Hello. I would first like to say hello to everyone here as I have read and enjoyed many posts. I really had no idea where I could post this... so here goes....
For most of my life, I have been able to pick up a pencil and draw fairly decent. I can take a picture of most anything and draw it to near precision. Give me a reference and I can draw it without any problem.
My problem is getting my imagination to flow from my brain to my pencil, without stopping. I have all these wonderful ideas that just won't realize themselves on the paper before me. There's some type of invisible filter in my elbow that doesn't want me to be anything other than a glorified copy machine :o (no offense to anyone else intended).
For all of you gurus here, is this normal for an untrained artist? Does it take college to bring my ideas to life? Or is it just the type of thing that one is born with? I imagine that college/formal training can refine even the roughest of pencils, but would I even be considered as artistic when all I can do is simply copy another's work?
I apologize for such a weird post...it's early in the AM :D I've always loved to draw, but I get so discouraged at only being able to copy things. Sure it impresses the friends with no drawing skills whatsoever, but what's the point of that? Would any of you have any words of insight, or even just opinions, on my situation? Any input at all is appreciated.
read "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance". it's a great book on freeing the mind of constraints.
it's not that good on how to fix your motorcyle.
Ok. I'm game :cool:
Found it online and will give it a read later today when I have more time :p
reading a book will not help you to realize your ideas on paper
zen and the art... is a nice book but it won't get you where you want to go.
no other way then to draw, draw, draw(i know this sounds boring)
and please let no one ever tell you that copying is wrong,
people learn most of there skills by copying (talking and writing)
drawing is no exception, but you'll have to copy other drawings, copying fotos doesn't learn you much about drawing
Peter Wassink - Digital 2D Animator
Yes, you are weird- welcome to the club! All animators are weird and to a lesser extent- so are ALL artists!
It's good to be able to copy (and I am not sure what "copy" means).
To really develop your drawing, do "observational drawing" - draw what you observe from life. Draw people, animal objects, scenery, etc. The more you draw from life the better you will become. You will also build up you own visual data base to "draw" from (sorry for the pun) so you can really expand you ideas into your work.
Draw something simple like an object and then try to interpid the object 5 or 6 or even ten different ways- see what happens!
Keep it fun! If you want to post stuff here or/and in the SHOW and TELL forum - great!
Imagination does not come naturally for everyone. While one may be a good artist, able to draw well, inventing things to draw is a task that is completely seperate. There are many in your position, dakar, and I have worked with many. I could ask them to draw me a design of anything, and they would bang it off... But ask that same person to write a script, or do a storyboard, and they are completely lost.
The craetivity may come, and it may not... It depends if you were meant to be more creative or more technical in your work. You can get work though, either way.
"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon
first of all copying is good! keep doing that.
preferably copy drawings from other artists (not fotos) you can learn so much from how they solved drawing problems.
And look at the best, and don't limit your spectrum, go from Durer to Picasso, from Rembrand to Klimt, from Michelangelo to Winsor MacCay.
this will give you more tools to get your imagination out of that brain of yours and onto the paper.
once you start drawing your own stuff it can never stop! every drawing will inspire the next, even if it simply means that you copy yourself thats fine.
it will come... just draw draw draw!
Peter Wassink - Digital 2D Animator
I agree with everything said and would add:
Just do it! Just sit down and draw what's in your head! You will progress.
And colleges aren't the end-all-be-all but at the very least take a life drawing class and/or sketch from observation.
One of the best things about the college experience is the sharing of ideas and creative motives with others striving to excell in the same field.
If you don't have anyone to bat ideas around with sometimes it seems daunting...especially if you are perfectionist. You need to open up and give your self permission to occassionally get a line wrong. And sharing some classroom exercises with others is just what it takes many times.
Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.
Let me describe someone to you that you might know...
