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Thread: Stop Whining, Start Working

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    Stop Whining, Start Working

    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.

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    All I have to say is brilliant my good man.

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    Cool

    Go Noah! All growed up and bad ass... well said. I dunno can CA stand another artist who thinks you get somehwere by actually working at it?

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    Things like this should be stickied!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    But by and large, youíll figure them all out for yourself by working.
    As Picasso said, inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    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.

    How come?

    Michelangelo gave the answer in a note he wrote to a student: "Draw Antonio, draw, and don't waste time." ;-)

    So shut up, stop whining, and get to work.
    I'm having too much fun enthusing about your post... ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    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:
    yes
    alot
    sure
    do it
    work hard
    no
    when you get paid
    everything
    both
    all of them
    the kind that paints
    the kind that draws
    both
    both
    no
    both
    no
    both
    in your hand if you have one
    everywhere
    keep working
    keep working
    keep working
    if you want
    no
    art
    you do them
    the ones that teach you something
    any
    do a lot of them
    chill
    Haha all in good fun, good post Noah

    My Website I am available for work
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    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 Beksinski
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noah Bradley View Post
    ...

    Am I talented enough? How much should I draw? Am I studying right? What’s the best way to use XYZ book? Art school or no art school? Do I need a degree? How will I know when I’m 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? What’s the best way to hold a pencil? Where should I find inspiration? What do I do if I’m not inspired? How do I get through “artist’s block”? How long will it take to be a professional? Why does it feel like I’m 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?
    ...
    If someone types any of these questions, and hits "post", there could be a filter that redirects them to a list of threads with the same key words in the title of their post. Voiding their post.

    Kind of like the "Similar Threads" box at the bottom, except make it pop up before they post the thread.

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    Ryan K - you know, that's actually sounds doable. Maybe Jason Manley should read this

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    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.

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    Oh man, can we sticky this?? Soooo many recent posts make me want to scream "JUST DRAW ALREADY!!" (Is it a summer thing? Or what?)

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    Seriously?

    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by UmpaArt View Post
    Seriously?

    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
    You really missed the point of this thread if you feel this way. I suggest you reread the first post and especially look at this

    "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.
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    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.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArcZephyer View Post
    You really missed the point of this thread if you feel this way. I suggest you reread the first post and especially look at this

    "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

    What you just did was chuck rocks.
    What I did was point out something I see as wrong with the attitudes around here. I got the point of the thread, I did. But it's the way artists around here talk to others that really gets me. And, I wanted to point out how the community might be coming off to someone new.

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UmpaArt View Post
    What I did was point out something I see as wrong with the attitudes around here. I got the point of the thread, I did. But it's the way artists around here talk to others that really gets me. And, I wanted to point out how the community might be coming off to someone new.

    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.
    How about this instead. Want free advice instead of paying for it then don't waste my time asking stupid questions. I hope people are intimidated and afraid to ask a dumb question, that means that they will make sure it is a necessary question to them, and they have to ask it. They have exhausted every avenue of thought and tried to solve the problem themselves before they are forced to come here and ask. If they aren't approaching it that way then they should post on DA or Wetcanvas

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hummel1dane View Post
    I'm not sure how true this was for the 19th century, but in earlier ages it definitely was the norm for many masters.
    As far as I know, up to the early 19th century, it was not unusual for portrait painters to farm out the painting of their subjects' clothes to specialist drapery painters. Even the great masters would sometimes call in specialists, e.g. Rubens had many of the animals in his paintings painted by a specialist animal painter whose name I can't remember.

    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."

    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.
    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.

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    How about this instead. Want free advice instead of paying for it then don't waste my time asking stupid questions. I hope people are intimidated and afraid to ask a dumb question, that means that they will make sure it is a necessary question to them, and they have to ask it. They have exhausted every avenue of thought and tried to solve the problem themselves before they are forced to come here and ask. If they aren't approaching it that way then they should post on DA or Wetcanvas
    Yep.

    For most people this means spending a few hours holding the pencil another way for the first time, then jumping on the forums crying "it's not working, it looks worse than before!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    @ OP: You know what's more annoying than different people asking the same question... The SAME people giving the same mundane condescending answer "just go draw." That's like telling someone lost on the street to keep walking, and eventually his destination will churn up. Doesn't work that way.

    The thing about giving advice is it's so subjective. "Just go draw" may work for you while it could be detrimental to someone else who isn't able to work that way. People are different, Shocker. This is not survival of the fittest, and there's no such thing as a stupid question if it is asked genuinely. It's interesting that this forum is mostly liberal when it comes to politics, but can be so conservative in the art world.

    If it really bothers you all to see those questions asked over and over, maybe it's you who's spending way too much time on the forums and should go draw. It's not that hard to ignore those threads and just focus on the ones that grab your attention.
    Zwarrior, there's a reason that "just go draw" is constantly repeated. At a certain point, you figure out that all the answers in the world aren't helping if you're just going to sit around worrying. Most of the answers to stupid questions (and there are stupid questions) will be found through practice.

    Noah's work speaks for itself. Stop making petty attacks, you sound like a moron.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zwarrior View Post
    and Arshes. It does say art "discussion". Cool down on the totalitarian "I am your ruler" attitude.
    zwarrior just shut up and draw more.

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    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)
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    Analogy time:
    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.

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    The small downside is that people got used to writing "Just draw" as their default answer and use it most of the time without thinking too much about the question. Sometimes even good one .

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    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.

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