I don’t know where I found all these, or who wrote all of them, but I’m guessing mostly from CA. But I’ve kept them in a “motivational” file for a bit and figured I’d share.
I hear it all the time:
Am I talented enough? How much should I draw? Am I studying right? What’s the best way to use XYZ book? Art school or no art school? Do I need a degree? How will I know when I’m professional? What should I draw? Should I do more studies or finished work? What are the best materials? What kind of paint should I use? What pencil should I use? Are pencils or pens better to draw with? Should I draw big or small? Is it bad to draw from photos? Should I paint digitally or traditionally? Am I too old to start learning? Is Photoshop or Painter better? What’s the best way to hold a pencil? Where should I find inspiration? What do I do if I’m not inspired? How do I get through “artist’s block”? How long will it take to be a professional? Why does it feel like I’m not improving? Should I get a Moleskine? Is art dead? What is art? How do I do backgrounds? What are the best tutorials? What resolution should I work at? How do I come up with good ideas? What do I do if I stop enjoying art?
Well, I have the answer to all of your questions: it doesn’t matter. Really. It doesn’t. These questions are excuses, plain and simple. They are used by people who aren’t drawing or painting that want to get wrapped up in petty minutiae at the expense of their own work.
The fact is that if you want to make art, then you need to make art. I could answer every single question on this list and it wouldn’t make you the slightest bit better at drawing.
Now, I should qualify these statements before people start chucking rocks: these are mostly valid questions, with equally valid answers. They’re worth discussing at times, and are things that you’ll eventually figure out. But by and large, you’ll figure them all out for yourself by working. Notice a pattern here? Don’t be afraid to ask questions and research things, but be sure you’re not doing it at the expense of actually learning things.
So shut up, stop whining, and get to work.
how did those Renaissance artists get so good? After all, they had no web, no tablets, no access to huge amounts of other artists’ work, no big choice of drawing materials, no huge library of possible anatomy or perspective books. They drew with bits of silver wire on small scraps of paper. Or with homemade charcoal or chalk, and using pieces of old bread as erasers. But they could draw circles around most of us. How come? Michelangelo gave the answer in a note he wrote to a student: “Draw Antonio, draw, and don’t waste time.”
If you say you want to be an artist, but never work on your art, you only like the idea of being an artist, not the actual act itself. The same is true for game design and programming as well. I see tons of people studying to work in games. When I talk to them, online, in person, in the classroom, they try to convey to me in words how much they want to work in games. Yet when I look at their portfolios it’s obvious they don’t invest more than a couple hours a week on it. If you have to wait for someone to pay you to do something, you don’t honestly want it. When I see students that are pumping out a new model and texture every week, regardless of the quality, I see someone who is going to make it in the game industry. They are hungry, and have passion. If they aren’t currently good, they will get good, out of sheer tenacity and passion.
There was once a student of the violin who sought out a master to ask his advice. “O wise teacher,” he said after playing for a bit, “do I have what it takes to be a great violinist?” “No,” responded the master. “Perhaps you would be more suited to a regular career.”
Crestfallen, the student put away his violin, and turned with a sigh to a career in banking. And ultimately he became a successful and happy banker.
Many years later he met the master violinist again. The student-turned banker said to him “Because you opened my eyes to my inadequacy as a violinist, I am now wealthy and have a stable career and a good family. It frightens me to think of the life I would have led as a second-rate violinist. Thank you for warning me away from playing the violin.”
The master violinist smiled sadly at the banker, and replied: “I tell all of the students they are inadequate. It is the ones who choose not to listen to me that have the stubbornness to succeed.”
I am a firm believer that it is never too late to start art, or progress with your art. Art is a reflection of who you are and the quality of your thoughts. If you live life fully and reflect deeply on those experiences than it will reveal itself in your art. The initial awkwardness of techique surprisingly is not as big an issue as you might expect. The person with crude technique and something important to say will produce stronger and compelling art than an artist with great techique and nothing to say -their art is derived and imatative.
In time your technique will catch up to your thoughts - that I am convinced - and only if you can put the time into it. If not, accept what you can get done and enjoy the process. Art - for the moments that your are creating it - is its own reward. We put too much pressure on ourselves to have results - often it is society’s expectations and not our own that creates this anxiety within ourselves.
