Excellent and inspirational advice all around.
wow this thread motivates me. Great thread guys thanks!
Drawing fills the void =)
refine your skills
this may not apply to everyone depending on your personality and how you best work, but i recently moved into a new house with another concept artist/painter, and productivity has skyrocketed. It has been one of those 1+1=3 sort of changes. Both of us also have a very introvert side that likes to be isolated, so living and working together in the same building 24-7 means you have to stay lucid and have a sort of u nspoken agreement to work towards a common goal.
But we have a big whiteboard that we use to track common goals, a big studio setup downstairs, a shared ref library etc.
If you can move out in your city with other artists, maybe even other people from CA, its an awesome way to push each other on. And as we know, great artistic friendships like the MB guys or the Sparth/Viag/Baron crew lead to awesome collaborative achievements.
This is an excellent, if daunting thread. I'm going to bookmark it for reference.
Regarding the title, I'll use myself as an example. I work a full time non-art related job, am married, husband is out of work, and am managing a significant illness.
I've eliminated time as a limiting factor; I wake at 3:30 am...sometimes earlier...so I have a large chunk of time that I can devote to art before I have to get ready for work. However, money...for classes, models, materials...is a limiting factor, and probably will be until the husband finds work again.
Someone else might have time as a limiting factor, or something else; I'm wondering if contributors have any advice on working around or with those factors.
Great thread, looking to add to its sentiment a little. Don't know if any of the pro's still remember this thread or not but here goes.
As a spare time illustrator, rather than a pro, I find there is often a little bit of a mental battle to illustrating. That is to say I sometimes sit down to draw, and find that a vague fear keeps me browsing forums for hours and putting off the act. This despite the fact that whenever I do actually manage to draw I usually enjoy it and almost always feel good about it afterwards. I also find myself, out of comfort, tending towards habitual work, rather than pushing to learn. I guess because it is safer and easier to just mindlessly work in your comfort zone. Another thing I struggle with is getting down when things aren't going right. I mean really letting it affect my mood!
Recently I had a major mental shift when hitting a problem in an illustration. Instead of letting the problem get me down, and launching into some negative self talk, I realised - "Shit I don't know how to go from here. That means I've found a hole in my knowledge/skillset. That means if I push through it, I might actually learn something fundamental and level up!". I started to get really excited about a problem that might've, at other times, gotten me so frustrated I would've been far less able to creatively solve the problem.
This was a bit of a revolution in thinking, and really helped me relax and enjoy the process. I am curently striving to continue this belief. It made me wonder though, if any of the pro's out there have had any (or many) similar moments?
Are there any beliefs you have developed that help you day to day as a creative. Any mantras / ideas you repeat to yourself WHILE you are painting. Any routine processes you do, such as setting a time constraint on zooming out from your work that you don't do intuitively, but have trained yourself to do because, from an objective standpoint, you know it will make your work stronger, even though you will never do it intuitively?
These insights are probably one of the advantages of personal on one tutoring or even dvd tutorials as opposed to learning from books. Discourse about the actual mental processes involved in being a creative, rather than technical skills. I will, from this point on, pay more attention to this aspect in my learning. However I thought it would be nice to ask others to see if anyone had anything to share
[ps. if this should be moved to its own thread, please let me know]
mantra #1 = 'dont get up...dont get up... dont get up...'
mantra #2 (i think I picked this up from manley) 'beat the critics - if you see something wrong with your piece, dont show it for critique. leave nothing within your knowledge wrong with it'.
mantra #3 'focal point... simplicity... communication (repeat)'
*raises hand, waves it around*As a spare time illustrator, rather than a pro, I find there is often a little bit of a mental battle to illustrating. That is to say I sometimes sit down to draw, and find that a vague fear keeps me browsing forums for hours and putting off the act. This despite the fact that whenever I do actually manage to draw I usually enjoy it and almost always feel good about it afterwards. I also find myself, out of comfort, tending towards habitual work, rather than pushing to learn. I guess because it is safer and easier to just mindlessly work in your comfort zone. Another thing I struggle with is getting down when things aren't going right. I mean really letting it affect my mood!
