Follow up on What it means to Improve

  • If I want to get better at drawing, I need to draw everyday. I know of projects I want to do, I know a sense of the issues I have as an artist. What I need to do is be okay with where I am and allow myself to grow over time. This is what I've come up with now and what I'm going to do moving forward. I've been stuck and stopping myself focusing oon theory of art and art-making rather than actually making work. This has my skills and portfolio greatly suffer because of the lack of work and personal growth. I keep imagining the end goal and holding on to expectations. A sense of expectation and challenge is good, but I need a bit more freedom to grow as I rarely finish projects and rarely draw in general. Again, a lot to do with lack of Self-Discipline and responsibility. I need to have, and hold priorities so I make progress on responsibilities and artwork/skillset and not just get lost in video games and social media. @Jake-Parker often mentions how he would skip watching tv, movies, or hanging out with friends when he was my age to continue drawing and growing. I need to do more of that. I also need consistent progress on drawing and generation of work. This advances my experience which enhances my skill. I also need a quota along with this consistency, or something to form direction every-once-in-a-while to take my art into my own hands and into the direction I want to to go into to meet my dream projects and career paths. The direction I go in is based on what I discover about myself and my goals as I ask myself what they are and develop them actively, rather than passively in my head. Basically I need to start writing down my goals and asking questions about what art I want to make so I can find the areas I need to practice or research and copy. This is a frame for admit-tingly an ideal, so in the end the most important thing to do is put in action. I can't look for a "magic pill" to trick myself. The "trick" of executing action is simply executing it. It's the self-discipline of making progress towards my goals whether or not I feel like it that I wish I instantly had more of, but I need to allow myself to grow in that area rather than waiting for "the all answering piece of advice".

    This is to follow up on my thoughts of improvement and where I am as an artist. I haven't been making a lot of work and I need to step up if I need to go anywhere. Hope this helps somewhat, if not, I'm just trying to share.

    To summarize, I need to keep hold of priorities and follow them, and make efforts to show consistent progress of growth and generation of artwork. along with direction and challenge, I should get closer to where I want to be, and its about making progress whether or not I feel like it, training myself to be more self-disciplined. To be responsible and taking my art into my own hands.

    By The Way @Jake-Parker, @Will-Terry, and @Lee-White, The topic of self-discipline is a subject I'm interested in hear your perspectives on. It's my MAJOR issue as an artist and a person. I know for a fact I love art and the creative process, I just need to step up and not a lot of great advice is out there on the topic. What I love about your content on youtube is embracing the "discomforts" that come with being an artist which has a lot to do with self-discipline. If your reading this, thanks!

  • @Ben-Migliore Hey mate, did you read my reply on the other post you are refering too?

    Read that again.

    The other thing I can hear, is there is a lot of "shoulds", "have-to's", "need-to's" in what you have written. It tells me something about your state of mind, like you have no choice in the matter in improving.

    You don't have to do anything. A good idea is to find what works for you.

    Try something and assess if it works. If a new habit, or way of doing something, works for you, then keep it and keep going. If it doesn't, then that is ok, let it go, and maybe come back to it another time.

    My immediate feedback I have for you is to breath and don't be so hard on yourself (We are not machines).

    Assess where you are right now (which you are doing), but don't forget to focus on what is working for you, and just not what isn't working for you.

    Continue to do what is working for you, and refine it as you go.

    Then change what isn't working for you, and move it in the right direction. Start with baby steps. Again, you don't be tempted to go from 0 to 100. Take it one step at a time. Re-read what I wrote. Create and improving your art is a marathon (not a mad-crazy dash). Pace yourself and have some compassion for where you are right now. And don't forget to have fun!

  • Pro

    @Ben-Migliore I feel for people who learn illustration as adults... I learned it growing up, during my teens, and I thought every new piece I did was the most awesome thing ever and couldn't believe I had created it. Now of course I look back at those works and cringe, but not knowing it at the time was really great.

    But I also drew all the time because I loved it and there's nothing else I wanted to do more. Even today, I spend all day drawing for clients and then after I still draw my personal projects because it's fun and excites me. I agree with @Nathan ... A lot of should, have to and need to in your speech. Honestly it sounds like a drag and like you're forcing yourself into something you don't really enjoy. You need to ask yourself why you're not enjoying it. It could be many different reasons. Could be you're putting too much pressure on yourself and it has become more stressful that fun, just another expectation. Could be that your art studies regimen is boring and unexciting. Could be that deep down you actually don't like drawing, and you're only pursuing it because you're good at it so you think you HAVE TO pursue it...

