Let yourself be a beginner

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  1. #1
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    Let yourself be a beginner

    I found out about this website at the same time I was really getting into drawing and sometimes I feel like I looked at my drawings at the standards of other people (which were all much better than me). So I always looked down on my drawing. While that motivated me a lot and it was crucial for my development (which is still not amazing, but i have had some development) i never let myself be a beginner. I jumped straight into the famous Bridgemans and Loomises without even understanding what form meant. I was just copying lines and things that looked sweet but I had no clue what i was doing. I recently found out I cannot do the 3d box exercise where i just draw boxes at different angles. I never let myself be a beginner to figure out really basic things like perspective. I feel like i didnt figure much out by myself and that made me not progress for a long time. One thing I wanted to say to beginners like myself is that concept art, illustration, animation, and all those other things only come way after learning fundamentals and accepting you dont know shit. I didnt accept that until I got to art school and know I am being bombarded by awesome information i had no clue existed.

    I am just a beginner. If things I said were stupid, please tell me. And share your opinions too! I really want to just talk. Sometimes I feel like there so many "matter of fact" discussions in these forums and not enough chatting about something we all love.

    Last edited by Saraiva; November 30th, 2011 at 04:58 PM. Reason: I took out my art school part because I dont want this to become an art school discussion
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  4. #2
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    Is there a link to this website?

    I get what your saying, and it's good stuff. You mentioned a website though.

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  5. #3
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    Haha this website is Conceptart.org. There is no other website.

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  7. #4
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    Pretty sure he means this site lol. (Nvm like said above)

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    I hear you. I'm constantly finding myself running up against shortcomings in areas where I neglected or thought myself beyond the fundamentals. So while I think i'm pretty decent at some aspects of drawing, I'm sorely lacking in many key fundamental areas, and I find I have to keep going back and trying to master some basics that I probable should've mastered long ago.

    I think its probably natural to want to race ahead of the boring fundamentals and get to the fun stuff. That's where a strict 19th-century style academic drawing master would've come in handy.

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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alternative View Post
    Haha this website is Conceptart.org. There is no other website.
    LOL
    I had it in my head you found some specific website.

    Derp Derp Derp Derp

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  10. #7
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    I used to do a lot of Swing Dancing. In the Swing world, there was a saying:

    "Beginners take intermediate classes, intermediate students take advanced classes, and advanced students take basic classes"

    Something similar happens in the art world, but the levels are not so clear cut. You have to be in the game long enough to begin to realize what the basics really even are- and even further how things like learning to draw a boring box accurately is actually quite critical. Just having the realization that there's a level that was previously too big or too small for you to even notice before is an important step towards real learning.

    Congrats!

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  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alternative View Post
    One thing I wanted to say to beginners like myself is that concept art, illustration, animation, and all those other things only come way after learning fundamentals and accepting you dont know shit. I didnt accept that until I got to art school and know I am being bombarded by awesome information i had no clue existed.
    Exactly.

    Even the most fantastic, complex or sophisticated painting or illustration starts with the fundamentals...and it shows if any are poorly understood.

    Really good anecdote there Tim!

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    Love that, dose. It's so true.

    The advanced artist paints an apple on a table and makes it fascinating.

    The beginner paints an army of space marines fighting off an alien invasion during a comet strike on a planet with two suns and makes it boring.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    As for me, all I know is that I know nothing, ... .
    Republic, 354b, (conclusion of book I)

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    I recognize myself a lot in what you wrote, Alternative. I too jumped straight into things without knowing the fundamentals, and I suffered from it without knowing it. It was thanks to CA and for having a sketchbook that people here like JeffX99 could make me understand that it was the fundamentals that I needed to study foremost more then anything because it was hindering my progress. There's a reason they're called the fundamentals.

    Also another thing that is important for beginners like me to understand is that becoming good doesn't happen after a week or two - but that it takes months and years of hard, hard work. That it is a successive development where every hour counts.

