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I wrote this for my blog, but I thought this was worth cross posting:
I hear it all the time:
Am I talented enough? How much should I draw? Am I studying right? Whatís the best way to use XYZ book? Art school or no art school? Do I need a degree? How will I know when Iím professional? What should I draw? Should I do more studies or finished work? What are the best materials? What kind of paint should I use? What pencil should I use? Are pencils or pens better to draw with? Should I draw big or small? Is it bad to draw from photos? Should I paint digitally or traditionally? Am I too old to start learning? Is Photoshop or Painter better? Whatís the best way to hold a pencil? Where should I find inspiration? What do I do if Iím not inspired? How do I get through ďartistís blockĒ? How long will it take to be a professional? Why does it feel like Iím not improving? Should I get a Moleskine? Is art dead? What is art? How do I do backgrounds? What are the best tutorials? What resolution should I work at? How do I come up with good ideas? What do I do if I stop enjoying art?
Well, I have the answer to all of your questions: it doesnít matter. Really. It doesnít. These questions are excuses, plain and simple. They are used by people who arenít drawing or painting that want to get wrapped up in petty minutiae at the expense of their own work.
The fact is that if you want to make art, then you need to make art. I could answer every single question on this list and it wouldnít make you the slightest bit better at drawing.
Now, I should qualify these statements before people start chucking rocks: these are mostly valid questions, with equally valid answers. Theyíre worth discussing at times, and are things that youíll eventually figure out. But by and large, youíll figure them all out for yourself by working. Notice a pattern here? Donít be afraid to ask questions and research things, but be sure youíre not doing it at the expense of actually learning things.
So shut up, stop whining, and get to work.
-Ross, Aether Technician, Alantyn, alesoun, Alex Eh, alfredbaudisch, Alice Herring, Andrei Abramenko, Angel Intheuk, annaatkins, AnthonyV, arc41, ArcZephyer, Aresa, Arshes Nei, Artimatum, artista_solitario, ArtsySiridean, arvinsim, Asatira, Ashtonw, Avenier, b0nehead, Baron Flame, bartdeco, Black Spot, BlackMita, blogmatix, BlueRooster, Boriol, cerealist, cgdobrev, Charlie D, Charmer, Chipsterology, Choob, ChronoDave, Conniekat8, Cory Hinman, Costau, Craig D, Cranberry, Crane, CRYPT, dcorc, Deadlyhazard, DenAtTheDBM, dennis.k, Dethklaus, DeviousMeerkat, Dimlull, dirksteele, donm, dpaint, Draw Funk, drd, dylanj70, EagleGrove, Elwell, emily g, Enigmasflame, Eugie, Eviloft, Farvus, Flake, flash jordan, Flashback, Fricetix, FutureIsStupid, Guardian G.I., GuruGaia, Helltroll, Heyriel, Homeless Foxman, Hunin, hydrangeas, Ilaekae, ill_Buny, inkjetcanvas, insane lemur, the-muddy, jacqs, JavierP, Jazz, Jebus903, JeffX99, Jen Wardell, JFierce, JillianRK, jinny, Jon Sun, Jonas_J, jthierba, Kaelula, Kasei, Kea, kev ferrara, Kjesta, Koudee, ksatria.berpensil, Lagarto, Leonor, Lhune, Lightship69, LORD M, LostFayth, Luexo, Lyraina, madbot, Maidith, MalevolentMask, Maligma, mazetta, Meer, MidgardSerpent, Mind Of Madness, mmode, Mourir, Mr.Pryminista, mrCatTears, N D Hill, Naidy, NecrotoX, neonndreams, Nickels, NicoleWG, Nisshoku, Nren, Ohaeri, OmenSpirits, Optera, PapaRockett, pauscorpi, Pinecallada, Prophet, Psychotime, Qitsune, QueenGwenevere, reborn-gp, RedRaven, Riana, Riley Stark, robbjosf, Rydan, Ryuartyi, S.F.Batchelor, Saara_, Samszym, Scale, Scott Pederson, Sdutter, Shayn Li, Sidharth Chaturvedi, Sirielle, SmallPoly, Smoku, sone_one, Sopu, SpaceJelly, sparksfly076, Splendoodle, SSJ_Ayiela, syrella, TechnoEK, Tejmik, telohs, theoutside, Tim Murphy, TinyBird, tobzArt, ToxicCalico, triggerpigking, Trixtar, tronrobot, Umbravita, UniversalDDBB, VahallaSky4212, velderia, VELHO, Ven S, VictorQ, vineris, VirgL, vlad74, WhatsThatSposeToBe?, WoodstocK, Xcarbon, zappa1one, zephyri, Zephyrion, Zombie_chinchilla
All I have to say is brilliant my good man.
