PDA

View Full Version : Procrastination on art...and managing your time


tayete
05-12-2005, 02:19 PM
I have some problems with my attitude at painting, drawing, etc...
Whenever I start a picture, I cannot keep at it for more than, say, 20 mins. After that I have to stand up, or play some game, or navigate... It is quite frustrating, as soon I discover I have completely wasted my time instead of painting. It is like I am afraid of finishing or keeping on with my drawing.
Maybe it is because what I paint isn't exactly as I had thought, or maybe because I usually start with no idea of what's going to appear, or just because after some strokes I think I am completely messing it, and have to leave.
I am trying to improve in all this (I'll try to have something in mind before starting, ending it even though I think it sucks, etc...), but maybe there's something more about it.

Now, I wanted to know if I am the only one suffering this "procrastination" or if any one else feels like "suffering" when painting (yeah, it sounds strange, but I feel that way, and not in the classic 'arty café guy' who says how much he suffers and such), and how do you avoid it.

Squibbit
05-12-2005, 02:36 PM
yea that's exactly what's bothering my painting too.

whenever u find some answers be kind enough to post them :thumbsup:

marktsang
05-12-2005, 02:43 PM
hi,
ii know how you feel - i often get "distracted" also (but it depends what im doing) i must have a short attention span.....
what i do at the moment to help minimize the down time is to start multiple projects at the same time - if i feel the itch comming on i just switch to a different project and so the cycle begins
so i am nearly constantly working just on different projects - it helps to keep it fresh!
mark

moira
05-12-2005, 02:50 PM
Yes! Currently I have the same problem!
I just tend to jump into another painting, without planning or thinking too hard on it and the results are always dissapointing, I really hate it.
I agree that having serveral projects going at the same time can help, but I just can't seem to finish anything. Everytime I start a painting without sufficient planning, it always ends up the same and while I know that I just can't help doing it! What's with that?

I'd really love to find out a solution to this problem but I know that what I really have to do is buckle down and get the work done! Besides, the more practice you get, the faster you are at it. Things can only get easier and you must look at it positively!!!

paperclip
05-12-2005, 03:34 PM
I think the answer is not to push yourself *too* much, do what you can and do plenty of it, but less experienced artists (including myself) get frustrated when working on something big (the m & s for example) since they feel their work is not good enough and will never have the finished tone of something done by a better artist (which likely it won't). A way to avoid this procrastination is just to work on lots of tiny projects and as you improve, you will naturally do longer, more detailed projects.

......yes, I know, I'm still learning too! [shameless plug] (If anyone wants to crit my master and servant, feel more than free to do so ):D [/shameless plug]

Empath
05-12-2005, 03:50 PM
Here's an excellent book for dealing with these sort of issues, even if the label doesn't apply:
ADD: A Different Perspective
by Thom Hartmann

To summarize its theory: In human history, there have been two main types of cultures: hunters, and farmers. The agriculturalists that dominate modern society have through generations developed a mindset necessary for farming, patience, an ability to work regularly and methodically, a linear and very regular perception of time, etc. On the other side of this are hunters, with an ever shifting focus, ability to latch onto and pursue something obsessively when the desire strikes them, an abbhorence of anything that is not leading to a direct and immediate satisfaction, and a distorted time sense (a five mile chase in pursuit of food might seem to last but moments, but an hours listening to a monotone lecture seems like an eternity). The descendants of hunters are the minority in our society today, and not being the norm they've collectively been slapped with the label Attention Deficit Disorder. Most people fall somewhere inbetween these two extremes, but in the artistic community a hunter mindset is predominant.
As for specific suggestions for living with this personality type, I'd suggest you check out the book. Lots of good insights and stories in it.

Squibbit
05-12-2005, 04:02 PM
duh, that explains it! here I am painting stuff all day long
when I should be out there killing stuff !

:bounce:

DirtEater
05-12-2005, 04:19 PM
In my experience, one of my biggest hindrances is that I harshly judge what I'm creating and how I feel about myself while I drawing or painting, more so with painting. About the only thing I've found that gets me out of this is to become so distracted and involved in what I'm doing that I don't have any attention left to give to pondering how I feel. Usually when I can shake it, I have a great time and at least get a very good start on a painting.