This guy was born with a talent that he realized early on. He could look at an object and it just made sense to him that to draw it onto a piece of paper all he had to do was look at the lines and position of that object and put them in the same place they would be proportionately on the paper. When he was younger he would get bored in art class because he would finish the glue and paste assignments before all the other kids and only found it to be fun when he could start to draw on scraps of paper or on the backof his assignments. He would even doodle with the glue when he had to make stupid paper collages. Then this guy went to middle school and got to use notebooks for class notes. Well this was just a place for him to doodle right in front of the teachers nose. He took some notes, but the margins of the paper were filled with doodles of all kinds of things from crappy designs to a few cool looking characters. His friends would borrow his notes sometimes and comment about how cool his drawings were. Then the girls started to ask him to draw them something. They would never tell him what to draw..just to draw something. Not having a subject to draw all the time he started getting burnt out on drawing and felt like he couldn't come up with anything original that he liked for himself. he would make some drawings and just give them away to his friends because he didn't see that they were any good even when they told him they were great. Well after highschool he went to college and found he had a lot more free time and that there was so much more to the world around him. He no longer had teachers, coaches, and parents telling him what to do and when to do it. Freedom was nice...for awhile...then he felt like he was missing something. He couldn't figure out what it was until oneday he saw a model sheet for an animated character on a random website. Then he remembered that he loved to draw. He hadn't enjoyed drawing in such a long time because it seemed like more of a chore and less of a hobby back in highschool. No one in college would think he's wierd just because he liked to draw. Everyone in college is strange and they are used to it. So he picked up a pencil and grabbed a sheet of blank paper. he stared at the paper for the longest time because he didn't want to ruin the clean sheet of paper with a bad drawing. He couldn't think of what he wanted to draw. So he started to draw a circle. then a line came out of it. Then another. Soon he had a funny little character on his paper...ahh crap! He messed up the drawing. A good drawing ruined by some stupid looking lines he added. To salvage the paper he flipped it over, but he still couldn't come up with anything to draw. Then he looked at a comic book he had. He thought he would just copy one of the characters out of the comicbook. After a few minutes he had an almost exact replica of the character. He knew this wasn't his own character and it wasn't real art because it was copied. He did this with a few more pages until he actually started to read the comic book. Then he got into the story and put his pencil down. he liked the story, but couldn't imagine where the writers or the artist got the idea of what to draw. He just coulnd't understand why he was stumped in the creative department. ...fast forward a semester....Literature 3450 honors class. The guy was forced to read stories from authors long dead. Some were down right boring and others sparked a little interest. Soon he was daydreaming in class and all of a sudden he started to doodle on his notebook. He realised what he was doing. He started to enjoy it. Then drawing after drawing came pouring out of the pencil onto the notebook paper. He started to flip the page, then another, and another. He couldn't stop himself from drawing all the ideas that were erupting inside his head. Stories of pirates, space travel, cavemen, dinosaurs, star wars, secret agents, the hot girl in the corner of the room, his own hand, and his pencil drawing his pencil drawing. All of a sudden class was over and he hadn't taken any notes for the last hour and a half. He had no idea what had happened in class and strangely he could care less. he realized that he loved to draw. He went home and started drawing, but then it began to fade as he turned on the tv to watch whatever was on. The ideas were still coming, but his hand was tired, and he was hungry...he stopped drawing that night thinking he would pick it up in the morning. Well he didn't nor the next day or the next...a few days went by and he kept convincing himself that he had put in a good amount of drawing for the week and he could put it off a little longer. He didn't have any fresh ideas to draw when he felt like drawing. He could copy anything he wanted to, but that was no fun. After awhile of goofing around and he decided to do some serious actual study and research on the web for drawing sites, He found others like himself. Then he came to the FORUMS at AWN and started to talk with some of the people here. They kicked his ass for giving up drawing like that. Thinking that he was good enough to put his pencil down and quitting anytime he couldn't think of an idea. They made him realize that he will never be good enough to put his pencil down...ever. No one will be (except for maybe Larry, Wade, Dan, Dave, Matt S, Borogrove, and danimation) He thought that he could only draw when he was looking at something and drawing it. His drawing swere good, but not his own. Then he learned something that no one had ever told him before because he was surrounded by people that were amazed he could draw well.....
he learned that having the talent to draw something with a reference is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to drawing. He thought he was pretty good, but he didn't realize how much more he had to study and learn in order to be able to truely draw something out of his head. His talent could only take him so far. He needed to develop his skills and by doing so he found that the ideas he had, seemed to come out onto paper the same way he envisioned them in his head. He studied other artist drawings and how they tackled issues of perspective, anatomy, and shape. Then he began to look at characters, their clothing, and small details. He started to incorporate other people's little details into his own drawing until he had developed his "own" style. Then he came back to the AWN forums and showed his former ass kickers his progress... they congratulated him for working hard and making a good origianl drawing, ...then the critiques came...some were harsh, some were fluffy, others made no sense...then...
They lived happily ever after (here comes my boss :) )
P.S. he never stopped trying to improve his drawings...The END
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given to us." ---Gandalf
im 14 and i copy my drawings all the time,,,,,, i always draw simpson-like characters,,,,, i usually get good feedback,,,,,,,, for the mostpart,,,,, visit it
www.geocities.com/gabemarchionda/thesimpsons.swf........ dont click on the link tyype the web address into ure browser.
