Have some questions? Want answers? Got some good tips? This is the place to ask, or answer, questions regarding art tools, and methods.

Moderators: SeaQuenchal, Ambiguity, virtueone

 

Postby Kam » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:02 pm

User avatar
  Kam
Posts: 645
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:08 pm

Subject title: Stagnating at art

Long story short after not having a good time with drawing I decided to look back on what I was doing last year and I didn't expect it but based on what I said last year and say now and even the quality I realized I've more or less stagnated. I kinda feel lost at this point on what I should do anymore, or if I even should do anything anymore, I know that's something I have to decide myself but before doing that, I wanted to ask for some help/advice.

I don't want to take a break from doing art because I've already done that several times this year, taking long breaks from anything generally results in never going back to them for me and even when I wanted to quit once around late 2015 I still ended up getting back to it so I doubt that even if I genuinely feel like quitting I'd end up never coming back to it, all that'll do is make me feel bad about wasting time.

I'm usually stubborn and want to try to do things on my own but this time around I feel like I need help.

 

Postby Moe » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:46 am

User avatar
  Moe
Posts: 1086
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:16 am

Well, the way you beat stagnation is by switching up your exercises. In body building, trainers recommend that you switch up your exercises every 6 weeks because after a while your brain sorta gets used to it. The same applies with art. The majority of your exercises are anatomy studies, form studies, rendering studies, and gesture studies. I'm not saying you should stop doing these exercises, as they are still very important, but when you do something a lot, after a while you'll hit diminishing returns. As you get better at these studies, you'll improve less and less by doing them. So yeah, you could try exploring color theory more, painting environments, exploring expressions, doing more character design, hell even animate.
"The most important reason, the most important thing, the most important gift that you receive by taking action in the direction of your dreams is not attaining your dream, it's you growing stronger and becoming a stronger version of yourself in the process" Elliot Hulse

 

Postby Ambiguity » Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:07 am

User avatar
  Ambiguity
Posts: 5373
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:55 am
Location: Your dreams

What is your long term goal, and do you feel like the practices you're doing now are moving you towards that goal?

 

Postby Audiazif » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:15 am

User avatar
  Audiazif
Posts: 743
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:38 am

To me it looks like you are doing these wonderful and pristine studies/copies, which I see no problem in doing them. But then when you do do something OC the things the studies should of taught you seem to go out the window. It is like you are regressing back to old habits and/or not applying what you are studying.
"Painting is edge hell!"

Deviantart
Sketchbook

 

Postby Kam » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:13 am

User avatar
  Kam
Posts: 645
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:08 pm

Moe wrote:Well, the way you beat stagnation is by switching up your exercises. In body building, trainers recommend that you switch up your exercises every 6 weeks because after a while your brain sorta gets used to it. The same applies with art. The majority of your exercises are anatomy studies, form studies, rendering studies, and gesture studies. I'm not saying you should stop doing these exercises, as they are still very important, but when you do something a lot, after a while you'll hit diminishing returns. As you get better at these studies, you'll improve less and less by doing them. So yeah, you could try exploring color theory more, painting environments, exploring expressions, doing more character design, hell even animate.

Yeah that's true, I continue working on those because I'm not satisfied but now I think I ended up achieving nothing despite putting effort, I've been trying newer things and also thinking about things differently and being more conscious about what I'm drawing, when I work from reference I ask myself how I'm gonna apply this later and think about it more, but I'll only know if it worked if I go back to doing illustrations and character designs, that fear of failure keeps me from trying it but if I don't get over it things probably won't get any better.

Ambiguity wrote:What is your long term goal, and do you feel like the practices you're doing now are moving you towards that goal?

I don't have a specific long term goal, I've thought about it but I'm not sure, I like design but I don't really know much design theory so in that field I kinda do whatever and work with the little I know, I like doing character focused illustrations and that's what I started out doing, a look through my art folder reminds me what I generally like to do the most so I'm fairly certain of that at this point. I cater my practices towards those, I need good anatomy, gesture, etc for characters so I try to practice that and learn more about it, I need knowledge on fashion so I've been slowly learning that at my own pace, I want to do industrial design type things like planes, cars, mechs, etc so I learned how to draw like an industrial designer. The list goes on but point is I haven't jumped in mindlessly into doing things that I think I should do for the sake of doing them but I'm not seeing results, I'm just so confused, I'm not even sad or angry I'm just confused.

