Hello from Melbourne
Hi everyone. Bit of background: I work as a freelance graphic designer but many years ago started out studying art history followed by visual arts and some illustration (Followed by a decade+ of office jobs to pay the bills until I went and studied design to save myself!) I enjoy design and it's great to have regular creative work but drawing remains my real love and illustration my dream. It's what makes me feel most like me. Only problem is that I haven't consistently drawn in about 15 years so I'm HORRIBLY RUSTY. Drawing confidently and easily seems like a distant memory.
On the bright side it means that I'm approaching this like a beginner as I want to learn things from scratch (not to mention that I always had weaknesses which held me back from tackling certain subject matter). I couldn't be more impressed and excited by what I have seen in the Foundations Curriculum so far.
Does anyone have any tips on how to approach online learning in a structured way? An hour every day? 2, 3? How long should each course take? I know it's all up to the individual and it depends on the length of the course and what time you have available but just wondered if anyone has useful advice on this as I'm not really used to it. Has SVSL some practical tips on this that I haven't come across?
Thanks in advance.
@JeanW Welcome, I'm excited to see your work here. I truly am a beginner, my background is a middle school art class, a couple of old sketch books and drooling over fabulous illustrations in children's books I've always wanted to illustrate, and I'm finally investing some time to learn and make it happen! For me, the short videos in the classes are super helpful because a lot of time I only have short windows of time to work on things... Sometimes I watch the videos on my phone while I am washing dishes or making dinner...etc. Then practice what I watched when I have a little bigger chunks of time. The people on the forum are super helpful too! Good luck!
blamillo last edited by
Hello from across the Bass Strait, @JeanW! Always exciting to welcome another Aussie.
One thing I did a while back to sharpen my skills in a hurry was to do a thousand quick sketch figure drawings in a week. I worked out that if I spent the recommended 30 seconds on each pose, I could do 175 drawings within a 90-minute block each morning. It was kind of liberating to forget about quality and focus on quantity, and by the end of it, I noticed a big improvement.
Having a measurable goal like that is useful, but not every course starts off with that kind of outcome in mind. I might suggest thinking about course content and deliberate practice as separate things. Watch the videos, absorb the material as best you can, and then design your own practice exercises from there. Think of things you can do lots of quickly to warm up, as well as things that'll take more time or span multiple sessions. The amount of time you spend on it isn't as important as chipping away consistently a little bit each day.
Best of luck!
Heather Boyd last edited by
Hello Jean! And welcome to SVS community and the classes!
I am working through the classes also. Just finished up Shane Hunt's Effective Vehicle Design class. I understand you right away when you said "that I always had weaknesses which held me back from tackling certain subject matter". That class was it for me lols! I hadn't drawn a car since I took Jake Parker's How To Draw Everything class in 2018, haha aaa anyways.
That class took me most the year to get through but I had a lot of things on my plate. But I needed to warp it up and move on. I strayed from doing line work like the teacher planned because my style has some line but not just line and I needed to see how I could apply the instruction to my growing style.
Anyhow, experiment and find what works best for you at this time. If you have Instagram please share.
@Frogpunzel Thanks, sorry I've taken so long to reply. I've had a hectic week but a 10 day holiday starts today! I love it that you are finally making your dream happen. I'm much the same even if we come from different paths. It's a long-held dream which I lost and now I'm starting again. I'll keep it in mind with your dish washing tip that I don't have to set aside huge chunks of time, all the time.
@blamillo Hello! Great tips and advice - I really appreciate it. Love the idea of you working out that you could do 175 drawings within a 90 minute block each morning. For me the liberating aspect of forgetting about quality will be fantastic - I need to get back to the kid who just loved drawing rather than the adult who is inwardly rolling her eyes at her latest awkward creation! Sorry I took so long to reply - just saw your message today.
@Heather-Boyd Hi Heather! Thanks for your lovely message. I'm beginning to realise what a great community this is. For me there are quite a number of weaknesses (although I'm getting clearer on them as I go through the classes - it's so good to finally have someone like Jake make it clear why I've struggled with certain things). Creating a consistent character from all angles springs to mind. I suspect the Vehicle Design class will also prove challenging lol.
I do have instagram but have never used it. Will do so soon. Thanks for the nudge.
Okay, my SVS Learn plans from a year ago stalled badly and I didn't end up doing what I hoped I would (see my original post)! I'd somehow developed a real anxiety/phobia about drawing if I'm honest and despite knowing how good SVS Learn courses were, I avoided doing them. I finally decided to confront the problem head on this year realising that it wasn't a question of a lack of time or life getting in the way and enrolled in the most recent 10 wk Children's Book Pro course. Superb course and one of the best decisions I've ever made. It's just finished. It took pretty much the whole course but I am now back to enjoying drawing. During this period I started learning digital illustration for the first time and find it pretty amazing.
I've just submitted my first ever Critique Arena illustration (Kamari one - tough prompt!) and plan to submit one every month for 2023. I've watched a number of the Critique Arenas and I'm so pleased to finally do it.
Looking forward to getting to know you all and excited to see how my style evolves and skills progress.
Chantal Goetheer last edited by
@JeanW welcome back! What did you get passed the frustrated resentment phase? I'm an absolute beginner and often struggle with so many things that keep my drawings from turning out the way I had envisioned. Not being stuck in an 'i'll never learn it mood' and fear of failure is an ongoing struggle. Happy for you that you've found your love of it back. Looking forward seeing you develop your work!
@Chantal-Goetheer @Chantal-Goetheer Thanks so much Chantal! I think the key is to be patient and not to be too tough on yourself - I've been trying to do that. I think it's wonderful that you've taken it up as an adult. It's a bit like learning a language I think - things start to make sense and gradually you can get your point across more easily. Just got to trust that over time what we're imagining in our head will come out more clearly on paper or the screen. Jake said something in one of our zoom sessions which stuck with me 'the magic is through hard work.' I'm looking forward to seeing your work evolve too!
ArtistErin last edited by
Welcome! I read through the entire thread and everyone here echoes so much of what I am experiencing as we all have our own inner battles and experience setbacks... I can say for sure this community is the best I've seen and I've grown so much since joining SVS last February, I will tell you the most important thing is to not give up. Jake is right, the hard work is the key. I sleep and breathe and fume over illustration. Not a minute goes by where I'm not thinking how I can try to do better, communicate what I am feeling and to demonstrate the fundamentals from where I stand and I hope to be the best I can be. That's pretty much the nuts and bolts of life for us as artists, in the sea of incredible art, to be unique yet honor our own masterpiece in the making. It's not easy sometimes, yet I have found in the last week how much I appreciate this forum and the beauty of each one here, even though I can't personally comment on each post, I see how much value is here.
Anyway, a long reply for you Yes get your IG going, if you can... it helps to have an ongoing evolution that's somewhat visible for your own observation and also understanding the value of networking and collaborations, as long as I don't rely too much on it IMHO... that may change with the speed of tech so a website I feel is important too! This one I am working on and is an ongoing project...
@ArtistErin Thanks so much! All such good advice and ideas. IG - yes, absolutely a good idea. So far I only have one new finished piece - the Kamari piece. Otherwise it's all just sketches but I should start it up with that one piece and go from there I guess. I have a website for design and illustration although the illustration is very old and I'm no longer sure it's what I want to show.
Small problems though!
Katherine last edited by
Hi Jean, I’m from Melbourne too I’m out in the east, in the Dandenong Ranges. I’m finding it difficult to have anything constructive to say on the topic unfortunately — because I’ve been making art now for so long — but one thing come to mind.
I loved the quote from Jake you shared, “The magic comes from hard work”. And I can attest to the hard work, having spent the last year trying to bring my work up to a professional level. I would just temper that with — it’s supposed to be fun Looking back, I think the only way I’ve been making art consistently for the last 15 or so years is by playing, basically. Playing with different mediums, different techniques, different substrates. I think getting the balance between hard work and play right is important. Those fundamental courses are great but I’d sprinkle in a few “just for fun” courses too. The fundamentals are like eating your greens There are so many out there. I love SVS but look on Domestika and Skillshare too. You can get a few really cheap (I don’t know how the content creators on there make any money!) And then there are nerdy art things that I love doing, like making watercolour swatches or mixing a mixed media limited palette grid or researching pigments and what mixes you can make with them! This is what I find fun but obviously for you it might be something completely different. Honestly I’ve gotten so much joy from spending hours and hours doing these simple things — even writing about it makes me happy
Welcome to SVS Jean Hope you enjoy this beautiful day (finally!).
@Katherine Hi Katherine! I'm also in the outer east, Croydon. To explain it a bit more: When I took up graphic design, I just stopped drawing. I just focussed on learning new design skills and building my design career. I had some sad/mixed feelings about leaving art/illustration dreams behind but I'd been working in admin for some time to support the illustration and graphic design offered a creative job with steady income. Once drawing/painting was no longer a habit, I became so rusty that I found it hard to get enjoyment from it, was dismayed by what I was producing. Eventually it turned into a pretty big block! But art has meant so much to me, like all of us here, that I had to bring it back into my life.
Funny thing is I feel like I've matured into some wise old owl or something during the CB Pro course because I'm finally a lot more chilled about it all. Just enjoying learning and discovering drawing again without the heavy expectations and judgement. Which is the whole point of it all. Jake's phrase about hard work I found more reassuring than anything. A little nod to myself 'keep going, you'll figure this tricky part out' or 'don't worry, it's not what you want it to look like, but you'll get there, just persist!' Lee also had a great line about doing the absolute best you can (for a finished piece) at that moment in time. Give it your absolute best shot. If you've done that, that's all you can do. I love that too. Kind of freeing and challenging at the same time.
The good thing is that now my design career is solid, I'm pretty quick at it - just get the design work done and then I'm free to get back to the illustration, which makes my day so much more fun, much more deeply rewarding. I'm doing a fair bit of looking at wonderful illustrations, watching YouTube videos on painting in Photoshop, systematically trying out Photoshop brushes, SVS Learn course stuff, whatever takes my fancy! Thanks again for the nice reply and suggestions. Beautiful day! Walked the dog early to avoid the heat
Geoffrey Mégardon last edited by
Hello! I actually have a similar story. Before 18 I was drawing or making 3d art rather consistently. At 18 I had to decide what to do with my life and went into sciences and programming. 14 years later, I decided that I couldn't continue living without doing everything I could to become a all-round illustrator that could draw anything.
So it's been 1 years and 9 months that I draw consistently, ~4-7h on Thurs, Fri and Sat, and 1h otherwise. My progress has been chaotic because I had no idea where to start and I wanted to learn everything! I have tried so many different online resources, I failed at so many things, I got so many wrong turns and missed a lot of shortcuts I am sure. But I realised that there was no way around it, to try to become a all-round illustrator was going to take longer than to specialise into one topic (e.g. drawing female faces, drawing muscular males, etc).
My greatest achievements is that 1) now, drawing is part of my life again and 2) I have a better idea on how to improve and how to organise my learning.
@Geoffrey-Mégardon Great to hear from you. Yes, very similar. It's funny how pleased it makes me to hear that you are now drawing. I had almost given up - was trying to be content with a relatively pleasant life where I really wasn't following my deeper creative dreams. Eventually I realised it simply wasn't enough. I wasn't at all content about it! Now I just want to improve as much as I can and see where it takes me. It's great that a lot of us are on this journey together.
EDIT: I've just realised that we did the CB Pro course together? Is that right?!
Geoffrey Mégardon last edited by
@Jean-Watson yes, this is right Nodragem is my discord name!
How are you doing now? I am trying to work on a portfolio, now that all the Christmas and New Year things have passed.
@Geoffrey-Mégardon Hi! I'm well, thanks. Back doing my design work and fitting in illustration study when I can. I am currently working on an illustration commission - got it a bit sooner than I was anticipating and so it's taking a fair bit of time!