Hello everyone, I am back for another long rant, this time to answer questions I get often: Do you have tips so I can improve? How did you get so good? How can I find a style? I am starting out, what is my life?? What iS YOUR LIFE??
I'll be answering these vinegar chip fueled essay rant style, so I'll bold the important bits if you just want to skim read ok! I'll be talking about my own personal experience with improvement and style aswell as how i started out as a beginner, then I'll move on to some general things about the subject. That being said, 2/3rds of this is about my experience, because I have more to say about that since well. FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE!... Umm small text to compact it mor but zoom in if its too small LOL
I. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE 1. Method and entourage a. Attitude b. Studies
c. Entourage 2. Influences and inspiration 3. Why? goals II.TIPS FOR BEGINNERS III. IMPROVEMENT TIPS IV. STYLE BUILDING V. FINAL NOTES
I. PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
1. Method and entourage
I got this question a few days ago on DA with a lovely user; "What explains your progression of style and your improvement?" - a question I have gotten several times from various people over time, but probably not as well phrased as that. There are many things suggested to me as answers - years and years of hard work and practice; dedicated studying from anatomy studies to color theory; being a master in the practice of realism; frankensteining like a pro; going to the correct art school; having a big crowd of art friends to have fun with; referencing other great artists and emulating their work.... The answer is, well, pretty much none of that, with a few exceptions. NOW this does not mean the things listed above are terrible ways to go around improving. No I just mean that that is not how I have done things. I am going to cover a few of the mentioned things above in order to explain my methods when it comes to improving and style building etc.
I have drawn for over 5-6 years now, and have progressed from this beautiful mess to well, my current messes. 5 years seems like a pretty long time to me, but to others 5 years is nothing. The point is, time doesnt really matter here. I remember when I was 13 I would look at pics on the internet and be like, "why am i so shit" and well, the reason was cause I just was and that is how things were. At 13, I guess you - or I was, atleast - are somewhat naive and do not think that much for yourself, so my methods in improvement went along the lines of whatever I read on the internets. Tutorials, challenges and rigorous goals of the likes of "one full drawing per day" or "draw one new thing every day" or "100 themes challenge" - you know the deal. This is kinda shit. Not because of what it WAS, but rather it was something that was not adapted... to me. I didnt really get much improvement from that. It was only later on, near 15ish, when I kinda just dropped all that shit and was like you know what, I am a lazy piece of shit and that is ok.
To answer the question this opened with, I think my attitude towards art as a whole is what allowed me to improve in the way I did. I drew what I wanted, when I wanted (even commissions - more on that later), and did not force myself into constant practice. I did not put pressure to improve on myself, nor did I bother myself with generally accepted things artists should strive for that I knew did not really matter to me (that is, having the ability to draw everything, being able to draw x or x thing, etc). I think some people would call that a comfort zone but I see it as a more person thing? When someone goes into a supermarket and buys certain things instead of the other, they'd either be sticking to a routine due to fear of trying new things (Comfort zone), or they just really know what they want. Right? I think I just really know what I want. Feel free to disagree with me tho. My mind functions, art wise, with the "I wanna do what I want, and if I care for it the rest will come later because I can do it anway". Just ASSUMING that if anything crosses my interest, I will learn how to do it. Which is true! I do. However to the exterior eye, it might not seem like that. But the exterior eye's opinion doesnt really matter if they dont actually know what's going on right? Moving on
Being the lazy person that I am, I never was big on doing studies like life drawing, learning color theory, all those things youre meant to do as an artist I guess. Sometimes I like doing a study of a picture I like, but I think that is maybe once or twice per year. I'm not against it, it just doesnt help me much. I am someone who takes things in visually and reflects on it.. rather than physically working it out? I like to think that my improvements would come from a mix of a percieved ideal and a lot of observing and stitching things together mentally. This is ofcourse, not only for art, but for other things aswell - at school, it was a lot of the same thing; rigorous studying wasnt really my thing, but listening and reflecting in the bus was instead. Adding to that, following tutorials probably helped me as much as sprinkling a few drops of water in the desert helps a forest grow. Following up on that studying thing, or comfort zone thing, I hear REALISM being screamed at me. Simply put, I am not that good at realism, nor does it interest me, and like I said above - if I am not interested, I am not going to waste my time on it. However processing things you see IRL is different to drawing realism, and the first is something that is.. pretty much essential in drawing. I think people take that "you need to know how to draw realism / properly / etc before stylizing" too literally.
I would replace all of that with a huge emphasis on my own experimentation on whatever program I was on, or whatever process I was currently using. I remember really strongly little "clicks" - where I would do something and it would just CLICK and I would follow it all the way, rework and refine something for months (something being, a process or techinique, not a piece of work LOL) - until the next click. etc.
Things that were also mentioned were art school or art friends - general entourage, which I think can be totally great or totally shit. I have never been to art school prior to uni - I spent my years studying literature instead! It was great. I dont regret it. I went to an art school last year (UCA Canterbury) and I can swear on my favourite pair of shoes that, by my experience of art school, they had no part in my artistic progress whatsoever, apart from the fact it made me realise I was much smarter than most the people there, and thus began focusing on developing my own reflection a lot more. Hence why I have come to the point where I write literal essays about my life and artistic things. I did not personally grow from art school. Point. As for art friends - I had none really with me! And the ones I met at uni, hahahahhahahahahaha. /evil glares. HOWEVER I am aboarding this subject still because IT IS TRUE just not irl. I spent a lot of my years on a forum called GASR, which people on IMVU may know to be the graphics art subforum. I actually started arting a lot more by EDITING AVATARS there, can u believe. I have mentioned before, I am a lazy person. Nothing really pushes me to work... apart from maybe cute clothes (virtual or not). Commissions pushed me to work myself so much. Gotta own those cute things. THAT BEING SAID, like i mentioned previously, I am only did what I wanted, and I still do. So I was and am pretty picky with commissions. I am not someone to bore myself for cute shoes, if that was the case I'd be working at mcdonalds and making more money. But I dont because I value what I do because it gives me something more personal than Mcdonalds cannot give me. Anyway. Said forum (which I am still in, btw), surrounded me with lots of artsy people that I got along with sometimes not, sometimes well, but it definitely spurred me on and I do really think it has a great part in my progress.
