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  1. #1
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    Learning effectively.

    This might seem like an odd or stupid question, not sure. Anyway, I'm trying to learn to draw and paint, both traditionally and digitally. I've never been to any art schools. I'm wondering about how to learn correctly. A lot of people say just draw non-stop and you'll get better, but I always wonder: "What if you are just drawing the same mistakes over and over again?"

    I guess what I'm trying to ask is: as someone who is new to drawing and painting, what would be considered a correct way to learn effectively?

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    Draw from life.
    Really draw what you're seeing, not what you think you're seeing.
    Master copies of old masters (i.e. Rembrandt, etc.).
    Get this http://www.amazon.com/Human-Anatomy-.../dp/0195052064

    Rinse, repeat.

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    Get "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth" by Loomis and "Perspective Made Easy" by Norling. Read and learn. Do the exercises.

    Don't bother with master copies, they are mostly useful if you have access to the original - sometimes you can see students in the museums doing exactly that. But don't copy photos.

    And above all, don't just go with the flow. Think of what you are doing and WHY you are doing it. No mark you make on paper should be made for no reason or from habit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Don't bother with master copies, they are mostly useful if you have access to the original - sometimes you can see students in the museums doing exactly that. But don't copy photos.
    I'm sorry, that's wrong.
    There is nothing bad with copying photos as long as you're observing and not tracing. There is a ton to be learned from observation in general, be it from life or stills.
    And why would not doing master copies be useful unless you have access to the original? Man, must be hard for every student to be able to do a master copy of any piece if that were the case.

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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayden_Zammit View Post
    I guess what I'm trying to ask is: as someone who is new to drawing and painting, what would be considered a correct way to learn effectively?
    To develop judgement about art so that you can debug your own drawings. If your goal is to follow some learning process that eventually results in zero mistakes, it's not going to happen. Nor can someone follow you around for the next 20 years going "You did this wrong. You did that wrong." And if they did, how would you know that *they* weren't wrong? So the only way to learn is by iteration -- you make mistakes, you learn to identify them, and then you look for ways to fix them.

    The correct way to learn effectively is to think all the fucking time and examine what you're doing so that you can eventually evolve your route to wherever you are going. Nothing else is really going to do it. You can't do research by rote.

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    What vineris said. Think all the time, analyse your work and your process and identify your shortcomings. Then think some more to figure out how to get better at those things.
    At the same time, looking at or reading about good art/design and identifying the things that make it good will refine your "taste" and judgement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayden_Zammit View Post
    Anyway, I'm trying to learn to draw and paint, both traditionally and digitally.

    I guess what I'm trying to ask is: as someone who is new to drawing and painting, what would be considered a correct way to learn effectively?
    Just so you know...that's a massive undertaking in that one sentence...like 5+ years if you're hardcore about it and are fortunate enough to have excellent, full time instruction. And at that point you'd just be getting started.

    On your real question about "learning effectively"...IDK...people seem to learn in different ways through different processes. What I can tell you is pretty much all visual art is based on a relatively small handful of fundamental principles - so those are a good place to get started. My best advice is to try to have some idea of what interests you art-wise and why you want to be an artist. I can't really imagine any effective progress without knowing that from the start.

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    The correct way to learn effectively is to think all the fucking time and examine what you're doing so that you can eventually evolve your route to wherever you are going. Nothing else is really going to do it. You can't do research by rote.
    Thanks. Makes sense.


    Just so you know...that's a massive undertaking in that one sentence...like 5+ years if you're hardcore about it and are fortunate enough to have excellent, full time instruction. And at that point you'd just be getting started.
    That's a pretty scary thought. I don't have any instruction at all, apart from a teacher 2 hours a week for oil painting.

    My best advice is to try to have some idea of what interests you art-wise and why you want to be an artist. I can't really imagine any effective progress without knowing that from the start.
    Honestly, I probably need to sit down and think about that. I have the problem I've wanting to be able to draw everything. Landscapes, people, creatures, etc. Might be good to find a focus.

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    I did not realize how complicated people make learning. I learned to draw from my interest in comics, "Hey, that drawing is cool, let me try and copy it." All paths started from there. Any way you get started helps you...start. Did I eventually learn the right way, yes.

    "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."
    -John Huston, Director
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    I have been same wrong mindset that there is some formula to creating a good work of art. But eventually I had to empty my cup and let go all the ideas and concepts I had in mind.

    This correct or wrong way of learning is very subjective, what works for me may not work for you. But the important lesson to learn is to practice but practice correctly, otherwise you will be perfectly capable of doing something wrong. So repetition must be avoided and should be substituted by iteration. Do one exercise, identify mistakes and improve in next drawing.