Audiazif wrote:To me it looks like you are doing these wonderful and pristine studies/copies, which I see no problem in doing them. But then when you do do something OC the things the studies should of taught you seem to go out the window. It is like you are regressing back to old habits and/or not applying what you are studying.

I've had this problem for the longest time, I did a lot of studies to reverse the wrong muscle memory and habits I built but... I failed? recently I've been thinking a lot more about what I'm doing and how I'm going to apply it later, maybe it's lack of mileage and not thinking enough/properly while I'm working? it happens to me a lot when I'm struggling with something but when I get up and walk a bit and do it in my head it works and I feel like I have a sense for how it should be. what I think that means is that what I studied is in my head, I just can't bring it out properly when I need to, maybe I need to just stop freaking out so much when I'm working and catch myself when I realize I'm not thinking right.

 

Postby DarkLored123 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:14 pm

  DarkLored123
Posts: 199
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:18 pm

I went through the same thing as you just recently and it is pretty much unnecessarily overcomplicating things.

I think the issue here is that maybe you are trying to do very challenging things that you are not ready for yet. You have accumulated great skill from what I've seen in your sketchbook but maybe you should start small when trying to apoly what you've learned.

I don't particularly know what you are struggling with drawing but let's take humans for example, if I were you Id parctic them with basic poses and angles and build up the complexity as I get comfortable with it. Changing the way you practice could also be what you need because a certain road has to end eventually and you need to decide whether or not to turn left or right at the intersection.

Hopefully you understood what I was trying to say, you have achieved amazing progress but maybe a change of pace could be what you need.

 

Postby Ambiguity » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:06 am

User avatar
  Ambiguity
Posts: 5373
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:55 am
Location: Your dreams

Well, I think it's good that you're practicing your exercises towards something, although industrial design and character illustration are 2 different beasts, I'd focus your attention on 1 for now. Also, I'm seeing plenty of good drawings from reference, but I'm not seeing much imagination sketching at all besides the industrial stuff. I'd try apply what you're working on from reference as immediately as possible instead of waiting to try to recall it all in one big illustration later. Not that you shouldn't do the illustrations, you absolutely should, but I think you'd see better results from working on the bits and pieces that ultimately make up the illustration everyday. Another thing, when you're trying to apply what you're learning, I would, as much as possible, use the same type of construction you're using with the reference, even if that means changing up the way you draw from reference to fit how you draw from your head or vis-versa. Remember the goal is to get the essence of the thing in front of you, understand how one form fits into another, and design it to fit your needs. Drawing one particular thing, from that one particular view as accurately as possible isn't what's going to help you draw from imagination(even if that were your goal, you're already really good at that; don't beat the dead horse).

 

Postby Kam » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:47 pm

User avatar
  Kam
Posts: 645
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:08 pm

DarkLored123 wrote:I went through the same thing as you just recently and it is pretty much unnecessarily overcomplicating things.

I think the issue here is that maybe you are trying to do very challenging things that you are not ready for yet. You have accumulated great skill from what I've seen in your sketchbook but maybe you should start small when trying to apoly what you've learned.

I don't particularly know what you are struggling with drawing but let's take humans for example, if I were you Id parctic them with basic poses and angles and build up the complexity as I get comfortable with it. Changing the way you practice could also be what you need because a certain road has to end eventually and you need to decide whether or not to turn left or right at the intersection.

Hopefully you understood what I was trying to say, you have achieved amazing progress but maybe a change of pace could be what you need.

I feel like waiting until you're ready for something might never come, if you work out at the gym and wait until the weights feel as light as a feather before you try to lift the heavier ones is never gonna happen and you'll end up staying where you are, I think that practicing the simple stuff and more complex together is most helpful, I still struggle with some really basic things but I don't know really, I can't pinpoint what's wrong I feel like the change of pace is what I really need, I practice the same things because I'm not good at them but I don't feel like i'm getting better at them. though getting stuck in the practice phase gradually makes applying them harder too, trying to balance my practices is the only cure I can think of.

