Are You Happy Where You Are In Your Development As An Artist?
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Thread: Are You Happy Where You Are In Your Development As An Artist?

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    Question Are You Happy Where You Are In Your Development As An Artist?

    Background - My name is Jonathan Barker and I'm a 4th year student at Sheridan College. I take Illustration - majoring in Scientific and Technical.

    I'm finishing school (I'm Done In April 2013) and i am in a serious reflective phase now.

    What have you learned in your artistic path? Are you far enough along as you would hope to be at this point in your life? What is the next step for you?


    If i were to answer those questions:

    I have learned plenty... I think one of the biggest things i have learned is to kill my inner critic. That's not to say i killed my critical EYE. I still know if something looks good or bad... close or far from my intentions... i just killed that voice in my head that said things like "You'll never be as good as so and so" and "Who are you kidding? You can't make good art!" (PRO TIP: If you have this voice, one of the best ways to kill it is to write it down. Once you see just how mean it is you can see it for what it is - A lie. This is a tool described in the book "The Artists Way" which i highly recommend for all artists. Other tools to help with inner critics can be found in the field of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.)

    Am i far as i wanted to be at this point in my life? Yes and no. I feel like I am in a parallel universe where the "Real me" studied art right out of highschool and is working at a AAA game studio or has a few books out. I think it's a case of "Grass is greener on the other side" since if i hadn't gone to school when i was more mature i would never have made it though.

    What is the next step? Well, i'd like to focus on my character designs... i can do hard surface pretty well... i picked up a few books on anatomy and character design today... so i'll review them on an on going basis. I have lost the love of "Painty" digital painting but i think i could get into digital sketching.

    Anyways... i guess i am just hoping someone out here will know what it's like to be me right now and can give me advice. I think that's what this place is all about.

    Thanks for reading.

    "Good art is just the basics done really well over and over again." - Jonathan Barker

    Watch out for the dream killers. They'll tell you to quit, they'll say you'll never make it, they'll say you're crazy, they'll say they have your best interests at heart... And if you listen to them they're right.

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    I don't think anyone is ever happy with where they are, otherwise they would just stop improving. It's like the quote in my signature "complacency is the womb of mediocrity". You should always strive to be better and realize how far you have to go...that being said, you should now and then recognize how far you've come as well (which is something a lot of people forget to do, myself included).


    And I know it's not really the point of the thread, and I don't mean to attack you...but your art is not where it should be after a four year program (and supposedly one of the best in North America). If I were you I'd seriously start questioning the validity of the program at Sheridan. I know I did--I dropped out of first year because I found it so bad. I'm stuck working deepfryers now and painting in what little spare time I have, but I still feel like it is a better alternative. At this point I think it's best if you sat down and really focused on learning to draw well. It will take time and work, but will pay off. Slow down and don't be sloppy with things, like these are just carelessly painted:
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IwMMWfB1It...rd-mermaid.jpg
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-GtgF6NEoi-.../berzerker.jpg
    http://conceptart.org/forums/attachm...1&d=1333931235
    http://conceptart.org/forums/attachm...1&d=1333931196

    Again, I don't want to offend or be mean, but I think it's important you hear this. Take a look at what some self taught artists did to improve quickly--Algenpfleger, Miles_ etc. Lots and lots of studies (take note of what and how the are doing it), and lots of application of the studies. School doesn't seem to have done much for you so it looks like you will need to take the self taught route if you want to work professionally.

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    "Complacency is the womb of mediocrity. " -- Jason Manley

    "If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." -- Bruce Lee
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    Are You Happy Where You Are In Your Development As An Artist?
    Nah.


    What have you learned in your artistic path?
    Not enough.

    Are you far enough along as you would hope to be at this point in your life?
    Nah.

    What is the next step for you?
    Getting better at all of it. Both drawing skills and business skills.

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    What have you learned in your artistic path?

    I feel like I've learned nothing unless I'm looking directly at old art and can see I've actually gotten a little better!

    Are you far enough along as you would hope to be at this point in your life?

    No. I hate everything I draw and I'm incredibly disappointed in how hard it is to make progress and how long it takes for me to make even the smallest of improvements, especially when I see other people suddenly make huge leaps in skill. I also can't help but compare my age to people who got an art education straight out of high school and feel like I am "behind."

    What is the next step for you?

    Planning to study art full-time somewhere starting next spring, for at least a year, hopefully for 2. And hope that that and constant hard work will be enough for me to become a much better artist with much better prospects for the future.

