How to Be the Best Art Student

  • SVS OG

    alt text

    Art by Tanner Garlick

    Whether you have been drawing professionally for years, are a college student, or are coming back to art after a long hiatus, we are all students. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be the best student you can be? In this episode we go over some negative mindsets that students sometimes have, share tips on improving your learning and ability to be taught, and share how you can best utilize SVSLearn and online learning resources.

    This is a good one, we go over how you can get the most out of SVS. Thanks for making SVS and these forums such a wonderful community.

    Click here, to listen!

  • Moderator

    Since I stumbled upon SVS and all the great information that the Holy Trinity has put out into the world, I have said that I have learned more from them then I ever did in college. Listening to this episode and reflecting back, I believe that I just didn't make the most out of my classes. Some classes I was on board with 100%, and others I was too arrogant and stupid to see what I needed to see. In junior college I had a GREAT art professor, Gary Pruner, may he rest in peace. When I moved on to the university some of the instructors didn't live up to my expectations. They weren't as good as Gary Pruner, and since I learned everything I could from Mr. Pruner I knew better... arrogance of a young mind. Hindsight is 20/20, right?
    I remember an especially humbling experience, when my instructor, for our final, wanted me to do TWO large panels while everyone else was assigned ONE. I thought he was dissing me so I grumbled about it. His answer was, "I thought you could handle it. I guess you should just do one then." Now a smart person would have said, "Thank you sir may I do three?" Instead I came away like I won and only did the one panel. If I could go back in time and slap some sense into myself I would.
    Once again, thank you Will, Jake and Lee for showing us the way. Here is my daily 5 minute sketch of my take on the Holy Trinity as animals. BTW, I totally pegged Lee as Squirrel before you guys said it. Had me laughing so hard I had to pull over.

  • I always learn so much and gain such guilt/motivation from your podcasts.

    I have to admit that I'm impressed when you mentioned the one student that filled a sketch book every month!

    About why some job ads might include the need for a degree or equivalent work experience, it could be in case they have applications from other countries, a degree makes applying for a visa much easier in most countries.

    Thanks again for another great episode.

  • SVS OG

    Loved this episode as always. I especially liked the part about getting the most out of SVS because I'm one of those people with limited time and an amateur who didn't have the benefit of art school fundamentals. When I first started with SVS there was so much I wanted to learn that I didn't know where to begin. I decided to set it up like school -- for ex. MWF courses on color, T TH courses on drawing. I've done that for 2 years but it seems like a lot of it goes out of my head as soon as I try to do a piece so now I've gone to an inductive/deductive approach. When I start a composition, the first thing I do is list the areas that are going to be most difficult for me and spend some time reviewing and practicing those specific skills. Some subjects, for example, will need me to really understand perspective, or some may be very character heavy and require more review of anatomy. I try to do studies and review of the pertinent SVS videos before I start the illustration. I just started this approach so I can't tell how well it's working except that I don't feel as overwhelmed by feeling I need to know everything at once!

    By the way, I agree with Lee as a squirrel (fast on his feet, acrobatic, and fun to watch), I see Will as a bear in the wilderness, quietly majestic but warm and wise, and Jake as a beaver -- busy, organized, and determinedly resilient. (Around here, if someone tries to break up a beaver dam, it will just get right to work rebuilding it.) I hope you read those as all complimentary because they are meant to be ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pro SVS OG

    @burvantill "Holy Trinity", lol that is fantastic! Love the illustration, especially Jake being embarrassed by Will and Lee....too funny! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • Moderator

    I currently teach at a university, and this episode sounds really really really familiar... hehe...

    Becoming a theatre-maker isn't quite so different than becoming an illustrator except that the work is done with others and not so much by one's self. But still, each collaborator comes to the table with skills they have to develop--acting, costuming, set design, construction, box office, marketing--they all require a great deal of dedication to make those skills develop.

    There is a debate happening right now in arts education in general around the development of skills. There are two kinds, it seems--skills that require the artist to know how to use a tool that makes things happen faster, or skills that can't be quickly mastered and take a long time to accrue. A lot of folks nowadays are taught that if you don't instantly demonstrate "talent" in something that makes the doing easier, they shouldn't attempt it at all because it's not their strength and therefore a waste of time to keep trying.

    It sounds like both theatre and illustration require diligent practice and repetitive failing upward to move forward. And that's hard to swallow for a lot of people. So they come up with a lot of excuses to "redefine success" and change parameters so the amount of effort required is decreased. I see this a lot in my world, and it's hard to watch. I can pick out the people who will be successful practitioners not by their homework or their natural talent but by their attitude and their approach to learning. I think, in the end, people have forgotten how to approach learning as their own educational experiences in the past are almost diametrically opposed to how a college situation works... People struggle. And flounder. And it's the rare student who can rise above their "programming" and embrace a new perspective.

  • @demotlj I like the idea of reviewing specific SVS videos that are pertinent to a particular project. I've been thinking recently about how to study better too. I'm in the same boat of having full time job and not a lot of extra time to spend on art. I am going to do what this episode recommended about keeping a note-taking sketchbook to write and draw notes from the SVS videos, and doing assignments from the videos. That should help me learn a lot better than just watching the video alone.

