Time management



  • Guys I'm finding it extremely hard to judge where I should invest my time. Like should I study figure drawing for one hour, two hours,four hours a day? Should I divide my time between stuff? Light and shadow, perspective, figure drawing, anatomy in the same day?
    I'm pretty afraid of time. And I've been told I'm impatient and rushing stuff. Wanting to know here and now without going through the steps maybe. But this issue really cripples me sometimes. And I feel it's one of the obstacles I should get over to continue.

    Do you know what I'm talking about?



  • Hi,

    I think there is no universal answer for this. It depends on your personality, your current skills and goals.

    I'm struggling with this a lot too - there are soooo many things I want and need to improve in.
    I don't have the capacity to laser-focus on one thing at the moment, so I picked a couple of different things that are in the foreground of my mind and I try to always work on the thing that I find the most entertaining challenge.
    I know that this way I make progress way slower than I would otherwise, but this is something I can keep doing within my current circumstances. As I'll have a different rhythm of life I want to adjust it and be more strategical and mindful about how I study.

    If you are the kind of person, that works better within a structure - take on a class or find a mentor and have them dictate the pace and the structure.
    If you want to self-manage your time, you have to measure up both your art goals as well as study capacities.

    For figuring out what to invest time in, take a look at what kind of works you want to be creating and what fundamentals are you lacking for that (asking for the insight of artists with a well-trained eye would be helpful for this) and building on that analysis, you can set up your priorities on What to start practicing first.

    When it comes to how to divide your time, again, know thy self. Patience can be achieved with training, but I think there's a threhhold of frustration that doesn't help you I think, so make manageable stretches. 🙂
    If you start doing a study of something and your attention clocks out, but you want to keep drawing, switching to something else can be a good idea (may that be another kind of study or drawing for fun). Don't abandon the first thing though - get back to tackling the beast the next day.
    If you work best by getting completely immersed and tunnel vision on one thing - learn that way.
    If you need to jump around among a few different things not to go crazy - do that.
    The latter might take longer to advance as, but anything works that keeps you going and not growing to hate the learning process. In my opinion anyway. 🙂
    Get started and keep going - it takes time no matter how you go about it. But you can course-correct and switch strategies later if your current one doesn't seem to work.



  • Do you mind sharing your work now, and how you'd like your work to look like in the future? It's easier to give advice when you know where someone stands already and where they want to go.



  • I know what you are talking about. I just got back into drawing seriously a year ago. The amount that I still have to learn is daunting sometimes. I am impatient too probably because I am so late in the game and I feel like I will be in my deathbed before I master all of this. Some of the helpful advice I got on this matter was from a YouTuber artist. He suggested that maybe to be a good artist, you don’t have to be good at everything. For me, that took the pressure off. I sat down and made myself a list of the things that I want to be good at. And then I put the list in order of difficulty. I’m starting with the least difficult (and most fun) tasks first. That way I build enough confidence in my ability to drive myself to work harder. The more I draw, the more it becomes clear to me what skills I need to work on next to get my drawings up to the level that I am happy with.



  • @TessaW Here's my instagram. https://www.instagram.com/koralliaandy/
    I think my pieces are generic and dull. I would like to improve my linework and inking since I like to work in ink. (But I realized I've been using ink as a crutch. Like, it's easy to get a piece looking good quickly in ink. So I'm using that so that my sketchbook looks beautiful.)
    I want to do other things than what I'm doing now. Compositions with character designs or even landscapes but I lack in my fundamentals skills that are required.
    The fields that interest me I think are comic books and children's books illustrations.
    Off the top of my head artists that inspire are Jake Parker, Leah Furhman (pookadoodle on deviantart), VixieArts, mr.zazb on instagram, Nicholas Kole, Goro Fujita. Jake Parker for inking and nice designs, PookaDoodle for excellent character design, VixieArts for amazing feline character design, Nicholas Kole and Goro Fujita for their colors. Again that's off the top of my head to give you an idea of what I like. Others include the artists from Imaginism studios, Wouter Tulp, Kenard Pak, Nicolas Marlet...

    @Feleri we sound similar in the way we think and work. Thanks for the insight!
    @JODY that sounds efficient and a good way to approach things. Seems to take the weight off a bit.



  • @TianLian I think you're too hard on yourself. I would not call your art dull at all-it's the opposite in fact! and I wish I had half of the inking skills you do.

    @Feleri already makes some really great points and like she says, there's no universal answer.

    I will say that you're advanced enough in your skills that almost any topic you choose to invest your time in will serve you well. So I wouldn't stress out that you'll be wasting your time. The most important thing is that you give enough attention to your topic of your choice, that you are learning a theory, you are doing drills based on that theory, and you apply it to some kind of finished piece. Don't think you need to learn a certain topic all in one go. As long as you put in good effort to the topic, you can move on to another one, and always come back to a topic again.

