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  1. #1
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    What to do when you hit that improvement wall

    So, As of the last year or so I can't help but feel that I have hit an improvement wall. Meaning that I’m trailing behind all my awesome co-workers. I can't seem to be able to catch up and when I ask people for critiques on my work they look at it and say it looks fine, but when I look at some one else's work next to mine, mine is clearly lower in the scale. Anyone gone through this? And any suggestions. I mean I know the more you do it the better you get.


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  3. #2
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    figure out what it is that is lacking when you see your work next to somebody elses. Look for at least one important thing and keep that thing in the front of your thinking on the next piece. Do you only half-plan your comps? do you rush your details? are your colors too bland? Is there enough movement? focus on an issue and work at it. When you get it right, you're sure to see the next thing that needs refining. Repeat forever
    "Every little step considered one at a time is not terribly daunting" - Ethan Coen

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  4. #3
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    Post some work here on CA. We'll tell you what you're doing wrong.

  5. #4
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    Mm, first thing to do when you hit that wall is join the club! We have cool t-shirts and a secret handshake!

    Then, you need to mix it up - you need to expand and experiment. Do things you've never done before with your art and you will see that it will improve things you have always done with your art. I can't give you any specific examples of things to do as I don't know you. But to use me as an example, I usually do some things directly from ref to break out - or buildings... I'm doing buildings now. @_@

  6. #5
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    It's never about being as good or better as your peers but to find a healthy relationship to your own art. I can tell that you're a bit afriad to experiment outside the box, you usually settle with drawing the things you know how to draw -- because you want to be as good as your artist peers.

    try to experiment, study a subject you've never paid much attention to such as animal anatomy of a specific animal. Do color studies, do form studies.. Do an intense week of alot of creative sketching and painting then take a week off forcing yourself to do absolutely nothing creative.

    Copy people... provoke people to critique you.

  7. #6
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    Identify your weak spots and then do daily exercises where you tackle those issues.
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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  8. #7
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    Read a book! I'm reading "Alla Prima" by Richard Schmidt and It's greatly improved my work after just the first chapter. I also recomend "Oil Painting Secrets from a Master" (recomended to me by Jon Foster.) These are for oil painting of course but there are books on everything.
    Website - www.RobReyArt.com

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  9. #8
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    Bob, where did you find the "alla prima" book? I can only find it for over $100.

  10. #9
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    Keep pounding on it till it falls down.

    Or do something else that's not related to the cause of your frustration.
    DON'T CLICK THIS

  11. #10
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    for me, these things have a rhythm...i can work and study steadily for a quite a while without seeing any improvement at all. weeks may pass without reaching any new level. and then BAM, suddenly i'm able to pull off some ( for me) next level shit!

    i used to get depressed about the "dull" periods, but i came to realize that as long as i just kept practising and working, i WOULD improve...in whatever tempo these things find fit to happen in!

    hang in there
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  12. #11
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    What improvement wall?

  13. #12
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    I think a lot of times I embrace that feeling. I feel that improvement isnt only a physical skill but a lot of times mental.

    So when you feel that you have hit a wall, a lot of times it means that you can see what is wrong with your work better than you could before. Which means that your mind has developed and understands more about form, anatomy or whatever it is that is disatisfying to you in your work. With more physical practice then what you know can translate onto paper.
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  14. #13
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    Trying something new is never a bad idea. If you've been drawing burly men in armor and dragons for one year and you feel like you're not improving then you should try drawing something else completely, perhaps trying out a different medium. Try a different approach to your work. If you're making lines first then shade in the values later you could try flipping it around and blocking out masses and defining planes with shading first, lines later. Try drawing twice as big as you usually do. Read up on theory.. Improvement is not just motor skills but also theoretic knowledge.

    Draw from life.

    Not saying that you have been drawing burly men in armor tho, just making a point.

  15. #14
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    I wouldn´t start to compare too much with others. Improvement is pretty hard to measure. First of all I would check if there really is an improvement wall. Do this by comparing your OWN 9 or 12 months old stuff with your OWN latest work. I think this is a better comparison than comparing your art with the art of others. And even if you`ll find that there is no improvement in your FINAL pieces of art / design, it`s possible that you improved regarding your process. I mean perhaps you reach the same quality in a shorter amount of time or with less effort etc.. But this is really hard to "measure". And if you should really find out, that you didn´t improve at all (what surely won`t be the case, cause working on a regular basis means always collecting experience in whatever direction) keep on trying and working. Find out what/where is your weakest skill/phase. Then engage just this single problem from several point of views (changing the (traditional) media, read , discuss, try and "fight" your personal lack). Then carry the essence of your new experiences back to the "old" process and integrate them (this often will happen automatically).
    I don`t know how experienced you are, but if you start to learn something in a field you are new to the first results there - compared to the "zero-knowledge"-starting point - are tremendous. And nobody keeps the same gain of experience one had at the very beginning.
    Perhaps for the very first time you just reached the point every true artist reaches someday and from there will be accompanied for the rest of his life: The point where you think that there is no "real" improvement possible any more. But it´s that thought that will push you to the higher level. The only thing you have to do to reach this next level is not to give up.

    Keep going and you`ll be fine.

  16. #15
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    John's right btw...

    Personally I can relate to the "Improvement Wall" (I've felt I've hit one), but according to those that comment on my thread I am showing improvement - even though I can't visibly see it personally. It is very easy to be closely associated with how close we, as artists, get to even our smallest sketches.
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  17. #16
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    Thanks for all the awesome advice guys. I really wish i could just post some of my work but its all under NDAs . Regardless you guys have all brought up very cool suggestions., I thank you all. I will try the stuff that you guys have suggested. Again thank you all for your time.

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