A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
**Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial
Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!
"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
It is always a good idea to get non-artist's reactions to your work - at least if your market is the general public - their feedback and impressions are very important if you want to be selling them paintings.
Art is no different than any other human endeavor. Since you compared it to music (a very valid connection by the way), imagine a kid going back stage after a Zeppelin show, "Jimmy! You should use all six strings! And tune your guitar way down so you sound more like John Paul - that will be different! Me? No, I don't play the guitar or anything...but some day I'm going to have my own band and maybe I'll hire you!"
Should Jimmy use all six strings? Yes - he already does. So imagine that, the advice is spot on - but not really valuable. You get the idea...you can apply the scenario to any subject you wish.
Anyway - thanks for joining the discussion, you have the right idea on evaluating critique.
The answer to the question of the thread is yes.
On the cul-de-sac, it seems to me that as artists go along, they come to realize that there is more to drawing than accuracy, more to composition than beauty, more to painting than rendering, more to figure drawing than anatomy, more to chiaroscuro than lighting, more to depth than perspective, edges, contrast, and overlap, etc. To those who have not yet come to this point in their studies, these truths remain hidden, except for the fact that any appreciator can experience these truths at play in work they admire even without knowing the underlying philosophical cause. Which is to say, every critic can sense a problem with a picture, but not every critic can pinpoint it with language.
I think I've just repeated what Chris said.
I will add this addendum, though: There are a great many critics who crit for reasons other than helping their fellow artists, or who crit without realizing how much they don't know. I couldn't count how many times I've gotten incorrect directions by asking a random person on the street. Why would this happen?
The answer is that sometimes ego or "the need to be helpful" is at work, rather than epistemological humility or experience. Sometimes when I go take a run at the crit section on ca, I will read many comments that just seem downright wrong to me, or insufficiently sensitive to the artist's feelings or intent or style.
(Of course, there is no thread on the net I've seen that doesn't have its fair share of suspect comments, except on physics and math forums.)
So, just to be on the safe side, it is probably a good idea to take every bit of advice one gets with a larger than usual dose of salt... if the work done by that critic doesn't quite float one's boat.
Last edited by kev ferrara; December 20th, 2009 at 03:05 PM.
At least Icarus tried!
My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
My "Smilechild" Music. Plus a medley of Commercial Music Cues and a Folksy Jingle!:
Fair enough Two Listen. And I'm trying to make the exact same points you have stated well. The more accomplished the artist, the more humble they tend to be. I am very open to critique - I listen to it all the time and I consider it regardless of the source (and I'm not saying that to sound all humble or accomplished - you're right that the best, most professional artists continue to learn - probably the most from their own students).
Look, I don't mean to get you all riled up - it is very likely we have much more in common than we do in difference. A big part of why I'm discussing this is because I do think it is important to be humble, aware and sensitive as an artist (I realize I make strong statements here - because I'm trying to be clear, concise and honest). I wish I knew a better way to make my points without putting people on the defensive or making it sound like a challenge. I'll work on it.
Anyway, my apologies, I believe you really are on the right path and sometimes a little challenge can be very healthy. I know in my own journey I have dealt with the same issues - my reaction was to get really pissed off and be just that much more determined to strive. These days I continue to strive because I realize just how much I lack.
Alright - I'm done too...I honestly do hope this has been of value - in some way.
Best Wishes -
Really well said kev!
I've certainly learned to take advice with a pinch of salt recently. It's not that I don't mind advice from artists with less experience (or experience that's never shown) at all, but there's a limit.
Upon insistance, I was urged to go and hunt down a certain species of crab for reference. Google images wasn't enough, but that's fine. Going to the natural history museum to see it in person I thought was enough. Nope. They wanted me to buy a red alaskan king crab crab and translate the texture I felt from it into my artwork, all with the insistance that if I don't, I don't display good studentship (even although it's a project I proposed myself).
Luckily another lecturer has recently wondered what the hell they're playing at, and said he'd defend my work if they still have a problem with it.
Fuck no Jeff, all your diplomacy did not change the conclusion i got from all this convo: A broad assumption that i'm not qualified anough to give advise arrogantly. But whatever, it's my fault i even bothered replying to the first heckler, that's where the "noise" started.
And sometimes, we may be able to put it into words before we can put it into our work.
And thank you for your response JeffX99, I do agree with you on all counts!
Ariel9: Thanks for taking a second and closer look at what I was trying to get at Ariel. I guess a lot of the misunderstanding concerning this and possibly what is antagonising Kraus and Two Listen in particular is confusion between feedback and advice.