2. Influences and inspiration
On more of a style progression thing. A lot of kids, young and starting out, they draw what they want to draw instead of what they see. Like, you draw like how your fav artist does. I was like that!!! One of the artists I copied was tagl on DA (which you might have noticed in that previous art thing I linked!) - I think the difference in my case was that I always got bored of trying to do something like someone else after 1-2 weeks time and just went back to drawing things "by default", like how I did without anything to look at (which I must say, remained very animu aswell). THAT IS TO SAY, it is ok to do that... but you must move on and grow into your own person at some point. This is why the thing mentioned above, frankensteining, I dont consider it a good way as to build your own style. Since when did people's art become some kind of self service buffet?? you know, pick the things you like, ditch the rest, make your own meal and be happy about how you're such a great chef? Like, pleaseeee. (more on that later.). I am a stubbornly independant person and thus my art and its style grew in a way kinda seperate from direct artist influences. INSTEAD, other things came to influence me - which brings me to answer another frequent question I get: "What are your own influences? What inspires you?"
Well?? What does?? I rarely get inspired by other artwork. It's like how I wish I could be physically attracted to girls, but I only hold great appreciation for them. I wish I could be inspired by artwork more often but man, apart from really liking some things, generally I dont. I tell you what though, instead, it must be fashion and clothes that really make me roll - street fashion, haute couture; ahh. There is nothing greater than drawing cute clothes. I get particularily inspired while cooking, if that is a thing. You can check out my tumblr inspiration tag to see what I mean though (not for the cooking part)
As it is for inspiration, Street + fashion stuff is a big influence on me artwise too. I am someone who adores pretty, intricate and detailed things, especially ornate things, so all those kinda of ornate.. architectural details and the like, i think, also count. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT, there are also some artists whose works, I think, have influenced me in one way or another, and these are always the three artists I cite but; Alphonse Mucha; Brian Viveros; Michael Hussar. Mostly the first one. Weoo! Some people have told me that my art really reflects who I am and what my interests and likes are, and I really think that is what I want my art to be for me.
3. Why? goals
This is basically to say like... it doesnt what others think really. I mean it is great people like what you do, but when something is meant mostly for you, I dunno why people feel so entitled to tell you what you should be doing, and then tell you you cant take critique when you tell them you have no intention of doing what they want you to do. But it's ok? But at the same time I wish for people to understand that if you really feel so entitled as to want something from someone's art, why not just do it yourself? Adding to that, I do really think that one should always just assume people do certain things for reasons you may not know, and to not just assume the opposite (in which you know everything including what is right and wrong for them). It reminds me of a tumblr anon I got once telling me I never added emotion or message to my art and it remained "Just pretty", and that it was disappointing. But oddly enough that is exactly what I want to do, so it only disappoints them? Emotion and message in my own art speaks to me and I do not want it to speak to anyone else, and on another level, I am pretty much really satisfied with my art being just pretty. But why does it matter? so this is why I included this third section, just to remind you all to think a bit before you say something about someone's art, thinking you know best for them. Even if it's out of good will! I mean it is appreciated but if everyone did what others wanted them to do, where would we be now. Just like people grow in different ways, people grow for different reasons and goals, and that's okay.
II.TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
I know I just wrote an essay about my own progression and shit but the thing is, NOT EVERYONE WORKS THE SAME WAY. I think that is important to remember, especially when you're starting out. A habit people have told me numerous times on both DA and other places is that they seem to compare a lot. If you are prone to getting upset and demotivated when comparing yourself to someone else or their art or anything else, tell yourself STOP. Whenever you catch yourself doing it, say STOP. Because it really doesnt even make sense aswell. There is so much going on in you, and in whoever you are comparing with, you can hardly begin to find an equal ground to compare yourselves. So the result is always kinda biased to what you know right? And if your mindset is, "I am terrible and they are great" due to not acknowledging the differences between you two; then no wonder you will fall on such conclusion. So try to tell yourself instead that you are doing fine and have the potential to do great things and to carry on on your own, instead of pedestalling others and bringing yourself down!
Now on starting, starting, a lot of people have expressed just a ... a lack of understanding whatsoever as to how to start, how to practice, how to know they are doing things, etc. I think that is probably due to pressure put on themselves by wanting to do everything the right way, perfectly, straight off the bat. Like I said above, there is no real RIGHT way. There are wrong ways like.... tracing, entirely adopting someone else's style, stealing - but that is pretty obvious right. The thing I would recommend to people in this situation is to just draw what you want. FOR YOU. You dont even need to post it anywhere or anything if it gives you pressure. just like. Sit down and doodle on paper, see what comes out of it. Dont think "how do i doodle", stop thinking that. just try and see what comes out naturally, what do you enjoy doing, etc. Pick up on things that make you happy. Focus on those things. It really has to do with getting rid of the presupposition that you have to do something in one way and only that way. I think that comes from people drawing based on other drawings? or things like that. Try not to base yourself on anything else other than your mind and what you literally see in your kawaii lifu. Avoid pulling out a drawing of your fav artist or fav manga or fav comic and trying to copy it, because it probably wont help you learn to draw (you are just gonna be learning how to emulate something you have no understanding of). DONT LET others bring you down. People may make fun (my sis did, but who owns the cute shoes now??), people might be harsh with their criticism, people might just be dicks but you know what. If you know what you want, and if you are pretty set in mind to do it, then what they say really shouldnt matter. Obviously, uhhh. If what you want to do is just steal and rip off people, then this doesnt apply to you.
Last thing, I have seen some people drawing guidelines like how books teach them, you know, either as circles or as squares? but they use them more like to have them there, rather than to let it help them. like, "oh no this isnt a real drawing if it doesnt look like I used professional looking guidelines / draws circles everywhere". I just wanted to say that, if you find yourself doing that, it either means you dont know how to break things down and understand them, or it means that you probably have your own way of sketching and breaking things down, which is totally ok! Just remember to do what works for you, because plz if there was a perfect method that adapted for everyone, everyone would be great artists by now.
