Question to Self Learners
I have a question. For those whom haven't learned art through academy/atelier, what was your biggest struggle for learning on your own, and how did you overcome it? The reason I'm asking this, because I'm somewhat in last year of my school (not art school), and currently evaluating what I can do when I get into that path of working while practicing art on the side. And eventually move out, since I do not really have the option of receiving payment through online means.
Working a day job while I practice in my off time is the hardest part. If had more time and energy I could be doing so much more. I pretty much gave up on having a social life the last year and a half too. Now I'm trying to work on that which cutting art time down even more. I'd write more but I have to get back to work now :(

"If had more time and energy"

Have you tried early wake, painting time vs painting after you're done working? If so, how has it worked for you?
Same as Adam, I was working full time for 8 hours. I was also commuting for 2 hours each day so by the time I got home it was 7.30pm. I would mad rush eat and give myself an hour until 8 or 8.30pm to start painting. I would paint at least until 12, sometimes until 2 am. Wake up at 6.15 and do it again.

I probably did this for about a year, maybe a bit longer. This is very very bad for your health, but I was driven at that period. I had no social life (still don't really, though improving), just got out of a long term relationship, living in a house on my own so the conditions were good for me to just focus. I would also paint on weekends, though for some reason, the drudgery of going to work and not being able to be creative, really stimulated my juices for the evenings. Tiredness even stopped being a factor, I would just power through because the motivation (and enjoyment) was high.

Downside was that every 6 weeks or so I would totally crash. I would wake up at noon the next day, having slept through my alarms, and realise it was a work day haha.

Best thing I did for myself while working, was to drop down to a 4 day week at work when I could. I made no savings for years, but it was worth it. I also took a 3 month hiatus from work to just focus on my art, which didn't go as expected but was a good thing to do.

I also went to every design/illustration workshop near me that I could afford to..there weren't many, but there were some. These really helped invigorate me each time, so definitely worth it to save up for that if you can.

The worst thing about self-teaching is not knowing whether you are on the right path, so you can start to second guess yourself. Because we tend to spend a lot of time online looking at/for resources etc, I feel that the influence of other artists actually can become detrimental if you aren't careful. For a while I thought I should be doing mechs, and vehicles and soldiers, just because everyone else was, even though I really didn't care about them at all!

During this time I also started learning more about Taoism and Zen, and I was going through some crazy uncertainty angst with art so I disconnected from all social media and art sites at that point and didn't paint anything for 7 months and just learned to listen to myself. Only came back when my head was on straight, and the things that have happened since then have been amazing to me really.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
@Amit Dutta
DO you think if you had like a plan created, the road would have been better? Like for example, developing a 3 years plan, for learning the things that interested you? Such as having a amount of number you will be doing something or now that you have learned more about what you want to do, you became more flexible about learning, and not worrying too much of having a plan, but more of a consistent routine?

Not sure if what I'm stating is clear enough, hope it's.
Yes I think if I could have been forced to follow a plan, that would probably have been better for me, undoubtedly. I would have loved to go to a good school/atelier for the accountability and structure they would have given me.
Personally, I did have certain goals and knew what I had to study, but I am fairly independent so I often prefer to go my own way and the downside to this is that I let myself go off on tangents whenever the feeling is strong enough.

The big downside to plans I see is in how regimented it is. Sticking to something is good, but if you don't really know enough to know what is ahead and you aren't willing to change based on your evolving knowledge and inner state as you go, then a plan is mostly just a cage to sit within.

So yeah, best of both worlds. Know the direction you want to go, be flexible to change that direction when needed. Have a plan, do your best to structure it the way you think is best, but evaluate it regularly to test it, and don't worry so much if you need to deviate. Things WILL come up that you won't to be supple and resilient, than too rigid and fixed.

The greatest problems for me the entire time were psychological ones, not improving the skills.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
I have to ask Amit, did you have a background or interest in art before you started the journey?
I think this thread could be really useful for a lot of us here who are doing the self taught thing, I find all the conflicting information quite overwhelming, and I struggle to figure out what I can attribute to my lack of skills (like my sketchy figure drawings someone commented I should be doing as Proko instructs - which I've tried, but keeping proportions becomes impossible, I'm either not yet at a skill level to see the line before I put it on paper, or I just find the lines better in a mess, I don't know what's right, and if I should be spending time fretting over clean lines or not.)
Choosing which direction to go etc becomes quite hard. I've found setting myself this comic goal has settled so much of my worry, I have a thing I'm doing, and I'm not being distracted by other things I could be doing.

Long ramble to ask - did you just choose to focus on single things and that became your learning path?

Zeart, do you have those same problems - finding a focus and not being distracted by all the things you feel you /should/ be doing?

