Music While Drawing: Yay or Nay?

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  1. #1
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    Music While Drawing: Yay or Nay?

    Do think you think listening to music while drawing helps, or do you think it only serve to distract the artist?

    I ask, because the first lesson I've read in the Animator's Survival Kit states:
    "Unplug! Turn off your headphones! Turn off the radio! Switch off the CD! Turn off the tape! Close the door."

    The author states that after he followed this, his animation "improved right away," because listening would split your focus between the music & the drawing. Do you agree?

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  3. #2
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    I think it's probably down to each individual. I find it actually helps inspire me sometimes, set the mood for what I imagine a sketch could eventually become. I also find painting without music to be difficult to focus, a lot of people need background noise to work, even if they eventually become completely unaware of it.

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    Oh god not this debate again...

    DO WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU. Sorry about the all-caps, but I've been through shouting matches on and offline about this before...

    There are some people who work better without music. There are other people who work better with music. The problem is that some of the people who work better without music insist that everyone must work better without music, much to the annoyance of those who work better with music.

    I'm one of the ones who works better with music. And I know, because I've tried both ways. Without music, I get too easily distracted by petty background noises or my own background thoughts. The right music can occupy the part of my brain that would otherwise distract me, so the rest of my brain can focus.

    Also, I live in the city, so there's a constant stream of background noise, some of it extremely annoying and distracting. Music is often the only way to block out those noises. (Car alarms. Screaming infants. Screaming hookers. Fresh Direct trucks. Small children on pogo sticks right under the window argh argh argh...)

    Plus music gives me drive when I'm tired or lacking motivation. I even use it as a reward system to help me get through my work by reserving favorite playlists for work only - that way, if I want to hear my favorite music, I have to work. On some projects music was the only thing that got me through the job...

    It will be different for different people, of course. Some people find music too distracting and are better off working without it. So again, try both ways, do what works for YOU and the hell with contrary advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Oh god not this debate again...

    DO WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU.
    And that's all there is to say really.

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    I'm sorry if this is a dead horse topic, curiosity got the better of me after reading said advice, and when my google/search-fu failed, I made this topic.

    Anyhow, QueenGwenevere made her point well, so I'll see what works best for me, and leave it at that.

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    The only time this should ever be an issue is when people share workspace and disagree. In which case, headphones.


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    I'm one of those people who finds it very difficult to work without music.

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    It can be a good idea generator, but I sometimes find it distracting, especially when trying to execute an idea that's created by the music i'm listening to. Then there's other tunes that simply fit well with the act of drawing and make it more fun; I really enjoy this one.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Challie View Post
    It can be a good idea generator, but I sometimes find it distracting, especially when trying to execute an idea that's created by the music i'm listening to.
    For this reason I enjoy listening to vlogs and letsplays etc where people talk. Those tend to be fairly neutral so they don't affect the actual drawing as much.

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  18. #12
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    I like something to listen to, otherwise I listen to my brain and my brain is distracting. Also, it's kind of lonely when it's too quiet. I like television (Something steady like documentaries or dramas, where you can follow the gist of things without having to actually *watch*.) or talking podcasts like radiolab and similar.

    If I find I need to concentrate extra hard on something, I just pause the player for a bit.

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    I suffer from horrible tinnitus and the constant EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE when there's silence bothers me more than music does.

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    i draw to a rhythm, whether it's from music in my head or out of it. the music in my head gets old and repetitive sometimes, so i like external music.

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    It depends...sometimes yes, sometimes no...I'm not in the same place all the time when I draw and paint. For me it has to do with the current activity and left brain/right brain processes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    It depends...sometimes yes, sometimes no...I'm not in the same place all the time when I draw and paint. For me it has to do with the current activity and left brain/right brain processes.
    Yeah, me too. I usually listen to audiobooks, podcasts or music if I'm rendering or otherwise doing repetitive brainless work, but words tend to interfere with lettering.

    Outside I prefer to leave the headphones off, in case of bear or backing up truck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crossmirage View Post
    I suffer from horrible tinnitus and the constant EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE when there's silence bothers me more than music does.
    Yeah I have this too, it's not really bad but it can get annoying.

