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  1. #1
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    Transitioning

    I am just wondering if its natural to feel a lack of confidence in doing full illustrations, with story and compositional elements when first starting out. At the moment I usually only do head shots with the occasional full body drawings. But I never venture into full illustrations due to all the complexities that come with it.

    How has other people gotten around this block if they had one at all? I do try to work on my fundamentals whenever I can, but for some reason I always feel uncomfortable when having to do a full illustration.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Here are some of my pieces, sorry its offsite:

    http://sketchwalk.deviantart.com/gallery/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rist View Post
    I am just wondering if its natural to feel a lack of confidence in doing full illustrations, with story and compositional elements when first starting out.
    Well, of course. If you're still learning to swim, jumping into the deep end of the pool is scary.

    At the moment I usually only do head shots with the occasional full body drawings. But I never venture into full illustrations due to all the complexities that come with it.
    Do it anyway! Try it, and fail spectacularly! At the very least, you'll learn that you still have a lot to learn. Though at your current stage, you might get more out of doing a lot of studies from life to gain skills and confidence...

    How has other people gotten around this block if they had one at all?
    I've always been in favor of diving in and failing spectacularly. Or learning on the job in trial-by-fire mode, where you HAVE to learn how to do something because you're getting paid to do it, and the client doesn't know that you don't yet know how to do it... ahahaha haaaaa... Oh man I don't know how many times I've done this. It keeps life interesting, to say the least.

    I do try to work on my fundamentals whenever I can, but for some reason I always feel uncomfortable when having to do a full illustration.
    It's totally okay to put off doing full illustrations while you try to get a grasp on fundamentals. Unless you're just dying to try doing a full illustration, in which case, go ahead and try. The worst that will happen is that it sucks.

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    Thank you for the post and encouragement.

    I think the problem I have is what my instructor mentioned at university. "The hardest thing about art is you have infinite possibilities, but become so overwhelmed and do nothing". I tend to do this a lot.

    I have no real focus on a theme like many do. I fluctuate from one theme to another, from one craft to another, always indecisive on what to produce. I sometimes wonder if this takes time away from actually honing a specific craft and ability, or whether this is great and helps me find myself.

    One of the things which puts me down a lot is the fact I have been in full education for art and painted for more than a decade and yet still feel not good enough to sell my craft. I wonder if I will ever become good enough to sell what I can produce or where to go to sell my work.

    Sometimes I become discouraged because of the competition. I will be one week inspired to home my skills at fantasy work but then become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of quality on offer by other artists and feel there is no room for my skills. So then I try my hand at portraits or children's illustrations, but to then be discouraged again. Other times I gave up all together and focused more on work and social life. It's difficult for me to be an artist because I can never find the right path.

    I am wondering how many others out there are like this? I am intrigued to hear from you guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rist View Post
    How has other people gotten around this block if they had one at all?
    Over the years, as I've been learning to draw, I've experienced many of these 'blocks.' There was a time when I could only draw heads, another time when I couldn't draw a finished image, another time when I couldn't plan a drawing, on and on. I imagine it's fairly common. With each, for me, it felt like I should be able to do it, but for whatever reason I just could not. It felt less like I needed 'learning' and more like I was coming up against a physical wall. Today though, all that feels behind me. I don't find myself hitting up against those sort of 'obstacles' anymore. I look back on a lot of those things now and for some I think there was a legitimate problem but most of the time it was just nonsense. Pretty much every one of those problems I had was solved from one minute to the next, in the middle of drawing. I didn't find some magical answer, I just kept at it and from one minute to the next it felt solved. These problems I now think come largely down to this saying: "We do what we believe we can do." I think that's all it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rist View Post
    I do try to work on my fundamentals whenever I can, but for some reason I always feel uncomfortable when having to do a full illustration.
    It could be that you're uncertain, you don't have a process down. It's new to you, you don't have a set approach, and so it's natural that it feels uncomfortable, that you hesitate. Do it again and again though, you'll get comfortable, you'll develop a way of working and it'll become familiar to you.

    If not that, it could be that you're fearing failure, that you're hesitating because you want perfection. In which case I'd say you should just aim to be bad. Be purposely bad and have fun. Accept that the work is going to be crap but go through the steps anyway, complete many crap pictures. Aim to do everything on a crap level and that way you will have done it, you can tell yourself that, and from there it's just a matter of improving on what you're already doing.

