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I've seen a lot of people asking about what to study, etc. on this forum lately, so I figured why not try to answer it all in one place. Obviously imaginative drawing is great to do, and we don't really need to know how to do that well, but as far as studies are concerned, there are so many things to do, and certainly some things are better than others. Hopefully you pros on here that have done tons of studies of all sorts can help us all out and give your input here.
We want to figure out what studies are excellent to do and WHY. Sure someone can tell me to do a master study, but what does it improve in your work? Are master studies better than still lifes? Are they equally as effective? What tutorials are worth going through, if any?
I know that the path varies for each person and all, but I'd just like to understand the reasoning behind all of these things to better help me understand what's best for me to study.
So what studies do you do? What kinds of results do you notice as a consequence of doing (however many) of them.
I personally have just started getting into photo studies and self portraits, and I already notice much more improvement than when I just did tutorials. It's my understanding that doing still life is best for understanding lighting and color naturally, photo studies and master studies are probably best for developing taste, sense of composition and value patterns, etc. I don't really think tutorials are that great except when starting out and learning how to do very basic things (which is the stage I'm trying to transition out of more into tons of real work of my own design). I guess this is probably pretty general and simple, but I'd just like to hear what other people are doing and what results you're getting; your trials and errors and what you've learned from it.
I like doing master studies. I find that even if I don't get it right, I still have learnt something and even though I do then digitally I find it improves my traditional work no end. Probably most of it is down to better concentration on what I'm doing.
I try to do life drawing periodically, whenever my schedule permits - I find that whenever I'm doing life drawing fairly regularly, my work improves immensely.
Though lately I'm thinking I should add some kind of color studies if I can squeeze them into my schedule... Probably landscapes, if I can sort out some kind of super-portable gear that I can carry around casually.
I started out working on being accurate and then moved to speed and accuracy and pretty much have stayed there; that is what I practice now like a broken record, back and forth. There are always more levels to being accurate- can I convey emotion, can I get a likeness these are beyond the getting proportion and color and value right. Then there is, can I make a mark that takes the place of ten marks. How far can I push design. Things like that.
Studies- huh -yeah, what is it good for... absolutley nothin, say it again y'all...
Sorry, everytime I read that thread title that song War by Edwin Starr goes through my head.
I try to make it a point to draw something from life everyday whenever I can help it. If I don't draw something from life for even 1 day, I feel really guilty and have this really scary feeling that my drawing skills will totally become way way worse the next day.
I've just realized recently that imaginative / memory drawings based on objects that you observed / drew from life previously helps a lot too.