    You could study 1 to any number of topics at a time, as long as you are putting enough time and attention to each topic. Make sure you are working on that topic several days in one week and make sure you have at least one day to rest your mind. You could work on it 1-3 hours a day for 6 days a week. You could work on it 2 hours every other day. You could work on one topic for 30 minutes a day and another topic for 2 hours on the same day. I don't think the specifics are important, as long as you are getting in enough time to learn the theories and are doing assignments within the week.

    It may help to make a list of all the things you want to study. Break down that list into specifics if you need to. It might be enough to put just "values" for one topic. But for anatomy you might break it down further into gesture and the different body systems. Try to put them into a general order of study. Then just start working through the list. Some things like gesture, you might be working on for 15 minutes a day for months at a time. Some things, like hand anatomy, you might work on for a week. Be flexible. You might add things to the list, or take some things away, or change the order, and that's ok. Every once and a while stop to evaluate your schedule and the things you want to learn next. When you've made it through the list, do another one.

    I'll make a general suggestion of what to study and in what order.

    Work on anatomy every week.
    Brush up on some perspective skills.
    Move on to black and white light and shadow theory and values.
    Move on to some color and light.
    After that, who knows? Go back to perspective? Learn about composition? Again be flexible and reevaluate as you go and pick up new skills.

    If you start getting uptight or stressed, perhaps give yourself a mantra to tell yourself. My mantra is often: "Relax, have fun, it's not that serious".

    Good luck! I hope you find a system that works well for you. I"m excited for you!



  • @TessaW thanks for your kind words. I don't have many artists around me and one that I've been talking to has been really harsh and kinda rude. He thought that me asking many, many questions was me trying to find an easy way of doing things. But can't I have the right to be hesitant to do something difficult and something I know I won't be good at? I really should let go of my ego and my need to control things. He's honest and blunt and that can be good, but he makes me feel like crap most of the time. So thank you. It's been a while since another artist said good things about my stuff.

    The advice I took from all of you has been amazing. I will always come back to this thread and read your suggestions. After that it's just a matter getting over myself and my impatience.



  • @tianlian I’d stop talking to that artist if I were you 🙂 I think your work is very imaginative and that you clearly have the ability to advance in whatever area you choose. I’m coming to the conclusion that 70% of improving artistically has to do with learning to turn off the doubts in one’s head and just keep pushing on, and that’s hard enough to do without having someone else feeding those doubts.



  • @demotlj Exactly. Mindset is everything. And yeah, I should stop talking to him. Since there's this awesome community right here!



  • @tianlian I looked at your work, too. I think you have a great style going and it is not generic OR dull. You have a wonderful sense of line and I love the how your loves of curves and round shapes give everything an organic quality. I would keep going to these forums, Artists like @TessaW @Teju-Abiola and @rcartwright have been great sources of encouragement and help for me and I have only been on here for two months. During that time I have learned more technique and practical stuff than in the entire last 5 years of my life. And I haven't even started taking any classes yet. (I am a teacher and the school year started. Kinda cramping my style when it comes to time for my own art, even though I LOVE my job. The monthly challenge is about all I can manage.) Keep it up. Try new things and post them on here. We will cheer you on!



  • I like your work and it has a distinct style. As far as time management goes for learning my approach has always been to study the things that come up and cause issues when I'm working on a piece of art. and I have painting in my mind that I know I would struggle to paint right now so I know those are areas of opportunity to improve. I watched an interview with Craig Mullens once where he talked about having and entire file of unfinished painting he that had issues he was struggling to solve and given that he is one of the best digital painters in the world it puts intoi perspective how hard it can be to learn it all.



  • @chrisaakins I know right?! These people are all awesome! And you are too, thank you for your words! And rock on, on your endeavors as well!

    @rcartwright That's how it started for me too. I saw limitations in what I can make because of my lack of knowledge in fields. It's just that I'm afraid to dabble in things I don't know because of the confusion and frustration that follows. It's the battle I gotta fight right now.



  • I think it comes down to what is going to advance you towards your goals. And, to be fair, I'm kind of ripping this directly from my business analyst husband.... It sounds like at this point you need to first work on an action plan to see where you are and where you want to be in the next 6 months-year. Think big. Be crazy. Then look at what you have come up with and see what you need to do to get there. For example since you said CB and Graphic novels are where you want to go, figure out if that means writing one, sending your portfolio out to art directors etc.
    Once you have your goals, write out all the steps you need to take to get there. For example, if you need to work on your figure drawing or ... whatever. Be honest as to whether or not these will actually help you in getting to your goal. If it is a class or a topic that sounds fun, but won't actually help you on your goal, be honest about that and put it aside for now. It's fine to do it at a later date, but focus on your goals first (I personally have the HARDEST time with this, so I'm having him work out an action plan for me and he's a built in reminder to stick to my plan since he can come into my studio at any point and see that I'm taking that ZBrush class that I don't really need...) 😉
    Every time you have one of those "Should I be spending so much time doing "A"? moments, take a look back at your goals and what you need to achieve them and see if it will fit in and is it needed right now. If not, spend your time on something that helps - i hope that helps
    And know that you're not the only one who struggles with this! Best of luck!