    This here is a good video for how to look at mistakes, also, it helped me a great deal (looking back, I think the lesson in this video might be the sole reason I no longer find myself with these 'blocks' anymore, actually):



    Other suggestions:
    - Make simple thumbnail sketches after work you admire. Doing that you'll see what goes into a finished illustration, that it's not complicated.
    - Draw after photos or other peoples work. That way you wont have to ask what to draw, it'll be set for you, and you'll have a clear end result to aim for. By doing this you'll understand what goes into a finished drawing and also maybe find out what actually is the cause of your struggle. Try drawing just the structure of things, don't worry about detail.
    - Make a plan of attack and refer to it when drawing. Sit down and actually decide what you think is required and write it down. If you don't know what's required, find out. Decide when to seek reference, when to move on to detail, etc.

    Last edited by Grosby; September 26th, 2012 at 06:22 AM.
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    Thank You Grosby,

    It's probably also the balancing act too. Having to balance mundane work life with social life and then with art life does make every mash up. Sometimes I feel I don't have enough time so instead of planning my attack I just paint a picture at random as if its a doodle.

    Other times I compare my work to others work and for some reason they gain lots of follows, but for me its very hard to gain followers. And not always are their skills better than mine. I've noticed I'm a big attention seeker and compliments to my work gives me a big buzz and motivation to carry on. It's like a drug addiction. If a painting does not gain attention my morale drops and then my motivation drops. I guess I have to just paint for other reasons because it is clear this reason is affecting my production.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grosby View Post
    Over the years, as I've been learning to draw, I've experienced many of these 'blocks.' There was a time when I could only draw heads, another time when I couldn't draw a finished image, another time when I couldn't plan a drawing, on and on. I imagine it's fairly common. With each, for me, it felt like I should be able to do it, but for whatever reason I just could not. It felt less like I needed 'learning' and more like I was coming up against a physical wall. Today though, all that feels behind me. I don't find myself hitting up against those sort of 'obstacles' anymore. I look back on a lot of those things now and for some I think there was a legitimate problem but most of the time it was just nonsense. Pretty much every one of those problems I had was solved from one minute to the next, in the middle of drawing. I didn't find some magical answer, I just kept at it and from one minute to the next it felt solved. These problems I now think come largely down to this saying: "We do what we believe we can do." I think that's all it is.



    It could be that you're uncertain, you don't have a process down. It's new to you, you don't have a set approach, and so it's natural that it feels uncomfortable, that you hesitate. Do it again and again though, you'll get comfortable, you'll develop a way of working and it'll become familiar to you.

    If not that, it could be that you're fearing failure, that you're hesitating because you want perfection. In which case I'd say you should just aim to be bad. Be purposely bad and have fun. Accept that the work is going to be crap but go through the steps anyway, complete many crap pictures. Aim to do everything on a crap level and that way you will have done it, you can tell yourself that, and from there it's just a matter of improving on what you're already doing.

    This here is a good video for how to look at mistakes, also, it helped me a great deal (looking back, I think the lesson in this video might be the sole reason I no longer find myself with these 'blocks' anymore, actually):



    Other suggestions:
    - Make simple thumbnail sketches after work you admire. Doing that you'll see what goes into a finished illustration, that it's not complicated.
    - Draw after photos or other peoples work. That way you wont have to ask what to draw, it'll be set for you, and you'll have a clear end result to aim for. By doing this you'll understand what goes into a finished drawing and also maybe find out what actually is the cause of your struggle. Try drawing just the structure of things, don't worry about detail.
    - Make a plan of attack and refer to it when drawing. Sit down and actually decide what you think is required and write it down. If you don't know what's required, find out. Decide when to seek reference, when to move on to detail, etc.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rist View Post
    I've noticed I'm a big attention seeker and compliments to my work gives me a big buzz and motivation to carry on. It's like a drug addiction. If a painting does not gain attention my morale drops and then my motivation drops. I guess I have to just paint for other reasons because it is clear this reason is affecting my production.
    You have to let go of this, if you let other people control your work and your motivation you will never make it. The only reason to be an artist is you have to be an artist. Doing it for money or fame or anything else is BS and will eventually fail you as a reason to produce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    You have to let go of this, if you let other people control your work and your motivation you will never make it. The only reason to be an artist is you have to be an artist. Doing it for money or fame or anything else is BS and will eventually fail you as a reason to produce.
    This advise is golden. Over the past few years I have been pressured by others to starting making money on my art. They think because I went to university for art that I should quickly starting earning money from it. This to me has demotivated me more than ever. When I was young I drew because it interested me. Nowadays I have so much pressure on painting due to want to make a career out of it that it becomes disheartening quickly. I'll have to become a Van Gogh and paint just for the sake of painting and let someone else worry about the big sale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rist
    One of the things which puts me down a lot is the fact I have been in full education for art and painted for more than a decade and yet still feel not good enough to sell my craft. I wonder if I will ever become good enough to sell what I can produce or where to go to sell my work.
    Your feeling about your work is just that -- your feeling. And you have to deal with it emotionally, not by taking more classes and reading more books. Nobody is ever so good that rejection is impossible. Confidence comes from the feeling that you can handle yourself in different situations, not in your ability to prevent those situations. You can't possibly control what other people do, but you can control how you respond to that and cope with it.

