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    Progress

    I am turning 20 this year and I looked back at the last 5 years I have been working more seriously towards being better at art and after all hours put in I feel like I am not where I want to be.

    I know that setting goals in art is usually really unrealistic and that I am still very young AND that 5 years really isnt that much time, but sometimes I feel a bit disappointed on my progress. Not in the way that I tell myself "Damn, I suck" but more like "Damn, this is going to take so much more than I thought". I feel like I am starting to realize that this is going to be a fight. And to be honest, I am scared. It scares the shit out of me that I am investing so much on something that could not succeed.

    Sorry for posting this, its just something that has been in my mind lately because things are expensive and bills are going to start getting bigger now that I need to take care of myself and make important decisions.

    Last edited by Saraiva; March 25th, 2012 at 06:45 AM.
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    With regards to bills I think its a very personal anxiety you are facing as everyones finical situation is different. Although It will probably sound lame but if you want it bad enough you find a way to fight through what ever circumstances you have to face.

    Art should be fun and I thinks it easy to get to focused on outcomes and expectations of a final product, job ect and miss out on the psychological and practical fun of drawing and painting for the sheer joy of it. I say that because I have done the same and still do from time to time.

    It's very easy to look at other peoples work or think about the guys working professionally and get disheartened because you are not doing that yet, but YET is the most important word. As long as you still have the drive and ability to pick up a pencil and create then the possibility of becoming a pro is always still alive.

    Its very easy to focus on long terms outcomes and not enjoy the journey. Even the pros are still learning and speaking from a personal point of view, I will aways want to become better learn more until I cant use hands anymore. You have lifetime to get better we all do, as long as we are learning and enjoying then we will get better. Sure some will be better then you, more popular then you or whatever but you will always have the right and ability to create work. And when its all said and done you will have a body of work that reflects your own vision and ability as an artist and thats something that will last much longer then any pay cheque that you could get working in industry. Now I am not saying that you should do away with the idea of being pro as we would all love to make money from out passion, but if its a passion you do it regardless. The money, the jobs are just a reward for being good and to be good you have to want to progress and get better and that takes time. But in that time you will be having fun because your doing what you want to do and love and if you can focus on that then you keep yourself going for as long as you want.

    So there is no need to be scared really just have fun doing what you enjoy, learn from others and in time I am sure you will produce amazing art.

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    Hey there,

    Have you read Art & Fear yet?
    I would strongly recommend to do so.

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    Well, you know what they say. Anything worth having is worth working for.

    But in a way, that's kinda how everything is. There's always some risk of things not turning out how you want. You could spend 4-10 years at school getting an education and wracking up loans, graduate and not be able to find a job in your field. There's no guarantee.

    Do you feel like you're putting in productive hours or not so good hours? Personally, I've had times where I felt like I was putting in lots of time but not making progress and then I had to take a really hard look at what I was drawing and realized that I wasn't really drawing/working as hard as I thought I was.

    Last edited by Reutte; March 25th, 2012 at 09:40 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordLouis View Post
    Have you read Art & Fear yet?
    I would strongly recommend to do so.
    Beware, you won't magically get rid of your fear and anxiety only by reading this book. You need to come to the same conclusions by yourself, otherwise the book's idea will only glance away.
    Everyone around here seem to view "Art and Fear" as an ultimate panacea for all possible psychological art problems. It isn't a panacea.

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    Welcome to the rest of your life. The choices you make may affect the experience.

    Wanting to be an artist should scare you, it should scare the hell out of you and if that doesn't make you knuckle down and work harder to achieve your goals then you will fail at it. Now if you just want to dabble at it and work doing something else then no problem; but as a profession you need to bring your A game.

    If you are only trying to be an artist because you think you'll succeed financially you may want to rethink your goal. Being an artist will consume your money, your time, your friends and loved ones and eventually your life. You need to know that going in to it.

    It is possible to be financially successful as an artist but its almost impossible to be financially secure for the rest of your life. Even very successful artists struggle with changing interests and markets for their work. If you're not smart about this going into it you will get your butt kicked by all the things thrown at you as a working artist.

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    Well, I have been at it for longer than you have been alive, and made far less progress in all that time than you have in a few years, so if I were you I wouldn't worry too much. :-)

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    I think to not get crazy on artistic path you need to have metal state similar to tigtrope walker. Don't even think about fear. Don't look down. Focus on the rope. Slow down if you're losing balance. Don't run. The only difference is that there is no other side at the end. There are just small platforms to sit down and take a break. Don't take break for too long though or you'll get callus or something .