click and crit
And as someone else suggested, your post should be turned into a sticky, where I can see it every day. Or perhaps I should print it out and stick it to my forehead. I'm a notorious procrastinator and whiner.
But I am now learning from personal experience that indeed, none of those questions matter.
Here's a rhetorical question: how did those Renaissance artists get so good? After all, they had no web, no tablets, no access to huge amounts of other artists' work, no big choice of drawing materials, no huge library of possible anatomy or perspective books. They drew with bits of silver wire on small scraps of paper. Or with homemade charcoal or chalk, and using pieces of old bread as erasers. But they could draw circles around most of us.
Michelangelo gave the answer in a note he wrote to a student: "Draw Antonio, draw, and don't waste time." ;-)
I'm having too much fun enthusing about your post... ;-)So shut up, stop whining, and get to work.
My sketchbook thread:
My Website I am available for work
I have made your post into my starting page.
Also, "Why does it feel like I’m not improving?" - I feel guilty lol.
"I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams" - Zdzislaw BeksinskiMy Happy Little Sketchbook, please check it out and help me get better!
Kind of like the "Similar Threads" box at the bottom, except make it pop up before they post the thread.
I was pondering over "questions", and you've given such an excellent answer, Noah. I just notice that more people ask these questions but are afraid to look for an answer too--by putting their pencil down and trying, or by learning from others' examples and working with what they find out.
It can be unnerving to try out your curiosity as you ask things, but it beats not doing it for X number of years and feeling bad later.
You are upset that people ask questions like these: "Should I do more studies or finished work? What are the best materials? What kind of paint should I use? What pencil should I use? Are pencils or pens better to draw with? Should I draw big or small? Is it bad to draw from photos? Should I paint digitally or traditionally? Am I too old to start learning? "
Really?REALLY? You honestly can't understand why a new artist would want these questions answered? If you want to get mad at them for not using the search function, thats fine. But don't be mad at them for asking questions.
I mean...holy shit, do you not expect someone to ask questions knowing that professionals might answer those questions? I don't give a damn if it upsets you that so many people ask those questions. That's no excuse to be rude in how you address those questions. I just don't understand wtf is up with all the anger and pent up emotions here?
If you don't want to answer the questions, then don't. Stop bitching about people whining and go DRAW(works both ways). This thread could have easily been 100% professional by answering those questions with the response OP provided. But instead, the artists who might have those questions probably feels stupid now for asking excuses(didn't know that was possible) and should promptly shut up and draw.
Ya, sticky this, I'm sure it will make newcomers feel very welcome.
I can understand anger towards the lack of effort to use the search function. But to think people aren't/shouldn't/wouldn't ask these questions is silly. There's kids here from all age groups. And a lot of them don't know anything about drawing.
As OP pointed out, a lot of those questions are fairly valid. So I don't know why they are even included. If this thread is stickied, it will definitely send the wrong message.
/end rock chucking
"Now, I should qualify these statements before people start chucking rocks: these are mostly valid questions, with equally valid answers. They’re worth discussing at times, and are things that you’ll eventually figure out. But by and large, you’ll figure them all out for yourself by working. Notice a pattern here? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and research things, but be sure you’re not doing it at the expense of actually learning things." -Noah Bradley
Stop chucking those rocks.
Last edited by ArcZephyer; June 23rd, 2011 at 07:53 PM.
Could just remove all the other replies, lock the post and leave Noah's as the only post just to quit the bickering and snide remarks.
I often wonder if I would ever had started drawing in the first place had I known how hard it would be to get even average.
I always remind myself of the pre-raphealite chick who was adviced not to take up anatomy study because she was too old(I think about 20 or so..) Result was she made her artworks in a sort of medieval primitive way.