My newgrounds movie--->http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/247657
Thank you everyone for your kind responses. The story does sound famaliar in some parts. Thanks for taking the time to write that :)
I sort of figured that the response would be to practice, it makes sense. :D I will try doing a drawing of a few objects in my house tonight. I guess I just get discouraged. No one has ever really said anything negative about my copying, I do usually get praise, but It's just me being hard on myself.
I guess that's what it all comes down to. I've been wanting to attend an art college for a few years, and have been saving the cash I need to go... I just don't want to get there and realize that my "drawing skill" is merely a gift for imitation. I was browsing through the show and tell forum and was impressed with so much of the work there. I guess that's what got me thinking.
I've been to college before... and wasn't ready at 17 like I thought I was. :rolleyes: I just don't want to waste my time and money going to an art college if I won't make it. Does anyone know what I mean? I'm sorry if I sound gloomy or anything, because I'm not... and I don't usually seek approval or help... but this is important to me. I sincerely appreciate all of your responses. I apologize again for coming off so "Chicken Little" and if I sound whiny feel free to slap me :D
Hett: You are a crack up- I hope you didn't get in trouble from your boss!
Dakar: You're not weird and you don't sound whiny at all. I certainly know how you feel. I'm one of those people that's a bit of an "all rounder". I can draw a bit, paint a bit, sing a bit, act a bit, play a bit of sport, play a bit of eight ball etc etc etc. But I'm not GREAT at anything (except being able to do a bit of everything!). I've decided that animation is what I'm going to concentrate on, and so I've gone and got myself some nice new pencils and a sketch pad... and drawn a blank! (there's another play on words Larry) I feel like I've got it somewhere in me, but what's in my head doesn't flow onto paper. It's an extremely frustrating feeling. I want to develop my own characters, but feel like I'm either copying someone else's style or feel like I'm trying to reinvent the wheel. It's like you've got a song in your heart, but no voice. I'm looking at doing some training too. There's a art school I've found that lets you do one subject at a time (for example life drawing) but they can all add up to a certificate, then a diploma then a degree (even a double degree I think). If you are worried about committing to full on art school and the costs involved, maybe a place like that would be ideal for you?
Meanwhile, I'm following what these cool and extremely helpful people are suggesting: Draw, read, surf and submit your work. Be a sponge.
Best of luck. :)
That's me exactly! :eek:
About the school, it's not that I have a problem dropping the money on it. I know I can go to class and work hard, and pass, but can people like us succeed in the art business? Some people are just so naturally talented (as evident by browsing these forums) that it honestly intimidates me.
I also went out and bought a nice sketch pad and a couple of different pencils... about a year ago. I began to draw something....wasn't happy with it, so I haven't touched them since :( Until tonight that is :D
As far as college, I've been leaning towards a few particular schools. Most tuition runs in the 20k a year range. I don't mind the cost of a good education, I just don't want to waste it. I am interested in hearing more of the school you mentioned. I don't know if school names are taboo here... if so you can PM me or something.
PS. I wanted to post the link for "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence" for anyone that cared to read it.
hett15s & dakkar,
good one, i know exactly what you'v told, i am also in the same way of research, i haven't touched art since 5 years ago where i studied programming in coollege insted.
but the passion to draw & animation is far bigger than my current diploma & programming skills, real life drawing were always easy to me, as well as tracing [copy] but we all knows its not what we want.
trying to draw stuff and turned out bad can be frustrating, especially if your mind betray you :) and u can't pass anything to the paper.
i guess drawing each day , learning new styles, practicing, trial & error will finally gain us the results.
btw, we can startup a thread for all 'weak' artists to help each other (comment, side talking about each art..etc), this will definatelly help each other when it comes to drawing better.
Visit my site http://www.animdesk.com
Here is another thought...about drawing.
The key is to care about your progress and NOT about the actual drawing.
Don't become so invested in the drawing that it becomes a dilemma- because what will happen is your drawing will become too stiff and stilted or obsessive.
You are going to do plenty of drawings to improve - so just don't be too invested in any one drawing.
I have a friend from Northern Ireland, named Graham Toms- a terrific artist in drawing, painting and in 3D (lightwave). He helps me and acts as a sounding board for feedback. He honestly tells me when my drawing is flowing and when it is obsessive...and he knows me well enough...AND he is always right.
I offer my assessment of his work...it is a wonderful artistic sharing.
Graham was the person who told me years ago - "Don't care too much how the drawing comes out.
Does this mean I proceed without some planning or thinking or research or reference on the subject matter? Certainly not-
Every artist should strive to develop a capacity for self assessment.