    Progress

    Last edited by Farvus; March 25th, 2012 at 03:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alternative View Post
    I am turning 20 this year and I looked back at the last 5 years I have been working more seriously towards being better at art and after all hours put in I feel like I am not where I want to be.
    I'll warn you now, you'll never be where you want to be... The further you go, the further away the goal gets.

    Art education never ends, you'll be scrambling to re-educate yourself and keep up with everyone else for the rest of your life. And art isn't a career where you'll ever be sure of guaranteed "success". It's full of constant ups and downs. This year everything may seem to be going well, next year may make a total u-turn and you'll be scrambling to get a foothold again. Not only that, you never really "retire" from art, so you'll likely keep on scrambling until you're senile.

    If you go into art, the rest of your life will be a guaranteed roller-coaster ride. If you want a secure job with a comfortable retirement at the end, you could... Um... You could... Well, I don't know if secure jobs even exist in this economy.

    At least art is an exciting insecure job. You could do worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guardian G.I. View Post
    Beware, you won't magically get rid of your fear and anxiety only by reading this book. You need to come to the same conclusions by yourself, otherwise the book's idea will only glance away.
    Everyone around here seem to view "Art and Fear" as an ultimate panacea for all possible psychological art problems. It isn't a panacea.
    Thank you for reducing my book recommendation to a generalization of what you feel "everyone around here" "seem to" think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ja1307 View Post
    Art should be fun...
    I always wonder where this absolute nonsense comes from. When you were coloring cartoon dragons?

    Art is a bitch. Sex is fun. Get it straight.

    Art is agonizing and will push you to the limits of endurance, will and sanity. It also raises you to the heights of human experience and lets you glimpse, and sometimes touch the sublime.

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guardian G.I. View Post
    Beware, you won't magically get rid of your fear and anxiety only by reading this book. You need to come to the same conclusions by yourself, otherwise the book's idea will only glance away.
    Everyone around here seem to view "Art and Fear" as an ultimate panacea for all possible psychological art problems. It isn't a panacea.
    Come on there Guardian...it's like a fricking pamphlet you can read in one night that speaks to the essence of the struggles creative people face. It's the perfect recommendation for the issue at hand. Of course it isn't a panacea but wtf have you written that is better?

    Edit: OK...that was harsh...sorry'bout that. Just struck me wrong. I'll leave it in just because I don't believe in taking words back...and my edit wouldn't make sense otherwise.

    Last edited by JeffX99; March 25th, 2012 at 04:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reutte View Post
    Do you feel like you're putting in productive hours or not so good hours? Personally, I've had times where I felt like I was putting in lots of time but not making progress and then I had to take a really hard look at what I was drawing and realized that I wasn't really drawing/working as hard as I thought I was.
    This is really important. It's not about time as much as it is about diligent study...on the right things. I've seen many people here with stacks of sketchbooks....waaaaay more sketchbooks than my measley dozen or so. But if one does is doodle in them and fill them up with automatic "pencil mileage" rubbish it doesn't do any good. Think about a writer...do they sit at the keyboard and just blah, blah, blah...typing away but not telling a story, outlining plots, forging something worth saying?

    I've taught people that have been painting for most their lives yet don't know the first thing about it. It's weird to me but true.

    What I'm getting at is it is important to first figure out where you want to go on your journey, who has taken or forged that particular path before you and then follow it like a bloodhound with your nose to the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Art is a bitch. Sex is fun. Get it straight.

    Art is agonizing and will push you to the limits of endurance, will and sanity. It also raises you to the heights of human experience and lets you glimpse, and sometimes touch the sublime.
    Sounds like fun to me. And equally descriptive of the other thing.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Guardian G.I. View Post
    Everyone around here seem to view "Art and Fear" as an ultimate panacea for all possible psychological art problems. It isn't a panacea.
    I've never read it. Be careful about saying 'everyone' when sharing your opinions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    I always wonder where this absolute nonsense comes from. When you were coloring cartoon dragons?

    Art is a bitch. Sex is fun. Get it straight.