Ambiguity wrote:Well, I think it's good that you're practicing your exercises towards something, although industrial design and character illustration are 2 different beasts, I'd focus your attention on 1 for now. Also, I'm seeing plenty of good drawings from reference, but I'm not seeing much imagination sketching at all besides the industrial stuff. I'd try apply what you're working on from reference as immediately as possible instead of waiting to try to recall it all in one big illustration later. Not that you shouldn't do the illustrations, you absolutely should, but I think you'd see better results from working on the bits and pieces that ultimately make up the illustration everyday. Another thing, when you're trying to apply what you're learning, I would, as much as possible, use the same type of construction you're using with the reference, even if that means changing up the way you draw from reference to fit how you draw from your head or vis-versa. Remember the goal is to get the essence of the thing in front of you, understand how one form fits into another, and design it to fit your needs. Drawing one particular thing, from that one particular view as accurately as possible isn't what's going to help you draw from imagination(even if that were your goal, you're already really good at that; don't beat the dead horse).

I've had this problem that I want to like 10 things and at the end of the day I don't do either, the problem is still there but the way I ended up fighting it was not creating much but spending a lot of time just practicing rather than performing, at the end even my performances are for practice because they're not for anything in particular but they're an attempt to apply what I learned.
I've been trying to be more conscious of how I'm going to tackle the same or similar subject from imagination by thinking more about what I'm doing, at the end of the more recent studies I actually feel like I learned something so that's probably a good sign, though the problem is I have a hard time applying what I learned, might be both because of my bad mindset (I'm bad, I still suck at X and Y, etc) and the fact that there's no immediate application of what I learn, admittedly that's kinda hard unless I was one of those drawaholics that aim for a minimum of 8 hours a day but my stamina especially the past couple of months has been really low, I know that doesn't justify my fear and avoidance until I have a "good" idea but it seems like I've gotten stuck in this routine that I eventually became aware of it's lack of results.

Another thing is that I can't think properly about things when I'm drawing, but when I get up and then think a little bit and visualize it I can make sense of it in my head, this might be both a mindset and lack of mileage issue but I don't know really. I also realized that when I work digitally for some reason I go back to a lot of my old habits, I don't really have any idea of why that happens. Regardless of what the deal is I think I just ended up overcomplicating certain things and ignoring some of the rest. anyway thanks for the help Ambi, I hope I can figure it out because this is really bothering me.

 

Postby lilla » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:20 pm

User avatar
  lilla
Posts: 462
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:01 am
Location: Austria

Getting caught up in doing only fundamentals and studies might be a thing because it feels like you have control. There is a point where you are and there is a point that you want to reach, it's pretty straightforward. Performance is a lot more confusing because you could technically ignore everything that has ever been set in stones and still create "art". I think this is what is intimidating about it, that you have endless possibilty of choice, method and how you make use of what you know. And getting that right requires on one side knowing yourself quite well and knowing where you want to take your art at that certain time at least (it's not like people can't change over time) and I think many underrate how much time this alone might take, where fundamentals are not really the answer... They should boost your art, not be the actual stones to build upon in my opinion - I think good examples are Sinix, who has extremely good knowledge of fundamentals but just does whatever and it still works. And I also have to think of Loish, who for example always had that certain style and subject matter that makes her so recognisable, she just got better at it over time. But she was always herself and that is what people liked, she was already popular when she was at the beginning...

So... to kind of sum up my thought - I think you know enough. Really xD You have very solid fundamental skills and they can always be improved but I think what would help you most is figure out what you want to do, what is fun (or at least not painful) for you to do. You could try committing for just a few weeks to doing only X or try out new materials and approaches, just let a bit loose!