III. IMPROVEMENT TIPS
In the very start of this rant, there was a list of things that I denied being part of my own progress - but just because they did not work for me does not mean they will not work for you. (apart from all that style stuff, I'll tackle that later on). If art school helps u, good. If multiple studies and theory learning helps you, GOOD. REALISM HELPS? GOOD. It's all good. Be selective. I've written a lot so I am gonna list some improvement tips unrelated to the things listed above, in hopes to lighten this thing up.
-Draw often. dont just draw to post. -Focus on making things for yourself and ask yourself what you want -Take a break and switch it up on multiple levels (material/program used; dif types of art; different activities; taking breaks) to allow diversity of practice in -doodle and draw a lot and dont show them to people. No pressure -Experiment with your most used media -Dont stick yourself in a label ( "i draw cartoon/ manga/ realism/ etc") - this will block you. Say "I draw" instead and be a hot mess. But a hot one. -Dont overdo the drawing. Drawing non stop can be great but it might lead to you just growing tired and uninspired. -My other tips are kind of scattered in this essay and I cant remember them I'm sorry -I am going to move on to style building now
IV. STYLE BUILDING
STYLE!! AHHHH THE BIG TREASURE OF THE ARTIST?? THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT STYLE BUILDING IS TO NEVER FOCUS ON ONLY ONE SOURCE OF INFLUENCE, ESPECIALLY IF IT IS AN ARTIST. Do you know what happens when you do that? You just end up having some kind of second hand shop version of their style and it becomes copying/emulation rather than your own development. It stunts you, and it invades the artist's personal space. Dont give me that "you cant own a style" bullshit. It is not about owning, it is about common sense. You are standing in a public space and someone is stepping on your feet to stand in the same area you're in because "it is a public area" - no. It is common sense to respect people's space and boundaries, and that applies to art too. Be respectful to people's work. MORE THAN ONE SOURCE OF INFLUENCE. Be OPEN on several levels, ONCE AGAIN: Be open on the ARTISTS that influence you. dont "frankenstein" (= taking pieces from their art you like in order to forge a weak excuse of "your own style) . Instead, appreciate their work and try to help it make you understand what appeals to you in their collective aesthetic, let it show you what you're interested in creating. Be open on THE DOMAINS that influence you. Move away from art. What other things interest you? What else do you do? How can that feed into what you're doing? I like food with vivid coloring. I like savoury food, sweet foods, spicy foods. Bring it alllll in. Dont lock yourself out of something jsut cause it is not art and you do not think it can influence you. READ A BOOK I DONT KNOW Be open to YOUR EVERDAY LIFE that can influence you. A lot of my art style builds on the people i've met, the things I've seen, the places I've been. Why does one do x or x thing? How come someone is drawing something like that, but their neighbor the other way? Maybe because something in their life has caused them to view them differently. Maybe because they have just broke it down and processed it a different way.
Brings me to the next thing - Dont... dont just find a style and call it your new thing and stick to it. I moderate an art forum, I know, I SEE everyday people with art which is just stylized symbols with nothing to back it up. You have to understand what you're drawing. I dont mean "study realism for 5 years then come talk to me" naaaa. (refer to like 10 paragraphs up on realism). I mean, try and draw from real life and understand why you are rendering something in such a particular way. You need to have a minimum of understanding of what you are doing. I feel like if you dont... most of what you're doing will kind of be warped imitations of various things you've seen and in the long run it will stunt you more than anything else.
I LIED ABOUT THE FIRST THING BEING THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. STOP LOOKING FOR IT. STOP SEEKING TO BUILD IT. LET IT BUILD NATURALLY. When you hit 20 and become an adult you dont suddenly become a different, more mature, full person right? Why do you think that works with art?? "ah yes, THIS IS IT, I HAVE FOUND MY STYLE!" - triumphant victory declaration I have heard from many people who ditched their style 5 days later simply because, it wasnt. Not to mention, whenever you 'build' a style in an attempt to make something unique, it ends up laboriously generic. You know those "IM DIFFERENT!!" snowflakes? Do you see how all these people sound the same? That is what is happening, but with art. As a kid you have one of those... those toys where you put the shaped blocks into the correct block shapes right? So here is the thing. When you are emulating/copying another artist, you're bashing the triangle block on the circle hole. Maybe it is funny for a bit, but then it becomes laborious and you start wondering why things dont feel right. Probably because you're not doing what is naturally yours. On the other hand, when you are 'building' your style all in one go, you are modifying the blocks and toy in order for things to fit how you want them to - and they do now! but now your toy is broken so that's not interesting anymore, bye. BACK TO SQUARE ONE. That is why you should just... leave it. Style is something that can grow so unique if you let your personality speak through it. You are still growing as a person, so does your style. You shouldnt pressure yourself to be innovative because well, you dont have to? since when if having a style of your own = being new? It's not. Everything's been done before some way or the other, what you're bringing to the table that IS new is yourself, as the artist. Your choice, your life, your experience and vision. This is what will make things your style. Because they are exclusively sewn together to be something so personal and something others will never have - because they have their own thing. Themselves. TL;DR FOR STYLE: Why search to be someone else or something you're not when you are guaranteed to be the best at being yourself?
V. FINAL NOTES
I'm so sorry this is so long and ranty but I hope it may be some fruit for thought or help a few out. I just wanted to say before finishing this off that, wellllll. These are all notes from myself, and things on style in particular are pretty like biased. like they are VERY MUCH my opinion on things.
If anyone even reads this I'm good to answer things or discuss in the comments
have a break off the screen if you managed to read all the way down to here byeeee
wow, honestly reading this I never knew there was someone who was lazy about art as me LOL.
I fucking hated the amount of realism the art teachers drilled into my head. when I drew something I actually liked, they would always be like uhhh yeah no you do better on realism it's like you took a step back or something.