    Art is agonizing and will push you to the limits of endurance, will and sanity. It also raises you to the heights of human experience and lets you glimpse, and sometimes touch the sublime.
    I can appreciate that as a professional artist your individual experience of art may be very different from mine. However I stand by my comment it should be fun. I would rather aspire to a state of creativity and enjoyment-accepting that there is hard work and personal/psychological sacrifice along the way. Rather then dwell on the fact that “art is agonizing and will push you to the limits of endurance, will and sanity” People on here want to be concept artist/illustrators because they want to spend their days immersed in something that they find enjoyable and rewarding. I see no shame in holding onto the youthful enjoyment of art that set us all on our creative path to start with.

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    Art was fun when I was little and had no expectations of my own quality. Now that I'm older (mid-thirties) art is enjoyable, but at the same time it is horrible. The need to create coupled with the dissatisfaction with skill makes a never reachable goal that is frustrating and borders on insane. So its more of a love/hate kinda thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ja1307 View Post
    I can appreciate that as a professional artist your individual experience of art may be very different from mine. However I stand by my comment it should be fun. I would rather aspire to a state of creativity and enjoyment-accepting that there is hard work and personal/psychological sacrifice along the way. Rather then dwell on the fact that “art is agonizing and will push you to the limits of endurance, will and sanity” People on here want to be concept artist/illustrators because they want to spend their days immersed in something that they find enjoyable and rewarding. I see no shame in holding onto the youthful enjoyment of art that set us all on our creative path to start with.
    Yeah, I know...I was just engaging in a little hyperbole where I thought it fit nicely. At the same time I believe it is true. The real problem revolves around what is "fun". To me it is "fun" to be able to express myself visually...and agonizing as well because I can't do it as well as I would like. And you're right, holding on to that youthful enjoyment is important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    I'll warn you now, you'll never be where you want to be... The further you go, the further away the goal gets.
    Very true. And if you ever do start feeling comfortable with your skill level, you probably need to surround yourself with better artists. They're always out there, and you almost always need that sense of insufficiency if you're really devoted to improving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorinji_Knight View Post
    Art was fun when I was little and had no expectations of my own quality. Now that I'm older (mid-thirties) art is enjoyable, but at the same time it is horrible. The need to create coupled with the dissatisfaction with skill makes a never reachable goal that is frustrating and borders on insane. So its more of a love/hate kinda thing.
    Welcome to the human condition. A lot of adult fun feels like that.

    To the OP: don't compare your skill to other people's; compare it to your skill a year or five ago. That's the only measurement of your progress.

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    sorry if i'm hijacking this thread a little.

    i've been trying to go into hardcore drawing mode lately.. probably did like 100+ hands, 50 arms, 50 figures, studies these 3-5days.. but when i'm trying to remember wtf they looked like from my memory nothing comes up.

    i'm only good at replicating what i can see..

    makes me want to give up :|

    (also i haven't updated my SB in ages.. so nothing to see there..)

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
    HELLO SKETCHBOOK.
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    Don't rush through your studies. Take your time and focus on what
    you are drawing and why. Focus on what muscle groups you are
    rendering, what they are connected to, how they work, etc.

    Ron Tiners Figure Drawing without a Model details ways to
    remember and apply your life studies into your work.

    And don't abandon references entirely. The point
    is not to become dependent on refs, but to use
    them in conjunction with the knowledge you have
    acquired through studying.

    Last edited by Star Eater; March 26th, 2012 at 09:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alffla View Post
    sorry if i'm hijacking this thread a little.

    i've been trying to go into hardcore drawing mode lately.. probably did like 100+ hands, 50 arms, 50 figures, studies these 3-5days.. but when i'm trying to remember wtf they looked like from my memory nothing comes up.

    i'm only good at replicating what i can see..

    makes me want to give up :|

    (also i haven't updated my SB in ages.. so nothing to see there..)
    Using your imagination takes just as much practice as anything else.

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    yea.. i've been trying to memorize muscle groups etc but i can't for the life of me have a solid image of what things shuold look like. especially hands, i love drawing them and doing studies of them but when i try to draw them out its like i'm 5 years old again.

    just feeling a bit down right now because i thought after spending so much time drawing them recently i'd have some sort of muscle memory and know how to draw something decent.

    guess i'll just have to keep on truckin'

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
    HELLO SKETCHBOOK.
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    alffla - Draw anatomy from memory and fail. Then check what you did wrong and after few studies try to draw it again from memory. Repeat as many times as possible. There will be much more chance that you will memorize things this way beacause it will be about focusing on specific information that is missing in your brain. Also when drawing a lot from memory you develop some sort of strategy of how to tackle problem of drawing something. It's not just what you remember but what you start with and how you progress with every next step. One landmark gives a hint as to where the put another one.

