I am a member of a classical guitar message board, and we do indeed sometimes have a somewhat similar situation there, with people who have never played an instrument before, and now they have endless questions about which brand of guitar they should buy, which brand of strings, which electronic tuners, should they play with nails or not, should they spend ten minutes per day practicing scales or fifteen, and so on and so forth, and some of them just never learn that music is made by a musician, not by fancy equipment, and not by rigid sets of rules. For them, indeed the best advice would be to just go practice a bit.
Perhaps we should have a sort of unwritten rule here that if you want to ask questions about inspiration and what kind of pencils to use and so on, you should include a link to your sketchbook. If you can't draw, then all advice you need is to take a sheet of printer paper from the printer, take a common old HB pencil, raid the kitchen for an apple, egg and coffee mug, and draw what you see.
I am of course biased, because raiding the kitchen for subjects to draw is what I am doing at the moment, to the virtual exclusion of anything else. :-)
Gotta say though that drawing such humble things has already greatly attuned my eye to looking out for light and shade and tone, and also to the sheer beauty and intricacy of absolutely everything around us.
My sketchbook thread:
Thanks for the insight blogmatix. I have often wondered about whether other creative communities have to deal with the same issue...it seems they do, to some extent at least. Again, I'm guessing this is an internet forum phenomenon for the most part. Though I recall one of my plein air instructors confiding in me he hates when people ask what kinds of brushes he uses...so I never asked!
Edit: Blogmatix, could I ask what type of reception these kinds of questions usually receive? If you have a sense of that anyway. Thanks!
Whenever I feel any temptation to start wondering whether I should perhaps just get the "right" equipment, I ask myself this: What brand of paint or brushes did Van der Weyden or Botticelli or Rembrandt use? Answer: the very question would in all probability have struck them as ridiculous.
It seems to me that if it is possible for an illiterate, untrained, prehistoric part-time artist with no reference photos, web, instruction books, sketchbooks, knowledge of art history etc. to do this:
with earth pigments and charcoal on the wall of a cave, then in all probability we are barking up the wrong tree when we worry about materials and techniques and books and philosophies and so on.
Or closer to home:
Done by an artist who made his own materials, had no knowledge of anatomy, had no access to any books by Loomis, or to CA for that matter, and was innocent of modern theories of perspective. Basically just painted what he saw. So perhaps not a bad idea to "just draw."
How about we show all the beginners the above picture and tell them, "When you can paint like that, THEN you can start thinking about what books to buy, which paints to use and studying a bit of anatomy and perspective."
Lest I sound flippant, the above is the advice I give myself nowadays, and it has thus far worked better than anything else.
Most people there are quite patient about it. Perhaps they just LIKE holding forth on their favourite strings/books/synthetic nails/whatever. But I get the impression that, just as happens here, most of the people asking the questions do not find the answers very helpful simply because no two people give the same answer.Edit: Blogmatix, could I ask what type of reception these kinds of questions usually receive? If you have a sense of that anyway. Thanks!
It is true that with both art and music, a bit of structure and discipline will not hurt. But just getting up and DOING is sure going to work better than any amount of research. Both art and music are crafts, not philosophies, and that is where the whiners like me go wrong.
Well, I like to think I have stopped whining now, but you get the picture... ;-)
My sketchbook thread:
I get the feeling some people don't see the main banner anymore.
If you want to get the top, you need to do the work. Yes, sometimes people get stuck and need help, that's fair enough, but this thread is targeted more at people who are asking questions to avoid doing the work, to waste time.
zwarriror, your arguments are basically the perspective by those that sit too much on some parts of the forum and contribute less.
What I'm saying is that, for one - I don't spend that much time in the lounge. The more I did - the more negative I thought of CA. I spent more time on the Art Discussion, but it started becoming Lounge 2. That got annoying. However, I spend other time on other parts of the forum. I find great information to this day that makes me happy about CA. It's not flawless but it still is the place I go to get great information and see so many willing to share it. Provided people also take some time to search for it too.
However, a lot of the time I'm working on other things and other sites, unpaid.
It seems that other people expect this awesome service from unpaid people who are giving their time here. It seems that people focus way too much on the lounge then cry when they clash heads.
You know why "Shut up and go draw" came to be? Because we recognize that there is going to be a clash of opinions, but you're here to draw. You want to relax and talk about other stuff that's fine - but don't come off unsurprised when you're wasting your time on other topics expecting light fluffy attitudes when that time you could have wasted on ...well drawing.
There's a good reason you don't see all the pros on every topic of the lounge - they're too busy drawing. So the more you expose yourself to the chit-chat vs actual drawing ratio the more it looks negative. I spent my time even before getting an account here for years - getting information from it. I could sit on lounge all day or realize I need to be getting the info I need from it most - drawing.
