Older than most to art

  • I love the podcast-love Will.Jake.Lee A friend over at the Sketchbook Skool recommended SVS-as I love narrative art, this seems like the place. A very good friend's husband is an illustrator and animation teacher at a local technical school and he's been literally telling me to study 3d perspective.

    So I'm starting this at 60. It gave me the grins when I heard in Episode 2 of the podcast "older being about 30".

    I'm looking for guidance in how to divide my drawing time. I still work full time-so on weekdays get in 60-90 minutes. On the weekend its 3 hours/day.

    I enjoy most and feel like I'm "really drawing" when I'm sketching badly from imagination. I think of my creative process as being excavation. But these drawings are not so good because I don't have much drawing experience. So I started the Basic Inking class--and then went over to Fundamentals. They're good-but they feel like work rather than "real drawing".

    I take Jake's point that no one tells kids to sit at the piano and play whatever they feel like-so is learning the fundamentals sort of like playing scales or chords on an instrument.

    How do you balance? For those with less time to devote to this than they like, do you do all work/study? 80% work, 20% "play"?

    I appreciate your thoughts-including "stop whining!"


  • Now I have a lot more time to devote to enhancing my skills however a friend of mine reminded me that I can still create works and proceed to learn classes and practise lessons as I go. I thought I had to just stress over getting the basic foundations right before I could create. But I also wanted to learn to draw from memory and from my imagination, many times with references so I learn and practise and put what I can into creating from my head and it has helped a lot. Inktober is helping there a lot as well.


  • Pro

    It's an interesting perspective! I've never really thought about it that way, of fundamentals not being "real drawing". To me, fundamentals always felt like they were teaching me the skills to be able to be creative. I never felt like I was able to draw what I saw inside my head until I learned the skills. Whenever I was learning something like 3D perspective it always gave me so many ideas like "ohhh now I could draw a city underwater! I could draw a house on a street being devoured by a dragon! I could draw..." If you're learning how to draw perspective by drawing square boxes on a grid it would be the most boring thing ever, granted... You could instead try to think of something you would like to draw, and try to apply the theory to that to learn. There's always a way to frame it so it's interesting to you. Even if you're drawing a still life, instead of drawing a flower vase maybe it a guitar or a stuffed toy, or whatever you think would be fun to draw 🙂

    As a concrete example, I learned perspective in animation school and my first assignment in that class was really fun I thought. The theme was "An extraordinary event in an ordinary room". If you want, feel free to take that theme for yourself to do something with it! It was an amazing assignment to learn to draw a normal room, yet still have fun with it and be imaginative.

    Good luck in your learning journey!

  • SVS OG

    Hi, Susan,

    Welcome to the club - I'm also an older person, working full time, learning drawing and art, with less time than I'd like to devote to it. I generally get up an hour earlier every weekday morning so I can get in at least an hour of work/study every day. For me, that's worked out to be about the only set-in-stone time I have. Sounds like you're doing much better with your schedule 🙂

    I know what you mean about "really drawing", though. Fundamentals are so important but often really dull. Sometimes I make a deal with myself - for example, set a goal of 25 boxes in perspective, then go draw something as a reward. Funny thing is that when I reward myself with drawing from imagination, I get frustrated with how bad it is and want to go study basics again!

    I really feel that we can achieve our goals, though, if we keep learning and working towards them. As long as we have vision, hands and minds intact, we can still make art regardless of age.

  • SVS OG

    Hi Susan: Welcome! I am 54 and have similar thoughts.
    I read somewhere that the right ratio to follow is 20% study of a fundamental 80% drawing practice of that fundamental. One of my big mistakes early on was just watching a bunch of videos but not actually practicing the drawing part. Because drawing is physical not just intellectual my hand and eye weren't getting reconnected to my brain in an 'artist's way'. So I was just getting frustrated and wasting time. Once I accepted that its just the way it is and started practicing everyday, things started to improve in micro ways.
    Like Kat said, I reward myself with my own stuff after I practice - participate in the contests here or do an instagram drawing challenge for a week or just draw a bunch of thumbnail ideas - something like that.
    For me 'real drawing' is expression of my ideas as I see them in my own head and I feel I am getting closer to that . These forums are great for encouragement on those days when it feels like too much. And it is great to post your stuff and ask for feedback here too - such good free advice is hard to find out there.
    Good luck on your journey!

  • SVS OG

    @susan-marks Hi! I'm older than most as well. I think the balance depends on what you need, what motivates you. Decide what skills you need and work on those, but if you find yourself losing motivation, do something that brings you satisfaction. The important thing is to keep working one way or another!

  • SVS OG

    I feel like I should weigh in since I’ve got you beat age wise by a year (61 in two weeks) and I also work full time, six days a week. I’m impressed with how many hours you are able to do right now! It makes me feel like I need to get more disciplined 🙂

    I try to do 1/2 hour a day of watching videos and if I’m lucky an hour a day of painting. (Right now I’m trying to learn watercolor painting.) I save sketching and practicing fundamentals for the evening while I’m watching TV. (I have a lot more creative energy in the morning.)

    I find the hardest thing about doing this as an older person is that I want to learn everything right away and I have higher expectations for myself than I did when I was younger. I’m sometimes my worst enemy.

  • In podcast 2 when the host used 30 as being “older”, the balance of the podcast lost credibility and interest to me. I’ve not really listened since.

