I kinda wanted to make a new thread, but this existing one is better.
Basically, I wanted to talk about an experience I've been having lately, of learning not to take constructive criticism too seriously. Not personally. Seriously. As well as learning to shelve feelings of self-doubt, fear, and discomfort.
I've had a sketchbook here for awhile, but not as lengthy as the one from concept art. And there comes an influx of helpful advice to take every piece to the next step.
But, any community is going to have contention, even on advice-giving. Right now, there is a solid direction I've been told I need to do: make original stuff. I kept thinking I needed to put down the references and get to drawing from my head. But, that's a drastic cutoff that I've learned doesn't work so well for me. It's making that transition from observation to imagination.
I find I've been learning most by combining the two. Yes, figure drawing, but also putting in elements that fit, or changing the figure so it's not a direct copy, but an interpretation of the form.
And I feel this is the best way I'm learning so far.
I'm writing this on my phone, so I'm going to add more to this when I get home.
Okay, I'm back.
So, my biggest problem became taking people's advice too seriously, and trying to do absolutely every single thing everyone advises me to do. In fact, this issue became so prevalent in my life, because I was also taking not-so-constructive advice from a highly abusive and controlling source. Now I'm trying to learn what to take to learn, and what to leave behind.
And I think that's an important part of the pathway to learning anything. It's that there are certain things to take full on, and others which will come from the things you take full on. Everyone has their own way of learning.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has taken several months on, and several months hiatus when it comes to drawing. And when I came back to it the latest time, my head was swarming with good advice. "Oh yeah, people say to do it this way." Or, "People say to do it that way.."
And suddenly, I'm not 'letting it happen' anymore.
I remember when I frequented and re-read Rapoza's old "Mr. Delicious" sketchbook from conceptart.org. Quite often, he'd be doing his exercises, and all of the studies, and the hard work. And there'd be critiques, and there'd be comments. And sometimes, he'd say something like, "I see what you're saying, but I think I need to do it this way for now, and move into that." And that's what I mean.
It's so important to individualize your own lesson plan. And even though I'm going to school now, I'm still seeing this as self-learning, because nobody else is doing the learning for me. I'm using school time, my own time. Every time I've got to get better. And the way I learn the material is going to be with an open mind, but I have to let myself process it in the right order-- The order that I am individually prepared for. If I'm not prepared for it, I won't learn it.
That said, my story might be unique. I have ADHD passive type, so the way I learn is different from most. :)
More recently, it's been shown in a few studies that there is a strong emotional component to ADHD. I call it the 'ugh' emotion. Everyone experiences it, but those with ADHD and similar cognitive learning disabilities experience it more frequently.
"UGH. I DON'T WANNA." Against all reason. I know this is what I want to do, but uugghhh... So much work. And UuuUUGGHH... Self-doubt.. And UUGGGH.. Sooo uncomfortable. I'll rely more on references, I won't test my memory--
Push it aside, take a deep breath, hold that breath, and just DO IT like Shia Labeouf said. Scream if you've gotta, but do it. Pretend the ugh doesn't exist. Ignore it, or pretend you're experiencing a different emotion. Imagine your way out of it.
And most importantly-- NOTICE that's what you're feeling so you can shelve it properly. When you get the UGHs, look at them-- See what it is that you've gotta do. Break it down into simple parts. Tackle it methodically. Start for 5 minutes if you have to, a lot of the time, you just keep going anyway. But, start. Don't let yourself not do it. You're not allowed, because this is what you want.
UGH is just a signal. It's a brick wall. And every single UGH is a learning opportunity. Each one is crucial. Willpower is finite, yes, so do it a bit at a time. But, do it.
A couple of videos of inspiration about brick walls, and fear.