Friday, 15 March 2013

Frequently Asked Art Questions

now let me start off by simply saying a few things.

I have little to no confidence in my art, every single time i post something online i can't stop myself from nitpicking every little mistake or lazy shortcut.
I am not alone in this, almost anyone who does any art form of any kind from drawing to acting to writing to whatever is incredibly self conscious about their art.
so please don't take this as me saying "omg look how gud at art i am so many people askin questions!" cause i'm not.... i'm just addressing a few questions that i seem to be getting a lot... cause i normally give short answers that leaves people feeling like "well thast just what everyone else tells me."

and yeah.... this is going ot be a lot of "shit i've been told a million times before"
with some random "my opinion" stuff thrown in for good measure... cause that's what i do~

Question 1: How did you get better at drawing (enter specific body part here) 

For me people seem to ask about hands the most... i don't know why.... my hands have a myriad of problems like they tend to be a little stiff looking or too small anatomy speaking..... mostly cause in real life my hands are on the small side.... anyways onto the answer. 

Short answer: I went to art school.

Long answer:  I went to art school where most of first year was focused on things like anatomy  and many projects focused on drawing one body part over and over... hell i think we counted and in our first year we did 21 self portraits over 6 different classes... that is a tone of looking at yourself in a mirror. second year was a lot of experimentation with mediums and ideas and third was a lot of trying to find your voice as an artist.... still all three years we did a ton of self portraits, pictures of hands or feet and most importantly life drawing/painting.

If you want to get better as an artist then find a life drawing class around you and go to it as often as you can. you may never be able to do high realism but it'll give you a grounding in anatomy and how the body looks... yes it means drawing people naked, you get over this pretty much instantly... my first day of life drawing was nerve wracking at first, i had never drawn in front of people or on such a large scale and i've never had to stare at someone naked and try to render every contour without it looking like a blob and for me worst of all i had never tried to draw realism.
then they disrobed and after a few poses you more worried about getting something on the page that you can be proud to hand in then the naked person mere feet away.
my realism is still not great, after 3 years of intense arting it's not bad but nothing i'd be willing to sell... however drawing all that realism helped my normal style improve.... i would try for this happy medium between full out anime and the shitty realism i could do. so proportions would be realistic and i actually draw the characters without clothing before draping it on in the end just so i could understand how it would fall.

but i honestly think without life drawing i wouldn't have improved as much in the three years then if i had just stayed at home....
oh and to tack on another answer i have pages and pages and pages and pages of studies in my sketchbook. anytime i'm not feeling creative but i want to draw i either grab nearby stuff and do a stilllife OR i draw hands or feet or eyes or whatever i am not feeling confident with atm. so yeah how you get better at drawing or anything really is to do it over and over and over and over and eventually it'll start looking like what it's supposed to.

I know it's what everyone tells you, just keep drawing it and it'll get better, but honestly it's the only way to improve.

Question 2: Why do you have a ridiculously positive attitude towards art? 

Short answer: not sure, probably because i'm so stubborn and lazy.

Long answer: Those who know me know i try to have a positive attitude about everything no matter how stressful it actually is.

two reasons for that.
When i was younger i got really sick, so sick the doctor thought i had asthma and gave me a puffer.... it ended up being whooping cough which a puffer does nothing for... however the stress of the whooping cough on my body plus the stress of potentially having to repeat a year since i had to miss 10 weeks of school (i ended up not having to but the simple idea of repeating a year didn't sound fun to me) caused me to get a different sickness shortly after getting over whoopign cough.... Shingles.
for those who don't know shingles is like chicken pox on crack, it's the same virus but it's sitting on a nerve and it hurts like hell... pretty much millions of tiny knives stabbing you in the affected area....
Unlike chicken pox you can get it again if you are under high amount of stress.
I NEVER want to go through that again so i am relaxed about everything OR i do things right away so i don't have to get stressed later.

so short version of that story is i'm never stressed towards art cause i don't wanna get sick.