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    id have to say when you havent had any professional training. the voices get to you really quickly because when you're at the beginning phase and you look at professional artists work [Those artist who have spent tremendous amount of effort and time into art] it is like a default state of mind that says YOU WILL NEVER BE THIS GOOD

    i know because ive gone through this i remember the times i used to think this way that i'll never be that good!! who am i kidding!!
    but because i want to become a good artist so bad that i still hung on to the hope that i might be able to!!

    i have loads of tuts and still search for more everyday

    Are You Happy Where You Are In Your Development As An Artist?
    no
    BUT im alot more satisfied than i used to be with my art, that satisfaction brings confidence in me that yea i can be as good as the artists i look up to

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    I was going to write some replies, but I see Maidith has already written everything I was going to say in post #3. :-)

    (And why do I get this impression she's a Tintin fan just like me, albeit perhaps an ever so slightly twisted one? :-)

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    What have you learned in your artistic path?

    You can't please everybody. Nobody's perfect, someone will always find something wrong with your design or illustration.

    Are you far enough along as you would hope to be at this point in your life?

    No, not yet.

    What is the next step for you?

    Improve. I can only hope for the best and rest is up to me to make it the BEST (my work)

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    Is anyone EVER as far along as they want to be? Seems to me the further you go, the further away the goal gets, so you just keep going and going and going until you die...

    Coincidentally, there was a post on Muddy Colors recently about exactly this: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012...tell-me_7.html

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    ^This.


    Also....
    I've learned that the more I learn, the more I learn that I don't know. Tongue twister.

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    I would say in my lifetime I will never be happy with the level I reach as an artist and that should not be your source of happiness, instead take your happens more towards the journey along with the ability to express yourself in new ways the more you develop your skill OR you can still be happy by satisfying the hunger to get better as an Artist. I think the best quote which sums it up.

    "All I know is that I know Nothing" - Socrates

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    What a miserable lot you all are. I'm happy with my progress; I just don't like what I did last week and the same will happen next week.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Who said anything about miserable? NOT having more learning to look forward to would be miserable, if you ask me... I have a feeling reaching the Ultimate Level of Artistic Development would be incredibly boring, because then, what do you do next?

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Who said anything about miserable? NOT having more learning to look forward to would be miserable, if you ask me... I have a feeling reaching the Ultimate Level of Artistic Development would be incredibly boring, because then, what do you do next?
    Anything you want artistically?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Anything you want artistically?
    Except... what would I want at that point? There'd be nowhere left to explore. It'd all be "been there, done that." It'd be like a permanent plateau, and plateaus are boring. Much more fun if there's always another challenge to tackle.

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    I was tempted to weigh in on the happy part I didn't really want to write a big paragraph. But to the 'happy' part. I'm happy even though I have loads to learn and am still very amateurish. But I'm getting to a point where I can place my ideas on paper and feel semi comfortable with it. I can see things wrong but every drawing feels a bit better than the previous group I did weeks ago. I've already passed my goals years ago I remember. I look at old drawings I wished I could create and think "lord.... that's what I was aiming for? I've already passed that easily". Then I set new goals and move forward.



    And since dpaint brings up a good question to ask yourself. What I want artistically is to finish a chapter of a comic and be happy with it. So it tells the story I want smoothly and doesn't look too shoddy. That's my next general goal. But to do that need to improve my drawings and refine a method to make pages better. I suppose my goal after 1 chapter would be 2 and make it better than the first. Then if I start to get the hang of it, it would be a volume.

    Last edited by JFierce; November 13th, 2012 at 06:27 PM.
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    I resent not starting years and years ago. It bothers me every day. But the biggest problem is that the more I apply that perspective, the more obvious an excuse it becomes. Yes, I started a good decade later than most, but the life experience and aesthetic objectivity i've cultured have culminated to a point where I am able to truly appreciate the unique perspective it brings to my art. I think I would be significantly more advanced technically if I had started 10 years ago, but what might I have missed? Intimate relationships, travel, cultural/sub-cultural exposure, life's many invaluable hard knocks.. I can see it all manifesting in and contributing to my work. While its hard to feel such a stirring passion about art this late in life, I am glad I have the opportunity to build from my library of experiences and find inspiration through them.