I post my stuff fairy regularly on the finally finished section of CA precisely because I am interested in everybodies feedback - rookies and old pros equally. I'm interested by how my work is affecting them, whether it is communicating and how it is being read. This does not rquire specialist knowledge. In fact the less someone knows about painting the better in this regard! But the advice that turns out to be any use is almost without exception from those who practice this business with some considerable experience.
This is not an elitist attitude, just a practical statement of fact. In return for the kindness shown by less experienced members taking the trouble to post their thoughts on my own work I try as much as I can to give back to the forums advice, information and encouragement to those that swim by whenever I am having a dip in the vast ocean of CA.
"can experience...without knowing". In other words: knowing effects is not the same as knowing causes. People should have the honesty and courtesy to admit when they don't have the answers, it saves everyone time. The first step in learning is realizing one's ignorance. The person giving directions should first prove that they've been to the place.
"Beliefs are rules for action"
"Knowledge is proven in action."
"It's use is it's meaning."
And B: This didn't seem to me like a thread demanding serious proffessional advise otherwise it would be fitting more for Tradional Art forum.
Kraus, chill out for a minute. You're coming across as extremely belligerent and while you do have reason to feel so, slinging swear words left and right doesn't help you in your argument. In fact, it's doing the opposite if people want to take you seriously.
As for me, I find advice from both artists and non-artists helpful. If a non-artist sees something off with a person I'm drawing or that they don't exactly fit in the space they're in, it's something I can go by. Sometimes - ok, a lot of times - I get jaded to my art after staring and working on it for 'x' hours. Since a non-artist has no clue what I'm trying to do, their first initial reaction is a decent litmus test. If it's unreadable or something's bogging down the delivery of the concept, they'll know.
This is when the artists come in handy. They can give feedback on exactly why so-and-so doesn't work and the specifics on how to rework it. They can guide me to references or help start the gears in my head for brainstorming. To shun one because they don't study the same field or interest is rather misguided and will backfire.
Life is more real than any artist ever has ever achieved or any camera can capture... to not pay attention to real life is to limit the amount of raw data at your disposal to solve the problem at hand. Beautiful art can result from "faking" it, but if you want "that thing" then it is best to look at "that thing" in the real world whenever possible.
I do find a certain self-limiting factor at work, in regards to skill and understanding, with artists who fall in love with their own imagination and who find reality to be boring and uninspiring -- this displays a definite lack of observational skill. That is not to say that personal vision and charisma can not compensate for a lack of observational skill quite nicely... just that I see it as more productive to be observant of the miraculous world around me than to be mentally masturbating over my own genius.
Opinions are useful -- but the second you have an opinion you've taken a stance -- the second you've taken a stance you've closed off possibility... personally I want to retain as much possibility as I can for myself and my art. Therefor I try to remain open to anything and everything, the trick is to discern what is relevant to the situation at hand -- if you want an "apple" an "orange" won't do... but that doesn't mean you might not want to learn what an orange can teach you. It could very well lead you in exciting new directions.
I am indeed one of those people who find reality boring and unispiring, but one hell of a referece resource. I have amazing powers of observation, but i only call upon them for specific references.
Swearing left and right does indeed help me excentuate my belligerence. I like to drive my point across stronger than just some informed opinion. Informed opinions merge into background noise at some point with everyone wanting to show off theirs. I am a fan of disucssions, not one post wonders from everyone.. And that's why you see me respond to virtually everybody. The only reason i should stop swearing is because i don't want confrontations with mods, and so i stop.
On a related note however... I also eventually get jaded and discouraged with a painting i take too much time on. And no praising can bring my spirits up at that point.. The only thing that can respark my faith in that painting is another artist telling me it sucks and why it does.
If you truly observe life and how amazing it is in both form and function, you'd know that you can never (nor will ever) make anything better. It's not simply better reference it better than you in every way conceivable... whatever you imagine is born from your five senses recording your experiences -- if you had only existed in a void you would be nothing, your imagination has nothing to springboard off of. Everything is based on something... you can re-mix but the parts come from somewhere.
Take account of the various atomic elements that make you up and reckon that everything else is made of that same star-stuff -- contemplate the light rays that make not only sight but life itself possible... expand your thoughts to encompass all the myriad galaxies. Notice how effortlessly you breathe in and out, move your hand, respond to gravity... without even thinking about it.
Now, do something better.
You can't, you could never capture the essence -- life itself escapes you... the sheer infinite variety overwhelms your senses. It simply slides right off your brain like water off a ducks back.