Thought I was the only one. Happens especially now I'm working on drawing the human figure...something I'm a complete beginner at.
Helps me to pop in a DVD that has an abundance of dialog, multiple commentary tracks or both...The Office (any season), Bones (any season), Raines (there's only the one season unfortunately) are all good examples.
For reasons unknown to me, the back-and-forth is soothing.
I've been a profesional artist for eleven years. something that I was told early on in my learning that helped me begin to work at art for a living was this;
if you want to be a professional artist, act like one. use archival supplies. work at your art las if it was your job. put in as many hours as you would at any other job; when you start making your living from your work you won't have the luxury of a day off because you aren't in the mood. learn early to work even when yu don't feel like it. discipline is key to improvement.
if you enjoy making art even when you aren't in the right mood, then you will later be able to perform under a variety of circumstances, and become a professional.
also, don't assume that years as a professional will mean it gets easier. it never gets easier-each challenge is more difficult than the last. learn to enjoy the challenges in your work. they are the reason it exists, and that someone will pay you to do it.
this thread is very helpful, thanks everyone it's given me some things to think about.
Try to approach everything the way you want to/ know you should approach your art. There are millions of other factors in your environment that will affect your work both positively and negatively. In my experience, if i don't keep my house clean and organized, i start to slack in my work. If i'm not exercising frequently enough i become restless when i sit down to work, but conversely, if i do something as simple as call someone that i haven't seen in a while and talk with them even if only for five minutes, or get someone to laugh hard the feeling i'm left with afterward makes it far easier for me to produce. Passing up the opportunity to go talk to the pretty girl across the room when the urge strikes you is the same as not jotting down or sketching an idea out when you have your pencil and sketchbook handy. What comes out of the experience might not be what you hoped or expected, but it's certainly closer than anything that isn't produced. This is quite in the vein of MindCandyMan's 'just do it' principle, but further stresses balance necessary in the application of that idea. "Art imitates Life" and "Life imitates Art" are both true and in fact there is no distinction between the two. By remembering this and working toward that in everything you do, you'll also become better trained to work your art, (both the stuff you do and don't want to do.) and rarely find the time to be bored. I hate cleaning my house, but after doing that necessary chore, the time I get to spend drawing is that much sweeter. Don't run with scissors, eat your vegetables, cross on the green--not in between and always wear clean underwear. Much like the idea of inertia if you don't completely slow down, it's easier to keep yourself driven. So keep aware of other aspects of your life outside your art, or better yet, realize there's no such thing.
"Today, a young man on acid, realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves... here's Tom with the weather." - Bill Hicks
My advice: start small to break the habit. My boyfriend recently challenged me to take at least one picture a day. I try not to do snapshots, and I usually take many more than 1, but once I pick up that camera and start looking around, I start to open up that side of myself.
So take one picture, do one sketch, do something simple everyday with the type of art you love. If you really love it, it will usually grab hold of you, and you'll end up doing more than just that one image.
Dont waste your time or time will waste you.
"Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."
Seems an open thread so I'll post what I think to be words of wisdom of which I am not sure whence they came... Which is probably to say I came up with them, although, everything you come up with you could not have done purely on your own, as aforementioned (in other posts), style is an amalgamation of your interpretation.
Don't let your art be - getting to where your art should get to on its own if it were good enough to get there...
Don't invent concepts to match AFTER creation...
Set out with clear goals and ideas and then bend your art to match.
To illustrate, amplify, grab attention, STEAL attention (i liked that twist) Be honest, see if you've achieved something, but don't be rigid about getting there though.
Matrix quote: Don't try to bend the spoon, realize that, that is impossible and that only you yourself can bend / warp / twist. Whilst you could flip the paper or get the computer to generate perfect symmetry for you, how about you do it yourself ? write backwards, upside down ? Mind-bending... So much more fun than body-bending ; )
Do these exercises manually, i have a pet theory that Da Vinci wrote backwards not at first, to protect his ideas, but just so that he might have ideas worth protecting; training his mind, writing backwards naturally, thinking in reverse.
Simply start thinking and drawing what you think to be "advanced" now, you can do it. Let the dead giants who've gone before you be your aid.
