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I wanted to ask you a few things about your work process if its ok with you.
In a lot of posts there is the comment that you don't use reference when you are working.
The other comment is that subjects like anatomy, composition, and all that formal stuff, you learned on your own.
I just wanted you know how is it that you work so well figures without using reference. The expressions are so... expresive. The postures, they are so natural. Have you made previous studies of figures, I mean, in the past?
About your education, If I remember correctly, you once mentioned you never went to art class. Where did you learn things like composition? I mean, if you studied from books, like the books by Andrew Loomis, and also from drawing from the world.
Originally I was going to write an e-mail to you asking this, but I thought it could be a better idea to post it here on the forums.
thanks for everything.
all you read about me is true. I never had art classes or formal art education in general, I learned anatomy and composition on my own. The only anatomy book I ever owned was the one by Burne Hogarth. It fell into my hands when I was 12, and I devoured it for a year. Did drawings right out of it to learn basic proportions and exaggerated anatomy. Later on, my observance of life and the people around me gave me the oppurtunity to put a layer of realism above my figures.
I see it like this. I take nothing in life for granted. When I go out with friends, I want the night to be as amazing as possible, because I want to keep it as a good memory. Because if I remember something, I can use it again for my drawings. If I like the way a girl talks to me, I will remember how her lips move, or how she folds her hands together. If I like the way a bum is falling through the streets, I will watch him and remember.
Too many people close their eyes for what life has to offer. They take their environment as it comes, pay no attention to the body language of their friends and thus lose connection to their memories. They take up references when they draw, because they are too afraid to call upon their brain and memories.
I think perception, observation of the world around you doesn't only make you a better artist, but at the end of the day a better human being as well. Because if you learn to pay attention to you surroundings, to the people you hang out with, to your girl, or your dog, you learn to understand these beings better. You start developing empathy, because you read the body language of people, you realize how the lips of your best friend tremble, when he is nervous, you know that your girl is mad at you because she scratches her palms, etc.
There are many artists out there claiming that a formal education is essential for producing art. I say, that's nonsense.
You need to have an keen and open mind first, before you're able to produce anything artistic. You gotta have an appretiation for life, instead of denial.
I tend to see art teachers as car mechanics.
A car mechanic will be able to tell you everything about a Mercedes, he will explain how the motor functions, how the gas is flowing through the engine, how the breaks work. He'll be able to explain to you every single detail of the car, but he will never be able to explain, why any given person in this world drives exactly this car from Berlin to Paris and parks it close to the Louvre.
Same with Art. You can build up any system of rules you want but in the end Art is Magic.
And Magic is real.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Marko. That was really helpful
I can't begin to tell you how bad I needed to hear that. So much fucking thanks marko! And I couldn't have said your words any better!
art is magic!
Right on Marko.
I needed that.
The main thing is that you can't feel references (from photo)...if you're looking at a person who's sitting in front of you, you can see how (s)he's breathing, you see his/her artery pulsing or how (s)he moves, and i don't know how or why, but some artists are able to transmit these fine details, which are actually nothing visual, into their artwork...
The quintessence seems that the more senses and experiences are involved in the act of a drawing, the more the artwork looks vivid and authentic...
When i am visiting the zoo to draw animals, I like their smell when drawing them, this inspires me..am i pervert now?
Sorry Marco, if i kinda interfered to this thread, since it was addressed to you...
Man, how can I respond! I've already erased over and over again texts and texts! I just can't find the "right" words, I dont know, maybe there are no "right" words, this is crazy. I'm thinking about formalities, how I should address myself to you, how to thank you properly for taking the time to respond and all that, it seems so lifeless! so empty!
Ahh screw everything I'm gonna respond however the hell it comes out, like this:
thank you so much man : D
That is one cool answer you wrote! : D
I can't believe this, I'm actually smiling as I write this. This is the speed reply, because I just read what you wrote some moments ago. I haven't had much time to meditate on it. But I will. In critical times I have a tendency to recall key things. This is one of them. Sometimes life just spins huh? I just moved cities a month ago. Seems like everything is different here, or maybe I am different. I feel like I have lost track of who I am lately. Maybe I'm just homesick. What you wrote are the kind of things I keep in treasure and that remind me of what I am, of my condition.
My condition as a human and a living being, like all other humans and living beings. You have reminded me of the value of LIFE.
would it be worth anything, to say I feel humbled? in awe, in admiration, in respect, that I feel lucky for this?
I think the only thing that really matters for me saying, is just
you should stop thanking me. I didn't say anything you wouldn't be able to come up with on your own. I just might be that I'm more focused in what I say, because I think about it every day. But that's no reason to feel humbled. I'm no more of a man then any of you. I'm not the next step in evolution.
I just want you to know, that I'd feel much more comfortable, if some of you peeps would put down the pencil for a second and relax.
Creating art is like picking up a girl. The harder you try the less you will achive. If you just stop caring, the girls will come on their own.