    And please don't search for best books or best methods on google. There is a lot of misguidance on the subject. For example take the book ''drawing on right side of brain '', it's in reality a very misleading book. Its based on some kind of medical paper which never saw light of the day. We are still not capable of fully understanding how the brain works, let it be book from 80s.

    Best resources I found are

    Andrew Loomis - successful drawing -- followed by Scott Robertson basics of drawing video.

    Learn colour theory, Study light and form.

    Basically build your art career on solid foundations of basics. If your foundations are weak, it will show in finished work no matter how polished.

    Digital has basis in traditional. Not replacement so remember the more good your are traditionally, the more you'll do good in digital.

    Last edited by NajamQ; March 6th, 2013 at 04:05 PM.
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    I'd add my own few cents... But to the question, not the answers

    I gotta say, Im feeling what the OP feels. Long ago, I wanted to learn to play the guitar, and was all hooray optimistic about it, trying to learn as it went, no plan, no teacher, no nothing. And you know what? I made crappy progress, i got a lot of bad tehcnical habits, and all in all I got very demotivated after half a year or so.

    I was making SOME progress, but that wasnt fast enough. Its hard to take pride in playing, say, the "Eye of the tiger" intro, if youre actually dreaming of playing like Kirk Hammet in his solos... Same applies for graphic art Im trying to learn now. The problem with the internet is that it allows us to compareourselves with the best of the best. And that actually means, that for the next 10 years (probably more!) Im going to get out of such comparisons uterrly beaten and smitten to the ground. Can you imagine even a year of constantly looking up and seeing, that youre not even half way there? That while climbing the mountain you constantly trip and fall lower?

    I can see why Hayden_Zammit is looking for advice on a path he should take, a course, an assignment list and instruction on proper ways to learn. How to draw a study PROPERLY? Matt had a viedo that touches the tip of the iceberg on the topic: http://ctrlpaint.com/videos/what-is-a-study-anyway

    Im actually looking for exactly the same advice. What do I need to work on now? HOW do i work on it to get most effect for my effort? How to maximise the bang for buck I get out of it? I dont want to train for months to acquire a skill I could have acquired training PROPERLY for two weeks!

    Last edited by K.L.; March 6th, 2013 at 07:45 PM.
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  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.L. View Post
    I'd add my own few cents... But to the question, not the answers

    I gotta say, Im feeling what the OP feels. Long ago, I wanted to learn to play the guitar, and was all hooray optimistic about it, trying to learn as it went, no plan, no teacher, no nothing. And you know what? I made crappy progress, i got a lot of bad tehcnical habits, and all in all I got very demotivated after half a year or so.

    I was making SOME progress, but that wasnt fast enough. Its hard to take pride in playing, say, the "Eye of the tiger" intro, if youre actually dreaming of playing like Kirk Hammet in his solos... Same applies for graphic art Im trying to learn now. The problem with the internet is that it allows us to compareourselves with the best of the best. And that actually means, that for the next 10 years (probably more!) Im going to get out of such comparisons uterrly beaten and smitten to the ground. Can you imagine even a year of constantly looking up and seeing, that youre not even half way there? That while climbing the mountain you constantly trip and fall lower?

    I can see why Hayden_Zammit is looking for advice on a path he should take, a course, an assignment list and instruction on proper ways to learn. How to draw a study PROPERLY? Matt had a viedo that touches the tip of the iceberg on the topic: http://ctrlpaint.com/videos/what-is-a-study-anyway

    Im actually looking for exactly the same advice. What do I need to work on now? HOW do i work on it to get most effect for my effort? How to maximise the bang for buck I get out of it? I dont want to train for months to acquire a skill I could have acquired training PROPERLY for two weeks!

    I fully understand what you are asking. Internet is great for learning but overabundance usually makes you lathorgic. For example you pick a book or tutorial and without fully understanding it you again search for more. Basically more than half of your time is spent on collecting the learning material than actually making any use of it.

    About comparing yourself to the best. I can assure you once you have learned the foundations, you'll be surprised how simple the process was. Remember what you see is artist's best work. What you don't see is the process behind it, the frustrations he had once he was learning. One may be best illustrator around but he has gone through all the practice and frustrations, who knows.

    So don't compare yourself with the best but instead use them for inspiration. Don't re-invent the wheel but instead Stand on shoulders of giants and see further.

    For what to work on, I say give yourself a personal project with some goal in mind and work your way towards it to avoid scattered learning.

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    And watch videos by Feng Zhu on youtube. Listen to him while he is working and you'll see how clear your mind becomes, really he has answered almost all questions you both asked.

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