Nothing wrong with that if that is what one wants. Also Van Gogh had his troubles - his dream was to become a classical trained painter, an academician just like Bougereau, but considering his old age(I think around 30) and empty pockets all he managed to study was a bit of the Bargue drawing course and pick up a few things here and there.
So if the aim is the skills of the renaissance or later ages then a lot of understanding of how much it requires is definitely needed.
One more thing that should be said about the past - Even though they didn't have internet back then, they did have a lot of very skilled assistants. We can't really be sure how much work the masterpainter did himself. Sometimes all he did was the composition, maybe a few faces, and then giving the final approval with his signature in the end.
I'm not sure how true this was for the 19th century, but in earlier ages it definitely was the norm for many masters.
Anyways, if we are talking classical drawing/painting/sculpting then the actual study is extremely important, and questions are too.
Renaissance artists builded their understanding from copying master drawings from an early age(8-12), then old greek sculptures, from paintings etc. Some of them did dissections of dead bodies, everything they could to improve their understanding of anatomy, not just human anatomy, animal anatomy too. Even painters studied clay sculpting in the old workshops - also the french painters of the 19th century usually took sculpting classes at the academy to improve their understanding of human form.
Also perspective was studied much much more than we could imagine. Leonardo da Vinci writes in his notes that it is the single most important thing in visual art, that the painter should master every single aspect of it. Following that advice requires a good dose of mathematics.
Personally I find that if we do not structure our study in some way then we might end up going in circles. This could in turn lead to terrible frustration such as "why aint I getting good?"
I think a sort of balance is needed.
Whenever I get too tired to concentrate on something I just start doing something I know I can do without much concentration, such as copying something. That really works well for me and I can work for much longer, and it improves my mood, as well as enable me to listen to music.
With calling someones questions excuses, telling them to shut up e.t.c., it makes younger/newer artists afraid to say something without looking stupid. And this just shouldn't be the case.
I see people here often times talking down to others' usually in off topic or art discussion.I know if I came here as a completely ignorant artist with questions and saw how some people's questions/threads got treated I would definitely refrain from ever posting a question I had.
So, the forum is filling up with less experienced artists asking questions. So? Don't answer them if you don't want to. Or, if you're going to answer them, try not to alienate the poster.This may not be clear, but my issues with this thread stem from a greater issue with the attitude that can be present here at times.
The OP is by no means wrong. But the way the post was made fits into a common trend I see around here: Shut up and draw. Stop whining! Quit crying!
Maybe you''re thinking they shouldn't be so sensitive. But honestly, there are just more helpful and professional ways to suggest to someone they need to adjust their mentality and continue practicing because practice is the only way to get better.
I get what you're saying, UmpaArt, and to a point I agree. But I always think of the old saying:
The only people worth encouraging are those who can't be discouraged.
If you don't have what it takes to withstand some strongly worded advice, you sure as hell don't have what it takes to go through the arduous task of being a great artist.
And I agree with that as well Noah.
This is why I ignore those threads. I don't help them at all. Let them help themselves. But at the same time, I'm not going to insult them. I completely understand that those questions are INCREDIBLY easy to answer by ones self. Simply using the search function here will answer every single one of those questions.
But my problem with how things go around here is:
1.Person asks question that should really be obvious
2. Experienced/professional artist comes along and totally bashes on the op.
The artist who chose to post so negatively towards the op is aware of exactly what you said "The only people worth encouraging are those who can't be discouraged." Those worth encouraging, will look for the answers themselves. At least, to such simple questions.
So the question becomes; If the artist responding to OP knew that already, why did he/she waste their time insulting the other? Idk man...I just think there are better ways to go about all this. Sorry for the rant.
yea, but.... Whining makes me feel important, and just think of all the attention I'd miss without people trying to make me feel better!
Complainito ergo sum.
But as the 19th century masters showed, it is possible to do it all by yourself. I'm sure before that time, artists could also do it by themselves; dividing up the work was simply a way to improve efficiency, and at the time artists were not burdened with the essentially modern notion of "expressing yourself."