I mean, where is your art supposed to come from, when you just sit in your studio and do studies all day? Go out, expierience life in all it's beauty, make good friends, people who got something to say, drink, smoke, laugh, enjoy yourselves and the company of others. Go to a rock-concert and smell the sweat and heat of a hundred people moshing, drive outta town and camp in the wilderness, try throwing rocks at airplanes when they cross above your heads. Relax, cool down, live the moment with all it's intensity and when you feel like you had enough, go back to the drawing board and create. Share what you are and what you've been through with the paper or canvas. But don't force it. Don't forget what life has to offer for you during the times when try to you sharpen your skills. Because in the end, you're just exploring your technique with all your studies, you're just forcing yourselves into routine. But knowing how to render a foreshortend arm, or a figure in perspective doesn't mean you're capable of expressing anything. Because art is what's on your mind and what you got to say, technique is just the groundwork to be able to express yourselves. See it like this, language, the tounge in your mouth gives you the abilty to speak, communicate, bring your thoughts across, but only if your mind is open, you can actaully say something of lasting value, somthing that will be quoted throughout the time. A great singer can have an angelic voice, but isn't it the great lyrics that we keep and store in our memories? But great lyrics only come from great minds or great situations in life. Inspiration that is drawn from the everyday situations we all go through every morning and every evening.
We can close our eyes and say, it's all boring, but it is not. It is what we make out of it. I don't care if I got nothing to do, lying on my bed, counting the flies on the ceiling or if I have an amazing night with friends barhopping throughout the city. I can enjoy both and draw my energy from both.
Just stop worrying, because it leads nowhere and blends out all the good things that happen to you. Accept that you cannot force anything in this universe, whether it's art, girls, friends, job offers, car accidents, etc...and finally feel free and open to create great things.
Cheers to you all
Last edited by Marko Djurdjevic; April 26th, 2005 at 05:12 PM.
Marko, I drew some stuff from my mind today and I felt a security I've never felt before when drawing without copying from a foto, and it was the first time I wasn't a neurotical nervous wreck about what I was doing. So thank you, again. The drawings, I wish I could scan them, gotta find a cibercafe with a scanner around here, they pretty much suck or turned out so-so, some things I like, and others I don't.
The important thing is it was cool not to be so stressed about it, about the result, I hardly draw anything on my own, because like you said, I'm one of those afraid people. Well, I'm glad I could take a few steps in confidence today. Thanks again!
EDIT: I had written this without hitting "refresh" and didn't see the replies above. Ok, no more from me for now. Gotta relax ; P
See you guys around.
Last edited by brokk; April 27th, 2005 at 11:11 AM.
It's all just state of mind. A person draws better from life or from imagination because they expect to. The methods have never mattered, asking someone how they do something may not help you at all. It's the attitude that makes the difference. I suck at drawing from life because part of me expects to suck at it. If I don't force art, I personally will not improve only because I don't expect to. Marko may be the opposite and it doesn't make a difference. You will succeed however you think you will. The only way to fail is to not expect success.
What about Perspective and Industrial Design?
I don't think I've seen any self taught Feng Zhu's....even he got training.
Most people that are self taught are usually Portrait or Character artists.
Thnx so much for sharing ur thoughts man!!!
After I saw and heard u and Andrew in Berlin
I was so impressed by ur guys not only the
way u draw! It help me alot and I improved so
much in the last few month. I'm not afraid
anymore to draw. I draw everywhere and
at anytime when I can.
U guys are the bomb and supa buddies!
Thx for everything!!!!
while we're all waxing emotional, so to speak, i feel obligated to comment that marko's words are what i can only describe as beautiful truth. marko has the meaning of life right there. it's nothing short of a wonderful personal philosophy. this man is a rockstar, plain and simple.
basically if you can't draw with a pencil draw with you're eyes, forgot who said that but it helps!
wow, very inspirational words. I think people who say they have problems getting inspired should read this AND do what marko says....do it.
on a side note, I feel that it would be quite hard to see everything. Its quite hard to go to the jungle and watch how a sloth crawls around in the trees . People complain about having trouble drawing hands and faces when they should be the two easiest things to draw. Need a hand, wellllll you got two, take your pick.
and thank you marko,
Originally Posted by NoSeRider
Uh, yeah. Have to agree with this. I took Scott Robertsons class at Art Center, it blew my fucking mind. If I had indeed sat around and really worked out the analysis and logistics of his method without him actually teaching me it would have taken me forever. Scotts methods were a shortcut and a completely different approach than anything I could have come up with, at least if I wanted to make such progess in such a short amount of time. I do indeed believe that art is certainly about absorbing the right things from life and pure drive, however it irks me a bit when people discount the value of education.
There is such a thing as "learning styles" as many on this board must know about. People process information differently and under different circumstances. Sure, progress and success is not dependant on education, in a formal sense, but it is dependant on education in a broad sense, whether that education is institutionalized or individualized is your personal preference. Personally, what formal education provides me is 1) a saturated environment of contemporaries who provide inspiration and competition. 2) streamlined training by people who have paved the way in the industry I am about to enter, 3) A transition crutch to help me get placement in that industry by facilites offered by my educational insitution. 4) a chance to further develope skills while I make connections in the area where the industry is prevailent.
