For the past few years (around 4) I have been working my butt off to get my fundamentals in place. I usually go for 3 hour figure drawing sessions 3 times a week, Ive been studying anatomy and perspective. Lately I have been trying to get deeper into color and painting too. My figure drawing teacher keeps telling me "Drawing from life is the only way to go." And I do understand this, but I have been wondering.. When do I get to do more than that? I feel like all my time is spent doing very uncreative work. I DO see the value in the work that I am doing and I see very clear improvement. But in the long-run what I really want to be doing is illustration. The thing is when I am working on, say, drawing from my imagination I feel like I am wasting time and not getting any better.
I guess my question to the more skilled artists here is when should i start getting into more creative work? Or better, how do I create a bridge between my creative work and all the fine arts training I am doing?
Right now I am working towards a liberal arts degree and doing a part-time art foundation program at an art college. That means painting, figure drawing, composition, etc, but I don't really have classes like illustration, animation, etc. My individuals skills are getting much better, but I feel clueless when I have to compose an image.
Any tips would be great.