We're all walking carcasses on an exploding planet in the long run, being successful / amazing isn't such a big deal, but be humble about it as if you aren't you will have plenty more to be humble about.
Translate things from one SENSE into another, as in, sound into sight into smell into taste into... ...On surface (canvas/paper/pixel).
Read lots, watch lots, watch bad things, "good" things, taste, smell. Be a connoisseur of all senses.
Try to think about things from as many perspectives as imaginable; a skeleton, 360* in your minds eye. Construct things, make them real, as the clearer / crisper an image you have of them the better they will be when you bring them to "realization", although, I believe thoughts also have a physical presence and actually this silly thing called "physicality" is a complete and utter miss-nomer, everything is physical, else, what is it ?
Sound waves in the air, thoughts, music, dreams, color, concepts. It's just a question of opacity.
The list goes on... write your thoughts down.
However worthless you feel they might be, I think these (mine) previous ones are wasted mental-breath also, but less so than the ones I thought were wasted paper space originally ! It's the vision of how things could be that drive us, and when you arrive there, you gain a new insight; a new vision of how things could be; nuance upon nuance add infinitum.
Most importantly, as Andrew Jones said, SHARE, don't be a mental-miser, don't cling to your thoughts, as the ones you have now are hardly enlightened, realize that when you share secrets you give yourself more capacity for discovering new ones. Realize we're in this together.
Art for the sake of art and sharing for benevolence and pleasure that it brings. PLEASURE is good, does anything more need to be said, indubitably, but not about pleasure... it's one of the few things which can define itself by its own word.
Realize each "discipline" is just another gold/thought-mine for art and every science and "art" has something to offer, it just needs a skillful translator.
Edit: One last thing, don't try to make what you think to be "good" now, just create, as what you think is 'good' you'll no doubt detest in a short while.
Last edited by Helioth; April 25th, 2008 at 06:46 PM.
I'm not a pro (yet), but one valuable thing I've learned goes back to what Emily was saying earlier.
Stop making excuses.
Don't tell yourself, "I'm only X years old," or, "Well, I don't have any formal training, so it's okay for them to be better than me." This is something I did back in high school, and trust me, it's going to hinder you. Go out and do what you need to do to get where you want to be. Do the work. Do figure drawings until you have the form memorized. Do cast drawings until you puke. If you aren't good enough now to be where you want to be, do whatever it takes to get there.
If you don't have formal training, these forums are an excellent place to start.
If you feel like you have plenty of time to catch up to the modern masters, keep this in mind; there are likely plenty of people your age who want to be concept artists, and I can guarantee that a lot of them are working their butts off to get where they need to be.
And one thing that I think sums up a few points that have been made here is a mantra that I (and others that I know of) repeat to myself whenever I start talking about my plans for art school, the CA Atelier, whatever:
"Shutup and DRAW."
You can supplement this to fit your own life.
"Shutup and PAINT."
"Shutup and SCULPT."
"Shutup and KICK A PUPPY."
Whatever suits your fancy.
You can talk about art school and ateliers all you want, but that talk isn't going to get you the skills you need to succeed as an artist. If you want something, go get it.
I'm gonna kick in an open door: Look into the other forums ca has too!
For instance: Here is a thread that lists a whole bunch of free e-books that are very usable to learn more from.
Of course, you can also just check the whole forum there and see what wisdom resides there.
Then there's also that forum that's just about tutorials and how to's that can help out, found here.
And whether it is something personal related to your art or just art history, if you wanna brush up some of the knowledge, get inspiration and discover new old artists, you should check the art discussionforums.
Do you have a favourite artist that's associated with the site? Why not check their exclusive contents or/and exclusive sketchbooks? Observation can get you very far.
Also, stay away from the lounge, it's fun but timeconsuming and reduces productivity.
The loveliest and most inspÓring things have been said here, I will only stress a couple of them, and maybe add something of my own.
- Babysteps. Focussing on how long the road to the top is can leave you paralyzed; instead, define what you want to acchieve just for the moment. don't say, 'I need to become a better artist', say: 'I need to go and study the basic volumes and different planes of the human head & face some more' (Boy do I need to do that).