 

Postby Drawringer » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:38 am

User avatar
  Drawringer
Posts: 252
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:11 am

Hey Kam, I've looked into your work in recent months and I think the reason you feel this way is because of what your drawing. You seem to be doing a ton of studies (and really nailing them might I add) but you haven't done much for yourself. You;re probably stagnating because your completely bored of what your drawing but your not letting yourself draw what YOU wanna draw (just a theory). I think it might be beneficial to flip the script for a little while and do more personal work with studies on the side. I was going through what you were a few months back too and i found that my studies werent really helping me until i decided to do what i wanted to do and forgot about technique and whatnot for a bit. That helped me, but it may or may not help you so take my advice with a grain of salt.

 

Postby Kam » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:35 pm

User avatar
  Kam
Posts: 645
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:08 pm

lilla wrote:Getting caught up in doing only fundamentals and studies might be a thing because it feels like you have control. There is a point where you are and there is a point that you want to reach, it's pretty straightforward. Performance is a lot more confusing because you could technically ignore everything that has ever been set in stones and still create "art". I think this is what is intimidating about it, that you have endless possibilty of choice, method and how you make use of what you know. And getting that right requires on one side knowing yourself quite well and knowing where you want to take your art at that certain time at least (it's not like people can't change over time) and I think many underrate how much time this alone might take, where fundamentals are not really the answer... They should boost your art, not be the actual stones to build upon in my opinion - I think good examples are Sinix, who has extremely good knowledge of fundamentals but just does whatever and it still works. And I also have to think of Loish, who for example always had that certain style and subject matter that makes her so recognisable, she just got better at it over time. But she was always herself and that is what people liked, she was already popular when she was at the beginning...

So... to kind of sum up my thought - I think you know enough. Really xD You have very solid fundamental skills and they can always be improved but I think what would help you most is figure out what you want to do, what is fun (or at least not painful) for you to do. You could try committing for just a few weeks to doing only X or try out new materials and approaches, just let a bit loose!

I got really caught up in fundamentals, sometimes brute force works but I think it didn't work for me after a while, I've been trying to do things more differently and be more open minded about how I do things, I feel like I got a lot of the rigidity out my mindset (like I should do X and Y) and instead told myself use whatever tool you currently have that you think would make the subject easier to do, like when I drew insects I thought geometric forms would help me build them so I did that, but with lizards more rounded organic forms were the better building blocks.

I'll never be satisfied with what I can do but letting that take me over completely resulted in the mess I am, I guess it's good to just acknowledge that this is the level I am at now and I can't force myself to suddenly become as good as this and that guy, anyway I kinda started working on some of my own drawings now, it goes slowly and I still do the studies but I'll do them in moderation and alongside the more fun stuff from now on. maybe finding that balance is the last piece I need to hopefully get on track.
Drawringer wrote:Hey Kam, I've looked into your work in recent months and I think the reason you feel this way is because of what your drawing. You seem to be doing a ton of studies (and really nailing them might I add) but you haven't done much for yourself. You;re probably stagnating because your completely bored of what your drawing but your not letting yourself draw what YOU wanna draw (just a theory). I think it might be beneficial to flip the script for a little while and do more personal work with studies on the side. I was going through what you were a few months back too and i found that my studies werent really helping me until i decided to do what i wanted to do and forgot about technique and whatnot for a bit. That helped me, but it may or may not help you so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Yeah you're right, I kinda ended up becoming really afraid of even trying anything, I have a hard time dealing with some of my weaknesses (e.g. I'm really slow and my sketches tend to get messy) but doing studies weren't the right work around for those... I definitely will flip the switch and hopefully keep it that way, at the end of the day the studies are for those fun stuff, if I never do them why should I even do the studies? doing nothing at all would be better.

 

Postby behxmot » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:43 am

User avatar
  behxmot
Posts: 132
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 2:34 pm

Yeah you're right, I kinda ended up becoming really afraid of even trying anything, I have a hard time dealing with some of my weaknesses (e.g. I'm really slow and my sketches tend to get messy) but doing studies weren't the right work around for those... I definitely will flip the switch and hopefully keep it that way, at the end of the day the studies are for those fun stuff, if I never do them why should I even do the studies? doing nothing at all would be better.