That looks like a very worthwhile read, Empath, I'll check it out.

jmBoekestein
05-12-2005, 05:55 PM
yea that's exactly what's bothering my painting too.

whenever u find some answers be kind enough to post them :thumbsup:

I think iot's a disorder, I have the same trouble, I can't focus onanything for very long. ANd if I do, because I just push myself whnever I notice it. I loose track of what I do. They have names for ADHD and ADD, don't which would apply to me though.

jebas
05-12-2005, 08:12 PM
Though I find the hunter/farmer idea intriguing, I might offer a different comparison of the brain to muscles. The brain needs to go through training exercises to reach its full potential.

When a person starts jogging, they will be lucky if they can complete a full mile. They are winded, the heart is racing, and they are suffering for the attempt. The brain is the same way. If you were to set up any simple mental game (concentration, math tables, whatever) and start playing, initially you are very accurate. But after a certain length of time, you will start making mistakes, and if you continue beyond that point, your answers will be sloppy; the mental equivalent of winded. Give yourself some time to rest, and your answers are accurate again.

At the moment, you have twenty minutes before fatigue sets in. You need to train yourself to last longer. Before you start anything set a timer for twenty minutes, and then turn it away from you so you cannot see the amount of time left. Now begin painting, and continue painting until the timer goes off. If you feel like you are about destroy the thing you are presently working on, by all means, move to something else, but keep painting. When the timer goes off, you can stop.

Like jogging, initially this will be hard. The important thing is that you are building up endurance to the task. Joggers are initially told to keep moving for 15 minutes, and those initial runs may have points when they are running slower than most people walk, but they keep moving. Eventually, the body adapts to request, and they are able to keep a reasonable speed, and increase the length of their jog. This exercise is trying to do the same for the brain, so eventually you can set the timer for longer periods.

Empath
05-12-2005, 08:25 PM
duh, that explains it! here I am painting stuff all day long
when I should be out there killing stuff !

:bounce:

Probably not. Just because you have the remnants of a suitable personality type doesn't mean you could be successful as a hunter by any stretch of the word. Part of it is in what you are suited for, and part of it is in what you are trained and accustomed to doing. Jebas, you made some excellent points about how the brain works, you have to do something regularly in order to develop an aptitude for it.
How many people here were trained from infancy for the day they turned thirteen and had to kill a bear with a stick? Anyone walk or jog fifteen miles a day? Probably not many.

offbeatworlds
05-12-2005, 08:31 PM
Haha, yeah, I usually have the same probably. I'll be painting something and then start surfing the internet. What I do when this sort of thing really starts bothering me is unplug the internet until I've had enough painting for one day.

Then there's also the problem of my dad yelling at me to get of the computer because "I've been on it all day" (which he is too).

Also, m dog begs for attention 24/7. Silly mutt, but I love her. :)

Squibbit
05-12-2005, 09:17 PM
Probably not. Just because you have the remnants of a suitable personality type doesn't mean you could be successful as a hunter by any stretch of the word. Part of it is in what you are suited for, and part of it is in what you are trained and accustomed to doing. Jebas, you made some excellent points about how the brain works, you have to do something regularly in order to develop an aptitude for it.
How many people here were trained from infancy for the day they turned thirteen and had to kill a bear with a stick? Anyone walk or jog fifteen miles a day? Probably not many.

dude , it's 2005 , you know how much information we have accumulated of hunting?
You know the equipment we have available for hunting nowadays ? :)

And even then , I wouldn't go about hunting that bear with a stick. I'd use several
sticks, sharpen them and put them sticking up in the bottom of an earth and
leaf-covered pit, I'd dug near a berry bush , beehive or river where say salmons rise upriver ,
after i'd asked the local people (preferably hunters), where and when bears moved.
And if you knew better, I'd ask you :D

TBone310
05-12-2005, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the tips, Jebas. I will have to try that this weekend, when I've got more time. This is an interesting thread, and it discusses a problem I've faced for a long time, too. I have great ideas I want to draw/paint, but once I get started, my canvas doesn't look the way I'd imagined/hoped it would, and I find another more successful distraction. Jebas, your analogy is especially poignant for me, as I am beginning to train to run several 5k races this summer. Thanks for the tip!