The thing about perspective and industrial design is another good point. Especially when dealing with hardcore design and working with man made constructions, it REALLY helps to be taught such complex systems such as perspective, designing with form, rendering techniques, etc. Again, I revert to my experience with Scott and mention how the little tricks, tips, and nuances he taught us really made a huge difference, and had I had to discover them on my own, I wouldn't have progressed nearly as fast. Feng is another example, though you can ask him for his own experience, those methods that form the core of discipline were taught.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed, The world in arms is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."
...I have a sketchbook?
Education is a basic set of rules. It's taking what came before and organizing them into a structure that helps advance technical skills. Leonardo da Vinci spent his whole life stying anatomy. He created certain constants based on his observations that are used today as a short cut to a lifetime full of stying. The dude that invented the rules of perspective came up with them after observing life and architecture. If the rules did not exist I'm sure most of us would have figured them out, just at different points in our lives. But to create trully great art, Marko is right, that no ammount of studying will help you. You have to experience life and form your own conclusions. These will end up showing in your art.
I always hated the Hogarth books. The only one i own is the Folds one. His anatomy is too stiff for my taste. I took a class in anatomy at school and i learned all the muscles and the reasoning for what they do and what they are there for. But i did not get good at anatomy until i went ot a billion Figure Drawing classes. and i still make an effort to go.
As far as reference goes, the work i do using reference is stronger than not using it. But if you compare work doen from photographs and work done from life there are 2 diferent stories. I am perfectly capable of capturing a pose or a gesture using a photograph. I use my knowlge of foreshortening and anatomy to help me with the parts that are distorted by a photograph. But if i have a live model the work is a million times stronger because of the things that Marko mentioned. I can sit with a photo of a person and try to do a portrait, and it will turn out ok. But if the person is sitting in front of me I am able to capture the likeness a million times beter. and there will be life to the portrait that is lacking with a photograph.
I've been going to Figure Sketching sessions for the past couple of weeks and I started my own Sketch Group in NYC where we go out and observe the city life and culture. And i always end up struglling to do good work. but as soon as i let go, stop trying to control it, and let my subconcious take over, the work becomes better, more emotive, it takes a lot less time to do it and best of all, I enjoy myself.
So here's to Marko and the rest of you. all have valid points.
What Marko has just said is truly inspirational for alot of peeps here in CA but when it comes to learning, IMO we are all different. Some of us have trouble studying by our own and we feel that we really need someone to put us in the right direction. Based on what Marko just said I guess he is a "natural" when it comes to his talent in art. I'm just saying that, guys, don't torture yourselves, find someone who can guide you in your learning.
Marko, thanks a lot for posting this. This is something I really needed to hear. I think I finally realize what the difference is between those drawings I've done that satisfy me somewhat and the ones that just turn out bad or so-so. For me its all about the connection you create in your mind with your drawing. The times where I sit down and have no idea what to draw but try and force something out, nothing good happens and I have felt like my skills are regressing. Its because I've really had nothing in mind to draw and just sat around laying technique or formula down on the page hoping that it might get me somewhere. The better drawings have always started from some kind of mental image either imagined or from memory but its something that I can kind of see in my head. And each step of the way I've looked at whats on the paper already, and put some forethought into how the image will turn next. Maybe it sounds rediculous to take for granted that I actually need to think visually in my mind before I go laying down strokes all over the place.. but I think its not too hard to get caught up in the words and symbols we can use to create art.. instead of actually utilizing our visual minds and memories.
one time joaquin sorolla said something during an interview that went something like, "all the time i am painting, even when im sitting here talking to you".. Al Parker would sit down at cafes or wherever, and in the middle of talking he would pause and contemplate something that caught his eye, an arrangement of cups and silverware, anything.. Artists look at life through an artist's eye.. Its all observation.. to an extent, i think certain emotions like empathy are learned skills.. Im sure Marko wasnt just born thinking how he thinks..
killer thoughts guys.... marko even writes artistically... truly inspiring!
LOTR, Halo, Heroes Sketchcards from Topps
Good words, man.
While we're on the subject of Marko, I was just wondering, were you born in one of the Balkan countries or a second/third generation and just kept the last name?
I was born in germany, but both my parents are of yugoslav origin. They raised me bi-lingual, so I speak yugoslavian and german both as my mother's tounge.
Pozdrav iz Kanade, super je sto su te ucili nas jezik, danasnjih dana, dijeca ga prebrzo gube, i ona koja su rodjena dole...
Now if only I could get up to your and Lungbug's level... (edit: or halfway near)
I just thought I'd give my opinion to this topic. The drawings where I struggle to get the pose right and try over and over again are a lot stiffer than the ones where I let go and just draw and don't think about it. As I still go to normal school (non-art-school, but I'm doing the exam for the liceo artistico in zurich this monday and tuesday ) I don't really have anyone to tell me how to improve, but I try to get some drawing done anyway. So in brakes I lean back and just sketch people chatting and laughing and pushing each other around. A lot of people watch me -> I sometimes get nervous because I might mess up -> I mess up. So all I'm saying is that if one draws and enjoys the looseness of drawing, one usually draws better. (my opinion...^^)
Poke me and I'll puke!