I completely agree with the pretty thing. I just enjoy drawing people or things that just seem pretty to me lmfao. Style was always appealing.
Thank you so much for writing this though, it made me feel better with how I approached art. and I could relate like 100% to you lol.
Ahhh You know art schools push you on with realism because it's the easiest way of making students understand that you cannot stylize without having a minimum of understanding of what exactly you are stylizing. I think it's just a poor attempt in reminding you that? But a lot of art schools do prioritize realism. I think it is just easier to teach. I mean, everything is laid out for you if you want to do realism, theres nothing to reinvent? After, if they think you took a step back or not doesnt matter because you dont draw for them and if you' re happy, then their opinions dont really matter. Unless ofcourse, you need to get graded or something - falling in the same commissions thing - you' d need to adapt to them, because in that case, yes u r drawing for them
I totally agree with you, there are times that I notice I've made improvements but I never think of it as a big deal.
It's really nice when I'm able to see into the head of another artist - especially one that I look up to - I'm able to see where you started, and I'm sure most artists know that it takes time to improve but to see it in someone else makes it more concrete!
Thanks so much for the well wishes! I'm consistently working and drawing Keep your hard work up too! I can't wait to see where your art takes you in the future!
It's funny, I was going to saying the contrary when you were talking about how you felt studying realism wasn't helpful, but then I realized I go about learning things pretty much the same way...
At first I thought you were telling people not to go outside of their "comfort zone" or branch out into new things, but I was wrong, I apologize. I really like how you know the difference between drawing realism and drawing from life! SO many people get those mixed up and it's just very frustrating.
I've never really heard anyone tell someone to draw realism to improve (just when someone tries to present a portfolio to a certain art school and it's nothing but drawings influenced by styles originating in Japan) but I've always heard that about life drawing, and it's awesome, there's so many ways you can go about studying from life. From observing a model in a class to just going to a mall and watching people walk around and interact or just watching a movie or something. Personally, I'm a fan of biology and how things work from a medical perspective, how certain things affect the human body, and how it functions is very fun to learn about. (although it's certainly not something for the squeamish) I end up watching a lot of those medical shows about surgery and what not.
Anyways, thank you for this entry, you did a pretty good job. It's always interesting to read about how other people have improved with their art, and the advise they can give. Also! Sorry, I tend to type a lot when something interests me. <_<
Ahh man, I think people confuse what i do for being comfort zone a lot, and honestly I can understand why! but I dunno I just dont see why someone should stretch out and do something unless they are interested in it. Then again I am that kind of person irl, unrelated to art aswell. I think it's called being selective and knowing what you want rather than being scared to dip your toes in something else. Cause that is fun too! but sometimes people have no interest in swimming, and that's ok too. And people who do have interest in swimming, that is cool too! I think everything is fine as long as it's their choice you know? I dont think people should critisize what another artist is doing to maange their own work and improvement like, it isnt their life. ITS JUST, some people need and do different thigns to improve and one cannot assume that everyone works with the same typical acknowledged method of learning @ art. I know a lot of people do not improve by sticking to the same thing but (luckily?) I am someone who has always just done what she wanted and I have improved so I dunno. It really depends man.
AND YEAH people need to stop mixing the two up. I dont care about doing something I can do by taking my ipod out and snapping a pic. I mean i respect people who want to do that, but personally I dunno. I dont care much for it. I find stylizing things and that kind of mutual boucning back between the artist and their art way more interesting. I havent heard people explicitly saying "DRAW REALISM TO IMPROVE!", but however I have bumped into many people who (i must say, do not draw), but give critique and tell people their work "isnt realistic" or things like that when it's just obviously.. stylized. I mean again, people who draw without understanding the stylizations theyre doing... the lack of theory behind will totally show in their work. But that is different from drawing things realistically or not.
hahaha LIFE DRAWING. I've only done a life drawing class once? I have sat around in a café a few times or drawn people around but like, wow so many times, people bitch at me for doing things wrong. Because I focus on different things than they do. Again, assuming everyone must do things the same way... For example I dont care for those loooong periods of shading some naked body like, I dont care. however I love doing 5 minute sketches of people i see in cafés, notably their clothes and posture and you know everything that expresses individuality about them through the simple way their body is held. I also stylize on spot and exaggerate, which pisses my ex classmates off a lot too. But it's ok cause plz I wasnt sketching for them. And it wasnt for class. BUT ANYWAY MOVING ON. You can learn a lot from lifedrawing, but I myself find going out and fixating the points of interest to you a much more nuturing experience compared to sitting in a room shading some unnatural looking pose. Up to u tho.
I am totally not a science person LOL but I can understand what you mean! I think having some biology background could totally feed into your understanding and theory in an interesting way. but having things like that feeding into what you are doing is totally beneficial no matter what you are doing. Any experience feeds into you as a person, so I think it also feeds into things you can build to improve artwise aswell. Experience!!!
Heheh Man, you go outside of your comfort zone just being open and learning something new, even if it's something that would look insignificant. It's just the fact that you're doing something outside of your norm that makes it outside of your comfort zone. But of course, if someone just wants to draw chibi versions of the character from Doctor Who forever they very well have a right to, and if they like it I don't think anyone should care. I was more talking about what you just said, if someone wanted to get better as an artist they should expand more on things they wouldn't usually draw, although even if they wanted to improve on a specific subject it would be good to learn other things. Like, even if you just wanted to get better at human anatomy it would still be good to learn perspective and colour theory and things of the like since they all kind of go hand in hand. (learning to keep proper anatomy in difference perspectives and angles or to give that character depth, and using colour to give the illusion of 3-dimension and life to something flat and things like that) Although I know very well the way someone goes about improving is subjective, what they want to improve on should be expanded since it does help with understanding the very thing they want to improve. Or like... It's not the technique on how you improve I'm talking about, it's the subject, no matter what technique helps you improve you won't go far if you don't learn more than one subject. (like you can't properly learn a new language if you just learn to write it without learning to speak it as well, if that makes sense)
Wow, that's surprising... but then again I don't go outside very often. I can kinda see to an extent how drawing realism would help, but it's all about paying attention to what you're drawing, which not all realism artists do and that can be done just as effectively through stylization. Admittedly, there's SOME realism that is amazing, but it's always a product of experience from life studies than just learning to draw realism. But I will put in my 2 cents on this, you definitely don't have to be an artist to be a really good critic. You just have to have a good eye, a love for what you're critiquing, and an understanding of the subject. There's even classes dedicated to learning to be a good critic with no emphasis on being an artist. Although people tend to forget those things, either giving "critique" just to be mean spirited or trying tell someone their art is wrong solely based on personal preference or lack of knowledge. But you get people like that no matter if they do art or not.