The bottom line is keep progressing and developing, etc...and have fun with it.
here is my suggestions that may work out as a starting point for you also. I am pretty creative myself, and I can draw well. But there it ends. If left to my own devices I spin off on tangents and when I'm finished no one can understand the what or why of my ... project. But I find that when I'm paired with people whom are excited about something and have the qualities that I don't have everything becomes twice as good.
My problem is story. I can come up with characters, i can draw them and can make them do stuff, but thats where it ends. I found a writer that I enjoyed their enthusiasm for other things they have done and togather we made a kick-ass short project. It worked out vey well for the both of us.
Seeing how they worked has also helped me with my projects since then.
Just thought you may want to try this out.
Don't do nothing because you can't do everything.
Great advice from everyone! Sometimes I do forget the "big picture" while drawing. I guess I am a little bit too hard on myself. I never really thought about my drawing as a progression, I usually expect high standards from myself. I guess I will have to lighten up a bit.... Thanks Larry :D
I wish I did have someone to bounce ideas off of. Unfortunately, I'm pretty much alienated from other artists at the moment, except all of you fine people. If nothing else, being here has at the very least inspired me to give it another shot. I just wish my scanner worked. It's so old :(
Thank you once again, for taking the time to help rekindle a love of mine. I hope I can make you all proud one day :)
Dakar, that's exactly what I was trying to say...sometimes without an exchange there is not growth...that's what's great about college, because you aren't by yourself. There are others you can go smoke or drink with...or maybe just talk with and it ignites the flame.
Norm should get in here...he knows what I mean. Sometimes you just can't see the big picture by yourself.
And it's not just college, but that's where we are allowed to group by interest. If it was that way out there in the real world everyday, we'd probably all be more healthy.
Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.
Don't get me wrong. During your life you meet all kinds of people and they open up things you never thought could be openned up. But sometimes we need our own kind to talk to, and that's what's great about the internet.... but you have to be careful...very careful.
In college, everyone is right there looking you in the face...most of the time anyway.
Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.
Just so everybody knows I made up that incredibly long story of the guy. That is not exactly me, but I shared some of the same qualities. It is more of a conglomeration of many of my artistic friends and stories I have come across on different forums. Parts of it should sounds familiar to many people, and others may have no connection to it. Sorry it was so long. i got really bored at work watching my videos render.
The point that I never got to make was that becoming a better artist takes dedication. Some people are gifted with unbelievable talent and others work their tails off to be good, but either way the only way to get better is to dedicate your self to it. Some people will "work" harder then others, but it is all still "work" proportional to your natural talent level.
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that has been given to us." ---Gandalf
I feel like i'm in a very similar situation, and I've finally decided to enroll in some type of computer animation school... now I just have to find one I would be happy with. A BA degree would be great, but I'm not sure I would have the patience/money for 4 more years of school (already spent 4 years at a tech school for a BS). So basically, I'm looking a school that has some sort of certificate upon completion (obviously, a great education/experience is much more important than the certificate, but 4 years of college makes you want a little piece of paper at the end :p ). Ideally, I'd like something in the New England area as that's where I live now, but haven't found anything yet.
Right now, I'm looking at Gnomon (www.gnomon3d.com) in Hollywood, for their 2 year certificate program, but that's at the high end of what I would be able to spend.
Another program I'm looking at is the 12 week Maya program at the Renaissance Center in Tennessee. Much more affordable, but I'm not sure it would be enough.
If anyone has any experience with a school/program like these, I would really appreciate some honest reviews. Links to sites with reviews would also be good.
Thanks in advance,
Dakar: By the way I did PM you...it would be easy to miss though, as it took me a while to notice where they show up. The art school I was talking about is actually in Australia, but I'm sure you have the same where you are from... I think I saw you say Florida? (I sure hope you do... I may be moving there myself!!!) I haven't seen you haven't specifically mention animation, but I'm assuming since you are on this site, that you are interested in it! People have mentioned on here numerous times the book "The Animator's Survival Kit" by Richard Williams... Well I'm extremely excited to say that I bought it a couple of days ago! There are about 40 pages or so before you get into the "guts" of the book and the lessons on animation technique, that I read through last night. I found them to be extremely inspiring and found some quotes that directly echo what people have being saying in here. I thought they might be relevant:
"When you're doing life drawing, you're all alone. One of the main reasons animators - once they become animators - don't like to spend thier evenings and spare time life drawing is because it's not a collaborative operation.
Animation is usually a group effort, and one has the stimulus of constant interaction, both competitive and co-operative, with the cut and thrust, highs and lows, political factions of complaint and inspiration, all the tensions and anxieties, rewards and excitement of group production.
