How much do you Study for an Assignment VS Working on the Assignment?
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  1. #1
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    How much do you Study for an Assignment VS Working on the Assignment?

    I was just wondering how much time people spend doing research/ studies for an assignment compared to actually working on it. Every project I get there's something I don't know anything about and I can't do a decent job unless I learn about it first by studying. What I've found most effective is at the beginning of an assignment I spend an hour or 2 getting reference and doing studies of things I haven't drawn or painted before. This way I learn enough to make my work easier and it gives me better ideas for the final project since I've gained a bit of knowledge of an unknown subject. I also see improvement in every new assignment I finish which is great.

    If I split studying and working into a percentage I probably spend 25% of my time studying and 75% of my time working on assignments.


    However recently I went to Donato Giancola's site and looked at his tutorial on book cover production where he said "Half of the time I allot for a cover commission is spent on sketches and research."

    That surprised me because I remember Feng Zhu said in one of his videos or website that some of his students spend too much time getting reference and not enough time working on the assignment and I'm sure Feng spends most of his time working on finished artwork (considering how much he gets done!)


    What makes sense to me is maybe this is an illustration vs concept art thing where illustrators get more time to do preliminary work since the deadline is longer whereas concept artists have to produce more work in less time which means they have less time to study? Then again it looks like a lot of concept artists use photoshop tricks to speed their work up too whereas a lot of illustrators paint everything (especially the traditional illustrators like Donato).

    Personally I'm just a student and I still need to work on my fundamentals, so maybe I should be studying more than 25%? Or maybe I could still spend 25% of a project studying and 75% working but also dedicate 2 hours a day of studying purely fundamental stuff?

    Another thing I find crazy is Feng Zhu expects his students to produce 20 assignments per week for his school, but I usually only do 7-8 on a good week? I'm not drawing enough? BTW I mean finished art not sketches.

    What do you think?

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  2. #2
    Elwell's Avatar
    Elwell is offline Sticks Like Grim Death Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    It's all one. Research/preliminary work IS working on the assignment. Some jobs take a lot, some jobs take a little, there's no magic across-the-board formula. What's important is that you do enough; beginners are far more likely to have a problem with doing too little rather than too much.


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  4. #3
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    TinyBird is offline Why you gotta be an angry burd Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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    I'm not sure if I even could break my times into percentages, at least most of the time.
    I often do studies while working on the assignment (if you in this case separate those two) at the same time, rather than spending five hours gathering refs and doing studies first and then five hours just drawing the thing. So it can be hard to separate.

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    @ Elwell: That makes sense to me now. I think seperating the two was my mistake and I didn't do as much preliminary work as I should have because I always tried to keep it to a minimum to work on the rendering. I'll try being more flexible, thanks for clearing up my misconception.

    @ TinyBird: I just found I was more productive doing all the research I needed in the beginning so I wouldn't have to stop in the middle of something to collect reference or guess at something later on. However if I'm struggling with something during a phase of the assignment then I usually do a quick study like you do, but I still prefer knowing about something before I work on it.


    So thanks to Elwell I got my answer, but if you want to keep sharing your opinions then feel free to do so.

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    p sage is offline in pursuit of hot lines Level 14 Gladiator: Dimacheri
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    Leave it to Elwell to nail it in the first go. My first thoughts were "do enough to learn what you need" and whattya know? There it is in his post.

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  8. #6
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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    dry run of the assignment.

    research.

    final run: assignment

    "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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