    I have learned SO much in the past year and a half, and I think its part of starting late. My ability to absorb information and think in abstract has evolved since I was a teenager, much of what I might have been exposed to in a structured artistic education might have been dismissed out of hand as an arrogant, reckless youth. I'm glad to have the faculties now to make use of more advanced techniques and theories, or at the very least, understand the fundamental ideas behind them.

    So, in a sense, I am thrilled by how far i've come, under these circumstances. Adversely, I still turn green looking at many artist's work. But I don't expect that to change. Like it has been said, that emotional response is a tool to be used, a powerful catalyst for personal progression. Maybe it is a less than dignified, un-benevolent motivation, but incredibly effective all the same.

    I guess the next step for me is clarifying what I want from my work. I am horrible at setting goals, so I am trying to give myself some boundaries. Enacting a structure in my art studies would be helpful. But overall, simply keeping my momentum is the biggest thing. Short and long-term goals would really help me here. It's really very simple when I don't over-analyze - When I draw I improve. If I committed to a firm resolution I have no doubt I could make some miraculous leaps. But a final goal, it feels inconceivable. I know what you mean about that nagging inner voice talking you down, telling you to be reasonable, telling you not to get your hopes up. A biological safety mechanism finely tuned by societal interaction. Learning to disregard it has been an ever-present challenge and I admire your direct approach. I suppose that is a long term goal for me.

    Babbling on and on... anyway, its good to delineate and identify facets in our personal journey, I think. Reaffirmation and simplification. Two very pivotal, personal necessities. Thank you for the topic, glad to hear a little bit about everyone's challenges and successes.

    Keep working those fingers

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    As said by Wretched

    I think as long as there's improvement or development i'll be fairly happy. Art in general is good medium in that regard, because its easy to see that you're doing better and better and coming up with more and more ideas.

    It's very easy to get down on yourself and be unhappy about where you "are", but put in persective with the artistic journey, I find it's a different story.

    cheer up mates,

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    I am not on an artistic path, I'm on a creative path. No matter the choice of occupation, it will always be a creative path. The tool just gives parameters to the ideas I happen to come up with.

    That said, satisfaction with my current level never usually comes into play because. I've still more to learn. The day I stop learning, is the day I become complacent and I know that day will never come. :-)

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    I love my best work and I'm proud of it.

    I don't do my best work often enough.

    That's it, right there.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    /\ with you there Stout

    I'm always happy whilst I'm thinking about an idea and then when I start all I feel is panic until I get warmed up and then I'm as happy as a pig in muck. Until I finish and look at it with a critical eye then I usually hate it, but also can see bits that I like and want to carry onto my next piece...start the process again etc.

    Last edited by Angel Intheuk; November 14th, 2012 at 10:53 AM.
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    its rather about the moments youre happy with your artistic skills and when youre down, rather than artist block.

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    Wow... Thank you for all the insanely awesome responses! I really got a sense of what artists go through from your openness. I could seriously go through each post and thank everyone! I think i will re-read this thread a lot because it let's me know what it's like for others. You guys have really made me feel better.

    Andrew Sonea - Thank you for your honest critique of my work. You gave me lots to think about, which is a good thing. I have always had a serious case of impatience with art. I don't think my doodles should be used to condemn the Sheridan program though... It's a flexible program and different for everyone. I wanted to focus on highly technical training getting deep into photoshop and Illustrator and 3d. I didn't spend afternoons in life drawing like my classmates. I've always been interested in entertainment design not fine art. If you want to know what i mean by this i've attached a video


    But before that i want to say thank you to everyone. This is a big deal for me to hear your thoughts.



    "Good art is just the basics done really well over and over again." - Jonathan Barker

    Watch out for the dream killers. They'll tell you to quit, they'll say you'll never make it, they'll say you're crazy, they'll say they have your best interests at heart... And if you listen to them they're right.

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    I have to say that I'm pretty happy about how things are going. As it stands now, people are buying my work and I consider last year's paintings to be inferior to this year's paintings (in my mind, that means that I'm growing). I still haven't committed myself to concept art type of work (which I would like to do someday), but that's because I haven't set in my mind that THAT is what I want to do.

    There's always room for improvement and things seem to be going well.

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    That's great Doug, i'm happy to hear that!

    Don't worry if you don't get into concept art... There is a whole art world outside of this narrow field.

    "Good art is just the basics done really well over and over again." - Jonathan Barker

    Watch out for the dream killers. They'll tell you to quit, they'll say you'll never make it, they'll say you're crazy, they'll say they have your best interests at heart... And if you listen to them they're right.

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