing now, too. I used to be a big wannabe-anime artist, and my older stuff looks... cleaner, I guess? Not so many erased lines, no epic struggles of getting it to look "just right," etc etc. Most of my pieces nowadays are studies and unfinished pics that I gave up on because I got frustrated that I couldn't get it to look "correct."

    However, when I don't focus on getting everything right, my art now looks way better than the older stuff. So what Elwell, ShotgunTony, and everyone else is saying is pretty on-track. Practice nailing the basics, but make sure to do some fun, on-the-fly stuff too! Then maybe you can post your new "just for fun" art on other sites (like dA - hey, I'm on there too!), where everyone is usually there to just enjoy the art.

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    Hell no. Well, sorta. All of old stuff is pretty crappy. And when I say crappy, I mean really freaking crappy. But there some ideas behind them that I can scavenge.

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    I often get moments when I sit back and suddenly realise I've fallen foul somewhere and my work has taken a turn for the worse. I know the pattern now as I seem to regularly repeat the exercise over, and over again. It's become almost inevitable...

    • Blunder along until I suddenly just "get" how to do a little piece of the puzzle
    • Become overconfident and slightly cocky
    • Look back and realise I've been fooling myself
    • Smile and go back to the puzzle at hand
    • Repeat


    I just enjoy art as a pass time, so no pressure for me. I find the constant one step forward, two steps back reality to be as fun and interesting as the little peaks of satisfaction and small runs of successive output where I feel I was doing something right.

    Maybe if I had a clear artistic goal and career choice mapped out when I was younger I would not find these setbacks so amusing, but for a part timer it's hard for me to work up any level of despondency. The fun factor has already been pointed out, and I fully agree it should not be ducked for the sake of continuous study and self scrutiny, but given time and room to settle and grow, the study should become the fun factor itself. It should depend on the individual as to when, and how deeply, they want to dig.

    I'm 34, and I still find there's giggling fun to be had by drawing flaccid dicks with little faces. In fact, I would say that my skills at rendering facial features, however amature at this point in time, have progessed rather a lot thanks to said penis portraits.

    What the hell have I just said?!

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    I just look back and see that I was a little more 'free flowing' and less afraid to make a mistake. That gets better every day though.

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  24. #18
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    I think there's an awkward phase that a lot of artists go through that comes between when they made art for the pure joy of it, and they weren't concerned with errors, and when they realized that their work was flawed and started to learn more of the nuts and bolts of making good art. In that awkward stage, it's easy to lose the fun and excitement of creating art, because you are now burdened with a lot more self criticism.

    If you keep working through though, all of those rules fade to the background in time, and you get back to the freedom of just creating art, but this time with some artistic muscle behind you. Once you have that knowledge it's a tool you can use when you want, or not use when it feels appropriate. It won't always be an annoying nagging voice, but rather a comforting voice that supports your efforts.

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  26. #19
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    Thanks for the comments guys. It's been great to hear everyone else's experiences! I think that some of my most favourite pieces have been made for loved ones. For example, I drew a "Fursona" for my boyfriend's birthday last year, and although the nose looks like it's carved out of wood and his forehead is really big, I adore the playful and cheery mood of it.

    My current project is also for my boyfriend, and I've kept it a surprise for him. I'm learning a lot from this new one and trying my best to enjoy myself. I think this is the first piece of artwork in a year that I'm getting the hang of balancing fun and skill. What do you think?

    P.S. Any Halo fans in here? Maybe you can tell me if I got the likeness right on Cortana ^^;

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  27. #20
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    Definitely not in my case. The stuff I'm doing now is literally miles away from what I used to draw. In fact, I think I'm having more fun drawing now than I've had in a while.

    Last edited by Dorkthrone; December 29th, 2009 at 10:40 PM.
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  28. #21
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    when i reminisce about my early days of drawing as a kid, i tend to feel like i was way more creative back then than i am now. i'd create total casts of characters that all had over arching stories between them and worlds etc.. i have far fewer of those kinds of ephiphanies these days, but i'd like to think they're still sweet.
    But i agree with J Wilson, there is a really awkward phase in artmaking as you start to learn the craft of picturemaking. i feel like i'm starting to come out of it myself.
    but the bottom line is really, just draw what you like. if it's Furries, then do it up. you'll probably make some sweet drawings, and have a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

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  29. #22
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    That's happened to me a bit recently when I was going through all my sketchbooks and I found the one I used when I took several classes at an Atelier figure drawing course. My lines were a lot smoother and confident, the figures themselves weren't stiff, the poses more dynamic... over all they just looked far better by leaps and bounds. Guess that just means I need more live figure drawing, but sadly there isn't much to offer where I live.

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  30. #23
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    This is exactly what happened to me. I was cleaning out old class papers from last year that I never got around to throwing away, and realized the doodles on the margins were more interesting than the stuff in my recent sketches. It's made me realize I haven't really improved at all in the last year. That's one of the biggest reasons why I decided to join this site.

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  31. #24
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    No, not really. I always draw to please myself. When I do "art chores" it's because I see a problem and I want it fixed. I haven't lost or sacrificed anything, though. I still do doodles and loose scribbles because it's my sketchbook and if I don't want anyone to see it then I don't scan it. But if I know something works better than something else, why *wouldn't* I want to use it?

    The occasional project gets to be a chore, but there's always something new on the way and it all works out.

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  32. #25
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    Ever looked at your old artwork, and realised it was better than what you did now?
    .................................................. .................No

    "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."
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  33. #26
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    Actually...yes. I`m a sentimental ol` fool, so I keep all my drawings, and recently I stumbled upon some I did when I was...18? 7 years old drawings that actually looked quite good! I knew nothing about anatomy back then, and they were done for fun, but they were also surprisingly accurate. However, I drifted into other things, and came back to art just recently, discovering that I`m much more prone to making mistakes now. If I had only sticked (?) to it, now I would be on a "pro" level, but eh...that`s life, I guess. I`ll get there some day. With a couple more of gray hairs, anyway

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  34. #27
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    I have drawings that date back to 7th grade (which is when I consider my art interest to have really taken off). It's very refreshing for me to look back on that work and see where I have improved, especially in specific areas.

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  36. #28
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    Happened several times to me as well, and I started drawing because of furry art too, so I know exactly which feelings you have.

    I'd add just one thing to what the others have already said above. Some people will tell you that studying too much technique kills the feelings and freshness in your art. I've had people tell that to me many times while I was struggling to learn something new and difficult and I was doing lots of errors, and they almost managed to convince me that I was losing my spark and I had hit my skill limits.

    Don't listen to them.

    Learning skills is just learning skills, it's about understanding why if you draw a figure in a certain way, it will look goofy and out of balance, and why if you choose a certain combination of colors it will look weird and tiring to the eye. Ignoring these facts doesn't make your drawings more or less alive than before. In fact it will probably make things worse, because there is really no way backwards. For example, once you begin to study anatomy you _will_ notice anatomy issues in your own pictures, willing or not. Trying to ignore them and thinking that that way your are going back to a more carefree way of drawing doesn't work and it will eventually prove more stressful than working hard to learn the skills and correct such errors. Been there, done that.

    Also note that there are drawing methods which address right the need to draw lively figures while at the same time being technically correct, that's what gesture drawing and composition are about.

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  37. #29
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    My lines were cleaner a couple years ago. I've been trying to get that back.

    I'm the guy that does his job! You must be the other guy!

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  38. #30
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    Yes and no. I draw differently than I used to 30 years ago. The clear lines were better then but life has crept in and I don't find that a bad thing even if I'm messier.

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