    If it's one or two, my advice is to chill, take at least 2 weeks off from art and then start again slowly, by drawing stuff for fun. Sure you get more learning out of doing studies than doing a fun piece, but if the studies are so boring that you're putting them off and never doing them, then you'd be better off doing the fun piece and at least be drawing something rather than nothing. Know what I mean? Also, try to learn one thing at a time, get into drawing habits one a time, and set yourself reasonable and achievable goals. Having a huge laundry list of things you "need" to be doing is only putting more pressure on yourself and sets you up for failure.

    But do take a deep down look at yourself and truly ask yourself if you actually even like art. I mean your speech sounds like drawing is like pulling out hair for you and you are trying to find ways to push through the pain. That doesn't sound healthy or even normal, really... There are minor annoyances with being an artist and there are definitely days I wish to take a day off and not do client work, but it never feels like I'm pulling my hair out. If you don't truly like drawing, you don't NEED to be doing this to yourself. Only you can end this endless cycle of "I should be doing this" and feeling guilty when inevitably you don't because you don't really want to. If you don't like drawing, go in search of something else that really sparks your joy and stop torturing yourself...

    Whatever you decide, relax a bit and try to enjoy things, because only that can lead to long-term success 🙂 Good luck!

  • @NessIllustration Nailed it. I had to comment because I can online upvote a post once. :smiling_face_with_open_mouth_closed_eyes: Well said.

  • SVS OG

    Do it for the process. I had a bucket list of stuff I wanted to improve on, but I threw it away. I do want and need to improve, but I’m making my own list. I realized the direction I thought I should be heading in wasn’t right for me. I feel it really has evolved or maybe my focus has narrowed. That changes the skill set I need. I can’t get what simonilli (y’all, I can’t remember her name, but will interviewed her and it was amazing). She said, if you say yo can’t draw hands, I bet you can after you draw 500
    Of them. Find the area you love to work on and improve on that. Then worry about the bucket list of things “artists must know.”

  • Hey Ben, I checked out your website, and I like the work you have there. I'd second what the others said about finding what you enjoy.

    It also seems like there is an "illustrator's trap", so to speak, that you may find relates to your experience. Basically, it seems to me that we, as illustrators, can let our minds get ahead of our hearts. That may sound mooshy, but seriously I think that the essence of art comes from an artist's creative and emotional side and is only complimented by technical knowledge. Without soul, art means very little. The trap is when our minds think that we understand the way art "should" be. We become very critical, of ourselves and sometimes others, because we are always looking for technical errors according to the "rule books" of perspective, anatomy, light, color, etc. It can be paralyzing because we can never create anything we are happy with.

    I might suggest balancing the number of art videos you watch, or classes you take, with deliberately making things that are soulful and feel meaningful to you. Our culture is very consumeristic and teaches us to make things for others to consume, but you don't have to show anyone. Make something for the sake of making it and see how that makes you feel.

    I'd also note that this "illustrator's trap" can affect the way we see other people's art in a way that I don't think is healthy for ourselves. If all we see are technical errors, we are blinding ourselves to the heart and soul of the art and the message it's telling. We need to be open to that message as inspiration for our own stuff. So gentleness and positivity in critiques also can help us improve our own work. By practicing that approach, we can use it on ourselves.

    Good luck with everything!!

  • Pro

    @Nathan LOLLL

  • Pro

    @KathrynAdebayo Your comment had me curious and I checked out his website too.
    @Ben-Migliore WOW! You've got skills man! To hear you speak I thought you were in the beginning stages of learning anatomy and lighting or something, but no you're actually REALLY advanced. You've carved out a really good set of skills for yourself and you're way past the point where you can slow down the theory and start just making work. Don't worry, you will still keep learning by doing pieces that challenge you. I think Kathryn is on to something, you've fallen into a trap of forever perfecting your technique and not getting on to make work. Remember that technique is only a tool to convey what you want to express, and is not an end all be all by itself. Don't keep refining your technique forever, because for some of us perfectionists it's never going to be good enough. You can't let that stop you from drawing the pieces in your heart that are waiting to be drawn. And if you have no pictures in your heart that you want to get out... it goes back to my previously mentioned question: do you truly want to draw?

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