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  1. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by creeptool View Post
    The progress I'm seeing there for the first year looks about average, actually. Don't be distracted by all the digital shiny, the underlying drawings in the digital pieces show about as much progress as could be expected from anybody practicing with reasonable regularity. And the time between the first post and the last is about five years - you can learn a LOT in five years if you stick to it. (Also, it's obvious he'd been drawing for some time before he started that sketchbook.) (AND he's almost certainly not posting everything he's doing, not by a looooong shot. Looks like he posts the things he's most proud of, every now and then. Y'know, like what most people do. )

    I think it's a waste of time believing that people who seem to be making faster progress than oneself must have some special "edge", or that they somehow find it "easier". Odds are they've gone through just as much frustration as anyone else, but maybe at an earlier point in their development, or in a condensed way. It helps if you're drawing constantly - I know for me, the times when I'm drawing the most are the times when I improve exponentially. If I slack, things don't go so well. It can also help if someone has good teachers or mentors available; knowledgable feedback on a regular basis can help you break bad habits much more quickly than if you're trying to figure everything out yourself.

    There's a lot of factors that affect speed of improvement, and none of them are "natural ability." It's actually kind of an insult to say someone "had it easy" if they worked hard to get where they are.

    Last edited by QueenGwenevere; October 24th, 2012 at 08:41 PM. Reason: silly typos
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  4. #28
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    You guys shouldn't spend time thinking about why you can't improve as fast as other artists can. You should spend time thinking about what they did, and why those things they did made them improve. I think you should also have a long-term goal for yourself. You need to have an idea of where you want to be and what you want to be able to do.

    You should never assume that things come easily for others or that they didn't have to work hard for it. That kind of thinking pisses me the hell off.
    People can't see the efforts of others.

    When you argue for your limitations, they're yours. What the hell make excuses for? Cowards make excuses, and you aren't freaking cowards. People that become successful in anything do not make excuses.

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  6. #29
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    People who never seem to hit a wall are the people that love to draw so much that they have no wall to hit. Good or bad its all just fun for them, not work.

    "The whole point of practice is to do it until you can do it right." - dpaint

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  7. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Since the dawn of human art-making, the divide has been clear: There are people who can effortlessly sketch an object's likeness, and people who struggle for hours just to get the angles and proportions right (by which point the picture is scarred by eraser marks, anyway). What separates the drawers from the drawer-nots?

    ^This is is new age twaddle. There are no people who draw effortlessly. Don't buy into this crap. Drawing and painting is hard, its takes a long time to learn. That's why there are no young child prodigies in representational art like there are in music.
    There's Kim Jung Gi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI-jnllfPXs

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  8. #31
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    Kim Jung Gi is a rarity.

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  10. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post

    The effort was in the practice. He's 37 years old, old enough to have had decades of experience.

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  12. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    I think any artist would be insulted if you think none of their work takes effort.

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  14. #34
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    Last I checked, Kim Jung Ji does a shit-ton of drawings every day and has done for years and years. THAT'S why he can do what he does. Not because he came out of the womb with a magic pencil in his hand.

    And I HATE it when people say "oh you're so talented!" or worse "you must be gifted!" As though there was no work involved. Never assume people haven't worked to get to the point where drawing seems effortless, because they almost certainly have.

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  16. #35
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    I've had quite a few students showing exceptional drawing ability at a young age, and I absolutely agree with the OP that their "secret" is an unusually strong visual memory. That doesn't mean that this visual memory is an innate ability, it probably just means that they started training it early. Australian artist Norman Lindsay recalled how as a child he would go out into the farmyard and see what "manner of beast" was about, and then go inside and draw them from memory. Late in life he still considered that this was the best way to learn to draw.

    Fortunately adults can still improve their visual memory, and such study has been a recurrent theme in the training of artists (see the Stapleton Kearns blog post that the OP linked to). Degas' idea that in an art school the beginning students should paint at easels on the first floor from a model on the fourth floor was repeated almost verbatim by both Harold Speed and Robert Henri. Kimon Nicolaides stresses memory drawing in The Natural Way to Draw, with valuable exercises on drawing one and then multiple gestures from memory, and drawing a "daily composition" of figures in an environment from memory. He even has a gentle variation on Degas' idea, in which you draw with your easel facing away from the model.