Also, art time vs work - do you think perhaps having smaller amounts of time makes you more focused and determined?

@Amit Dutta
I totally agree which is what I have found as well in my case, while having a plan is a solid idea, you somewhat fall into the loop of repeating the same thing in a way. I think that's the good thing of self teaching maybe, is you can go an organic way of learning art, maybe?

Might also be the reason why I'm exercising more often. Before that I was doing it so rigidly as in, do 20 of squats, pushups monday, wed, friday, instead of doing it that way not, I have found I stick with it more, by lets say defining the exercises I want to do with a minimum number that should be reached, but no date set, however it must be done within the week. So I'm some putting a pointer, but still let it happen organically. 

Well not sure if this count, but last year I was all over the place, where I was just practicing perspective, form, life, still life everything. Which in turn, of course made me over extended with too many knowledge. So this year I started tackling it a little differently, by taking my time on one then, and then slowly branch out the roots.

Not sure if the last question is directed towards me, but I think when you start working, you start using the amount of time you have more seriously, as in, more focused time vs when you have a lot of time. Like you know if you only have 1 hour on a daily basis, you will use it with serious dedication, when you have 10 hours on your hand, at least that's the problem I have found to be for someone who has too many times on their hands, is we're not responsible for it/disciplined.

Jeff watts mentioned about it as well, is the hardest thing for young peoples is they don't really put the time to good use in a way, on the other hand if you're serious about learning you can use it fairly well.

Hope that make sense.
Zearth, I think I've been doing that, I've had "go learn the fundamentals" thrown at me so much, I've tried to learn them all at once, and I think failed pretty hard as a result, just utterly overwhelmed by information, much of it conflicting.

Once I'm done with the comic, I'm going to focus on one thing at a time and try to really get it. Environments will mean needing perspective, so that will be the focus I guess, but right back to boxes.

@Punk. Yeah I was keen since I was young. I loved drawing especially with pencil . I was good at art compared to my peers, but I was also very good at and liked Math and English and Physics...well just everything really. When it came time to choose what to study at final years of high school and then onto university, Art wasn't even an option, even in my own head. My parents were totally ignorant about art so no luck there. Now it is so cute, when I show my parent's what I'm up to and doing, they keep saying "we had no idea this was possible" lol. They've come around :) )
I had no idea art could be a career, since I grew up in Africa, no tv, no internet, no magazines, no exposure at all besides fantasy and sci fi book covers.

I did do a film and 3D animation course after my Physics degree, and was working under the table in Montreal as a 3D lighting TD for almost a year, but I screwed up my visa, so had to leave. Couldn't go anywhere else but back home. Eventually did a systems programming degree in Sydney, was going to switch to animation and film again but decided to get a degree, and work/ do my own animation in my own time. Never happened, ended up in a tech career for almost 10 years. Life eh?

Long rambling answer to your short question.

About focus in learning, on short term, I have focus like crazy. I totally get immersed. On the longer term I jump around quite a bit, and I still do. Unless I am accountable to someone else, my self discipline is absolutely the worst in the world (this is changing with freelance, Sink or swim!). What I did do at some point though, was realise that I loved environments and decided to make that a niche focus, and I actually think that is why I am getting work today, because I focused on something I really enjoyed.

@Z, I think we are all different, so it is hard to say. The habits you make with study will totally inform how quickly you improve. I would not recommend to anyone to do it the way I did it...half assed, one arm tied behind my back, running backwards, but even then it is working out for me :) I always felt that I learned principles quite quickly without a lot of grinding, but then I have never capitalised on that. I hate to think how much better I might be if I went to a school.

I think the key point to realise is, that while gaining skills are such a large focus of self teaching, they aren't the actual reason for doing anything. They are a means to an end. The reason is something else, dependent on you, and I feel it is just as important to be clear on that.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
(08-14-2015, 10:35 AM)Amit Dutta Wrote: I think the key point to realise is, that while gaining skills are such a large focus of self teaching, they aren't the actual reason for doing anything. They are a means to an end. The reason is something else, dependent on you, and I feel it is more important to be clear on that.


That I think needs to be screamed from the top of a few mountains.

It's funny, I don't think I ever had much skill at art as a child, I /enjoyed/ it, it was always my go to thing if I wasn't reading, but I never showed any skill what so ever. My parents have always encouraged arts of all kinds - music, dance, writing, drama, art, I grew up being taken to art museums, theatres, the royal ballet and surrounded by books, and I always wanted to be an artist of some kind, but skills.. none at all.
I guess I feel like I'm starting a step behind and need to play catch up, I want to work professionally, I need to get to the point I can earn some money, but I don't want to leap in without feeling secure in my abilities.