Yeah, I actually want to take a life drawing class myself, but purely just to see what the artsy atmosphere is like. I don't think I'll get much done productively since I'm more of a memory person, although I can understand how it would help since there's details you get with the subject right there that don't translate into memory, but that's when you just focus on that and draw the rest yourself when you get home. I agree though, just going to a casual place like a cafe is much more enjoyable and practical, I love seeing the different outfits people wear and how they react to certain things. It's a very good way to observe different personalities and mannerisms. But you do realize that going to a cafe and doing sketches of people is life drawing, right? It's not about going to a sterilized area and just drawing a person standing there, it's about capturing the life of something on paper or canvas or whatever medium you use, which can be done literally anywhere with any technique. Some people just prefer doing it in a room, even back in the day when Disney used to make traditional animation they did life studies to make the animation more natural, but it was usually in a room either to keep the animals from getting out or to possibly make it easier for the subjects since it usually involved movement like dancing and stuff like that, which was more out of convenience than preferences. Blahblahblahblah~ Soooo you actually do study life drawing.
Pffft! Not a lot of people are, but it definitely is helpful for me. The more I understand what I'm drawing the better I can draw it, learning new things about the world is also just really fun. Not just biologically, but learning about different cultures or mythologies to help create your own fantasy story or something like that. Learning how other things are created like glass and pottery. I think learning about the world around you is very beneficial for you as an artist and as a person, but that's definitely just my point of view and I know not a lot of people see it that way. (which I completely respect) EXPERIENCE!!! Experience eeeeeeverything~!
Lmao! No need to apologize, I'm a ranter myself. Sorry about my grammar and spelling. <_<
Hmmm I get that but I dont see the point o getting out of your comfort zone if you're someone who doesnt care for like "doing something new" (i am very like that haha;; a bit too much irl...). Like i consider it ok to like. To be like, OH! I am going to do this thing; and to do it; but then go back. To me that isnt getting out of your comfort zone that's just testing something new briefly. To get out of your comfort zone to me is to permanently adopt those 'new' things into your process until they become the norm aswell. I dunno if that makes sense but that's how I see it! Just tesing out is too brief to be called out of the zone. And I agree with what you say about doing x even if you wanna improve y. most things are meant to go together anyway right, like u said. Actually upon reading what you wrote there, I think we have different concepts of comfort zone. Like i consider all those things listen (learning anatomy, perspective, color..) are acknowledged to be learnt by default and trying to learn them to me, does not count as getting out of your zone cause, simply put, it's like something that will naturally improve with time anyway. Does that make sense? ahhhh. I think i think of comfort zone more.... thematically rather than skill and technique? Technique and shit, you're gonna learn it anyway with experience so;; haha.
I dont go outside often either, I am a bit of a hermit thing. LOL. And I agree. It's about how you see things and break things down - just like some realism artists who draw from photos do not experience since they are just replicating. Things like that. The really amazing ones are, like you say, extra actual experience behind their work. On the critique thing, I saw a thing somewhere saying that anyone can see if something looks wrong in a piece - the only dif between a non artist and an artist, is that the latter will be able to point out what is wrong, and the other wont be able to. WHILE I dont agree with this completley, I think in about 75% of the cases, this is pretty much true. I ahve seen some non artists give real good critique aswell though, however their critique stays on the piece (for example; critiquing little mistakes on that one piece, and not giving tips on how to improve in the long run. Still critique, but maybe not as effective, up to you). What really ticks me off is people who critique based on person preferance, and especially in a way that is very... self entitled. Like as if they were giving you a blessing by telling you what they didnt like on your pic and what they want you to do better next time. Like wow I cannot that. AND EVEN WORSE is when like... when you refuse their critique, they accuse you of not being able to take it and it never occurs to them that their critique might not actually BE critique. You know? That is what bothers me. I can deal with the first, but not the second. I will fight them. (and I have often, in comments LOL). But yeah that is like.. people. And even artists act like that sometimes. I do realize that doing that is life drawing, but it's just not an art life drawing class type of life drawing that a lot of people at my previous uni deemed superior (which I would argue BUT). Like it's not in a room with a random nude person. That being said, I do not really study it either because well. I go draw people outside only a handful of times per year (as of this year, 0 times or now i guess haha) - like I said, I prefer that but I dont do it that much, ismply because I dont enjoy going out much either. That's why i was talking about doing things mentally a bit? Going out and seeing people, observing, understanding things, but not actually drawing them on spot (or when i get home). Just like seeing someone suddenly and being like "Ah. I see. I know now", nodding to yourself them going back to whatever i was doing. That type of thing! hahah well I spent my years studying literature and dropped scientific subjects early on so I just.. i dunno no interest, nor do I have any skill in said domains either LOL. I enjoy much more learning about different cultures and mythologies! That is just a lot more fun to me. I respect what you think but I think I am a bit different - it is important, learning about the world around you, but I think learning about yourself is more important. I think it depends what you want and what means you will be using to get to your goals really. And you can learn about yourself by experiencing the world around you so they are very close aswell~ hahaha dont apologize either, it's not often i hold discussions like these with my watchers - and I think it is enlightening for both sides. Givesyou things to think about we may have not considered previously. Learning from others. Good.! !
