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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    How to build a consistent drawing habit/How to Improve

    This winter break I decided that I would strive to build a consistent drawing habit. Each time I open Photoshop to draw, I find myself quitting after 1 or 2 hours (sometimes less), without seeing much improvement. Leading me to take long breaks that stretch for weeks and sometimes months Along with this I also struggle with these roadblocks, making practicing a lot harder to come back to:

    • Tutorials/Books - - I feel like not much of what I'm reading and watching is really "sticking" with me. It's as if the information goes in one ear, and out the other, each time I wish to practice something I learned from the video on my own, I find myself always having to come back to the video for more guidance no matter how many times I've already watched it. This leads to the practice becoming more tedious and boring than it has to be in my opinion.
    • Sometimes when I'm doing copy drawings and trying to analyze something like the basic construction of the human figure, it doesn't matter how many hours of sleep I get, I still get sleepy and nod off. If I could find a way to stay awake it would make the practice much easier, maybe even more enjoyable to come back to. As circumstances go at the moment, one of the main reasons why I feel resistance returning to practice is for this very reason.
    • A lack of improvement. This one stings the most. Each time I draw something from my own imagination or a reinterpretation of something that I'm looking at, it comes out so painfully below average looking, or I get stuck and end up never finishing it.

    What's most frustrating about this is that I've been drawing seriously since I was 15, and here I am at 19 still struggling with basic fundamentals like anatomy and proportion while most of my peers are lightyears ahead it feels like. I'm in my second year of college, majoring in Visual Communications to become an animator, a very competitive major and I need a great work ethic to catch up with my peers. Yet, although I've been trying to cultivate a work ethic since I was 15, I still wind up shirking my responsibilities and wind up with a pitiful body of work. At this point, I feel like I have accrued so much art knowledge that I could give advice as if I know what I am talking about, but I don't have any of the skills to back it up. I look like a complete beginner. I want to finally be able to defeat these problems, and I feel like I could use some advice as to how to overcome them.

    Does anyone know how I can practice effectively so that I am alert and internalizing what it is I'm watching/learning? As well as advice to force myself to keep going when it feels like I'm going no where?

    Here is some art I finished recently to show my current skill level:
    Attachment 2308791

    Attachment 2308792

    Attachment 2308793

    (there was more but for some reason they won't upload so here's a google drive of the others I wanted to upload:

    What's really sad is that the professors I've had so far have told me that I show a lot of potential, all I have to do is work harder. But they don't know it took me basically 5 years to get here. Albeit my intermittent work ethic. What could I do to be a better artist and a harder worker?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Thanked 129 Times in 92 Posts
    You are only 19! It's hard enough to figure out your most optimal study methods without constantly judging yourself. I understand you're in a stressful situation that demands better output, but try to keep level-headed and don't judge your skills arbitrarily. Improvement is nebulous and relative. You internalize a lot during mistakes and frustrations. It may take months before you see the fruit of hard work.

    I'd like to suggest you to reinvent your practice methods and try to find out what motivates you more than your current routines, but learning a craft of any kind is gritty and a lot of practice involves doing exactly what you don't like doing. Working at what you're bad at is a sure-shot way to keep yourself on the alert and proactive. The thing that often escapes you as a teenager (I remember this myself) is that it doesn't have to -feel- right, you just have to do it. Put in the hours. Once you lose the expectations associated with the stress of needing immediate gratification, it gets easier.

    The only thing thing I can tell from your practice pieces is that there's not enough of them. You underestimate how much of this stuff people have to do, and how many hours it takes. Entropy and laziness is something we all have to fight against and it usually involves giving up something more comfortable and leisurely. When you practice, don't try to reinvent the wheel on your own. Work from life and references as much as you can, develop a style later.

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  5. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
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  7. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Thanked 96 Times in 70 Posts
    One hour a day isn't a bad time investment. It's definitely better than nothing at all. Just strive to do something every day. It doesn't have to be grand, or revolutionary to your growth. You'll only grow the habit by doing it habitually. If you're looking for active prompts, try the Art Community activities. DSG and COW are the two I'm trying to get into.
    Last edited by MattyT; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:48 PM.

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  9. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Thanked 7 Times in 6 Posts
    Buy an easel and draw while you’re standing.
    there is noooooo way I’d be able to get home past midnight from work and then sit down and draw.
    Ocassionally I have been known to have maybe one or even two adult refreshments after work.
    If I sat down to draw, forget about it.
    As it stands, when I get home and change clothes and get ready for my drawing session, I start around 12:30 or 1a.m., and most nights when I go to look at the time, thinking it’s 2:30 or 3:00, BOOM! It’s 5 or even 6 in the morning.
    Granted, much of the time is me fighting against my non compliant body that insists on rocking and wavering as I try to measure my subject that I’m drawing. But even when I’m stone cold I’m still trying to measure correctly.

    All of this is after a day spent 100% on my feet at work walking around briskly, picking up and moving things for 6 to 7 hours with no break.

    Why am I getting into such detail?
    Because at more than twice your age I’m drawing consistently every day. I’m a total noob, been at it for about 6 months or so.
    I have been drawing consistently everyday like described above about 2 of those months.
    First 4 months were me collecting books, halfway reading them, and trying to find a way, a shortcut, to skip the work and magically get good without the real effort.
    To be fair, much of the stuff I read, the excercises and such, made no sense to me at first.... until I started to try drawing from life.
    Now for me it’s not about grinding and exercises and stuff like that. Now it’s “Well, I tried drawing those objects and they look like ass...the perspective is off, the values are a freak show, that ellipse is way tooo big.

    And now I’m finding myself identifying the areas I NEED to learn about/work on.
    And it has built in an excitement to my time at my easel.
    Cant wait to get off work.
    Cant wait for my weekend.
    I just have to get to my easel and figure this stuff out.
    I gotta go, I have a plastic skull waiting in my shadow box just taunting me, grinning, watching me, judging me.

    So draw from life, and do it standing up.
    If you don’t have an easel, tape your paper to a door.

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  11. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    United States, TX
    Thanked 403 Times in 309 Posts
    I like the idea of standing to draw. It seems intuitive and would allow grater range of motion for your arm. I'm going to incorporate that. It'll get me away from my computer too. The computer is the enemy of productivity.

    I started drawing when I was 19. I'll be 30 this month. I haven't gotten very far either. Why? Because video games. It's so much easier to drift away into an already crafted fantasy world after a long day at work than to work more. The last few months I've been practicing daily and I've seen real improvement, but still, I don't feel like I'm where I should be, but worrying is also an enemy. Worry kills creativity and inspiration. So instead of worrying about how much I suck, I just try to accept that life's a bitch, and drawing is hard and I'm my own worst enemy. I also encourage exploration of chemically altered states after you hit 25. Talk about having fresh eyes!

    We could be struck by lightning at any moment. What kind of universe is that?

  12. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Thanked 96 Times in 70 Posts
    Wew, David is three years older than I am.

    Honestly? I've had a lot of issues with my work ethic for the same reasons. I've been doing a lot of things to help improve that. Losing a lot of weight, cold showers, keeping a daily schedule, etc. I also allocated the time I would end up regretting wasted on just drawing. Again, building habits is the key.

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