- Don't throw away old stuff! It's good to look at the garbage you left in your wake while learning and see yo're doing so much better now, but more importantly: in that garbage there's still great ideas you can recycle!
- Teach! You'll need to phrase your earlier, personal findings, forcing yourself to understand what you first only felt and provide proof and examples. Moreover, once you've given some good advice you'll feel more inclined to stay true to it yourself, ahem. (Like using reference... oh my, so confronting.)
- Hold onto your feelings of inspiration. Moreover:
- Making art is a two-way business. When drawing a battlescene, feel energised and bloodthirsty. When drawing lovers in a quiet corner in the garden, feel enamoured. If you draw an angry face - scowl. You might find yourself scowling already, if you let the two-way business do its thing.
It's a joy and a thrill to immerse in your work like that.
Keep the good stuff comming guys, this thread is grand.
Continue the critique at Deviant Art
as a freelancer, learn to say no when you need to. If you are like me and find it hard to turn down job offers, its easy to take on way too much work and get burnt out. It applies equally to paid, voluntary or personal work. Try to hit the right balance of having enough work to maintain variety and momentum, but listen to your instinct and know when enough is enough. Especially on CA where you are presented with a whole slew of mentoring programs, weekly activities, competitions and subforums to show off in, sometimes its important to slow down and maintain your focus on one or two things at a time. Slowing down also allows your mind to breathe and let some new things in, instead of constantly being in output mode.
Not just for your own benefit - but to make sure you dont end up leaving your clients or those who have taken the time to help you, high and dry. I'm chalking this one up to experience (sorry Mike!).
i really appreciate all this advice. i've been mad about art since i was 9, and have been working on it for quite a while. i've slowed down lately since i'm doing a wildlife major, but i wouldn't want to lose my passion for art and at least getting getting a minor in it. seeing all the great works on CA is very intimidating for someone trying to get back on track with art, but this forum has really boosted my confidence to push forward. Thank you so much! *weeps with gratitude*
Right, the one thing to remember when taking crits is that it is impossible for that one individual to tell you ALL the ways in which you can add depth or composition to your piece. It actually might be possible, but the poor guy would be writing for a good day or so.
So, take this in mind. Imagine you have to push a portion of the background away from the foreground to create depth. One way you could do this is use saturation. Lower saturated cooler areas in the back, warmer in the front, BUT that's not the be all end all. You can do the complete opposite. Some great artists from the past used the reverse method to these paintings. Such as a saturated glowing in the background, while the foreground is much less saturated and the image still evokes a sense of distance. Its mostly down to opposites.
Contrast works in much the same way, contrast meaning darker more vivid areas against less contrast, which would be more foggy looking. You can get some quite interesting effects be doing the reverse of this also. Its actually quite surreal looking, so try it out and experiment.
Theres tons of other methods to create the illusion of depth also, which include mark making and using specific color variations. Like always get your hands dirty and see what happens. If something does not look right, it probably isnt right. The fun part is finding out WHY it isnt looking right, and fix the damn thing. So, the next time you receive a bunch of crits that feel like there condescending each other, take each with a pinch of salt and figure out which method you like the sound of more, and go with it. Nothing is set in stone, there are far too many methods for it to be.
Light surrounds us all, if light did not exist we would see nothing. Its light which shows our mass, and that which we can paint from.
When beginning a painting, always keep in mind the light source, just stick to the one for now. NEVER over complicate shit too early on, I have seen artists dive into the full spectrum of colors, lighting etc right off the bat and things got messy real quick! I think once you get down the fundamentals of light and color you can be better attuned to starting a painting using more complicated series of colors. For now, start off slow and easy, build up the light gradually, one light source first as you figure out the masses of each object. Keep the colors to a bare minimum, and quite unsaturated so your main focus is the light only. I find it easier to build up light from dark to light in digital form, but obviously experiment a bit and see which you prefer.