    Second thing. Don't rush your studies. It has to be 70% of time looking at your subject and 30% of time at putting down lines on paper.

    Regarding hands. I checked your sketchbook and you don't really try to simplify them or construct them with basic solids or use guidelines (everything else too). It helps to conceive the hand as a mitten first before drawing the fingers. Here's some video that can give you some hints - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd8UJC6V_L4
    Check some good books on the subject too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alffla View Post
    yea.. i've been trying to memorize muscle groups etc but i can't for the life of me have a solid image of what things shuold look like. especially hands, i love drawing them and doing studies of them but when i try to draw them out its like i'm 5 years old again.

    just feeling a bit down right now because i thought after spending so much time drawing them recently i'd have some sort of muscle memory and know how to draw something decent.
    guess i'll just have to keep on truckin'
    3-5 days and 100 hands, 50 figures is not even close though. You have to multiply that by roughly 365 (as in 3-5 years). At that point you realize why people go to reference.

    Think about it, Mucha was great with women's hands...elegant, beautiful, sexy, innocecent...all at the same time...and drawn from life. Sargent...any draughtsman or painter really, who is working at a fairly high level of representational realism works from life.

    It just depends on what you're after. Many folks have this odd conflict/myth set up where they want to draw as realistically as a master, yet pull that from their imagination. That isn't how it works.

    Kind of a simple formula is the more realism you're after, the more you need to work from life...the more stylized you want the more you can rely on imagination and a set of iconic elements (style) you can employ.

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    Quote Originally Posted by alffla View Post
    yea.. i've been trying to memorize muscle groups etc but i can't for the life of me have a solid image of what things shuold look like. especially hands, i love drawing them and doing studies of them but when i try to draw them out its like i'm 5 years old again.

    just feeling a bit down right now because i thought after spending so much time drawing them recently i'd have some sort of muscle memory and know how to draw something decent.
    There's no such thing as "muscle memory" in learning to draw. At least, not if you mean the kind of "muscle memory" people refer to in sports, where you repeat an action so many times it becomes ingrained, or something... What you want to develop is your mental memory. That means thinking and observing and comparing while you draw - and in between drawing, too.

    One exercise you can try is to draw something from refs (life or otherwise,) then try drawing it from imagination, then check the refs to see where you're off, then try again, keeping your mistakes in mind and trying to correct them... repeat until you get it right.

    And what Jeff said, times 1000. If you want a certain level of realism, you're always going to need some sort of reference. Almost nobody does realism without reference; usually people who work without reference have a somewhat stylized approach.

    Professionals use reference. Amateurs don't use reference, and then brag about not using reference.

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  45. The Following User Says Thank You to QueenGwenevere For This Useful Post:


  46. #28
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    hi every one, thanks for all the great helpful responses

    i'm going to really try think about how forms fit together from now on,. etc.

    I know just a few days of drawing things wasn't gonna make me good, but the thing is I've been drawing hands and stuff from life for a while already, and the most recent studies were just my frustration at still not being able to draw from imagination .

    as for references and realism, I'm not looking to be able to create photorealistic paintings from imagination, but I want to be able to draw convincing things,. I'm sure that all the comic and concept artists around the world do not hire models or use reference most of the time ; and that's my goal from now. again, thanks for there responses. i'm going to work much harder from now on

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
    HELLO SKETCHBOOK.
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  47. #29
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    hi every one, thanks for all the great helpful responses

    i'm going to really try think about how forms fit together from now on,. etc.

    I know just a few days of drawing things wasn't gonna make me good, but the thing is I've been drawing hands and stuff from life for a while already, and the most recent studies were just my frustration at still not being able to draw from imagination .

    as for references and realism, I'm not looking to be able to create photorealistic paintings from imagination, but I want to be able to draw convincing things,. I'm sure that all the comic and concept artists around the world do not hire models or use reference most of the time ; and that's my goal from now. again, thanks for there responses. i'm going to work much harder from now on

    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    (on the topic of ART) She's a demanding bitch that wants ALL your time and gets angry and pulls away if you even LOOK at another creative endeavor! "What, I'm not GOOD enough for you now? hm? well guess what, BAM! now try to draw without me, ya bastard!"
    HELLO SKETCHBOOK.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote  

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