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  19. #12
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    Whenever I start to worry about how long my progress takes, I like the think on this quote:

    "From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. but all I have done before the the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy five I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At a hundred I shall be a marvelous artist. At a hundred and ten everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokosai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing." --

    Hokusai

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  20. #13
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    I agree with the original post. This is weird but with every year of studying figure drawing I realise more that the simplier I start the drawing, the easier it is to develop it further. I'm at the moment revising books about basic cartoony drawing and the brain seems to catch things faster than from some super complicated muscle diagrams.

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  21. #14
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    I'm always going back and relearning things I think I know because the me that's learning it this time is a different me than tried to learn it the first time.

    I end up learning and understanding more each time.

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  22. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LORD M View Post
    I recognize myself a lot in what you wrote, Alternative. I too jumped straight into things without knowing the fundamentals, and I suffered from it without knowing it.
    tell me about it. same here. same here. the difference tho, i still suffer from the lack of fundi and have to work hard eheh.

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  23. #16
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    In my opinion it's just that you need to draw.
    There is no "rule" that tells you that you need to do fundamental stuff before everything.
    You just have to remember that there are also fundamentals and you need to train them.

    Don't let yourself pushed back with "ohhh, i must do this fundamental stuff...". Just do them beside your work.

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  24. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silwynar View Post
    In my opinion it's just that you need to draw.
    There is no "rule" that tells you that you need to do fundamental stuff before everything.
    You just have to remember that there are also fundamentals and you need to train them.

    Don't let yourself pushed back with "ohhh, i must do this fundamental stuff...". Just do them beside your work.
    That is pretty much oppositie of what everyone here is sharing. And frankly, this thread is a real breath of fresh air and offers great insight.

    Fundamentals aren't something you do "separately"...they are the foundation of every piece you do. And sure, there is no "rule"...but you look like an absolute idiot if you jump out there on stage and wail on your guitar without first knowing how to play.

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  26. #18
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    It gives you a great advantage if you start drawing and you do half a year fundamental stuff before everything else.
    Of course, now you're a huge step in front of other artists who drew the same amount of time, but JUST drew things.

    BUT most of the artists can't keep the motivation for doing fundamental stuff this long.
    Most of them get burned out already during a few weeks, like 2-6 weeks.
    In my opinion that's just a fact

    So, in my opinion: Most of the artists are doing better the fundamental stuff beside their personal work (figures, environments, fantasy stuff) so they keep motivated and don't get exhausted.

    Sil

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  27. #19
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    Oh I loves me some fundementals practice! Even better when you get to play and realise that what you're learning is seeping into your imaginative stuff.

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  28. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silwynar View Post
    It gives you a great advantage if you start drawing and you do half a year fundamental stuff before everything else.
    Of course, now you're a huge step in front of other artists who drew the same amount of time, but JUST drew things.

    BUT most of the artists can't keep the motivation for doing fundamental stuff this long.
    Most of them get burned out already during a few weeks, like 2-6 weeks.
    In my opinion that's just a fact


    So, in my opinion: Most of the artists are doing better the fundamental stuff beside their personal work (figures, environments, fantasy stuff) so they keep motivated and don't get exhausted.

    Sil
    Hmmm...your initial post was that there was no "rule" and that you didn't need to study fundamentals before doing other things. But now you say it is a great advantage...so yeah. But half a year? There is no time limit...you study them until you understand them and you incorporate and build on them in every piece...they are always with you.

    What I'm saying is you (generic you) will be doing fundamental stuff 20, 30, 50 years from now. Just like Tim was saying, or Hokusai or Stoat about the apple. Great artists take the must humble things and elevate them.

    I certainly won't disagree with your second point there...I'm well aware of the reality that people/students want to get to the finish line before even starting the race. BUT, that's what separates the wannabes from the continue to bes.

    If you get burned out practicing your scales, chord changes, etc. after 2-6 weeks playing your guitar...you don't want to play guitar very much. Half a year? I don't think so. Half a decade? Maybe getting somewhere.

    Anyway, if you can't draw a cardboard box sitting on a table and make it look at least somewhat interesting, you don't stand a chance of doing a snow dragon attacking a a group of mounted warriors in a blizzard...that are wielding flaming swords...and have tattoos...and stuff.

    Just my opinion as well.