I find more positive information ABOUT DRAWING - which is why I first visited these forums, than the negativity in having different conversations and wasting my time there so I don't make the kind of threads like you do.
Think about that.
Last edited by Arshes Nei; June 26th, 2011 at 02:36 PM.
There's a point when you feel like you've been beating your head against the wall just to stop the pain of sitcom theme songs running through your mind 24-hours a day... It happens especially when you try to make something work for people in the hope that they'll have some fun, and you get posts like this (especially in POW!...); "Damn! This is cool/exciting/not-too-boring/so-beneath-me-that-I-could-do-it-in-five-seconds if I had heard about it sooner and the deadline wasn't tomorrow!" on a 4-week project said by people you've just argued with in the lounge for 5 weeks over the lack of inspiration on the forum.
No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary
Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
I'll be damned. I don't post in Art discussion that much but I think I'll permanently stop posting here (and continue the discussion just in my head). It only felt fresh when I first visited this forum.
Sigh...I'm going to draw a comic book now. Time is running too fast.
Last edited by Farvus; June 26th, 2011 at 02:55 PM.
We've all been noobs at something at one time or another. It is always nice to run into a kind soul that will gently pull us out of the noobiness. <- is that a word? anyway.... without too harsh of a judgement at first.
However, not all noobs are created equal... some are more stubborn and less open to learning then others.
As Kurt Vonnegut would say... So it goes.
Lot of people tend to argue and state their opinions with a lot fewer inhibitions then they would in person, or in a more formal or academic setting. I personally call it 'picking your nose in your car syndrome'
Without other people or a formal setting around us, to remind us of boundaries, we tend to get lulled into the comfort of familiar surroundings, and get a chance to fall in love with our opinion while typing it. Then someone else posts, bursts our bubble in an uninhibited manner of their own, and shit hits the fan.
Last edited by Conniekat8; June 26th, 2011 at 08:42 PM. Reason: consolidates two posts
I must admit I was in a constant state of whining. This is what I needed to hear, thank you So much.
Tommorrow I will begin my journey and stop making excuses.
Solid advice Noah. A lot of people just need to buckle down and learn that art isn't about making it right the first time (myself included). I don't really see the need for debate.. yes there are a lot of redundant questions and yes there are some good ones posted from time to time. You'll never be able to stop people from asking them though.
And we all know the end of his sad story.
By rejecting a certain system of art training you go back to... 100 hundred years ago.
Rejecting old art school system, proclaiming to create "new art", forcing new students to study "by nature" and create art "by emotions"...
We've heard all that in 1920s-1930s, after the Soviet Revolution.
Malevich, Filonov, Petrov-Vodkin - all together destroying ancient casts used for copying and using old academic drawings as wrapping paper.
The movement of Decadence was too strong all over Europe since the beginning of the 20th century.
You didn't say anything new, really.
"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
No, I'm not guilty this time. It's Oscar Wilde.
www.4-art.org - art educational books
www.Practicum.org - art educational portal
firstname.lastname@example.org - my direct e-mail
Russian Academy of Arts thread - all about it
There was a sign on the Academy building, “Free Arts”. “What’s that?”, we asked our professor. – “That’s to be able to create anything, but to create what you want to.”
"When he committed to art as an adult, he began at an elementary level, copying the Cours de dessin, a drawing course edited by Charles Bargue. Within two years he had begun to seek commissions. In Spring 1882, his uncle, Cornelis Marinus, owner of a well-known gallery of contemporary art in Amsterdam, asked him for drawings of the Hague. Van Gogh's work did not live up to his uncle's expectations. Marinus offered a second commission, this time specifying the subject matter in detail, but was once again disappointed with the result. Nevertheless, van Gogh persevered. He improved the lighting of his studio by installing variable shutters and experimented with a variety of drawing materials. For more than a year he worked on single figures—highly elaborated studies in "Black and White", which at the time gained him only criticism. Today, they are recognized as his first masterpieces."
Does this sound like a portrait of a wilting flower who could not make it through the morning without a show of support? I don't think so.
I agree with vineris. If you read up on Van Gogh and read many of his letters to his brother Theo for example then you will see there's noone else who can personify "Just draw" as strongly as Van Gogh does. For fuck sake he even went so far that he sacrificed buying food in order to being able to buy art supplies to continue studies - and thereby getting sick from lack of nourishment! He could have asked his father for money but was determined to make it himself, no way this person could have becomed discouraged.
"I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams" - Zdzislaw BeksinskiMy Happy Little Sketchbook, please check it out and help me get better!