The second thing is in my second year of college i hit a massive wall.
see in first year i vowed never to do a single anime pic for class. I knew how to draw anime i was here to learn a new skill.
Then in second year they were teaching a lot of the same stuff but with different materials.... i wasn't learning much of anything new.
and i hated the shit i was producing, i mean i have no love for anything i made for an assignment but i really disliked the stuff i was making. I questioned why i was in art since i didn't have the skill to be an artist... i even though i would just finish that year and get my piece of paper and bolt.
then it hit me... my stubbornness came and saved the day.... i simply took a deep breath and looked at myself in the mirror and said. "You know what Kathleen? Fuck em."
probably the most liberating moment of myself "how about this, you follow the assignment.... but do it your way.... you can't possibly fail (the way our school works is you pretty much know the exact moment you can't go below 60) so if they don't like it then they can fail you.... but at least you will like what you are creating"
and then i started getting the best grades i had gotten all year (not that anyone in the real world gives a shit about grades.)
not only that i decided to return for the third and final year of that program and that year was a blast... i learned so much about myself and how far i could be pushed by myself and others and how one teachers validation means nothing if you aren't proud of what you have accomplished.

so essentially i'm so happy and relaxed with art casue i don't want to make myself sick over it and i plan to make the best art i can and if people don't like it then i'll just have to do better next time but it's nothing to get upset by.

Question 3: how can you paint/draw/sculpt so large? i could never do that...

Short answer: Yes you can you just need to try.

Long answer: YES you CAN you just need to TRY! honestly this is coming from someone who is comfortable doing a full body sketch in a 5x7 sketchbook.... drawing big and drawing small are the same thing... one you just need a lot more room.... you can't say your unable to do something unless you try it. and you should try EVERYTHING you get your hands on.

Question 4: How do you deal with art block?

Short answer: There is no such thing as artblock.

Long answer: There is no such thing as artblock.... at least not in the way most people think.
When people say there in art block they mention things like nothings turning out right, they just can seem to finish a piece or maybe they can't think of what it is they want to draw.
This means one of two things.
you are in  bit of a creative slump and it's hard coming up with 'new' ideas all the time
you are currently find yourself lacking in skills which is either making your art not turn out as good as your hoping or its stoppinf you from being able finish a piece.
the solution to either of these problems is the same
do studies/try something new
"but Kat!" i hear you yell "in your early answer you mentioned you hit a wall in your second year of school"
and i did, but i was still able to make art.... i just hated all of it.... art block implies that you are physically unable to draw... that some mental block is stopping you from putting pencil to paper. it's not, if someone told you to do a page of circles you would be physically about to... you just may not be able to create something that could be a show stoppedi n this state of mind... but you are perfectly capable of drawing.
this is why doing studies is important.
for one it can be boring as hell, liek i said i have drawn many pages of hands... it's boring... tedious and i would rather be drawing anything else... now that i'm thinking "anything other then this" my mind might start going to more creative places and if i need to draw a hand in the future it'll at least be better then what i was producing before.
doing studies gets you out of the mindset of "i just can't draw right now" and into the mindset of "how can i improve my art today in the hopes of being able to draw tomorrow. "

i know some people say the best way to fight artblock (or as i call them Slumps/lack of confidence) is to sketch every day no matter what.... they are right but that mentality is wrong for someone like me who is stubborn and doesn't like being told what to do.
So i think of it as I will try to work on something art related every day.... if for some reason i can't manage it thats fine but i have to at least try.  it may sound the same but my brain can't deal with the "you have to do this" instead of the "you really should do this"

and i think those are the most common questions i've been asked recently.... these are mostly personal experience things but honestly theres a reason you keep hearing the same answers to all these questions.

You wanna get better at drawing something? draw it a lot
you want to have a good attitude towards art? stop worrying about what others thing and just do it for yourself.
you want to do bigger art? then go out there and try
how do you deal with art block? remember that artblock isn't real and it's more a lack in confidence so go and draw random stuff and fill your sketchbook full of them.

as a quick aside don't stick to one style.
all styles influence each other... drawing realism will make you anime better... doign minimalism will help you with detail stuff... random drawings may turn into an entire series... you don't know so just try as much as you can.

and NEVER say "well it looks like that cause it's my style" this is not a valid thing to say ever. it may well be your style but if it's stopping you from getting better as an artist then it's just hurting you.
at the same time do not marry yourself to the golden ratio of how things should look, most people don't fall into the 7 head, eyes spaced perfectly apart blah blah blah stuff.... like i said i have small hands but on the other hand large feet for someone my height... but you have to know the proper proportions before you start messing around with them

ah that was a lot to get off my chest... i feel better now....
i better go finish this random chibi and sketch something new to work on tomorrow.

if you read all this.......... do you just enjoy pain or something? i mean i'm super thankful that you read it all but wow... i didn't think anyone could sit through my incoherent babbling about random stuff to do with art. but seriously thank you!

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