Um, well I did say that if you like drawing what you draw, then you should just keep doing it. If you yourself doesn't like to draw new things, that's well and good, but I was more talking about other people or just a generality. Technically a comfort zone is doing what is normal to you within the range of things you can handle mentally and physically, so if you draw headshots all the time but decide to draw a body one day, even if it's still in your style it's still outside of your comfort zone. They are still learning something new. Even if you personally don't believe it, that's still what it means on a technical level even if it's temporary. I do take technicality over personal preference, so we probably do see that subject of discussion differently. Also some people do learn from this process and continue to do it more often until it becomes "a part of them", so to say. It's a slower process, but not everyone learns at the same pace. The thing about learning perspective and colour theory that I said before, is that not everyone knows that or thinks it's important for improving. Just because it's a no-brainer for you doesn't me it is for everyone else, and it is technically outside of someones comfort zone if they've never done perspective or practiced colour theory before. Again, anything outside of what someone considers normal or easy is outside of their of their comfort zone. I don't really know where you got that I was talking about skill and technique when talking about comfort zone, perspective and colour theory are thematic, technique is more of line weight or how you hold the pen or whatever other thing you do to draw/paint/ect. Which agreeably does improve with time.
Oh no, that 75% is anyone no matter if they draw or not, people just tend to be more defensive or not take a critic seriously if they don't draw. Which leads to that misconception. Pfft! That person just wasn't a good critic, whether they draw or not has nothing to do with that. A good one, no matter what they do with their lives, does as you said. They point out mistakes the artist possibly didn't know about, and make suggestions to improve, and give the artist references or sources to help improvement if possible. The whole existence of a critic is to love the subject (a.k.a: art, music, etc.) enough to help the artist be the best they can be. As the old saying goes, "it doesn't take a chef to know when food doesn't taste good, or a architect to know when a house isn't built right". Although yes, it's pretty bad when they have a high and mighty attitude, really the best way is just say "thank you" or ignore it. It is understandable getting a bit miffed from a critics perspective, like, you care a lot about helping the artist out and giving all these resources and being detailed as possible to not leave any misunderstandings and they just sort of shit on you. That sucks. I've gotten that. But agreeably, a critic should never act entitled about giving critique, it's about the artist not them.
On a side note, I hate when people critique from personal preference myself. I remember getting someone who told me the characters noses were too defined for their age and wanted me to make them small and rounded, which would have completely changes their features and make them all look too similar. But that person liked drawing characters with small rounded noses. It was kind of silly.
Oooh! Life drawing CLASS, yeah I totally wasn't talking about that when I first brought it up. Your previous school sucks from the sound of it, now people from a good school would have told you to do it anywhere. Iiiiiit's still the same thing, I even said that earlier and I even do that exact same thing. Even if you just observe actors in movies and draw them from memory a week later it's still life drawing because you're still referencing life, you're still using real people as your reference. Unfortunately your still studying from life.
What kind of science was it? There's a huuuuuuge list scientific fields out there, Archaeology, Astronomy, Mineralogy, Herpetology, Biology, Marin Biology, etc. It's kind of the same thing, the more you learn about the world the more your learn about yourself as a given, because you're expanding on your interests as you learn. Not only expanding your technical mind but your personal one. It's kinda like the saying "You don't know if you like it until you try it", and technically it's healthy, it's good for confidence and comprehension. Everyone has their own way of growing as people, yes we should learn not only to learn about ourselves but to be accepting and understanding of things different from what we're used to, but that doesn't mean we have to and it doesn't mean people should force other's to. As I've said that is my personal preference, as in, those are ideals for myself. If you see it different, that's good for you, and those are your ideals. Same with everyone else.
Yes! Discussing art is very fun. People are usually taken back by my enthusiasm, but it's nice that you haven't been so far. C:
Can u believe i have to write these on wordpad cause the reply box is too low and i cant read the whole comment??? hahhaa. ANYWAY
Yeah no we are definitely see things differently, that's not a bad thing though. I totally get what you are meaning and it makes sense, I dont think you're wrong. I guess just my own experience makes me real opinionated and maybe thats not a good thing. I have a hard time discussing things because sometimes I talk about me then sometimes i talk like on a general level; and it gets kinda confusing haha, sorry! But i agree that some people take the trying new things as a strong method for improvement; and i mean, it definitely cant do anything other than make you improve so!! Again guess i was talking more personal case than general here. And I guess I kind did just assume people knew it was important; my mistake.. ahhh. But I meant it more like.. not people KNOWING they have to imrpove things like color or pespective and the like... but rather that those things improve with time whether the person is concious of their importance or not. That being said, being aware of their importance does speed your growth a lot. As for those things being thematic; I would disagree on that. I think thematic things as in like... subject matter, types of things you draw, etc. rather than the knowledge you are using to execute it. And I kind of put technique into that mass aswell because technique is an acquired skill to me? so everything that is acquired goes together. While everything that you just have interest in making your subject is thematic (uhh I might be mishmashing words around though so that may be why I might be sounding real confusing right now).
Haha i disagree with you; i think people who draw will still be generally better off critiquing than people who dont. Like I said though both non artist and artist critique have their own faults - artists thinking that the fact they draw makes whatever they say 100% right and justified; non artists, like you say, getting defensive or not being serious about it enough. I think it's not a misconception. I just have not met many non artists providing good critique. I have met some. but most that I have met used the methods of critiquing others as a way to creat a hierarchy betwwen them an the artist, as in "I know what is better for you, I am smarter than you" style. That might just be on the forum I am on though, so who knows. We have a lot of .. ughhsss. there. So i wouldnt be surprised if that were the case. I wish I could be that humble! to just ignore or say thanks? But I'm not. I get fired up with people acting like all that over theyre little badly constructed critique. Because I want to tell them why I dont agree. but then it only adds fire to the fuel and I am like "I shouldntve fighted them" but eii what can you do. I am kinda aggressive to some subjects (but I am working on it). I can understand a decent critiquer get upset if they did spend time providing them a good critique but man, I have not met many good critiquers. Then again. whether the critique is bad or not, they will always think that they did a good job so ?? yeah. I think it is only the fault of the artist if they specifically ask for critique. In which people are doing them a favor they requested. yeahhh.
On your side note though, I remember once someone told me I had drawn someone too thin or something. Can you believe. ALREADY THAT I DRAW PEOPLE REALLY THIN. like I dunno. I've also seen in the forum I am at, men critique drawings of girls with realistic proportions with things like "those are unrealistic proportions, no woman looks like that" etc; or thinking redlining with bigger boobs is critique. SO. YEAH. LOL
Haha "unfortunatley" - I dont know why you use that word cuase it's not a bad thing to draw from life? Even if its is from ummm. your... memory...reference stock place... rather than having someone standing infront of you. But yeah if ywe are speaking on those terms then yes I am doing that! And I am glad other people function like me on that point cause I was startin to feel like a loner.
+ general middle/highschool science? the way the human body works, the way the world works; physics, chemistry IDK i dont remember well. but basic. stuff. You can tell I dont have a strong interest for it haha;;; disappoint And yeah I guess it is the same in the end (learning about world + you thing). And finally; a last agreement on your final point just... respecting and understanding things that are different from our own stuff. Which is why I find exchanges like this itneresting; like I said not often do my watchers come and talk about subjects like this to me; and even less probable it is for us to disagree but mutually understand each other aswell. So that is really nice! hahaha
Lmao! I can believe it. It's more unbelievable to be holding a conversation with someone who types as much as I do.
Oh no, being opinionated isn't a bad thing, we're all like that in our own way. But oh man, I have seen some people who are great with anatomy but suck like heck with colour and perspective, while it is sort of a common sense thing amongst the majority of people there's always some that don't really know to do it. I definitely had to actively force myself to do when I knew it had to be done, or I would been guesstimating perspectives and shading with the same colours for the rest of my life. xD But they are thematic. They can be subjects like people/animals and such, just like how anatomy is always the same (while stylization is different is more of a technique), so is colour and perspective. Which can also be subjects of art, such as abstract art, other types of art that focus on colour, art that focuses on buildings or certain types of scenery which can't properly exist without perspective and such things like that. A technique is a skill, but skills are unique to the person while those will always remain the same. If that makes sense.
Pffft! You really haven't met any good critics. From the sounds of it, that forum is not a good place to get critique. There used to be really good one's on a site called gaiaonline (one of them even made this www.gaiaonline.com/forum/art-d… in the art discussion section, but most looong fled thanks to the snotty kids and bad mods. They were harsh as shit, but really passionate about what they liked. I would say that you're not the only one, but other than that one I haven't really gotten much criticism that I didn't agree with or had much interest responding to. What you said about requesting critique did remind me of another one. There was this time I requested a review for my webcomic, the person that did the review read it as a boys love comic, so most of the criticism revolved around that. Aside from some of the technical stuff like panels, speech bubbles and art, the review was completely useless. I did tell them it wasn't in the bl genre and asked if they would have still reviewed it the same knowing that, but they never responded. I was partially my fault for not stating it wasn't, but they probably should have asked if it was before assuming, although I'm sure they were offended since the wrote me a novel. (which I really like)
It's really funny when you tell them the female you drew isn't supposed to be an triple EXCFW bra size, they can get so offended. In a way I don't really understand when people say certain proportions are unrealistic, unless it's really really off, (like some of the females in Disney movies) people's proportions are vary quite a bit. Like, while there is always some super basic shape you can go by, no one has the same details unless they're identical twins and even then it's not a given.
Aww I was just teasing you. Yeah, I really can't. Went to the zoo once and did some quick sketches of animals, but I couldn't take it seriously enough to do more than that. Naaah, you're never alone. There's always someone out there like you.
Ooooh! I can understand that, middle/high school science is terrible! You should have seen if your school had sex ed, now that's a “science” class with takin. -nudge nudge-Middle school and high school in general just suck.
Lol your journal header got me, I'm always attracted to things about artistic advise and the like, and feel a need to opinionate on it for whatever reason. Respectful arguments are totally healthy, they keep the mind sharp, and I agree this is really interesting. Also to be honest, you're the first person I've discussed stuff to this extent with on this site... but up until recently I wasn't even active here, sooo yeah! It's nice!~
I have seen those type of people too. I dont think it's neccesarily a bad thing; I have seen some who obviously are lacking in things like anatomy but still manage to make good art - I used to think a while back that I thought everything was neccesary in order to make appealing art, but I've realised, since all I really want i just pretty looking things, there are a lot of people who do somethings in such an appealing way that I realise, "I dont care about the rest." And I dunno. Like ?? Some people are good enough... to not be good... in some things. LOL. And; again we seem to disagree; but that is ok haha. @ thematic business
Yeah it is not a good place for critique; as admin I have tried so hard to fix it and we have only managed to cool it down a bit as to... lessen the amount of shitty crtiqiue and pricings being posted; but it is hard to change people. I have been on gaiaonline but I never managed to get.. into it? The way the forums function just seem so developped and strange to me (plus you cant get real money out of it?? I dunno man..) Hahaha that critique you got on your webcomic is a complete other case aswell; people in general just misinterpreting what your work is or what you meant to do and ranting off on this huge derive and then when you tell them "oops 4got to tell u that that's not what i was doing." then just like go "oh" and dont bother to review it correctly. I dunno how I feel about that. You cant get really angry at them; unless they, like mentioned previously, are really uppity about it. Otherwise it's just an honest mistake I guess? Or maybe the fact they mistake on that is critique itself, who knows man. About the female proportions things; in the case I was talking about, the girl was drawn with having a pear shaped body type instead of you know, your typical hourglass. It was HILARIOUS let me tell u hahahaha. How many facepalms were witnessed that day ah... And I agree! I have often gotten a lot of shit over how long I draw my necks (I am talking more insults like posting only one word;"giraffe" as critique, or things like that) and I must argee that a lot of people do not have say, long necks, but damn. Some people do. ORELSE THERE IS MY FAVOURITES (that I have seen around, not to me but to others) - "Men dont have eyelashes" ; "Her face is too masculine, girls do not have faces like that" etc... like straight out denial of things like that. Not even "I dont know if you wanted to give her a more masculine touch", just a striaght out "WOMEN LIKE THAT DONT EXIST". Crazy. That kind of goes into socially accepted stereotypes for genders and such though, so that's awhole other problem... Back on the proportion thing, A lot of people who, generally, have learnt anatomy theory or the like and have no much practice OF said theories, will give out critique on proportions that will basically tell you that whatever you have drawn does not fit the reference of the human body they have studied (which is a model that probably only a handful in the world looks like..). So that is problematic too.. I mean I am not someone to draw very varied body types, that is for sure, but I think it is pretty important to like... have the knowledge and understanding that people DONT LOOK like things like that? that people are diverse and you simply cant go up and tell someone that however proportions they chose "dont exist". Adding to that; a lot of the time people assume people wanna do realistic things when the work is infact stylized. eh.
I ACTUALLY AS A KID, I used to be horse crazy?? And I was actually really good at drawing animals (for a kid) because I would always draw them at zoos, can you believvvv. But I guess my interests have shifted. Apart from maybe birds and horses still but heh. + In france we do not have sex ed class but it is a subject studied in science? So we cover things like that, but probably not in that much detail haha. No the science classes were ok? Like I rather that to physics. (Sorry I say science when I mean biology; in france it's just called science haha;; sorry if that is confusin)
Yeah you know what, I really like convos like this. Most of the time when I talk to people like... one on one searchign advice, or like other things, people I feel just agree with whatever I say and I think that doesnt throw my point across aswell as exchanging someone who has varying views. It's just a better experience haha! I have a faire amount o watchers but I hardly get some proper interaction with them, which makes me kinda sad. :C lol
*nods* I'm trying to push myself to draw things out of my usual subject realm, aka women and flowers, because there's lots of things I want to draw but just never try. This was a helpful reminder that not everything I draw has to be a complete and postable piece of work. Also I'm in agreement with you on the being able to draw everything statement, that's what camera's are for these days I've seen plenty of artists that are able to render anything but some of there work lacks soul because they didn't particularly like the subject. I think having a strong interest in what your working on is vital to the final outcome. <sorry for length of reply
ah man there's some artists that have great skill in drawing everything and their work is superb! I dont really agree that it lacks soul, I just think that it's not for everyone, goalwise hehe.
Women and flowers is like my fav thing to draw hahahaha. If you want to do more things, just push yourself and do it! I always am like scrolling through something and i see this thing... usually some type of clothing and im like damn, i need to learn how to draw this type of thing. Then i do. LOL. So if you want to do something, do it and dont put it off cause... !! yeh
and plz, its ok, have you seen the length of some of my replies :C /crying
ehee, Ok so to clarify I didn't mean all artists that are great at rendering anything you put in front of them lack soul, there are just certain ones I've encountered where I can tell what their fav subject matter is but they don't do it all the time. Not to say it's terrible work, you can just feel that they like drawing (for example one of my very good artist friends) clothing much much more than they like doing still life, they are damn good at whatever you ask them to do, but you can definitely feel more personality and passion in certain pieces. SO I guess that goes along with the thought that rendering everything is not for everyone.
Hmm EVEN IN THAT CASE THOUGH, maybe they have other reasons to not do what they like doing (like if they work professionally for example?) or maybe they just aspire to do many different things, and they are still learning on some things. hence why some of their work looks better / they have more practice in it? I dunno I try not to jduge LOL. Like in this case, maybe they do still life for practice or for class; in which that is ok too? What I mean to say is that what I said in my rant is when you are treating art for yourself. Theres a lot of factors that can influence why you might be doing different things, and that might be the case here!
Most of the instances I speak of are when we are sat down in front of something in class and the professor tells us to draw, so you're on mark there. I'm not in particular trying to judge said artists, but this conversation has made me realize that I need to reevaluate how critical I am of others work. Because the other artists are very good, I rarely take into account that they are trying to expand and improve just like I am. So thank you for the fresh set of eyes, I'll try to apply that new perspective as I look at others work from now on.
ahhh you know that is ok. I am very critical to people on their work aswell? But more linked towards how i know them as a person and how it relates to their work rather than like, critical on how they do their work. I have to work ont hat too haha No problem!!!
I didn't really realize how pressured I really felt to hurry up and "find my style" until I read this. It WAS ranty haha, but it also really made me think about how I've been going about growing as an artist. I just got to the point where I've been breaking things down on my own and I have been drawing a lot lately and not posting a single bit of it. It's taken a lot of pressure off me..
but I was still really tense and focused on "getting my own style". So thanks for helping me feel more confident about just letting it happen. I guess I was kind of unconsciously afraid that if I didn't actively strive for my own style that I would never "find" it. I need to keep this journal in mind and I'll probably read it from time to time when feeling stressed out about my art, because it's inspiring and helps me to chill.
Yeah I think that the fact of posting your work becomes very pressuring? Like when it comes to the point where everything you made is to be posted online for others... you start rolling into some kind of "i am doing this for other ppl's approval" kind of thing. And thats not always a good thing right? Whenever I am feeling blocked or have friends blocked, i am like, "go and doodle and draw some stuff on paper for yourself and just dont show anyone."
Style is the type of thing that you find when you stop searching. And sometimes you dont even realise you're building yourself an artistic identity even from real early on; little habits and things you do when drawing that may seem normal to you, but they might be things that stand out to others. You feel me??. I think everyone is afraid to never be identifiable and to never forge themselves this kind of identity but in the end I mean like... we are all individuals I do not think it's possible to, with time, not build something reflective of you.
Thank you for this, it really got me thinking about the direction I'm taking myself in... I'm walking a similar path to the one you described and am just drawing whatever comes to mind and playing with things as they become apparent, with a few strides forward in general skill, knowledge, and understand of my artistic practices coming along every so often in sporadic bursts.