Monday, June 10, 2013

Advice for Aspiring Artists Pt. 2

Here's the continuation of yesterday's journal discussing the importance of hard work. If you missed it, click here!
In part two I'm gonna talk about one of the biggest roadblocks I hear from artists who are having difficulty getting in to good study habits, so without further ado...

WISDOM NUMBER TWO!! Don't wait for perfect weather and stop making excuses. So often I hear things like "I don't want to waste paper" or "I don't know what to draw" or "I haven't found a good tutorial" or "I don't want to study perspective" or any number of things along those lines. I'll be blunt and just put the answer out there now: get over it. If you want to be an artist, you have to do the work, end of story. And with all the time you've spent thinking, wondering, being uncertain, and searching for that magical art secret of power, you could have filled 10 pages in your sketchbook today and increased your skill by an exponential amount.

Paper is not "wasted" by being filled with bad drawings, that's what it was made to be filled with. In fact, what even is a "bad" drawing? One of the literal definitions of the word bad is "Not working properly", something that's not fulfilling its purpose. Well, if you're drawing in your sketchbook with the goal of improving, is a "bad" drawing a drawing that doesn't look like Rembrandt drew it? Or is a "bad" drawing something that didn't teach you anything, because that was your goal in the first place? If you fill an entire sketchbook with drawings you couldn't pay people to hang on their walls, but you learned from it and are now a better artist, then you have a sketchbook of very good drawings!

As for not knowing what you should draw, it's a lot easier than you think. Look around your room and draw the 3rd thing you see; spending 30 minutes drawing a stupid sock will increase your skills much more than scrolling through 80 different tumblrs for 3 hours trying to find the perfect, quintessential reference to draw from. If you run out of socks to draw, then be a little more thoughtful and try to analyze weaknesses in your work. Do you have trouble with hands? Draw your own hands, google image search hands and draw the first 50 results (50?!?! Remember the hard work part?). Like I mentioned in part one, having great resources and a meticulously planned curriculum does help, but if you don't have that then don't let it hold you back from drawing. Drawing something for 30 minutes a day is far better than trying to decide what to draw all day and never actually drawing.

Now for something a little tougher to digest, which is that you must be self-disciplined enough to study all aspects of art. If you don't want to put in the effort to study "boring" subjects like perspective, anatomy, color theory, etc. then I guess you don't care enough to become a great artist, because those are the prerequisites. These things are the push-ups you do before you enter the boxing ring; they're boring and repetitive, but you do NOT want to go in to the ring without having done them.

And lastly as far "I don't have time to study." goes... Well, simply put if you don't have time to study, you don't have time for success; and how much time do you spend on facebook each day? Watching TV? Playing video games? If you spent just one tiny hour (about 1/16th of your waking consciousness) every single day studying and drawing, you would progress faster than 80% of other people claiming they want to be a professional artist someday. Also remember that consistency is as important, maybe more important, than quantity; drawing for an hour a day every day is far better than drawing for one 8 hour stretch once a week.

I know this part probably comes off as a little rude and blunt, and it is, but remember this: Firstly, I'm not judging anyone; this journal is for me as much as it is for anyone else, I need to get my arse in gear and get disciplined too, so don't hear this as the criticism of the high and mighty. Secondly is that I think a lot of beginners need a reality check when it comes to art; it's become a very flowery discipline where everything you do is awesome and all your relatives think you're just the greatest, but the cold, hard truth of it is that it's hard and it takes a lot of work. If you really truly want to master it, you'll have to steel yourself against all excuses and get started immediately. Heck, if you want to prove your dedication, close your browser right now and draw for a solid 2 hours, you'll be glad you did.

More tomorrow in part three. :)

And some more studies, too:

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