    Ultimately though the best way to strengthen your visual memory is to try to use it a bit more in every drawing you do. Whenever you catch yourself just "looking and putting", stop and make the effort to memorize a larger array of information. Know what you are drawing.

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  18. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by briggsy@ashtons View Post
    I've had quite a few students showing exceptional drawing ability at a young age, and I absolutely agree with the OP that their "secret" is an unusually strong visual memory. That doesn't mean that this visual memory is an innate ability, it probably just means that they started training it early. Australian artist Norman Lindsay recalled how as a child he would go out into the farmyard and see what "manner of beast" was about, and then go inside and draw them from memory. Late in life he still considered that this was the best way to learn to draw.

    Fortunately adults can still improve their visual memory, and such study has been a recurrent theme in the training of artists (see the Stapleton Kearns blog post that the OP linked to). Degas' idea that in an art school the beginning students should paint at easels on the first floor from a model on the fourth floor was repeated almost verbatim by both Harold Speed and Robert Henri. Kimon Nicolaides stresses memory drawing in The Natural Way to Draw, with valuable exercises on drawing one and then multiple gestures from memory, and drawing a "daily composition" of figures in an environment from memory. He even has a gentle variation on Degas' idea, in which you draw with your easel facing away from the model.

    Ultimately though the best way to strengthen your visual memory is to try to use it a bit more in every drawing you do. Whenever you catch yourself just "looking and putting", stop and make the effort to memorize a larger array of information. Know what you are drawing.
    Memory drawing is an essential tool per Robert Beverly Hale's idea of the "secret person" that each person who aspires to draw the human figure cultivates and takes into the life drawing session.

    However, if we consider for a moment Burne Hogarth's figures in Dynamic Figure Drawing, re which Hogarth boasts(?) were NOT drawn from life or from any "morgue." I think we begin to see the outer extremes of memory drawing.

    Frankly, I find the Hogarth drawings to be stiff, bulbous and weird-- pneumatic looking things that appear to be covered with soot! And, history, from the interwebs, has it that Hogarth inherited the Tarzan gig from Hal Foster by. . . wait for it. . . submitting samples that. . . looked a helluva lot like Foster's work! (Which, one would assume, he produced by slavishly reffing from Foster rather than trusting to memory!)

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  20. #37
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    Fine, but I'm talking about memorizing your subject, not about applying memorized schema to your subject.

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  22. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotime View Post
    How exactly do you do something like that? I must be overthinking what you mean.
    You look at the original and figure out the way the artist made a mark. How he held the pencil, which direction he moved it in, how he applied pressure etc. - and consider why he did it that way and not some other. What anatomical structure he was tracking, what the lighting must have been, what the artist marked and what he ignored, and so on.

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  23. #39
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    My own view is that talent at drawing (and thereby painting) is not proportional to aptitude of visual memory.
    It is to do with the ability to synthesise optical phenomena into pattern. This is precisely what a camera does not do.
    I'm not talking about 'posterizing' either. I'm talking about deep gestalt pattern synthesis. The ability to invent and write in a graphic code simultaneously.

    One has to accept that certain minds 'are wired up' to do this more fluently than others - these are the people who show talent at a very early age. I didn't practice drawing more than other kids when I was 5 or 15 - I could just 'do it' and couldn't understand why the entire rest of the class couldn't.

    What happens when you are daft enough to take it up as a career, is that your ideas about how to apply this talent become sophisticated. And to make your talent a faithful, truthful and obedient servant of that... requires WORK! (beit visual memory, structure, art history... and above all, figuring out what you want to say and marshalling a visual vocabulary and a grammer to execute it)

    Last edited by Chris Bennett; October 25th, 2012 at 04:31 AM.
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