So relatable, damn. There's this stupid idea somehwere in the dark corner of my consciousness that if you improve, you improve fast? Or maybe that if you don't improve fast you're not talented? Something like that. And then when you do a study, this mindset dictates that the next drawing you do has to be good or you're a failure. Ah, the glamorous life of an artist

Also, maybe this will help in regards to viewing slow progress as stagnating, but I feel I might get wordy, I'm sleepdeprived. There's this teacher of academic drawing in Moscow who takes people of virtually any skill level into their course. The assumption is that the students want to be able to do portraits in the end, so naturally the first thing they do is draw a cube from life lol (white, 15cm+). Not even shaded at first, just the construction: first eyeballing it, then measuring to get the rotation and perspective exactly. Then they shade it. Then they advance to a prism, then some more complex forms. Then several forms together. Then simple objects, like say a bottle of perfume, very precisely constructed, precisely shaded. Then dozens more stages until they get to portraits. (I simplify though, the program is complex and includes composition and even art history.)

So yeah. That teacher (Oleg Toropygin) is always realistic about the time it takes a person to be able to draw portraits at an academic level: years. And this with a mentor to provide feedback.

Teaching drawing to yourself is a herculean task, and the progress gets slow and there's no mentor to show directions. Okay, where was I going, I thought this would be comforting..

Nope, I got nothing
sketchbook: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=92788
instagram: instagram.com/behxmot/
twitter: twitter.com/behxmot
deviantart: behxmot.deviantart.com/

long ded :: abolish wage labor

 

Postby Kam » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:25 pm

User avatar
  Kam
Posts: 645
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:08 pm

behxmot wrote:So relatable, damn. There's this stupid idea somehwere in the dark corner of my consciousness that if you improve, you improve fast? Or maybe that if you don't improve fast you're not talented? Something like that. And then when you do a study, this mindset dictates that the next drawing you do has to be good or you're a failure. Ah, the glamorous life of an artist

Also, maybe this will help in regards to viewing slow progress as stagnating, but I feel I might get wordy, I'm sleepdeprived. There's this teacher of academic drawing in Moscow who takes people of virtually any skill level into their course. The assumption is that the students want to be able to do portraits in the end, so naturally the first thing they do is draw a cube from life lol (white, 15cm+). Not even shaded at first, just the construction: first eyeballing it, then measuring to get the rotation and perspective exactly. Then they shade it. Then they advance to a prism, then some more complex forms. Then several forms together. Then simple objects, like say a bottle of perfume, very precisely constructed, precisely shaded. Then dozens more stages until they get to portraits. (I simplify though, the program is complex and includes composition and even art history.)

So yeah. That teacher (Oleg Toropygin) is always realistic about the time it takes a person to be able to draw portraits at an academic level: years. And this with a mentor to provide feedback.

Teaching drawing to yourself is a herculean task, and the progress gets slow and there's no mentor to show directions. Okay, where was I going, I thought this would be comforting..

Nope, I got nothing

It all boils down to overthinking pointless thoughts, thinking about whether I'm talented or not (or just questioning talent itself in the first place) is going to do nothing other than make me waste energy and end up getting tired just before I do anything in the first place, at the end of the day it answers nothing, same could be said about a lot of other thoughts revolving in my head, realizing that I only have to let the thoughts come and go, rather than letting them stay.

Perfectionism is a hurdle that most of us seem to face, it's not necessarily redoing a single like 10 times but it can be related to things like wanting every practice session or drawing count and make me improve, it's a mindset that leads to toxicity, I haven't given it enough time to figure out how to work around it but it still goes back to the not overthinking things idea.

As for academic drawing I know nothing about that, I'm self taught and it'll likely stay that way for the foreseeable future, so all I can really do is figure out my path myself, a lot of other people have done it so I don't have any excuses. But with all that said I don't really know anymore, for now at least.

 

Postby behxmot » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:12 pm

User avatar
  behxmot
Posts: 132
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 2:34 pm

Kam wrote:wanting every practice session or drawing count and make me improve, it's a mindset that leads to toxicity


yez. very true
sketchbook: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=92788
instagram: instagram.com/behxmot/
twitter: twitter.com/behxmot
deviantart: behxmot.deviantart.com/

long ded :: abolish wage labor


Return to Art Questions and Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests