EPISODE 08: YOUR CREATIVE BANK ACCOUNT



  • @joen-söderholm That was only in the script because it gave the book more importance.



  • Another good podcast, guys! I think the idea of taking yourself on a creative date that @Lee-White mentioned is from Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" .
    I find recently that focus (or lack of focus) is my biggest challenge. So I tend to not want to do too much wandering off track for fear of losing focus completely. As a result, I can spend weeks and weeks in front of my desk just slogging along. ( I also love solitude so that doesn't help)
    The podcast was a good reminder that actually living life is ok too - and I shouldn't feel guilty about reading a book or watching Shrek again. I guess the trick for me is knowing when I am filling my creative bank vs when I am just procrastinating!



  • @missmushy YES!!! Finding that distinction and that balance is such a tricky challenge!!



  • @jason-bowen does that change that writing stuff down is a good way to keep track of it?

    We all have different approaches to our ideas. I don't think we can say that certain approaches will always end up with something more "false and wooden" than others. It's more about what works best for you. I like to write down my ideas because I know that I will forget even the good ones in my mind's constant flow of bad, mediocre and good ideas. Also, it's just interesting to look back at my own train (to a magical land) of thought.



  • @joen-söderholm I agree you should do what works best for you. I use to write every idea I had down and most of it was rubbish haha... I came to the conclusion that my great ideas are the ones I always remember.



  • Thank you for this podcast. It's timely. I have two small kids and now that school is out for the summer, I have gone from 4 hours a day to work on my stuff to 0 minutes. Needless to say, my sense of progressing in illustration and my portfolio is dead in the water until the fall; however, this shifted my mindset from grouchiness and despair to more acceptance. Now I take a few moments to peruse art books, space out at the ocean, and plan trips to museums. I realize there are seasons for active work and seasons for more creative composting.



  • Great podcast. Love the idea of the "ideas book".

    The idea of an artistic date is from "The Artists Way" by Julia Cameron. I love taking time out of the week to re-energise my creative bank account 🙂



  • This podcast is great! It’s packfull of really useful and insightful stuff. Thank you! I have read Choose yourself and found writing my ideas geeat but I never did anything with them. But after the podcast, ship happens I’ve been motivated to make my ideas more than that!
    I agree with @Lee-White I had trouble finishing a sketchbook for fear of “ruining” them. I’ve seen other people’s sketchbook online looking really nice and like a showcase book and as soon as I have a bad drawing in mine I abandon it! Referring to it as an idea book is a great idea. Oh! And isn’t the “taking a train to a magical place” idea pretty much Harry Potter?



  • I missed this episode while I was on vacation but I am catching up! Lots of great thoughts here and I agree with so many of them, so to keep things short I’ll just say I love this episode. I came here to say that the Artists Date comes from the Artists Way book but I see that @Concept beat me to it. 😉



  • Hi!

    I practically agree with everything about the CBA and the ways you propose to feed it.

    But to what point that methods creates a diference on our drawing capacity? I think not

    I read comics and books all my life, I watch a loooot of films and series, I watch a lot Animation, Anime included (One Piece fan). I'm a sports person, I snowboard very decently, mountain biking, longboarding... I dance every day for 5 years now. I was an illustration collector and a professional Tattoo Artist for 10 years and professional Photographer and Retoucher last 3 years.

    My CBA is good enough I believe....

    And I don't have any way to access it. I'm very good at copying things, I can draw very good realism with a source or a model in front of me. But when it comes to creating something.... I'm blank! I can not picture in my mind the things I want to create.
    I think that any regular person today has a biiiig CBA only from watching tv, films, series... any person. But some can actually access that CBA and others not. So my point is "Are you confusing the access capacity of the CBA with building that CBA"?

    Thanks for your work. Is helping me a lot!!!!!

    I let you with one of my tattoos made like 12 years ago.

    0_1533922840206_mr.hyde.jpg



  • @zombie-rhythm said in EPISODE 08: YOUR CREATIVE BANK ACCOUNT:

    And I don't have any way to access it. I'm very good at copying things, I can draw very good realism with a source or a model in front of me. But when it comes to creating something.... I'm blank! I can not picture in my mind the things I want to create.

    I wanna make sure I'm understanding you correctly: Is your problem that you don't know how to execute your ideas without using an exact reference to copy, or is it that you don't have any ideas in general?

    If it's that you don't know how to make work without directly copying reference- then it's just a matter of building up certain art skills. Have you studied perspective drawing and building up drawings using simple 3D shapes? If I gave you one photo of a teapot and asked you to draw that teapot sitting on a cube, and then draw the teapot and cube from many different angles, would you be able to do it? If the answer is no, then once you study perspective and constructive drawing, and after that perhaps lighting and color, you will be able to start combining that with your observational skills and reference to create anything you want.

    If it's just a matter of not having any ideas in general, then I don't have a good answer!



  • Hi!.
    Second case. Not that I don't have any ideas, ideas are free and they are everywhere. Ideas are never the problem. Most commercial successes started with a very bad idea. I can't visualize scenes with detail and style good enough and we can draw what we can visualize. I want to create worlds like Frazetta or Bisley. Worlds with his own personality, not copies of real life but real life inspired.

    Exactly, We Don't Have A Good Answer!

    My point is: Are we completely sure, without a trace of doubt, that "building" a CBA is necessary? Are we completely sure that we all don't have CBA enough since we were children? or even in that case, Are we completely sure that creating the CBA make us better artists and not worst or not worst not better (which I think is the case)?

    Because I think that we are talking about two different things, the existence of that CBA and the Acces to that CBA. The simple fact that we can recognize things are proof that the CBA is already installed in our brain. Berni Wrightson and other artists could draw things that they never view before, for example. I imagine a long room full of resources, some people have the ability to open the door and enter ten meters, others can go further and some even reach the bottom and take whatever they want, while others can't even open the door easily.
    And Frazetta example which I mentioned in another post more extensively. Frazetta had the "power" to access the CBA and lose it over 8 years due to a Thyroid gland problem. Over that 8 years, he was incapable of making good art. "All the marvelous images that normally came to my mind stopped"

    Because if that is the case, we are working in a completely different scenario and we have to concentrate on mental exercises, visualization, meditation, etc... instead on looking for things that we already have.



  • @zombie-rhythm I think of it in a more basic way. The brain gets into a "seeking" mode, (curiosity) and craves new experiences of one form or another. When you experience novel things, etc., your brain forms new neural pathways. I know that when I go do something new, a whole cascade of ideas will begin, and many of them have absolutely nothing to do with the thing I am experiencing in the moment. Sometimes an old memory is jarred to the surface or combines with something new in a usable way. It's more like the experience is a catalyst for setting off the cascade of creativity, often helping me to access what was already there. "Creative Bank Account" is a sort of linear description of a very nonlinear process. Of course, everyone's different. Maybe that was just a super wordy way of talking about inspiration, but that is how it happens for me...



  • @zombie-rhythm Question: To use Lee White's term, which "art tribe" would you like to belong to? If you could pick 3 artists who's work you'd most like your work to look like in style and theme who would they be?

    Another question: You say you can draw realistically with reference, but do you have strong perspective drawing skills and constructive drawing skills as well? See my teapot question above and answer it.

    I ask these questions because I feel that sometimes you simply can't access your creative bank account if you don't have the skills required to, which is why not every one can just do art. It's why some people who can make realistic work with reference can't do realistic work without direct reference. They haven't developed the skills. Frazetta and Wrightson, how ever they developed it, had strong skills related to perspective and visualizing things in 3D. They manipulated reality to make their own unique vision. So how can you visualize things? You learn how to conceive of objects and worlds in perspective and in 3D.



  • @tessaw Hi TessaW, thanks for your time.
    I answered the second question when I said "second case". I meant that I have the skills. All my life learning. In school I was considered like "the guy that can draw" and in illustration academy I was considered like one of the talented.
    But I didn't want to make this about me. I'm actually in a good moment. I'm talking about a problem with the approach and I say the things that I experimented.
    You say that "you simply can't access your creative bank account if you don't have the skills required to, which is why not everyone can just do art". I couldn't disagree more with that opinion. Skills are not important at all. When a person has the capacity to visualizing things, that person can draw, simple as that. Everyone can learn the skills but not everyone can draw. Is like learning chess rules and be a good chess player, totally different things. There are millions of examples in the world of artists who could draw very well before learning the rules and acquiring the skills.
    A tattoo artist friend of mine is crazy. Can draw everything and has his own style, never went to school (and I don't mean art school only). He tells me that he signed once for classes and that the first day he felt that already was better at drawing than the teacher and left. I tell him two things, first, "is not important that you draw better than the teacher, you are there to learn rules and acquire skills, composition, anatomy, perspective, volumes, values, texture, color theory, etc" and "Is not indispensable to learn on school you can learn on your own but you have to learn it, study. Since you are drawing every day, talking about art, etc you are constantly learning but you have to read some books too etc." I felt that he wasn't listening anymore, as if drawing were the most simple and easy thing to do and he was not interested in studying.
    I completely agree that if those people learn the skills they are more complete artists, but the lack of skills is not an obstacle for them to make good art.
    Of course, you can learn skills and make art using references but that for me is more like craftsmanship. Is not render natural, doesn't have flow, don't create real styles but "collage handmade styles", and don't create worlds.



  • @Zombie-Rhythm Ok. I was just wondering. It's really difficult to gauge where someone is coming from when you don't know their goals, or have a clue on what their work looks like currently.

    I could also draw very realistically using reference, and was also considered very talented in art school, but could not make up my own stuff, which I wanted to simplify and stylize anyway, without direct reference or visualize things, until I studied perspective and constructive form. When I tried to make up my own paintings, I could just not figure out how to execute my ideas until I learned specific skills that was unfortunately not taught to me in school. Studing perspective and construction gave me a better ability to visualize. After that, I could manipulate shapes, turn things around in my head, visualize different angles, and could logically reason where light and shadow would fall, without direct reference better, where before I couldn't at all. I think for some people those skills come very naturally without much physical drawing work, but for others they have to study to get to that point. I definitely had to study. Observational drawing came easy to me- gaining the skills to build more imaginative stuff and to visualize took a lot more grunt work for me, and I'm still working on the skills to visualize better.

    Thought that might be your problem too- having great observational drawing skills, but not enough studies related to drawing more from your imagination. I guess not though!

    Well, hope you find how to access what you need to make the work you want. Good luck.



  • @tessaw
    I think that this is confusing because everyone has a mix of skills/talents. Like love and sex, there are completely different things that make good cocktails but that definitely we can separate. But once we have it all tangled up we can not say which is which.

    For me, the capacity of "visualizing on the mind/drawing" is a skill, and "rules" are a different skill.
    Visualizing if is strong in one person he can draw very well without knowing any rule. Like this friend I told you, at the end of the day he draws immeasurable better than me because he does it without effort, simply from his mind, and I have to work and my draws look always force on composition, etc. I have to draw and see and erase and draw again, trial and error, while he just draws and rarely he erases something.
    And rules can make an artist more complete.
    Everyone can learn rules. But can we learn to visualize better?
    Well, that is my experience and I put myself like an example for that reason. I quit on illustration years ago because soon I understood that I could not never be like Frank Frazetta and because I was constantly fighting and always frustrated. I become a Tattoo Artist because that is very easy, at first, but when you go high enough the limitations on your drawing capacities start to have weight. I could copy, make portraits, etc, but I could not develop my own style.
    And after learning photography which is very easy too, I come back to illustration, but this time I know more, I read a lot over these years and I have a lot of experiences. For starters, I don't want to be like Frazetta anymore or like any artist, I only want to have fun, create and do something "mine". So the first thing I started to do is stop fighting against my own "style". Now I try to work on the style that comes naturally to me which I dont like it on the first place because is like cartoonist and is weird. Is not good but since comes naturally I can work over that and building it better. And the second thing is starting focusing on my visualization skills and try to potential that through meditation etc. And that is what is making a difference. Is slow but definitely I'm improving for the first time on years.

    Is for that that when I listening to all these themes, CBA etc, my opinion is "you are looking at the wrong place, that is not important at all" Every single person today has a "library" a thousand times bigger and better than Frazetta, Rockwell, pye, Rembrandt, Botticelli.... And that does not make us better artists, but once we can draw, once we can visualize, then that library make us more creative or at least make our art richer or more diverse

    Thank you for your time answering all these things and trying to find correct answers!



  • @zombie-rhythm Just tuning in with some random thoughts - you initiate some fascinating discussions!

    I believe most of what you talk about is a matter of “intensity”. Actually, I sometimes feel this is the major stumbling block for many artists and aspiring artists who struggle with turning their vision into reality. Art is like sports or music in two ways:

    • theory alone (be it attending courses, reading books, binge-watching YouTube videos, looking at other artists´work, etc...) while necessary in many ways will do very little to progress actual skills;
    • the amount of single-minded practice and hands-on training that it takes to excel at art (as music and sports) is enormous - and consistently underestimated.

    To keep the parallel, being good in the high-school sport team is by no means an indication that one will go on to become a professional athlete. Being able to play the guitar decently doesn’t make one a professional musician - let alone a successful composer.
    A professional athlete trains every day, several hours a day, his/her whole life. A professional musician (talking about classical, not pop music, though I think this is true also of many pop musician) has not only spent decades practicing an instrument several hours a day, but keeps on practicing set pieces as well as new ones throughout his/her professional career. A composer probably lives and breathes music in every waking hour.

    The “visualization” skill you mention is not an innate and mysterious talent: it´s the result of all the hours, days and years spent looking and drawing. First copying everything and anything, from reality, photos and images (and anatomy and perspective and all the other fundamentals are big helps in learning to really “see” what you´re looking at), and later - much later than many think - slowly developing the visual memory to draw without reference, and - later still - the design sensibility to imagine and draw what doesn’t exist. I know it took me four years of consistent daily practice to be able to draw a decent human figure without reference....and it was a thrilling moment, for sure!

    Frazetta wasn’t a born talent - he started attending art school lessons at 8 years of age, started working in comics at 16 and only about 22 years later (think 22 years of drawing comics professionally every day) he started creating his masterpiece book covers. Kim Jung Gi, the Korean comic artist who can draw entire scenes out of his head directly in ink, mentioned in an interview that he has been drawing almost compulsively, every waking hour of the day, every day since he was a schoolchild, filling several sketchbooks a year. If you look at his sketchbooks even now, you will see not only fantasy scenes but also everyday people, buildings, etc... sketched from life: he is still practicing.
    Winsor McCay - an illustrator and animator active in the early 1900 and endowed with a similarly ability - also drew all the time, doing often several dozen commissions per month. Same is true for another artist in the same league: Gustave Dore, who famously produced enough drawings to keep a team of 22 etchers busy with making printing plates.
    And another recent example: Aaron Blaise, an exceptional draughtman who draws preferentially animals, has worked as animator for over 30 years...and still spends weeks studying the anatomy and making life studies of an animal before attempting to design a character based on it.

    These people were not “different” in terms of artistic skills. They simply had the obsession, interest and opportunity to draw A LOT, from a very early age and kept or keep doing it with the same intensity throughout their life. You cannot compare yourself to such artists or aspire to become like them if you don´t have the same amount of drive, time and obsession that they demonstrate.
    It´s like dreaming of being a world-level athlete but only jog around the block once a day...

    Obviously I cannot guess how much time or discipline you dedicate to art. I know for myself that with a day job and two kids, the fact that I only got into art seriously with 39 and the fact that I also try to write, the level of draughtmanship demonstrated by these people is out of my league and will probably always be. Even if I draw on average 3-4 hours a day (some days more, some days less), it´s just not enough....



  • @smceccarelli
    I agree that talent is not enough, the necessary time, the proverbial ten thousand hours to master a craft is necessary. I say that people with talent that do not work don't "get there" and people with little talent who spend the time working yes. But "there" is a very different place for each person. The best one person can get in art is different than the best others can get, and there are big gaps "there".

    When you say "The “visualization” skill you mention is not an innate and mysterious talent: it´s the result of all the hours, days and years spent looking and drawing". I don't say "mysterious". I say that people usually don't focus on that ability because is something we can't describe, untangled from the mix (like for example we can say" you are good t composition but have to work in anatomy), or simply understand. And perhaps is developed a little through years of drawing indirectly the same way if you spent your life working as a docker sure you are growing some muscles but not even close as if you go to a gym with a proper and specific training. And the specific training for that important ability is not drawing.

    Because people with this talent draw without difficulty, they draw a lot and continue drawing because they have results and have fun. I don't say it can't develop a little the more you draw, but I don't see significant changes on artists. Good artists were good from the start and "bad" artists were "bad" from the start.

    We all are different, and this is a talent much more important for an artist than rules because rules are easy to learn and don't make a big difference, and yes, some people just have it, or I think that more exactly is to say "have it unlock".

    That we have to work is a given.
    Again, Frazetta went to art school because the teachers say he was very good and on art school, he was great from the beginning. That Frazetta worked a lot.... not even close to others contemporary illustrators but he worked a lot, yes, without effort until the malfunction of his thyroid gland which left Frazetta without the capacity of visualizing images for 8 years until they found the correct dosage and cure for his problem. If you want to know about Frazetta start with the documentary "Painting With Fire". You'll see what Berni Wrightson, Simon Bisley, and others have to tell about Frazetta. We are not all equal, we are all different.

    Is clear that "the Beatles" would not have been "the Beatles" without the 10.000 hours of training and concerts that they indeed had when they started to create his great work but is clear too that there's only one John Lennon. And some are Ringo Starts, they are good craftsmen because of hours of training but never are going to create "imagine" or any other masterpiece.

    I don't have kids (Possibly because I spent ten years working as a Tattoo Artist drawing every day. Tattoo artists we earn a workaholic reputation. and that cost me a relationship) and my draw sessions are and always were from 5 hours to 13 or 14 hours. That is normal for me. I sleep 4 or 5 hours normally and I'm active and awake the rest of the time.

    But again, this is not about me. I realize things through my experience and put myself like an example to make a point that I think is important. Is about the CBA and if that methods to feed the CBA allow us to create better art or simply different art. I think is the second.



  • @zombie-rhythm said in EPISODE 08: YOUR CREATIVE BANK ACCOUNT:

    Because people with this talent draw without difficulty, they draw a lot and continue drawing because they have results and have fun. I don't say it can't develop a little the more you draw, but I don't see significant changes on artists. Good artists were good from the start and "bad" artists were "bad" from the start.

    I disagree. I've seen too many artists that draw and paint horribly become epic fantasy painters within years, and on the flip side I've seen many "good" artists unable to draw from the imagination after years of being "good". The difference is the type of studies they are doing. Certain type of studies can drastically improve your art, even if you aren't putting in as much time as someone who draws 12 hours a day. Of course it will go a lot faster when you combine the right studies and lots of drawing/painting time.

    What do you think of someone like Noah Bradley? Look at his examples of his academic drawing- pretty decent. But his attempts at fantasy were pretty bad. After about 5 years or so of the right mixture of study, he drastically improved his work. You might not agree that he's at Frazetta level, but I think it's impressive.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMtCvejakT4&t=941s