With life drawing there's no one to admire your efforts- rather the reverse. it's always shocking to find you're not as advanced or skilled as you thought you were, and since it's about the hardest thing to do with no rewards other than the thing itself- it's no wonder few do it or stick at it."...
..."But the fact remains that there is no replacement for the hard work of solid life drawing.
There is one payoff and it is substantial- the gradual and fundamental improvement of one's work."
Another quote that I think gives us (and anyone else with "drawer's block") hope: "Don't try to develop a style. Ignore style. Just concentrate on the drawing and the style will occur."
Anyway, I won't continue to quote the whole of Williams' book... I just found that info really helpful personally. It's really reiterating what everyone's being saying.
The other cool thing that happened last night, was I had a bit of a break through, which reflected EXACTLY what Larry said: "The key is to care about your progress and NOT about the actual drawing." I had a go last night at sketching my husband our cat sleeping (yes the cat was on the pillow... tut tut tut). I've always found it frustrating to do life drawing, as obviously, things move... Just when you think you're getting somewhere, they shift position. I've never been quick enough to even get a suggestion of what I'm drawing from life down on paper. Anyhoo, last night, I did it! My cat kept yawning and rolling over or even just turning his head. The first few goes were like before: just a few meaningless lines. Then... voila! I started to get it! The great thing I've finally discovered about drawing from life is that it forces us to keep things loose. Concentrating for hours on one sketch may develop our eye for detail, but we're still stuck on ONE DRAWING for... well.. hours! Sketching from life forces you to have a go, then another go, then another!
Anyway, I've dribbled long enough. I'm not really trying to hijack your thread dakar! I hope by sharing this that it at least lets you know that there's more of us out there in the same boat!
Phacker: I understand what you mean. I've never really thought that being around other "artists" would help me at all. I've always been a pretty solo-type person....and for me to share work that I knew wasn't one of my best... heh... it doesn't happen. It's hard for me to get over the mindset of making each drawing perfect... else it goes in the trash. I've pretty much decided that college is going to be the way to go for me, but the cost... :eek:
Hett15: Yes, it was a long story, but I do appreciate your time and effort put into it. I read it from beginning to end. Many parts of it were very similiar to my own life. I also understand your point on dedication. I must admit I've rather half-assed it. I see so many others with this natural talent that I suppose I thought it would just come to me one day. As I said, I haven't been around many artist types to get feedback from. Everyone I have met never had to "work" at it. I guess I will just have to buckle down and put in my dues in order to get where everyone else is. I have no problems with that... in fact, I am kind of looking forward to it :p
Captainbee: Nice to meet you. It seems we are in the same boat as many others, trying to find a school. From what I've read on these boards, it seems that you would be better off with a BFA program, rather than a 2-year certificate program. It seems with the flood of animators (3d) that competition is more fierce, and while you could land a job 5 years ago with only a 2 year certificate, it isn't the case now days. Please take advice with a grain of salt, as I am only relaying some information that I read from others.
I also looked into Gnomon, and a ton of other schools. I've narrowed my search down to about 3-4 schools, all offering a BFA in Computer Animation. Perhaps one of us "school-searchers" should start a thread on possible schools and programs. I'm not sure how many replies it would get, as many people here are biased towards a certain school and like to stay out of school discussions... At the very least we could share information amongst ourselves, and it may help some of the lurkers on this board.
Keenasmustard: I received your PM's and have replied.
On the book, it's great advice and it mirrors what the people here have been saying all along. It only reinforces my respect for the animators (and others) here. I may pick it up sometime soon.
Congratulations on completing your sketch! I too, find life drawing a daunting task. I attended a drawing 1 class in a local community college, here where I live. Each day a different person from class would sit in the chair and everyone would draw them. It was a great chance to practice, but it sure sucks when you have to sit still for 45 minutes...
gabemarchionda: When I said I copy others... I didn't mean just the theme or style. I can take a comic, picture or anything else really, and draw it onto paper, exactly as I see it. So, my drawings are really just "copies" of things I see. Life drawing or drawing things out of my head, I don't do so well with. I don't mean to look down on others that copy work as I do, it's just that I am ready to progress beyond that and I'm having a hard time doing so.
I also checked out your animation. It's not too bad for your age and medium (Flash). As the others have said, stick with it and you will only get better. Don't wait until you get old like me before you start practicing :p
Anyhow I've rambled long enough. I didn't expect so many replies, so I apologize for my lengthy post. Take care everyone. I will be around here with pencil in hand... eraser too.. haha :D