This is true. The Renaissance masters had one advantage: they all went through a training where a structure was provided. Nowadays, good art schools are few and far between, and many people have no choice but to train themselves, and thus having to invent their own structure. With all the books and web advice available, this can be a very difficult task, because no two people on this message board will give you the same advice.Personally I find that if we do not structure our study in some way then we might end up going in circles. This could in turn lead to terrible frustration such as "why aint I getting good?"
I think a sort of balance is needed.
What I have learned over the years is this: you need a certain amount of experience in drawing before you know what the questions are. I have tried out many books in the past, and couldn't get much out of any of them, because I didn't know what I was looking for.
Spend a few months just drawing whatever you like, using whatever medium, and you begin to get a very good understanding of what exactly it is that you lack. You are no longer merely lacking an ability to draw well, you begin to see what, specifically, you need to study up on.
Thus I would think that for the beginner, the best advice is indeed to stop whining and start drawing. Almost every single artist of note in history also went up many blind alleys before they found the style they became famous for. It is in the struggle itself that we learn, and the first thing to learn is what exactly it is that we need to learn.
That, at least, seems to be my experience of the thing. My experience may not be typical. I have zero talent, only started as adult, and took twenty years to learn things most people learn in six months (even up to this day, I still can't copy anything accurately, which is apparently a trick most students take no longer than a few months to master.) So perhaps anything I say should be taken with a grain of salt; on the other hand, it is precisely the talentless schmucks like me who are the biggest whiners.
I for one would have found it valuable if, twenty years ago, someone could have told me to just draw, from direct observation, NOT photos, and not worry too much about mediums or books until I have acquired some fluency.
My sketchbook thread:
Noah's work speaks for itself. Stop making petty attacks, you sound like a moron.
zwarrior There are times when "go draw" is patronising. This isn't one of them. It's not "go draw" that Noah is saying. It's "don't give up" or, "stop making excuses and just keep pushing and try harder".
There's a time when just trying to push through is more valuable than asking why it's not happening yet.
I'd like to think that what I do is improving because I'm putting in the effort and trying to sort things out for myself, rather than being "spoon-fed"
Have been accused of being "lazy" before, though.
Last edited by alesoun; June 24th, 2011 at 08:44 PM. Reason: typo (as usual)
My first response was being sarcastic to get people to settle down,
My second response was being purposefully ironic.
all of zwarriors responses were butthurt.
zwarrior[/QUOTE]Now, I should qualify these statements before people start chucking rocks: these are mostly valid questions, with equally valid answers. They’re worth discussing at times, and are things that you’ll eventually figure out. But by and large, you’ll figure them all out for yourself by working. Notice a pattern here? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and research things, but be sure you’re not doing it at the expense of actually learning things.
So shut up, stop whining, and get to work.[/QUOTE]
Didn't you read this bit? You can be told what to do, but if you don't go do it, you'll learn nothing.
Sorry...most of those are NOT valid questions. Because they are self-answering questions realized through engaging in the activity. That is why they become annoying. Or some may be discussion points to have with artist friends, discovered in a class or through reading a book.
Should I learn to play piano or guitar? Should I use all the keys or just the white ones? What kind of guitar? Should I use all six strings? If my guitar is out of tune should I still practice? When do you think I can have a gig at the coffeeshop? If I listen to enough Zeppelin can I play like Jimmy Page? Which is better, acoustic or Guitarshop? Why should I practive my scales? Is being able to change chords a good idea? What is the best chord? I'm killer on Guitar Hero 4...
Do musicians have to deal with these questions? And what is their reaction when asked this stuff? No, because those kinds of questions are answered by hanging out with bands, hanging out at the music store, taking lessons, etc.
By the way, these questions are not unique to this forum zwarrior.
Ok, I remember earlier times on CA "go draw" was often used by the crew because overall while there were other parts on the site, the main focus was to draw. People weren't offended that much by it because it was true.
Of course as time went on more people came on and likely abused the "go draw" and yes it did become offensive for a time. However, I don't see this used as much anymore.
It seems like the "go draw" is more from people previously hurt by it or still trying to use that as a banner an excuse of what is wrong with CA.
I don't see the "Go draw" boogeymen out much anymore if at all. It's like an old wives tale of vampires and zombies existing to scare people that these people exist and will take your souls.