I would posit that taking the value of reality as "the source of all art/imagination" for granted is not only the height of arrogance but the height of ignorance.
You are blinded, you have blinded yourself... we all do. Being lost in our own heads we totally miss how amazing life is in every way.
Wake up! Stop thinking small! See! Understand! ... this is the calling of the artist -- or at least should be.
What is 'realism' anyway? Something that superficially resembles a photograph? The carvings of the ancient Egyptians seem for more 'real' or 'present' to me than say, those naturalistic bronzes of 20th century statesmen one sees in front of various public buildings here and there. Michelangelo's muscle bound creatures much more real than the 17th century Flemish masters etc etc.
Naturalism or 'realism' (as it is often referred to) for its own sake is of little interest. As has been said before, it is just journalism.
Significant form found through the reductive abstraction of complexities is the way by which the anvil at the heart of things is made known.
Last edited by Chris Bennett; December 23rd, 2009 at 03:40 PM. Reason: error
BTW, you may not understand the point of journalism but it's place in society is to educate and communicate ideas and events -- pretty valuable function in our society to be sure... nothing to be scoffed at, and certainly worthy of pursuit. Most illustration is in fact journalism or a variation of it.
Personally my goal is to see more, more than even most artists -- record that, and then share it so that others can begin to see and appreciate the beauty they take for granted... maybe in the process making them just a bit more aware of the wonder of their "mundane" life.
Wow, that was allot of stuff to read through. I think the problem with the question is the definition is so subjective for what realism is.
I mean, James Bama's stuff looks real to me, but it doesn't look like a photo at all to me. Damien Hirst probably thinks everybody on this site is a realist.
Isn't it a product of where you are coming from? So if you say can someone draw a convincing portrait without reference, I think that might be a easier statement to quantify and I would say yes, it is possible. But then again if someone really wants to argue, then even that won't be declaritive enough.
IMO What happens is we are used to the frame of reference we surround ourselves with and that sort of colors our reality and how we see and talk about it. Then you meet someone who is using a different paradigm and it is hard to talk about things in measurable terms anymore because the language has shifted focus, same words but different inference or meaning. I think that is a good thing becuase we have to learn something to communicate even if we keep our positions and disagree.
Yep, I agree and when I teach I always try to be precise and say the goal is believability not realism... I'm personally not looking for realism especially not photorealism -- my leanings are American Impressionist but I try not to push that on anybody else. Life study can be useful in many ways -- my assertation is not that any stylistic leaning is bad or good ... simply that I believe one cannot get better raw data to work from than life. Therefor if you want believability you should go to life.
As Winslow Homer once said "Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems."
Last edited by jason_maranto; December 26th, 2009 at 10:26 AM.
I like the way you write though
So if you want you imaginary worlds to be more complete, diligently study this reality so you can port that believability and more well roundedness into your own creations.
Yeah i didn't really mean to bash reality. When i classified it as a reference source, i forgot to specify it's a reference source i would not be able to create without sinse no matter how wild my imagination is, presenting it visually to others requires identifiable basis... and the only identifiable basis i can rely on as a human is reality.
When i meant i can do better, i meant only 'visually'.. But 'better' is a bad term for it now that i think about it.. 'Different and more exciting for my brains' that's more like it.. Because conceptually, say demons, are way more exciting than anything real, but guess what reference i'm gonna call upon to make those demons look cool..
I was not scoffing at journalism, merely pointing to an activity in the arts that it can be likened to. A reminder on the benifits of good journalism is entirely unnecessary, but thanks anyway.
Bad illustration is journalism and bad journalism tries to illustrate. My point is that the problem arises is when one pursuit tries to do the job of another, not the merits of each activity in themselves.
Its hard to make much sense of the last 5 or 6 posts since I seem to be looking at the aftermath of a battle of some kind - it seems like many posts have been deleted.
Right now I can see some people arguing for arguing's sake.
Chris , i have seen that sometimes is good to let people be in their delusions, it makes our reality more probable. Some people will never get your point .
It would do some good, when you post your thoughts in a different thread, where it wont get shrouded by shit around.
I see that a lot of explaining here is going on points that are so easily understood, its like the people are misinterprating them just to get to each other or something.
Just MY INFORMED OPINION
so did that batman drawing dude ever join up here? I'd really enjoy looking through his sketchbook.
My Sketchbook: Warning, it's image heavy. Twiggers "Learning to Draw" Sketchbook
He started posting on DeviantArt. . .
Don't know his ID there.
Last I saw him, he was getting ready to move from the Eastside back to the mid-West. . .