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Thread: Do you keep your old drawings?

  1. #1
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    Do you keep your old drawings?

    I used to keep track of everything I drew. But once I started art school I was drawing a ton and the drawings would pile up. Especially the life drawings, animation paper and brainstorm sketches. Most of it's crap since it's just sketching. Now the only stuff I keep is finished work and sketches I like or might use in the future. When I'm done with a sketchbook I throw it in a drawer, but I don't scan or photograph it anymore like I used to.

    Even with my Deviantart gallery, I deleted most of the old art because it was horrible compared to my recent stuff. I notice some people upload everything they do and have hundreds of images on their blog or website, but some of the best artist have only 10 or so. Sometimes a great artist uploads something bad and I wonder why they would do that, why not just move on to the next thing and try to do a better job?

    I feel like I'm better off not being attached to my drawings and keeping up the momentum to make the next project better. Even though the process work is important, once the project is finished it served it's purpose and is not needed anymore. For me the final is the most important.

    Do you guys like to keep track of your old art or toss it and move onto the next thing. And if you do keep it, for what reason? Maybe it's more useful for certain artists to keep old process work than others.
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  3. #2
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    I absolutely keep it.

    These aren't trading cards or toys...this is my fucking life. It's not really for anyone else but me to serve as a record of where I have been and where I will go as long as I keep learning.

    I have artwork from when I was 5 years old.

    The only art I am missing is from age 16 or so. I accidentally forgot it and left it with roommates from college when I moved away to get work. They said they'd go down into storage and send it to me, but after that point all of those people dispersed and went their own ways, conveniently forgetting to send the bag.

    So it probably sat and rotted in the storage unit until someone rented the place and got tossed in the trash because it was "left behind" by former tenants. That was probably 3 years of work in my most crucial period of learning.

    To this day, I am heartbroken that I can never get it back.
    I have shitty photocopies of some of it (as before the scanner days, I photocopied all of my work). So I have SOME record of it, but not all.

    I'd happily be called a "hoarder" if what I was hoarding was my life's dedication to art.
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  5. #3
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    Some of my best memorabilia is my old drawings. If I had drawings from when I was like 8 or less that would really be a trip. I nostalgia bomb already from early high school alone.
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    Yeah I agree, it's nice to keep the really old stuff! I managed to keep some of the drawings I did as a kid and I have all of my highschool art at my parents house. But in college I just don't feel the same attachment to a 10 minute sketch as I do a finished project. Especially in animation class we were cranking out quick studies of motion or layout thumbnails and most people left those lying in the studio when they were finished. Maybe we are careless animation students. But never would I throw away a finished drawing.

    Just curious if you guys felt differently since most people here are illustrators or designers, so maybe there is a different feeling to your art. Cause I was shocked when my layout teacher told me they threw away their layouts after the show was over and those drawings were amazing, but looking back he did regret it.
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    Yeah, keep pretty much every sketch because it's usually in books. No reason to rip a page out and no way in hell would I through out an entire book of sketches. It's all a process, man. I suppose it might be different for an animator, but for me I consider every drawing, no matter how small, a step at learning. I feel that I can't learn to get better unless I can see the record of where I sucked.
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    Thanks for sharing your experience Dusty. It's interesting to get an alternate point of view.
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    Keep it manageable! There were times when I easily did at least 75 sheets of newsprint a week, most of them were quick gestures. I immediately trashed most of it, and kept a few for reviews. I used about two reams of newsprint every term, there is no way you should even think about keeping it all...
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    I have a mixed approach. I generally keep most of my sketchbooks since they're bound and there aren't any loose pages to worry about keeping track of. They also make for a nice convenient means to look at my progress over a period of time, and to look back at ideas that I may want to come back to. Gestures done on sketch paper or large newsprint I generally toss since they're warm-ups and I don't have much investment in them. I'll occasionally keep one if it seems particularly good. I have kept my longer gestures and the images I've drawn in figure drawing classes or sessions because they are more of an investment for me, and I like them (I also don't have as many, so right now storing them is not a major investment). Illustrations that I do are generally kept, usually placed in small flat storage or a portfolio. Again, I don't have that many to contend with right now, and I will usually toss something immediately if I don't like it.
    "It's all about the triumph of intellect and romance, over brute force and cynicism." Craig Ferguson on Dr. Who
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty View Post
    Yeah, keep pretty much every sketch because it's usually in books. No reason to rip a page out and no way in hell would I through out an entire book of sketches. It's all a process, man. I suppose it might be different for an animator, but for me I consider every drawing, no matter how small, a step at learning. I feel that I can't learn to get better unless I can see the record of where I sucked.
    I once went through an entire sketchbook, ripping out each page after I finished a drawing and throwing it away. I got to the last pages and realized I had an empty book. What did I learn through those 200 something pages? I don't know... Because I don't have it.

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    I have a few old sketchbooks and all of the digital stuff is on the internet, but I paint over a lot of old paintings. I've gotten rid of a lot of stuff, too. It feels good for some reason. Some times I feel a bit of nostalgia looking through old sketchbooks, other times it doesn't bring much enjoyment...
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    Here's a good guideline...keep it if there is a reason to do so. I probably keep 95% of my stuff...but a crappy painting that I didn't wipe off isn't worth keeping around. I re-prime and paint over those. With figure stuff you just generate so much it should be culled.
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    I save most of mine for a few months. Then revise the pile and discard what I can see just won't serve much purpose neither in tracking my development nor be used as reference/idea/remake later, and not even provides fun looking at a poor attempt.
    Don't throw out right away, because in that moment you probably won't know how you will perceive it later.

    If in a sketchbook, you can always alter the pages if you don't like your first result
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  16. #13
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    I keep my sketchbooks archived so i can looked at them in the future, and amaze myself for the improvement made, but then again, the online sketchbooks in the sketchbook section could serve the same purpose so you dont have to keep a physical copy.
    -We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

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