Hope you've been well and have kicked some art goals this week!
Here's your dose of my top resources, thoughts, 'aha moments' and announcements directly from my brain to yours from this past week.
- What I'm reading
This weeks book I’ve been diving deep into is Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon
The main idea being ‘Nothing is original’ and that all creative work builds from what came before it.
A cool little quote from the book...
As the French writer André Gide put it, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
This is a MUST read if you’ve ever thought
- “My ideas need to be fully 100% original”
- “Is using reference cheating?”
- “How do I find my style? And is it bad that I’m studying from others? Will this make me a rip off?”
I’ve had all of those types of thoughts before and this book is a fantastic resource to get out of that mind set.
And for those of you that are in the ‘Studying from others will make me a rip off’ camp this little quote might resonate…
The cartoonist Gary Panter said, “If you have one person you’re influenced by, everyone will say you’re the next whoever. But if you rip off a hundred people, everyone will say you’re so original!”
There’s countless other nuggets of gold in this little book and I highly recommend you spend some time with it!
- Aha moments
As I’m learning new things (art skills or other skills) I’m starting to pick up thought patterns that keep popping up that are really unhelpful to the learning process.
One of them often cropping up if I can’t grasp a particular topic from a particular teacher/lecturer/book etc.
I’ll have this annoying feeling that I’m not intelligent enough, or that I’m a little slower than the average person that is consuming this particular bit of content, because everyone else understood it, right?
I’ve encountered this feeling enough times now and have come out the other end with a solid understanding of the concepts/skill/whatever I was trying to grasp that this just isn’t the case.
There’s a few key things that I have to remind myself of when this feeling creeps in that has helped me get past it so I can continue to make progress…
- Did you get enough sleep before trying to tackle this thing?
This is SO important. I used to pull all nighters and think I was ‘getting ahead’ by doing this. Oh how wrong I was. Sleep is the #1 indicator of if I’m going to have a great day of learning or not.
- Don’t just stick to one plan of attack, hit it from multiple angles
This strategy has served me well that I don’t even think about learning from a single source anymore.
If there’s a topic I’m interested in, I’ll watch tutorials, read books, buy courses, listen to podcasts and really try and hit the idea from all angles so it has no option but to get cemented into my brain!
It may be that one paragraph in one random book that really makes the idea ‘click’.
Keep searching and asking questions and go get those answers from a variety of places!
- It takes time!
Sometimes, understanding and developing a skill just takes time, and the biggest thing that helps speed this process up is consistency. Sitting with the problem over a consistent period of time lets my subconscious chew on the problem and I’ll often times get the ‘aha’ moment when I’m away from the desk or learning session.
- Document… a lot
This is something I’ve recently started to do a lot more of and I’ve delved deep into the whole Zettlekasten note taking methodology -> For my nerds out there
I’ll be writing about my note taking process and how it’s helped me really grasp ideas and connect them to other existing ideas (but that’s a whole other topic)
But put simply, I try and capture (in note form) everything that resonates with me (in general) but specifically with a topic I’m trying to learn.
And for the most important part that I imagine a lot of people that take notes don’t do (I was one of them) — schedule a time to review these notes.
Shadow colours (Marco Bucci)
An awesome insight into how to create vibrant yet realistic shadow colours. This gave me a few little aha moments around lighting, and hopefully will do the same with you!
Highlight control (Ahmed Aldoori)
Highlights were (and still are to some extent) a real sticky point for me. You can really dive deep into the technical aspects or specular vs diffuse highlights etc etc, but Ahmed shows in this video how to break them down when working from reference.
A must watch to learn how to get those juicy, yet accurate highlights!
- Thoughts and musings
Getting more out of the learning process by prioritising health and fitness
It’s something we all know and have heard before but it hit home about a week ago when I came down with a nasty cold and I couldn’t make it to the gym for a good week and a half.
By the end of that week and a half, my mood, energy and patience was running at about 50% and I couldn’t put my finger on it until I realised I hadn’t gone to the gym for along time (a week and a half without the gym for me is ages!).
And you guessed it, as soon as I started to go back to the gym and had those little endorphins running around my brain It was like I was a new man!
I had more patience, my overall mood was so much better, I had a lot more mental capacity to do work and my sleep was amazing.
Now I’m not here to preach the good word of going to the gym and eating healthy, but;I can say it was a big wake up call and getting some exercise (gym is my preferred method, you might like something as simple as a walk) is something I need to do on a consistent basis to keep me sane — especially because I’m sitting at a desk for countless hours a day like many of you are!
You’ve got to look after your meat vehicle to get the most out of those long study/work sessions.
Health ramble over!
Hope you don't mind that this week was more mindset and thought process rather than specific drawing/painting tips and tricks. I'll be hitting you with some sweet, sweet practical, hands on tips in the coming weeks.
Would love to hear if you have any insights or resources 'mindset wise' when it comes to art or learning in general!
Until next week, stay consistent, use reference, have fun with it and remember; it's only pixels baybee!
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