I personally have been where you are and I can tell you that it can be done. I didn’t start drawing until I was 25 and working as Internet Tech Support. My family pretty much told me that “I can do art as a hobby”. It’s taken me 6 years to get to the level that got me a job with a game developer doing concept art full time.
When I tell people that I started drawing at 25, they say “bullshit”. But it’s the truth. Yes, I would doodle and sketch but I didn’t have the knowledge or the skills to get my ideas across. I could copy a Disney character but I couldn’t paint or even be able to draw the same thing twice.
What you need is a little knowledge and a lot of practice. Keep doing your day job and take every spare cent and invest it in books and dvds and practice your ass off. If you play WoW, cancel it. Take every free minute to practice.
Some people would say, “just draw from life”, for me that didn’t work. I needed the knowledge from books and dvds and then to apply it to drawing from life to get things to click. It’s not going to happen tomorrow or it might not happen in 6 years but for me, I’m 32 now and officially have my first year in the game industry. You can do anything if you work hard!
definitely start learning to draw/paint and just go out with boldness. I would definitely push yourself in the beginning hard as well because, I don’t know if you are like me but I like to see results. So I keep pushing myself until I see results. I have already seen some improvement for me and it has just been 2 1/2-3 weeks of me drawing and painting. But the key is doing it everyday I think…no matter what time of day or not I make sure to do a painting and a drawing every day.
Look at it this way, push your self now as much as you can even if you think your work is utter shit. Think about how much of a bad ass your going to be down the track after constant practicing, think about those insane characters, enviroments, paintings, sculptures your going to be making, maybe even master lens glare (ignore that last bit). Think about the choice you made to become a amazing artist instead of wasting time not practicing sulking.
There is no doubt the better you become the enjoyment can only increase.
This is the way I see it:
first off, what we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. Everything youre afraid to do or you put off just becomes mental baggage and really pulls you down. So when I say dedication instead of motivation I mean that you really have to push to get all that stuff done. No matter what it might be, if its holding you down you have to really just pull it together and finish it. For instance, if you can’t draw hands, draw hands(which is what I’m workin on ). period. Or anything really for that matter. A good way I’ve found is to limit everything I do to a few hours. Like I wake up at 7am, I have to have all my studies done in my sketchbook by 9am and then have my digitals done by 11am. This forces you to not be lazy and not browse the internet or whatever it is you do to fill time. After this I usually limit work times in general to make sure I’m really pushing myself. Thats not to say you can’t go out and do things later, just that youll actually get more done in general and have more time on top of that.
Basically it all depends on you, youre the only one who can make you work hard. I try to keep in mind that tomorrow becomes never and if I keep putting anything off it will just never happen. Everything has to be started and done this instance or it will never get done. Just trying to think of how serious life is and how we’re all gonna die in any number of years is somethin that pushes me too. Each minute that passes you by you could be learnin something new or accomplishing something you’ve always wanted to do. The only real thing that has to happen is you acting on it. So when I push the other dudes on the forum I really just want to see them getting everything they want outta life. We all have goals and we can all reach them easily.
Something to really avoid though would be comfort zones. These can kill your drive and motivation. I always try to avoid feeling comfortable with whatever it is I’m doing. If I have too much money and think I am alright just taking the same old jobs I’ll spend money to force myself to get off my ass and work harder. If somebody tells me my work is awesome the way it is then I’ll go and send my work to a professional I like and ask for critiques. Anything to keep from being a lazy asshole. To me its all about breaking the ego and never stop looking up at what you could be.
I know this all sounds cheesy and whatever but its all true. We’re all just dudes, hardly anybody started out golden or just amazing off the bat. Everybody you look up to has already gone through what you’re going through and the only thing that changed them was really just sitting down and workin at it. We can all be great in our own respects but we all have to work at our core drawing skills first and we have to pull ourselves together and start pushing for everything we want.
and one last thing… Don’t go easy on yourself! Never settle for anything and always set unrealistic goals worth reaching! Everybody thinks theres a huge race to be the best and never try because they say theres too much competition. But in reality theres a huge group of people thinking the same thing and they only settle for mediocre jobs or whatever it may be. So theres actually more competition for shit jobs than for the best.
moral of the story: Work hard, stay focused, and pull yourself together! Define what you want and go take it!