    Edit: OK...apologies...but I literally just ran into this after my post, just in case there are any skeptics:
    "the warriors are going to be on fire with burning molten sulphor/phosphorus all over their upper bodies.
    there's going to be bits on the platform near the chick.
    and the warriors are going to have a big long pole thrust in the guts of the dragon.
    the horse is going to be on fire, just totally barbecued.
    I was thinking about having smaller dragons crawling on the platform up to the girl,
    like in the movie Dragonslayer."

    Last edited by JeffX99; December 3rd, 2011 at 02:54 PM.
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  30. #21
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    My life drawing teacher said something interesting the other day.

    "You know what the problem with these classes are? These semester classes give off the impression that students will join the class and then, after 6 months of meeting 3-6 hours a week, they are done life drawing. The truth is life drawing is a life long endeavor. The amount of time you put into it will show in your work over the long run"


    With that said, I disagree with "do this for X amount of time and you will be good at it".

    On a side note this is another comment from an anatomy teacher:

    "The reason anatomy is so crucial is because you only see what you know is there. Without knowledge of anatomy you do not have the skillset to make proper judgements. Its like learning a language in order to be able to read a book. At the same time, its important to understand that anatomy is just one of the many sides to figure drawing. Perspective, planes, light and shadow, gesture...There is a lot to learn and the only way to do that is by focused and, most importantly, intelligent studying."

    I think what she means by intelligent is tackling the bigger, fundamental concepts of art such as, but of course not limited to, the ones she mentioned.

    Last edited by Saraiva; December 5th, 2011 at 12:00 AM.
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  31. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    If you get burned out practicing your scales, chord changes, etc. after 2-6 weeks playing your guitar...you don't want to play guitar very much. Half a year? I don't think so. Half a decade? Maybe getting somewhere.
    Yup. I spent years mangling classic rock songs in my previous life, but I was also practicing scales, chord progressions, that kinda thing the whole time.

    I haven't touched a guitar in years but still I know that G major and E minor or Pentatonic are basically the same notes shuffled with the addition of a flat fifth..I know that I can shift an E minor riff into A minor by moving the shapes to the 5th fret.
    Why? because I was really interested in learning to play guitar and it's not tedious homework if you find the subject cool and interesting..

    I didn't need to know any of this to play the intro to "Stairway"..

    Basics are only boring if you don't like the subject.


    "All I really want to do, is paint light on the side of a house."
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    Last edited by Flake; December 3rd, 2011 at 11:32 PM.
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  33. #23
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    I've just recently let myself be a beginner and it's fabulous. Even finishing a whole drawing is exciting to me. You have to keep your standards high enough to want to improve but low enough to not get intimidated and toss the sketchbook across the room.

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  35. #24
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    Jeff I said it a little bit confusing. Of course i am in the opinion that fundamentals are a great advantage for every artist.
    I wanted to say that some people are better doing them beside their personal work instead of "GNASHASUIFH MUST do fundamentals!!!!!!".

    That this is the point where the people get seperated might be true, but i think there are artists out there who just trained them beside doing their dragon fire burning people paintings.

    : ))

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  37. #25
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    This thread makes me wanna life draw. I like that.

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  39. #26
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    Just to back what Jeff said here...I've been playing guitar and bass for nearly 18 years now and I still run through the fundamental scales. Why? Well, it's to get those digits of mine moving, running up and down scales to "warm up" then when I feel I have "loosened" up and start to "relax" I can begin to make up my "pieces" through "experimentation" of "shapes" to produce some tunes "(art)"

    Now, Even though I am familiar with music, I have just started to practice what I find interesting in art (Pictorial/Visual). I think music has done me a lot of good in terms of knowing how important fundamentals really are. But again, I'm still working out exactly what the fundamentals really are in art. Is drawing/painting from life in art what the C major scale is to music? Well, yes I think it is...First I should see what things really look like, like in music I learnt what things really sound like...

    ...and I just persuaded myself to actually study more from life...Thanks to everyone in this thread

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  41. #27
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    It's so true.

    Thinking you are "beyond the basics", only to realise that you can't accurately turn a box in space, or draw a decent ellipse, or a line between two points - I used to think I was in a rut, and then it turned out there was a lifetimes worth of awesome and exciting knowledge to gain. The more you know, the more you know you don't know, I guess.

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