    Sometimes a certain song or 2 will really catch my imagination and make me quite euphoric. If it does I like play it on repeat during a piece of work, as it helps to hold that feeling / inspiration.

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    Another factor is when it is 2am, and I have another couple hours ahead (or any other time I'm low on energy), I'll put in some ACDC....Ozric Tentacles...whatever I need to get jacked back up so I can get through.

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    I like to hear musics in other languages than my own... but in the end, I almost don't notice the sound, I don't even notice that dozens of musics already played, since I get really focused on the drawing, but the music helps even if I don't "hear" it.

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  27. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oräli View Post
    I like to hear musics in other languages than my own... but in the end, I almost don't notice the sound, I don't even notice that dozens of musics already played, since I get really focused on the drawing, but the music helps even if I don't "hear" it.
    That's why I listen to hip-hop. Bu-dump Tsssshhhh (rim shot). Thanks, I'll be here all week...

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    I'm a synesthete, so I actually find that I either gravitate to music whose colors fit the painting I'm working on, or the painting will take on the colors of the music I listen to. It helps me get into the right mindset, especially during the idea generating process. I'd never be able to listen to car-driving music (for me, hard rock) while trying to paint. Just me, though.

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  29. #22
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    I learned to paint drinking coffee and listening to rock music.
    It would be weird doing it without.

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    In freshman year of college I got stuck with roommates who liked to play Kenny G and Yanni constantly... Headphones and heavy metal were the only things preventing me from murdering them and their stereo.

    I don't have any constants, I change mixes depending on what mood I'm in. For a while it was mostly Massiv in Mensch. Right now my miracle mix seems to be Astral Projection, Eat Static, and Birdy Nam Nam. Next month it'll be something else.

    Though the entire Electric Ladyland album at 5:00am almost always works wonders...

    (@Jeff: if you like Ozric Tentacles, you might like Eat Static... Same guy, if I'm not mistaken...)

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  32. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mumbulu View Post
    I ask, because the first lesson I've read in the Animator's Survival Kit states:
    "Unplug! Turn off your headphones! Turn off the radio! Switch off the CD! Turn off the tape! Close the door."
    That's for animation, it's a little bit different.
    Animation is about 90% file management, among other things. If you're distracted, chances are you'll mess things up.

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  34. #25
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    Thanks Queenie - yeah, I've heard a little Eat Static...jury is still out.

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  35. #26
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    Depends on my mood.

    Usually it's stuff like this.



    During my first year of college it obviously drove my roommates nuts.

    Last edited by Psychotime; April 24th, 2012 at 02:26 AM.
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  36. #27
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    Like others have said I get lost in my own thoughts without music. Same logic as why I can't sleep without a fan or some kind of white noise. I just start to sit there and think... .. about anything.... and everything.... ....

    Also as others have said lol, I like to listen to music often that helps get into the scene in my head. Helps a bit more when trying to mess around with comics where your trying to get fitting emotions/dialogue for the panels. Here's a sad scene I'll play sad music (Of course I have the bad habit of when trying to get a face down I'm usually making the face I'm trying to draw too and whoever said it takes more muscles to frown than smile is lying).

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    Whatever picks the oranges...

    However, when it comes to judging the result - turn it off. A background soundtrack will hype what you're looking at.
    If you want to know what your new date really looks like, get away from the low lights and see them in a neutral, white, silent, light.

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  38. #29
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    It's pretty nice to draw with music, since it gives me some quick inspiration sometimes, but then I run into several problems:

    -switch songs => switch mood => switch mood of drawing
    -no song lasts long enough.
    -if I listen to a song without paying enough attention to it, I'll end up killing my enthusiasm for the song, and I won't be able to get 'into' that song anymore. This can happen in no time.

    That last one is the worst part, but that's the way I'm wired, so I play music while drawing very sparingly.

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  39. #30
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    Personally I get distracted when I listen to music and most often it ends up with me browsing the web crouched real close to the screen vibrating my right leg. But sometimes. Usually I prefer either silence or have some movies, series, someone talking in the background.

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