    I also really liked what this episode said about figuring out what your art goals are. I am just doing art as a hobby, so my goals aren't to get a job in art or make any money. Generally, I like the satisfaction of having finished something that I am proud of, so I have a goal of getting to point where I can finish personal projects like paintings, drawings, maybe short comics, etc. just for fun. Since I really only want art to be a hobby, I try not to feel guilty when I don't have a ton of time to spend on it. Thanks to Jake, Will and Lee for the episode!

  • Thank you for another amazing podcast! I enjoyed it all and want to say also thanks for the advices on how to get the most of SVS. In fact, I realize that I watch more than I do ( damn, tv generation!! ) partly because i'm an hungry and impatience learner, and one bad effect of this is that I paralize myself because of the quantity of content I fed my mind, and my mind/hand doesn't get chance to try in a more natural pace. Result : anxiety and self sabotage! THANK YOU guys!

  • @Jake-Parker Great podcast again, of course, and this one has bonus vocabulary words!
    It was interesting to hear the tip-offs from the students that demonstrate how much/little investment they have in the classes. I have a good friend who is an instructor in a community college with a great animation program--and his comments are in line with yours. Sometime I think formal education is a bit wasted on the young.
    I especially appreciated the thoughts at the end re how to get the most out of the SVS classes. I am working on the plan I created from Jake's tips in Podcast #2. I'm glad to hear that you guys are considering how in the future you might be able to incorporate some strategies that make these classes a bit more similar to classroom-based classes. I would appreciate cohorting of students in classes and providing more exercises that help the student structure applying the new concepts. I try to come up with these on my own (with limited success)-but perhaps groups of students could help come up with some. I hope to take one of the Live classes soon.

  • Iโ€™m listening this podcast right now. I always look forward to them. Thanks so much for your commitment to teaching!
    I have to say, Iโ€™d be all for having tests or graded homework with the SVS subscription! Thatโ€™s an important piece I think would really help me grow as an artist. Please do it!

  • @Jake-Parker your podcasts are my ~monthly treats - totally makes my day when I see a new episode posted. This post in particular was very helpful in how to make the best use of time. Thank you!

  • SVS OG

    @DreaGryphon woah!!!๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… this is a long one.

  • SVS OG

    @DreaGryphon iโ€™m sorry you had that experience at BYU. I sense that you have some issues. Perhaps It would be best to talk this with a professional.

  • SVS OG

    @DreaGryphon you could be right. Will is not teaching in college now tho.

  • @NessIllustration Vanessa, I find your points to be very constructive, rational, thoughtful and considerate of the complexities involved on all sides.

  • @Erin-Cortese Thank you very much for your post. It means a lot to me. I feel really bad for that one student of yours. I was a bully victim in grade school so I can really connect with that. Knowing it continues into college is sickening. Thank you from learning from that experience and trying to do better.

    It is hard to give people the benefit of the doubt. I'm a very judgmental person deep down, but I'm trying to do better and be more empathetic. I still have a long way to go.

    And thanks! Most of my artwork that's online is so old now. I haven't managed much over the past few years for lots of reasons, but I'm trying to get back on the art donkey!

    *creative writing teachers are the BEST!

  • I would like to apologize for my previous comments. I was insensitive and made a terrible first impression. I ask for your forgiveness and for a second chance to prove my worth. I have removed my comments and will do my best to be positive and helpful from now on out here on SVS Learn Forums.

    I would still like to say that listening to headphones might be the only way that student can get anything done in class, like if they have ADHD or something, so I don't think that listening to music during work time automatically makes them a bad student.

    And some students really have trouble integrating into groups of people. Some students might need an invitation to participate in order to even start making friends in class. I don't think being socially challenged necessarily makes someone a bad student. Networking challenged, yes, but not a bad student.

  • Pro

    @DreaGryphon It is hard to admit to admit when we may not have been as good as we thought, especially when it's something we pride ourselves in and is a big part of our identity. I remember in high school I was THE art kid, the one that was the best in school at drawing and painting. Once I went to college... not so much! I found myself surrounded by people as good or better than me, and it was hard to adjust and take critique. I commend you for admitting that and reflecting back with a new light.

    I'm sorry for arguing back so hard and hope you weren't offended. This forum is full of adults and professionals who are here voluntarily because they want to keep learning and we're all very dedicated about improving ourselves and being honest in our self-reflection. I think your posts came off a little immature compared to what we usually see here since you had a very emotional and defensive reaction to the podcast, which was not about how to recognize a bad student but about how to be a better student. It's all about improving ourselves, not attacking anyone. I will gladly take down my posts and forget the whole thing if you're more comfortable that way.

  • SVS OG

    @DreaGryphon cool tip though, Will also has ADD. So perhaps you should take his classes. He may know what youโ€™re going through and be able to help you in your situation.

  • Great podcast. Do it again! Every student dreams of becoming the best. Because of this, students become slaves of their college. You can read about it in the essay on the service I believe that the educational system should change because competition between students should not exist.

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