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Thread: Choosing the right master to study

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    Choosing the right master to study

    I've been studying art only for a short while (since August) and I have definitely been bitten. I spend the greater portion of my available time practicing.
    I've done a few master copies of Michaelangelo studies and have found them very useful in learning about line quality, form construction, hatching and value.

    I'm interested in learning more about everything really, but with a focus on the foundations for my skill level. What I'm looking for is recommendations of what artists/which pieces would be most valuable to copy in order to learn most about the fundamentals. I know this might be a matter of taste, but I'm curious to hear your suggestions nonetheless. What do I study to learn most about line, value, color, painting technique(which I would apply in photoshop ) etc?
    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by max xiantu; November 19th, 2006 at 12:01 AM.
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    Forget this silly question, I suppose.
    I picked up The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich and it seems to answer it.
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    So what's the answer? I've never done a master study myself, seems like it would require a teacher to guide me through it.
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    Well, since I can't seem to find a good teacher ... I'm forced to make certain assumptions. Looking through The Story of Art, Gombrich appears to nail down very well done pieces in both terms of composition and technique. I figure if I use the book as a guide of which pieces to study/copy/emulate and post them up in my SB, I'll invariably learn something.
    The prime difficulty in learning art thus far(for me) is that it seems to be a mystery on how to best/most efficiently learn it. Every book seems to say something different, when they say anything at all. I usually recieve the answer "Draw, draw, draw", but obviously that is not very specific, and without specificity of practice, you can practice incorrectly and greatly delay your own progress. So I rely on the occasional crits I get in my sketchbook here, and a variety of books and dvds.
    Where I found in my study of music, very many set processes that essentially guarantee progress and very many capable teachers; it seems that it is highly lacking in art (which oddly, is more tangible than music) and teaching/learning appears to rely on much guesswork. ie." Well, I've done so many things, and this appeared to work for me." The other Catch-22 is, where there are good teachers and learning programs, an amateur such as myself is not good enough/skilled enough to attend there to learn. It's more confusing than frustrating, but fortunately the passion for art pushes one through these series of blunders and obstacles.
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    I guess music is more based in recipes than art. Since you usually start by playing songs that already exist, the equivalent in art would be to say that you can draw when you can copy a Bouguereau perfectly.

    Is there a perfect way to teach music composition? I say, pick masters you admire rather than ones that are dictated to you.
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    Yup, I think Qitsune's got it right. Pick artists whom you want to emulate.

    Your observations about the differences in the ways in which music and art are taught are interesting. I'm going to have to think about that. . .
    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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    I dabbled in music for a long while, and though I never practiced hard enough to progress, the musicians around me were all into improvisation and greatly admired those who could pull it off. To me, learning how to do this in a controlled manner is the closest comparison I can make to the goals of a "well-rounded" artist. It's the same saying for both, you gotta learn the rules before you can break them. There are no wrong notes if the listener likes what they're hearing, and likewise for art

    for example, I've been enjoying this clip lately http://youtube.com/watch?v=kUzFbT5JT1M

    To create an equivalent skill in art, well, just remember that there will never be a handbook that can be written that tells you how to do everything in art, you need to find tools that will make your emotions and thoughts clearer in this medium.
    Last edited by darkwolfb87; November 20th, 2006 at 09:17 PM.
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    I agree with a lot of what you're saying, especially "Every book seems to say something different, when they say anything at all." Yes, I can't stand "draw, draw, draw", I mock it every chance I get. Musicians seem to have been more tolerant of different ways of creating music: tonal, atonal, and the different scale constructions of different cultures, as compared to the classical and modern art dichotomy, but I really don't know enough to say much about anything on that. I've found that good books on music are just as hard to come by as good ones for visual art.
    One of the problems with art instruction is the mystique it has and the vague words used to describe various ideas and techniques. It should be possible to structure a practical method of drawing based on visual perception, without reference to "energy" and such, that's my dream. Just as underlying forms are used over and over again in music the same must exist in visual art, it must be that nonone has compiled them yet.

    "I guess music is more based in recipes than art"
    I think both have the same amount of recipe. In visual art we have the basic forms, in music the equivalent could be the major and minor scale. Both the classical tradition of visual art and the harmonic series derived western music tradition are just one possible institution out of many.
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    Well I can say the best art experience I've had was when I travelled through Europe. I went to the major museums and spent days just walking through and finding my favorite artworks. Each one I saw that I really liked, I made a study of in oil pastels - for most museums in Europe, they don't mind. I have a long list of them posted on my myspace, which you can view here:

    http://www.myspace.com/128809158

    what I went for was to only choose art that I really really liked, that moved me, and then try to capture what it was that I liked into the study. I think that's the best way to really learn from other artists. You can find good art looking through books, but you should visit lots of museums too. For books, try the biggest local library and go to their art section. Pour through the books and find something that grabs you. It's also a great way to figure out who your favorite artists are and why, and to get a greater sense for movements and progression of art history.
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    Gombrich is a good basic art history book. It will give you the framework and context that will allow you to go off in detail on the paths that interest you.

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    But it doesn't show enough actual art. You need to go through a very large museum and just soak it up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by max xiantu
    Well, since I can't seem to find a good teacher ... I'm forced to make certain assumptions. Looking through The Story of Art, Gombrich appears to nail down very well done pieces in both terms of composition and technique. I figure if I use the book as a guide of which pieces to study/copy/emulate and post them up in my SB, I'll invariably learn something.
    The prime difficulty in learning art thus far(for me) is that it seems to be a mystery on how to best/most efficiently learn it. Every book seems to say something different, when they say anything at all. I usually recieve the answer "Draw, draw, draw", but obviously that is not very specific, and without specificity of practice, you can practice incorrectly and greatly delay your own progress. So I rely on the occasional crits I get in my sketchbook here, and a variety of books and dvds.
    Where I found in my study of music, very many set processes that essentially guarantee progress and very many capable teachers; it seems that it is highly lacking in art (which oddly, is more tangible than music) and teaching/learning appears to rely on much guesswork. ie." Well, I've done so many things, and this appeared to work for me." The other Catch-22 is, where there are good teachers and learning programs, an amateur such as myself is not good enough/skilled enough to attend there to learn. It's more confusing than frustrating, but fortunately the passion for art pushes one through these series of blunders and obstacles.
    Sorry couldn't have left this unsaid : There is NO easy way to learn drawing, it's ALL about practice, there is no way around it.
    Just draw sketches by people whose artwork you like & would like to get a similar style to.
    I've found the styles I like most and they're the only ones I'm practicing for.

    Anyways, the bottom line is : you do not need teachers, books, tutorials or whatsoever, it's something that comes over time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corrupt
    Sorry couldn't have left this unsaid : There is NO easy way to learn drawing, it's ALL about practice, there is no way around it.
    Just draw sketches by people whose artwork you like & would like to get a similar style to.
    I've found the styles I like most and they're the only ones I'm practicing for.

    Anyways, the bottom line is : you do not need teachers, books, tutorials or whatsoever, it's something that comes over time.
    You are so completely wrong. All the basic elements of art that we have come to expect in professional work are all part of the western tradition of art. All styles of representational art are derived from these elements, and choose to emphasize certain elements while leaving out others. Because this is so it should be expected that there would be many books that would explain it thoroughly, but instead many fall short and are mostly filler with a few tips sprinkled in throughout their uselessness. This can be overcome with the help of teachers, CA is a great resource when someone doesn't have a teacher.
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