Setting Goals & Progress (Self-Teaching)
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  1. #1
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    Question Setting Goals & Progress (Self-Teaching)

    I am a relative beginner (see my sketchbook for examples) and have no idea how to set goals from myself for drawing. If anything, it's something vague like 'draw better', 'improve figure drawing' or 'draw more', which aren't really goals at all. I can't do something like 'be able to draw at level x by the 20th' because there are no levels and I can't control improvement at will- I can only practice and draw draw draw. Also, it doesn't seem practical to 'improve body part x' since all parts are equally bad at my level (am I wrong?) Also, trying to set goals of time or quantity (x hours, x pages) seems like it should be a secondary goal at most — one could draw unchallenging stuff for hours, or scribble quickly until they fill their page quota.

    So when someone says to set artistic goals, what do they mean?

    How can I make a 'curriculum' or lesson plan for my drawing? There are no schools or workshops in my area, so I have to teach myself. How do I find what would be best for me?
    Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Last edited by LukeTores; May 28th, 2006 at 08:49 PM.
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  2. #2
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    you're using the scientific part of your brain too much here. drawing isn't quantum physics, it's fun! just fuckin draw and it'll all sort itself out.

    obviously you will reach a point where you might make a conscious decision to, say, improve the dynamics of your work, or your facial expressions etc. but by the sounds of it you are at a stage where you should just draw whatever appeals to you at that particular moment, till your hand falls off.

    if you're still feeling unsure, go outside and draw people in the park, draw buildings, trees and animals. then go home and draw stuff from your imagination, and then draw some more stuff while looking at photos for inspiration. occasionally take a break and look at your favorite artists' work.

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    hmm you could make it specific for yourself so its easier. Like I just did anatomy for a long time, but to break that down more i concentrated on the arm, and to break that down more i concentrated on the hand. So the topic is hands, so you draw hands from life, from pictures and from the mind. And then move onto the forearm and so on and so on. If youre technical like me, you have to break things down so you dont get overwhelmed. Just remember whatever subject it is, you should draw that subject from life (if possible), from reference, and from the mind. Once you can get it down pretty good from the mind, then you've gotten somewhere. You could give yourself a time limit also. Like oh 1 hour of drawing hands from reference and life and then making yourself do half an hour of hands from the mind etc. goodluck. oh and dont forget to draw other stuff outside of hands or whatnot, just to keep it fresh. have fun!

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    I actually put together a practice curriculum for myself a while back but ended up laying it asside for some life drawing and more painting time. I may pick it up again, perhaps scaled down a bit to be less intrusive to actual painting. I'll tell you what I had though, perhaps it'll be some help.

    I was planning on designating certain subjects to certain days to resemble something like an actual shool schedule. What I figured as the central building block in my plan was figure drawing and anatomy, because you can never have enough knowledge and practice with the figure in this business. Every other day would be figure drawing. Since I could never pay a model on a schedule like that, I decided to copy every image from my The Figure in Motion book instead, cover to cover. Since this was just on-the-side practice, I was going to use whatever books I already owned and that one was my favorite so far as the figure goes. I don't remember if I planned for an amount of time or number of images per day, but you'd probably do best laying asside a minimum amount of time each day so you make sure to do your work. But always shoot for extra credit. On my other days, I had another book of Animal Anatomy, a book of Weapons Through the 20th Century (which I would focus on the blow-up diagrams for mechanical understanding) and was going to borrow books on human anatomy (mine seem to have been lost in a move sometime in the past) and something for architectural study. This was kind of geared towards what I felt I wanted to exercise, but I don't think it's that out of balance for a general routine.

    Remember: The more you draw, the more confidence and vocabulary you'll develope, which translates into greater skill. The more you use reference when learning, the faster and more acurate that vocabulary will come to you. The books I mentioned were just, as I said, what I had about. You may want to give the Loomis books a shot. Devote a good portion of your study to anatomy. Another thing that will greatly improve your knowledge of anatomy is to give weight training a try, but that's something else entirely... And if you do give this a shot, don't only draw the pictures that you like. It's important that you start someplace and systematically do them all without predjudice, because it'll keep you thinking and keep you rounded.

    THEN... open up a thread on the WIP or critique forums and get some guidance from your fellow CAers, because this place is a wealth of advice, opinions, and experience that shouldn't be ignored. Think of it as study sessions with voluntary quizzes to keep you pointed the right direction. After that, it's all about your personal level of commitment.

    These are my own personal opinions (the disclaimer I like to add anytime I'm giving serious advice on a subject as broad as this)

    "Every little step considered one at a time is not terribly daunting" - Ethan Coen

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    I think it will depend on what your ultimate goal is and in what you ways you learn best.

    I personally find it easier to keep track of my progress by dividing things into finer sections. For example I like drawing comic styled stuff, and one of the challenging aspects I face is drawing hands. So I might set out my learning as follows:
    -I will clearly define what I want to learn, let's say: be able to confidently draw common hand gestures/positions.
    -I will practice sketching the hand everyday for maybe an hour, trying a new angle/gesture each day.
    -I will do this for two weeks. By then I should at least have sketched out and be familiar with the common hand gestures and angles.
    -At the end I will give myself a little exam to see whether I have truly achieved what I wanted. Maybe get some friends to randomly tell me what gesture/position to draw, and then get some other friends to rate how I did.
    -I have a look and see which gesture/position I'm weak or strong in, and I go back over certain gestures/positions again so I can "pass".

    What I outlined is a very basic form of learning (it's only a guideline and should not be taken literally) that I personally use and find quite useful (you may very well find it unsuitable).

    It would be much better if you could find someone who teaches or have taught art, or at least someone who have gone through art schools to talk about this. I haven't gone to art school at all and I'm just applying the learning process they teach us at uni to learning art.

    Still, I hope it helps.

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    i started giving myself a schedule reccently too.
    basically i would put in about 5 committed hours a day. 2-3 hours per day for anatomy and still life, and the remaining for whatever else i wanted to do, chinese painting/calligraphy, digital painting, architecture, etc.

    put in more hours per day if possible.

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    Thanks, everyone. I hadn't thought a schedule would be practical, but it seems that it is. I'm going to try using one.

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