So, you have your basic lighting established, and if you chose a pretty unsaturated background colour the whole image will appear quite light. Thats good, now would be a good idea to work on more values. Remember, in digital form, you should really try and hit most of the spectrum of color and light, dark. Just click the color chooser and sample parts of your painting, you might be quite surprised at where abouts your highlights are in the full spectrum of things. Try and hit the full spectrum in your paintings, I am not saying it has to be a total smooth transition of one contrast to the next, but having that painting showing most of the light/dark transitions will help with people who obviously wont have there monitors calibrated exactly like yours. Again, as I said at the beginning, do not take my way of thinking to be the be all end all. It is just one way of working that I chose to use.
You could think of your painting as some kind of Cake. Start off with the basics, the cake mix, and get that down first before you begin adding layers of fancy icing onto the top. Saturated colors should be used carefully and respectfully, trying not to overdo things and use them as if they were special in some way. That way you give those areas much more power to them and ultimately give the viewer the impression that they are in fact special. (I know I keep repeating it but none of what I am saying is set in stone, its ONE way of working). Anyway, I will update this later when I get some time. Hope you learned something.
Last edited by Saturns Gate; October 16th, 2008 at 12:35 PM.
I just feel as though I've gone to 3 art theory classes in one.. thank you so much for sharing the insightful advice, very motivating, but also overwhelming xD
Much appreciated, thanks
Conceptart.org is a blessing and a curse. There's a wealth of info on this site that you want to read through them all, but you know that you should be drawing.
GET OFF THE FORUMS AND DRAW.
hi guys, how can I upload my art work to the gallery section? have I need any permission? Thanks.
This thread is amazing. It's had my heart pumping with glee. I felt so down with my art this morning, but I feel totally better now.
If I may put in my two cents?
Don't just stick with visual art theory, even if that's the only thing you plan on doing. I was drawing poorly as an amateur for a long, long time...Then I started studying philosophy and the martial arts. The principles of any art form can be applied in any other art form, and so the skills needed for each are complimentary to the other.
Don't believe me? Go Read Musashi's Book of Five Rings or Bruce Lee's Tao of Jeet Kune Do.
If you're going to express or represent something, it doesn't hurt to have experienced it to at least some degree. But It's not enough to have the experience...you have GOT to APPLY IT.
I know I've mostly been reading rather than posting, but here goes.
"Jack of all trades, master of none. But oft times better than master of one."
This reiterates the "go out and experiment" advice that I've seen. Yet if you try out all sorts of different mediums, not only can you find one that actually does work for you, but you can get a good feel of what makes such a medium so great.
Sure, jumping around too much may distract from an earlier project, but there's nothing wrong with trying out different things.
Learn the basics of drawing and try out some sketches and drawings from there.
Start mixing up paints and experiment with the different types of paints.
Find a camera and take photographs rather than candid snapshots of your friends.
Get into ceramics and learn how to shape a mound of clay into a person or animal or learn to throw a pot on the wheel.
Create cardboard structures and experiment with either using paints on them or even using plaster before the paints.
Grab an old set of clothes that doesn't fit, take a seam-ripper to them, and use the fabric to stitch together something completely new.
Then go back and to drawing and use what you've learned from playing around with other mediums.
Learning to appreciate the various means and methods of art can help you in enjoy most any project you're doing.
Oh, and also...I probably don't have the exact quote nor do I remember who said it, but I'll put it out there anyway.
"Art will both enrich you and drain you. Yet all of the sweat and toil is worth it in the end."
My stuff. Mediocre, but hey; I can use the criticism.
Almost like trying new things.
If you feel completely inept or "talent less" or get angry when folks say stuff like “anyone can”. Calm down open your mind, look at things in a fresh way. Start asking questions. Form them out loud in your head. "What am I wondering about when I look at this?"
Train your mind to become inquisitive both visually and technically. It might be that you just never became “open” to seeing stuff in the unknown constantly stuck in the familiar.
The mind of knowledge was built out of ????'s.
You can do the same with your questions, Ask new questions, bizarre questions, Experimental questions, abstract questions.. The mind is a question answering fact remembering thinking plotting calculating divinatory device.. It loves a challenge, it might not solve stuff immediately, but the questions you ask today shapes tomorrow.
You can't teach an old non inquisitive dog new tricks, The dog believes it knows all a dog needs to know. Don't lose that spark, you can remember how you descovered the world as a child, you can do it untill your friggen 157 years old. Add to the end of any belief that you might have about your cant's a "yet".. You have already begun, Virus alert.... Too late now... Mwahahaha!!