    The first time I signed up for an art fair I sat there for two days and didn't sell a single thing. But since I didn't die of that, I went back a couple years later with a completely different set of paintings, set up in a different location, and I sold a few things and made a small profit. Next year I'm bringing more of what sold, plus some new stuff. If you actually want to sell things then you have to be a business, and not an insecure artist who worries about what everybody thinks.

    *** Sketchbook * Landscapes * Portfolio * Store***

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    I agree on everything you have mentioned. I have also notice that dips in my own emotions which are unrelated to art can also cause issues with productivity. So when it comes to emotional attachment to work I can bet this would affect the productivity of subsequent art pieces if the feedback was bad or stagnant.

    Its hard because art has always been a form of therapy for me. When I was sad, happy, morbid, craving, frustrated. It is hard for me to focus on it as a business.

    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Your feeling about your work is just that -- your feeling. And you have to deal with it emotionally, not by taking more classes and reading more books. Nobody is ever so good that rejection is impossible. Confidence comes from the feeling that you can handle yourself in different situations, not in your ability to prevent those situations. You can't possibly control what other people do, but you can control how you respond to that and cope with it.

    The first time I signed up for an art fair I sat there for two days and didn't sell a single thing. But since I didn't die of that, I went back a couple years later with a completely different set of paintings, set up in a different location, and I sold a few things and made a small profit. Next year I'm bringing more of what sold, plus some new stuff. If you actually want to sell things then you have to be a business, and not an insecure artist who worries about what everybody thinks.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rist View Post
    I agree on everything you have mentioned. I have also notice that dips in my own emotions which are unrelated to art can also cause issues with productivity. So when it comes to emotional attachment to work I can bet this would affect the productivity of subsequent art pieces if the feedback was bad or stagnant.

    Its hard because art has always been a form of therapy for me. When I was sad, happy, morbid, craving, frustrated. It is hard for me to focus on it as a business.
    Then the first thing you should ask yourself is whether it makes any sense to try and sell paintings when you do them for therapy. Especially if you get caught up in attention-seeking and net popularity. If you don't treat a business as a business then it's not likely to be successful, and if you do treat it as a business then it won't be your relaxing hobby any more.

    *** Sketchbook * Landscapes * Portfolio * Store***

    "There are two kinds of students: the self-taught and the hopeless."
    - Dr. Piotr Rudnicki
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Then the first thing you should ask yourself is whether it makes any sense to try and sell paintings when you do them for therapy. Especially if you get caught up in attention-seeking and net popularity. If you don't treat a business as a business then it's not likely to be successful, and if you do treat it as a business then it won't be your relaxing hobby any more.
    I've always been worried about this myself. I suppose we are all stuck in this new modern dilemma of wanting to create a successful career in something so we can be proud of it when we are old and frail. I envy those artists who are paid to draw and do what they enjoy. I personally have to help people with their difficulties with broadband connection and paying bills, and this can be call after call. I dream of being in an art studio and painting a picture that I can be proud of.

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    I have started a piece with full composition. Trying my best to incorporate all I have learned in the past on, well everything picture creation. I think in the past I learned to run before I could walk and this has now shown its long overdue affects. I clal this piece last stand and can be also found in the WIP section.



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