I kind of agree with the opening post. I'm not in school, but I'm studying and practicing to be a competent artist. I was amused looking at the list of questions since I wanted to ask a few of them at some point or another. But for me it wasn't as simple as just stop whining, start working. I had to probe my subconscious to figure out what was keeping me from just drawing, and I realized it was my whole outlook on art that was preventing me from even wanting to create all the time. I got caught up in asking these questions whose answers seemed to hold the possibility of making the journey easier because practicing wasn't fun for me. Once I really changed my views on my craft, I felt (and still feel) such a passion for it that I just practice all the time instead of looking for a magic solution and I'm making a lot more progress by doing so.
But then again, there's some people who just ask this stuff because they refuse to take the time out to look for the answers.
I come back and read this thread any time I start feeling discouraged or like I'm not making enough progress in practicing, and it moves me forward again.
Oh, OK. Got it! But... What kind of pencils, paint and books should i use, so i can start thinking like this?
I am 33 years old. I work in the creative industries in a technical field. I had never been more than curious about improving my fine arts / illustration skills. But then I spent 6 months sitting beside one of the most talented artists - certainly the most talented concept artist - I have ever worked with, and now I have never wanted anything more than to be able to illustrate.
I came here looking for the right forum to ask most of those questions. I feel stupid and naive for wanting a talent so beyond my skills. I feel old and foolish for wasting my time on non creative persuits. I feel directionless and completely aimless - how do I even begin?!
And I just wanted to say, this thread was the most PERFECT thing I could have come across. All the uncertainty, all the insecurity, and all the panic means fuck all. I'm off, right now, to grab my mostly empty sketchbook, flip through the horrifically bad 'drawings' I've managed not to tear out in frustration, and for the first time feel perfectly okay about sucking.
Because many of us have heard or answered these questions so many times they start to seem stupid, but most of us have learned to take a shit by asking someone to help us out. Imagine telling you kid to stop whining and just take a shit.
Also I dont see asking these many questions as being lazy, but being motivated and wanting to know what to do to improve faster.
I wonder how many people have asked these 'basic' questions along time ago but forgot about asking them.
I work in an Art supplies store and had to get used to all of these questions. And trust me i had questions like 'what do i have to mix with silver to get brown' and 'do you have special pens for drawing eyes'.
I think we sometimes forget to look at the point of view of the other. And judge their questions by our knowledge.
Ironically I've read this thread to avoid drawing because I'm feeling frustrated that I haven't broken through the 'wall of crapness' I've been struggling to overcome all week...so I'm going to go and draw now.
I think the title could be modified to stay "Stop being scared, stop working." In the past when I've tried to draw I'd literally stare at the blank page for 30 minutes twiddling my pencil thinking very hard about how to get down the perfect line. Of course, this was before I realized that the only way to make good art is to practice, practice, practice! I've had even worse moments were in a fit of anger I've almost given up on art altogether. It takes courage to realize that while you have to work hard to improve, it's OKAY TO SUCK while you get better.
I´ve never struggled with finding the right pencils or equipment. I have another problem. Three full sketchbooks with ideas/sketches. The problem is that I seem to have a problem executing these projects/sketches into full drawings/paintings. Information overload?
Who can give me some good, simple strategies on how to execute a work from sketches? Either drawing or painting.
Anyone else have this problem?
being at art school, I couldn't agree with noah, and everyone else on here more. Often I find that there's an inverse relationship between whining and working; and not coincidentally, those who whine the most tend to make the worst work. I think we're all faced with these questions at some point or another, but it's so important to "just draw", as others have pointed out.
sketchbook of wonders:
What can I say...really blunt and well written. Congrats!
this had popped up in my head also....very well said, this is what i though as well, even though fond of creativity since childhood, growing up in an asian family that doesn't treasure art very well, had lead me into other paths instead of design. however found my way back to arts in advertising management and communication. even though started off as a servicing person, with self development and generous tutorials from many many kind people around. i live your motto. Just do it it doesn't matter
Catch dsx a.k.a qswitcho @ email@example.com for blogs about design and arts
im sick of this "just do it!" as the ultimate end all be all answer, especially with a subject as complex as art in a universe as complex as ours.
that is literally, literally, impossible.
About 5 years ago I got the idea in my head to build a bass guitar. I played bass at the time but had no idea how to go about making one. I got on a number of Luthier forums and asked the the "dumb" noob questions until I was blue in the face. I had people bitching at me to just buy some wood and get after it (absolutely ridiculous advice in that particular situation). I ignored that type of "advice", continued asking questions, bought all the books I could find, and scoured the internet for addition information. In a years time I was hand making bass guitars of my own design from raw lumber and selling them for up to $5000 each. If your starting with zero knowledge you have to ask those questions to find out what does and does not matter. The days of pure trial and error ended with the introduction of the internet. We have this massive knowledge base at our finger tips and to ignore it and repeat the same mistakes others have already made is simply stupid. Ask all the questions you want just make sure you apply what you learn.