all you read about me is true. I never had art classes or formal art education in general, I learned anatomy and composition on my own. The only anatomy book I ever owned was the one by Burne Hogarth. It fell into my hands when I was 12, and I devoured it for a year. Did drawings right out of it to learn basic proportions and exaggerated anatomy. Later on, my observance of life and the people around me gave me the oppurtunity to put a layer of realism above my figures.
I see it like this. I take nothing in life for granted. When I go out with friends, I want the night to be as amazing as possible, because I want to keep it as a good memory. Because if I remember something, I can use it again for my drawings. If I like the way a girl talks to me, I will remember how her lips move, or how she folds her hands together. If I like the way a bum is falling through the streets, I will watch him and remember.
Too many people close their eyes for what life has to offer. They take their environment as it comes, pay no attention to the body language of their friends and thus lose connection to their memories. They take up references when they draw, because they are too afraid to call upon their brain and memories.
I think perception, observation of the world around you doesn't only make you a better artist, but at the end of the day a better human being as well. Because if you learn to pay attention to you surroundings, to the people you hang out with, to your girl, or your dog, you learn to understand these beings better. You start developing empathy, because you read the body language of people, you realize how the lips of your best friend tremble, when he is nervous, you know that your girl is mad at you because she scratches her palms, etc.
There are many artists out there claiming that a formal education is essential for producing art. I say, that's nonsense.
You need to have an keen and open mind first, before you're able to produce anything artistic. You gotta have an appretiation for life, instead of denial.
I tend to see art teachers as car mechanics.
A car mechanic will be able to tell you everything about a Mercedes, he will explain how the motor functions, how the gas is flowing through the engine, how the breaks work. He'll be able to explain to you every single detail of the car, but he will never be able to explain, why any given person in this world drives exactly this car from Berlin to Paris and parks it close to the Louvre.
Same with Art. You can build up any system of rules you want but in the end Art is Magic.
And Magic is real.