I have a problem with having to redraw a picture about 100 times until I can actually be happy with it.
I have a very fast, dynamic way of drawing, filling everything with movement, and it's part of what I love so much about drawing - the physical movement, and the act of bringing something on a 2D paper or screen come to life. The problem is that I'll be happily drawing a figure or something, then realize one of these things:
1) The picture is slanted. (You know what I mean - what you notice when you flip a picture horizontally!) This happens because I'm going with the flow, enjoying drawing the hair blowing in the breeze or whatever, and not paying attention to keeping the drawing straight and balanced.
2) The proportions are off. For the same reason as the above. When I come to my senses I realize I don't have anymore room on the canvas or some parts are out of proportion with other parts.
3) In my perfectionism, I've gone back to fix a few things, which may have something to do with 1) or 2), and in doing so destroyed the energy of the drawing. Or maybe I just began to draw details, but because I did it when I was in my rational state of mind, the lines are dead, the shapes are flat-looking, and the whole thing looks stilted.
I need to do the whole thing in a flash of inspiration, getting everything right and feeling good about it, and not becoming self-critical, until it's finished or the drawing is going to get binned. If I force myself to finish a drawing I've lost hope for instead of binning it, no matter how much I correct it it's vastly inferior to what I produce using my restart-till-it's-perfect method which I think is a copout and a time-waster, not to mention frustrating.
It takes me forever to finish anything and I can't draw a good picture on demand. I know it's partly a lack of technical skill (or fear of discovering a lack of skill), but it's also the fact that I rely on that initial energy, and any corrections I make break the "zone" I'm in. Has anyone dealt with this? It's ruining my drawing life.
Inspiration is for amateurs. As you've discovered, you are relying on a process that is inherently hit-or-miss. So, you either have to accept and learn to live with that, or you have to buckle down and actually learn how to draw. Which means doing things deliberately and consciously until you don't have to think about them any more. That's what knowing how to do something is.
Last edited by Elwell; March 3rd, 2012 at 11:43 AM. Reason: typos
**Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial
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"Work is more fun than fun."
"Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
Your restriction of performing a mature process is superseding the first order of learning the process. While I can see your passion for romantic artistry, It is not conducive to learning how to emulate it to start so far ahead.
What is conducive is a practical method for acquiring that performance.
Break down the process you are trying to emulate into discrete chunks under the idea that at a slow speed you can do it.
You should aim to perform correctly consistently.
Learn each separate stage without necessarily building on previous stages.
Once each is mastered and can be preformed regularly, you can place each piece together.
Then you can now keep your mind on you task presently and worry less about past stages as your probability of performing correctly them was high
It is arbitrary, but it may help. Performance will come with the slow merging of these mastered discrete steps into a continuous and distilled process.
No surprise, you will only be able to do that specific process well though.
Another method is to gather a set of general skills that will handle a multitude of problems that come up frequently. This set of skill are usually referred to as Foundation skills and draftsmanship is an example of one of those skill sets.
So, basically, you rush into a drawing without thinking or laying in any preliminary groundwork to make sure the composition, proportions and everything are working...
This is a very common beginner approach. As is relying on "inspiration". If you actually want to make progress, you might just have to buckle down at some point and concentrate on all those nitty-gritty things that you currently have no patience for. Checking and re-checking proportions and relationships and values. Working out the whole composition before you start filling in details. All that sort of thing.
What's going to happen is that yes, sometimes drawing will feel like a chore, and yes, the results will often be "uninspired", and YES, you will create mountains of crappy practice drawings that you'll end up throwing away... And you may go through a period where you feel like you've lost your "inspiration", and there will be all kinds of soul-searching and so forth... BUT. Once you've actually learned and practiced all those potentially tedious nitty-gritty things that are part of learning to draw, you'll start to internalize them, and sooner or later they'll become second nature.
And then you'll be able to draw quickly and naturally and have fun with it while making far fewer mistakes. Because by then your drawing will be backed by accumulated experience and knowledge.
Like Elwell said, after you've taken the time to learn all the nitty-gritty of how to draw, you won't have to think about it... Or at least, you'll know when you can go with the flow and when you need to stop and think, and what you need to think about, if anything.
If you're happy and satisfied you can continue to live in denial and never fix things. As long as you can get away with doing the same old shit you will continue to do the same old shit but when the same old shit no longer makes you happy, that's when you have a real opportunity to make things better.
Of course it's going to feel uncomfortable and dissatisfying at first but after you have gotten used to the changes you won't remember or believe that you ever worked differently.
Well the fun of being a perfectionist with drawings is the more you learn the more you realize how far from perfect shit is. Kind of like how little anime fanartists think their broken boned flat characters are awesome. The moment you start to learn more about what your trying to achieve though you realize how flawed it is. Then you either give up or keep plugging away to learn it until it's less flawed, and closer to perfect.
edit: by 'fun' I was being sarcastic of course if that wasn't obvious
Last edited by JFierce; March 3rd, 2012 at 04:50 PM.
Next to slowing down, try not to be focused on being a perfectionist because it will hold you back at this moment. It's easier said then done and I'm a perfectionist as well, but I feel much more relieved and content during my drafting that I don't worry about the outcome. And in the long run, it becomes second nature not worrying.
.. or with that approach switch to digital(if you already haven't), and you can easily change your mistake.
Also take a look at one old video by Nox(Massive Black), witch i highly recommend, he repainted one figure 23- or more times, until he got what he wanted
I can sort of be a perfectionist myself. Although sometimes, you've gotta realize that no matter how much you labor over a piece, you're always going to be able to find something wrong with it. ALWAYS. Sometimes you've gotta just simply commit to what you've put down and not let the flaws hold you back from finishing your work. Although at this stage, accuracy is important. Just don't let the little things in a piece, that no one is going to notice, slow you down.
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If you're producing slanted, ill-proportioned drawings, you're not in a "zone!"
(At least you're NOT in a "zone" in the way that term is used in relation to elite athletes.)
Thanks all for the excellent advice.
Huh. Interesting, "slow down" seems to be the advice I get in all areas of life.
I guess I've been kidding myself for a long time, because I've been drawing since I was less than a year old, and thought that I MUST be good and just couldn't acknowledge any crap I made. Because the stuff I came up with using my dysfunctional method looked so good I wanted to believe that was what I was consistently capable of.
I fluctuate in skill so much I know it's a mental issue as well. But yeah, my skills are going to be limited unless I face it.
I'll follow all the above advice and see where it takes me.