    Good art is good art, the age does not matter and I am sure few art directors would even know the age (or care) of the artist.

    The issues facing “older” artists is not much different than a younger or young artist. Other than talent/ability, I think all artists face the biggest issue of time. If you are a working professional artist drawing and creating are a part of your work day but for the rest of us it simply is shoehorned in when and where we can.

    Like most here I work full time +, have family matters to attend to and have a second volunteer job 5 nights a week. It’s touch to fit time for artwork.

  • @jimsz I don’t think that the gentlemen meant the podcast to come out as age-discriminating but more of a thumbs up for people getting ready to make a switch in their career and not being scared to make the jump. To tell their audience that you don’t have to be young and gone through art school to be able to follow your dreams even if they happen to become more of a reality when you’re “older” and more settled.

  • Pro

    @jimsz If I recall, when the host referred to 30 as older all 3 of the speakers erupted into laughter. It was obviously a joke poking fun at the fact all 3 hosts are at least a decade older than that.. I wouldn't take it that seriously if I were you and if you stopped watching just because of that, you're missing really great content and useful information.

  • SVS OG

    @jimsz I agree with @nessillustration that Jake, Will, and Lee were joking about old being “over 30.” They are all older and all have families which is one thing I enjoy about the podcast. They have a lot of real life experience to share and have had to balance work and family for a long time. I listened to another podcast about illustration in which the host said that they had gathered a panel of people who had been working in art professionally for “some time” and would be talking about their experiences. It turned out everyone on the panel was under 30 and no one had been working professionally for more than five years. Three Point Perspective is rare amount the podcasts I’be heard in that it is not at all age biased. Give it another try 🙂

  • @jimsz if you can get past the well intended references to how many years constitutes olde, this episode was one of my favorites and most helpful.

    Age and “older” is a matter of perspective for sure. With each passing year, Mekong old requires an even higher number-those horizon gets pushed out.

    I’ve gotten such good feedback here and so many ideas I’ll respnd to later but just wanted to say I didn’t think any of the comments on the podcast about how many years old any of us take this on we’re meant as anything but supportive.

  • Hi Susan.

    I'm older and work full time as well. I am also going back to school at community college part time. So between 2 courses per semester, work, and having teenagers, there isn't much time left!

    But I do manage to do some art every day. On my lunch breaks I sketch or draw or plan out my next piece for a half hour. I usually can find at least another hour before or after work/class. I probably do art about 15 or so hours a week. I also listen to art podcasts sometimes at work or watch speed paints before bed.

    I flip back and forth between learning and having fun. I started a couple of years ago, and do get frustrated I am not further along, but have to be kind to myself and remember I can only do what I have time for. I was a college art school drop out at 19 - if I had only stuck with it!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @jimsz I can assure you, you heard that reference in a way that we didn't intend. 30 isn't old at all. I had just started painting at 30! haha!

  • SVS OG

    @susan-marks The fundamentals are important but it is also important to do things that are fun for you, IMO. Be creative with the skills you have and do projects of your own. The more you draw and learn, the more you'll see where you can improve. It is hard work to get better but it can also be fun! Mix things up. Learn the fundamentals and apply them to what you want to learn to draw. My biggest challenge is perspective, I think. I have a project that will involve a truck and a parking lot with cars so, I am trying to take what I learn in the perspective class and use it for my project. (when I'm not sidetracked by things like Inktober and monthly prompts, etc. ) BTW, I'm not new to art but I am 61 years old 🙂 I am fortunate to have lots of time to be creative at this point in my life. Have fun!

  • SVS OG

    @jimsz Hi! I’d just like to correct you there. Yeah 30 is definitely older. What they say is true. They are not wrong. 30 IS OLDER. Their credibility is still intact. However, they’re not saying 30 and above artists create works of lesser quality. In fact, they even further discussed in the podcast that no one cares about an artist’s age. As long as the work is good, it’s good. I encourage you to give the podcasts another chance. There are really some nuggets of wisdom in there somewhere.

  • @nessillustration I think some of your thoughts and suggestions might work for me. You’re right in that while I like to draw from my imagination, I do get frustrated when what I draw is so far from what I see in my head, but more importantly isn’t believable. So going back and forth between that fun creativity, working on the fundamentals helps improve the believability.

    I’m really struck by the ideas on the podcast about having a good, or the “ mountain” that I’m trying to move toward.

    I had a good but mean piano teacher when I was a child. I really wanted to give up but my mother negotiated with me to stick out the school year and then I could quit if I still wanted to. I somehow found the musical score for The Sound of Music, which was technically way over my head. But I went for it, practiced and practiced and got to play it very well, alongside m boring scales and tempo exercises and all that. But it rejuvenated m love of piano playing and really took back some control. Your post sparked that memory, and so I’m thinking about how I can do something like that with my drawing.

  • SVS OG

    @nyrrylcadiz , I found that as I got older, my concept of what qualified as "older" changed as well. If you're a person in their early twenties, 30 may seem older. But if you're a person in their 50's, 30 seems quite young. The idea of "older" is all about perspective, really.

  • SVS OG

    @kat I'll never forget what my younger sister said when she started coloring her hair at the age of 40: "I always said I would never color my hair but I never thought I would feel this young when I was this old."

  • SVS OG

    @kat so true but i believe your age didn’t lessen the quality of your art, right? Age really doesn’t matter when it comes to art.

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