I keep hearing that you go professional because people start wanting to hire you, did you set out with a time frame in mind - a point at which you had to start working/ go freelance, and things fell into place, or did things just happen? I'm wondering if having a time frame is a good or bad idea.

Sorry for thread jacking Zearth, it's just got me curious - it seems to me the people who have gone professional quickly are the ones who already had a lot of skill in art and just needed extra polish, and it doesn't seem to make that much difference if it's via an art school or self taught.

Yeah, so once I got serious (Sept 2011) I gave myself the goal of getting my first freelance gig in 2012. That was the only real goal for me, because that was the transition criteria for moving earning from the day job to the art. I actually hit it within 3 months, but I quickly realised, that while it was fun, it only paid $100. My procrastination and discipline was so bad that I delivered it late, and ended up hating the process because the money was too little for the time I had put in.
So I decided I wouldn't bother trying to freelance again until I was better with discipline. Also freelancing part-time and working fulltime or part time is not a sustainable practice unless you are uber disciplined and like pain.

Funny story, after 2 years, my skills improved, my discipline didn't, so go figure. I was actually running away from the problem not facing it.

When I finally quit and took the plunge (Feb 2015), My folio hadn't changed a bit since Feb 2014 and yet I started getting jobs, and better paying ones too.
If I had sent my folio out the way I did in Feb this year, a year ago, by skills alone, I would have been freelancing then. My mind just wasn't ready to accept it then. So, here's the thing, you are ready when you are ready. You become a pro when you have enough skills to get people in the door, and enough courage to believe you can do it. Sometimes we don't have the courage to do things, even though we are ready. This is why having someone pro or an AD look at your folio every so often and give you feedback is an important part of knowing when you are ready. I didn't get that often and even when I did, none of them said, you can do it, just go for it. I had just had enough of living in fear so I jumped.

I think if you are focused, and you can work 6 hours + per day, you can be freelancing within 2 years. Again the time will depend on the person. I always felt that I picked things up quickly but I was a lazy ass. (not in hours spent, but in terms of attacking what I knew I should). If you learn a bit slower, but you attack the problems you know you have more efficiently, then yeah you can still do it.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
Well, can't say a lot, but I believe everything depends on what you want to do.

I'm 18 years old, I've always had a sporty life and was almost never interested in drawing (I remember I drew a lot of eyes when I was little, and cars, but nothing more). I was interested in videogames, but I did not see the work behind them.

I always liked mechs and environment, and after a knee injury and anxiety problems, well, why don't give it a try? I think for people like me who've always thought that didn't know how to draw can be difficult, but I have the time, the will and the means to do it.

My timeline goal is, being 22 years old, being able to do decent environment (priority) and (then) armor things. I have the past experience of pure graphic design with Photoshop, which I began with maybe.. 11 y.o. Why I wouldn't be able to do it again?

And you can think "Yeah but when you are 22 yo, there will be other people who might have progressed faster/will be better at it". Yeah, ok. If they progress faster, that means the countries (at least the one I live) are beginning to take art serious. Do you know what that means? It could mean that when I get enough money I could validate my knowledge! And other people as well.

And there's always gonna be people who's better. But I'm the one who has to improve for myself.

So yeah, I think the matter with time is also the matter with your will. I don't have a plan itself now (learning the fundamentals, yes, and perspective, that's my plan :P), and at least I won't until I finish this book. Thing is, if I enjoy drawing as I did when I was a child (that HAS to be the 1st objective), I won't mind being 6 hours learning about environment, placement.. and then suddenly I'll do 10 min. of anatomy. Because it will be hard, but I'll like it. And liking it, enjoying it, does a lot.

My current education is just until before university. Here university and schools (even public ones) are pretty damn expensive. Don't come to Spain if you want to learn about art, guys... .

When I see, ie. Amit works (could be other's but whatever), I say "I'll be able to do that." And I don't think about "well maybe in one year I'm able to do it but I'll have to learn about color so..". No. Practice with an outline, a scheme. I wanna do environment, so I better understand proportion, and placement, and perspective, and also color (as I said on the chatbox I kinda know comp already). That's what I'll study for making my own skills (the ones I hope that help me to pay the food) better.

Then, in any time, I'll say "gestures". And that's not a thing that I need for environment, but as long as I'm enjoying it, I'm learning as well.

Another thing to beginners is that you have to start. You might've been collecting resources, books, tutorials, ok. And doing all that you might've lost a week. You just start. See works that you like. Make a priority system, a comfortable one. And enjoy it. And also learn to stop working, how to push yourself to work more, and what is healthy for you.

would you like me to improve? check my SKETCHBOOKKiss

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)