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Whenever I see a list of studies I want to do, I get all pumped up and excited about checking things off the list until I actually put butt in chair, at which point ten minutes in I start fidgeting and it's willpower and self discipline time. Likewise, I get most excited about art when I'm not actually drawing. When I'm drawing I always have to make myself do it.
I know it's normal to get bored of the grind, but is that normal to happen all the time? I can't tell if I'm somehow deluding myself with some ideal of what practice is supposed to look like, especially as I know first hand that practice and studies are pretty dull, but this happens pretty much every time and is actually worse when it comes to working on personal pieces.
Ask yourself what is it before you start that makes you excited? Is it that you're going to impress people with all your hard work? Your goal should be to improve and that you are doing the studies just for yourself. It can be tough being brutally honest with yourself.
I would say that pretty much nobody likes practicing certain things. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and it can be very frustrating to tackle a topic that you know is necessary but not something that you get instinctively. Solution? http://www.noahbradley.com/blog/2011...start-working/
Work so hard that you forget about whatever else may be distracting you.
As far as your personal work, like BlackSpot said, be honest with yourself. Do you like doing art or do you like the idea of being an artist. It is a very big distinction and a lot of people fall into the trap of telling themselves that they like the first but in reality only like the second. Other than that, I know that some people struggle to get their ideas out on paper because of a lack of understanding of the fundamentals. This can be immensely frustrating but luckily there is a method for success. Practice haha.
Haha, I get this a lot as well. Not so much with drawing or painting, but with learning 3D. I've got tons of really good instructional material on Z-Brush and Modo sitting around on my hard drive and get all excited when I find a new great learning resource, but as soon as I start the actual learning process that emotional up is gone and every minute becomes a battle. I think its because what I really want is the benefits that 3D offers, not the actual modelling itself, and much less the very technical aspects. I guess it's not the worst kind of motivation to have, but it certainly doesn't compare to "loving the process" as I do with drawing and painting.
edit/ If you have this kind of feeling with drawing and painting in both studies and personal work, you should do somne soul-searching and find out why drawiung/painting isn't fun to you, as the other contributors have noted, especially if you're aiming to do this professionally. Nothing worse than working your ass off to get a job you then realize you never really wanted in the first place. The studying never stops, you know.
Last edited by Benedikt; August 11th, 2014 at 05:02 AM.
I feel the same way. There is always something I need to do before I sit down and draw and then some other thing to do and so on. I'm exhausted by the time I begin. Sometimes I get absorbed in what I'm doing, get n a zone like running -- moving, but mentally focused and relaxed as if sitting still.
It's like learning to play piano. It sounds awful to hit all the wrong notes and feels awkward and you have to think about every one of your ten fingers plus read the music....I never did learn an instrument. I think art is similar.
When I knew enough to draw a good number of things without reference I enjoyed drawing much more--it was like being able to speak in a native tongue instead of a foreign language.
It's like figure skating in the Olympics. When a skater misses a big jump and lands on the ice, its all over for that competition but she has to complete the program, can't keep taking it from the top to get a perfect program. Sometimes each new drawing, even a practice feels like taking it from the top and I'll keep starting over or try to perfect some tiny detail I think I can control.
As I get a little better, I can make mistakes and finish the drawing anyway. No one is going to do it for me. When I step back from what I am doing and see I have captured some feeling, it's rewarding and exciting. Only I can do what I do. Truthfully, my technique sucks. I used to be pretty good at contour drawing, but my focus has been more on painting and how to use color and I had to start all over to learn to draw,
If there is such a thing as natural talent I don't think I have much. I have been at this so long, art school and everything, I think I should stop wasting my time and find something I can be more productive at instead of stubbornly spinning my wheels to no avail. But the fact that I suck at this, maybe it doesn't mean much, you know, Einstein failed physics.
That's a myth by the way, Einstein was a difficult pupil but was far from failing academically.
You say you're tired of spinning your wheel, if you're aware that you're doing this, you need to find out what keeps you from breaking away from those habits. What stops you from pursueing the fundamentals, from drawing and painting from life?
Because, like Einstein, I was a difficult student, but far from failing academically.Besides, I really am brilliant and they are my wheels to spin. Dali was thrown out of the Surrealists, to which he responded "I am Dali, I am Surrealism." And then of course, there was Dada, whose members weren't allowed to draw, paint, write poetry or hold down a job.
That's okay, don't worry about it. Do you know how to start a blog on here???
"The whole point of practice is to do it until you can do it right." - dpaint
Umbravita. Discipline is a muscle. Google it up. And also disciple dissipates as the day progresses, so you have a considerably more during the mornings. Habit negates the need for you to pay the discipline fee. So make everything a habit and then you have more excess discipline to spend at your discretion. And finally one area of disciple will spill over and benefit another area of discipline. Essentially, Exercising will make you more disciplined in your painting , as well as having a clean room, waking up early and on time, etc, etc. Good luck.