Last edited by George Abraham; February 6th, 2009 at 11:36 AM.
Scetchbook: View the exhibitionist's stuff.
I have struggled with similar problems for years. I didn't have the money to buy proper colour or paper etc. and only today I understand how much this can be a problem. Good paper makes such a difference etcpp.
Here are some of the real problems of "poverty" (I know this is a very relative word) when it comes to art and that one needs to overcome:
I got to work very little with better material so I have a lot to learn there. In some areas my developement was virtually stiffled by the cheap material because I didn't realize that the problem was not with me but with the cheap paper etc. (I don't say that this happens very often, usually I *am* the problem, but it *does* happen ;-)) Here is what DSIllustration says about it: http://conceptart.org/forums/showpos...8&postcount=10
When you are short on money you often dont get a very good education, and you might get socially isolated. That way you could become a sort of reclusive. you don't learn to discuss your work or deal with criticism etc. (not only poor people have that sort of problem *g*). Luckily today the internet is a great way to overcome that.
That said I'm still thinking about what ways there are around a lack of money.
1. Essentials: Being short on money forces you to really find out what the essentials are. For me that meant: Art is a pencil and a sheet of paper. Charcoal and a piece of cardboard will do too. Art in essence is drawing and nothing but drawing. So I drew a lot more than I probably would have, if I had the money for fancy colours.
2. Experiment: I did lots of pretty crazy stuff. I combined all kinds of (cheap) colour systems to fake a certain look. I combined charcoal, cheap pastel, and furniture paint for larger paintings. I added flour to school water colour to give it some texture. Some of these experiments were successful, others weren't (using cooking oil as a painting medium isn't something that I would recommend). Oh, and made my own egg tempera from egg and pigment, I even made pastels. (there are books out there that tell you how to do it) Anyways I learned a lot about materials and physicality and first of all a certain experimental approach that I still use today with "real" painting material. Plus I had lots of fun.
3. Freedom: Being poor can also mean a certain degree of freedom (though being rich can be a much more comfortable way to be free ;-)) You don't get so easily pulled into what's "cool" and can retain a certain individual point of view. You don't get bullshitted so easily because you had more than your share of point 1.
4. Economy: Because I had to economize all the time I have learned to go a long way with very little. I know how to paint with just 2 or 3 colours and make it look like I used more. I know where to get good but cheap art supply. I know exactly which libraries have which good art books (today that would be the internet) I know how to make my own fancy frames from very cheap raw wood frames. etcpp
So these are my upsides of being short on money. Please feel free to add to this.
MLO suggested to discuss other limitations like little time and how to overcome them. If you have experience in these areas, please share your knowledge.
Last edited by Uli; February 27th, 2009 at 06:54 AM.
play your cards right, and you can sometimes get an art supply company or two to sponsor you. I have a friend who is sponsored by IronLak (a spraypaint company) and gets around $150 of cans/month to his door. You could even try windsor and newton or some such - perhaps offer to include their advertising along with a solo show you plan to do, etc etc.
You have to get your savvy people-person skills on, but it isnt too hard to do
I know what you are writing about. When still at school I quite often realized that people who could afford to buy all the books they liked, or at least to pay for travel costs to the nearest university library, got much better marks than I did.
This resulted in my belief never to try to save on good materials, nor on books. This did not make me better (it's not the tools...) per se, but stopped me from being blocked like then. I know own a large arts library and most of the materials I like to work with, I just have to choose and get going (which can be difficult sometimes, after a long day's work). But I have no more excuses...
@ jester- nice too meet you :-) tools themselves don't make a good artist. I realized that when I saw some "rich kids" with lots of expensive tools but rather poor results.
But I believe that time makes a good artist. It was estimated that you need to put about 10.000 hours of practise into every artstic skill to get professional at it. (meaning 3-4 years of daily fulltime work) And painting is closer to singing or gymnastics than most people believe- you need a warming up phase, you need to train (at least) several times a week, etc. It's not easy to combine that with a day job or day jobs.