P.S. emotions trump mechanical thinking. The strongest emotional drivers are food, sex, and a few more (I can't remember them at the moment : P) So let me ask you this, how much money do I have to pay you for you to seek these? It is priceless right? I hope you understand where I am coming from. You have to engage your emotions. I'd suggest you look into Napoleon hill's Think and Grow Rich book.
A couple possibilities:
-The ideas behind your pictures aren't interesting enough.
-You don't have a specific person/audience to "play" for.
"Beliefs are rules for action"
"Knowledge is proven in action."
"It's use is it's meaning."
Know it well. I think you get bored because you are already in your head have made the exercise and therefore it feels like to do it twice. solution may be that you try to be in the present and not the future. and not to daydream about how your exercise should be.
That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stranger
I've definitely been there before. And sometimes I get sort of the opposite - I get really excited about drawing or painting, but I'm too impatient to come up with a good idea so I end up scribbling out some piece of crap and then polishing it. That's usually when new art materials come in, or if I get fired up about some technique I want to try out or something. I guess those would be the times to draw something from life, that doesn't require as much brainpower before you can even start drawing.
Wow, so many helpful replies. Thank you to everyone who responded!
There was a stage where I stopped drawing because I believed this was the case -- that I was drawing because I wanted to make cool stuff or because I wanted to be "the artist", not because I actually liked drawing.Originally Posted by Black SpotAsk yourself what is it before you start that makes you excited? Is it that you're going to impress people with all your hard work? Your goal should be to improve and that you are doing the studies just for yourself. It can be tough being brutally honest with yourself.
I found I ended up returning to drawing anyway, even while trying to stay away from it. So I honestly don't know.
But it makes me think -- sometimes when I'm doing the studies I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I know that I'm learning from them, but I think maybe I'm just being too impatient and feeling like I'm not because the change is so incremental and I lack the patience to appreciate it. Come to think of it, even though I've drawn more than usual this year, aside from perspective -- when I sit down to draw something original I feel like I haven't improved at all.
But I'll keep at it. One brick at a time.
I like that. I think I may print it out and stick it on my monitor.
That may be the case for me. The times I've had the most fun drawing were always the times when I had a sudden jump in ability.I know that some people struggle to get their ideas out on paper because of a lack of understanding of the fundamentals. This can be immensely frustrating but luckily there is a method for success. Practice haha.
I've been working hard at the discipline all year -- been making art a daily habit. But you're right that my best drawing days are the days I draw first thing in the morning, I'll make more of an effort to use that to my advantage.Umbravita. Discipline is a muscle. Google it up. And also disciple dissipates as the day progresses, so you have a considerably more during the mornings. Habit negates the need for you to pay the discipline fee. So make everything a habit and then you have more excess discipline to spend at your discretion. And finally one area of disciple will spill over and benefit another area of discipline. Essentially, Exercising will make you more disciplined in your painting , as well as having a clean room, waking up early and on time, etc, etc. Good luck.
I hadn't thought of using exercise to help me with this, I'll make sure I get some more. Thank you.
I have some ideas that I love, but I wind up even more frustrated because when I try to draw them I feel like a kindergartner doing algebra.
Which is why it's even more important to keep practicing right now. I have to put in my work as much as anyone else.
I think you're right, I do tend to do this. Thank you.Know it well. I think you get bored because you are already in your head have made the exercise and therefore it feels like to do it twice. solution may be that you try to be in the present and not the future. and not to daydream about how your exercise should be.
For me the answer is Yes and No.
The idea of studying always gets me excited. However if its something I am really bad at and really struggle with I get demotivated fast and frustrated. After time however when I start to get good at it and like the drawings and can really grasp what and how I am learning (oh look I can turn this cube in my head and draw it really easily now .. wow I can turn this cube into THINGS look at this cool stuff that happens when I do this) it becomes fun and motivating again.
Its a barrier you break through and its always fun to break through and get in that zone. And the good thing about what we do (concept art) is there is always a new barrier to break and something new to to learn.
Drawing from your imagination is just as important as practicing fundamentals. Take a lot time, not just some time, to draw straight from your head and learn to accept the bad and the good DURING this time. After, that's when you look at what you need to work on/practice.
You say you get excited when you think about practicing, but personal work was mentioned like
it's just an after thought/aftermath of your studies. In all these online communities you see people posting study after study after study, and there is merit in that. However, if you think about the artists work you admire the most, is it their studies or personal works that capture your interest?
Yes fundamental studies are absolutely necessary, but so is developing your voice through an unhindered means of just simply drawing what's in your head. It's much more fun doing personal work and studies when you can put all of yourself into it and not just your science brain.
There's a balance to be learned, and when you find it that's when the good shit is made.
Just to expand on what Wardrum which was super important don't overlook it!:
Cubebrush AKA Marc Brunet said something in his videos that blew my mind a little. He said he almost never really just sat down and did a study. What he did was start a personal piece and when he hit a wall he would do a study to fix THAT problem. Then go back and incorporate it. Everything always centred around the thing he was creating.
Don't get me wrong I think there is a stage where you simply cant do that. Especially if you did not really draw as a kid and you need to learn some sort of method how to build certain things like people or trees or space or composition to some extent so that you actually have something to work with.
I guess I have a bit of this type of problems too. I'm a late starter in painting and now doing the LevelUp. Having full-time job and two small kids time for painting is limited and sometimes I feel like I'm wasting time when doing studies instead of producing paintings of my own. Of course I know studies makes my personal paintings better in the future.
I don't know if this helps at all, but I just put my head down and divide the studies into smaller tasks that I concentrate on. I try not to think that I have "10 more master studies to complete". Instead I try to concentrate on the task at hand. For example tonight I'll have the initial blocking of shapes done, tomorrow I'll focus on values etc.. Or even divide a single picture into even smaller tasks like background shapes, mid-ground shapes etc.
This is all in your head, of course, but it makes the process more manageable...
This is the most efficient way to grow I think, because you're really exercising your skills on many levels all at once. The thing to realize is you need to make a lot of shit work (or what we generally would say is shit work compared to polished studies)....
Cubebrush AKA Marc Brunet said something in his videos that blew my mind a little. He said he almost never really just sat down and did a study. What he did was start a personal piece and when he hit a wall he would do a study to fix THAT problem. Then go back and incorporate it. Everything always centred around the thing he was creating
Many of the people who do all those great studies and that's all you really see from them are actually avoiding progress because progress hard, it is messy and it almost never looks as great as those polished portrait photo studies. There's a huge disparity between their studies and their personal work and they corner themselves into a comfort zone where they think they can skimp on their personal work because they want to get really good at the fundamentals first.
But you really need to grow them side by side or else your going to have a hard time lining them up. I see this so much where people have amazing studies and then I get to their personal stuff and it's like they just totally lose themselves. I think this is where the drive and excitement is lost. You do all this vigorous studying with the ideal that somehow when you get good enough at studies your personal work will be just as well composed as your studies. But it doesn't work out so well unless you cultivate them together.
The human brain wants to be challenged, but it seems too easily fooled by unwarranted badges of merit from this "study yourself stupid band-wagon" online communities have developed.
If it makes you feel any better, I have read tonnes of interviews/ seen lots of videos of various leading artists all of whom say that certain points in their work process are incredibly frustrating/disheartening but that they still have to struggle through to get to their finished piece...(mostly people hate starting and finishing while the middle flows nicely)
If your entire experience is unpleasant on the other hand, well I'l leave you with a quote I read
"if I'm not enjoying painting I may as well go mow the lawn"
I doubt jimi hendrix hated playing the guitar...when things were going well...(but he did smash a couple in frustration when they weren't)
It hasn't been asked so: Exactly what are these studies that you think are interesting?
Another thing I'll add: in my experience there is no such thing as "discipline" in the sense of some type of self driven will power to force yourself to do things that you don't want to do. What's really going on is that there are situations where certain events are endured because of the power of some motivating force, which could be fear or the belief in the value of the goal or various other things.
Another thing is I'm not convinced that an idea has any value or power until it is put into some concrete form that expresses and proves that power, this could be the simplest scrawl but it is the beginning of a design. Until then your opinion of it can't be trusted.
"Beliefs are rules for action"
"Knowledge is proven in action."
"It's use is it's meaning."
Wow I'm the complete opposite! I keep postponing getting started but when I do, I'm laser-focused! Try jotting down a honest schedule? One that you know you can stick with.
I find that rather than making strict lists of studies, drawing what I want to draw most of the time helps me avoid that feeling of obligation and guilt.
You draw because you want to draw, not because you want to get better. I think if you have the right mindset, you can enjoy yourself and improve all at once.
I'm only out of school a year, so perhaps the fact that all my learning has been about studying and memorising, and practice, practice, practice all with an aim towards reaching a certain threshold of knowledge, that art and drawing has just been a pleasure to indulge in, and I take particular pleasure in the fact that it is a pleasure, not a chore.
I think that perhaps the problem is that you're listing down things you feel need to be done, and while you might be excited about them, you have a little bit of a mental block because it's something you feel you have to do, as opposed to something you can relax into for enjoyment.
Just my thoughts on the subject.
Please look at my Sketchbook
I think I may be a freak of nature here then but I spend the majority of my spare time practicing because I find it genuinely fun. When i started learning the right way to draw and more the the point the right way to learn i fell in love with the study of art. I love nothing more then spending my time practicing and getting better. I find myself often( to the detriment of my social life ) being able to talk for hours about practical art skills and how to draw.