Clanger
05-12-2005, 10:22 PM
Hello fellow can't concentrate for more than 5 minutes types!
My solution to the problem is to do lot's of useful things at the same time.
This can simply be put your head phones on and immerse your self into some up lifting music whilst working.
Or what I do more often than not is to have 2 computers going with different jobs and behind me an easel with my latest painting, then I give each one a 10 minute rotation.

This I think works with the way my brain wants to go, so go with it rather than fight it.

Having said that the one time I can work on one job hour after hour with no breaks is when a payed for job has an impossible deadline I seem to go into a different level spurred on by the fear of missing that deadline. Just wish I could get into that zone with my own work.

Smartypants
05-12-2005, 10:52 PM
I couldn't agree more with Jebas. (What would Jebas do?)

If you can't concentrate on a painting for more than 20 minutes, you shouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion that you have ADD. Too often, people don't realize that they can build up their ability to focus and concentrate, or they are too lazy to try. They use ADD as an excuse*.

The practice of painting or drawing is kind of like meditation. An artist needs to develop the ability to let his or her mind become completely absorbed by whatever they are working on. This mental shift is described well in Betty Edwards's book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (http://www.drawright.com/). It takes time to develop it, but it does happen.

However, sometimes when I struggle with my own procrastination problems, I ask myself if it's because I don't really like drawing and painting. I wonder sometimes if my desire to become a good artist has to do with my desire for the prestige that comes from having such skills.

Sometimes I think that truly great artists love to practice their art. Sure, it's hard work, but they love it. Sometimes I ask myself, If making artwork is so much of a struggle for me, am I really meant to be an artist?"

*There are many people out there who genuinely do have ADD, and they struggle with it. I'm not claiming that ADD doesn't exist, I'm just warning against jumping to that conclusion too quickly, without being diagnosed by a professional.

Codexus
05-12-2005, 11:19 PM
Tayete, I often feel exactly the same way. I don't really have a solution for it, I'm struggling with it everyday. But one thing I know is that I really want to create art and get better at it. So I try to focus on how good it feels when I've finally accomplished something that's worth it.

I've participated in competitions where you have to create something in a given time and i've found it really helps me focus on doing and finishing one task. Once it's done, I'm usually quite happy with what I have done even if it's far from perfect, as I have the limited time as a good excuse for the way it looks. Unfortunately it's more difficult to get in the same state of creativity when I don't have such constraints. When i try to set some constraints for myself it doesn't work as well as I know it's a lie.

Also i think this has a lot to do with habits, I try to replace the bad ones with good ones. Example: the bad habit to read all the forums and news site first thing in the morning could be replaced with a good habit to grab my sketchbook and start doodling for 15-30 minutes.

eks
05-12-2005, 11:26 PM
The practice of painting or drawing is kind of like meditation. An artist needs to develop the ability to let his or her mind become completely absorbed by whatever they are working on. This mental shift is described well in Betty Edwards's book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (http://www.drawright.com/). It takes time to develop it, but it does happen.

i completely agree with this. itīs weird, but in the first 30 minutes working on something i enjoy (animating or modelling in my case) are like hell. then, when things start to go on and i feel some kind of "flow", i get into this medidatitive state for hours without end. itīs like it takes time just to "take off".

and i canīt do this while mapping, skinning or rigging, things i dislike hugely.

and another weirdness of mine, i can focus much much easier in a team environment than working alone at home. thatīs why iīm hating this "starving artist" period of mine...


eks

Squibbit
05-12-2005, 11:30 PM
Having said that the one time I can work on one job hour after hour with no breaks is when a payed for job has an impossible deadline I seem to go into a different level spurred on by the fear of missing that deadline. Just wish I could get into that zone with my own work.

the thing is, u have no fear of letting anyone down with your own work.
You don't strangle yourself or fire yourself even if u miss the deadline u give
yourself :) . umm... usually that is..

i dunno, interesting... let's see if someone finds a good solution to this

xmarek
05-12-2005, 11:34 PM
THere's one thing that people need to remember when talking about ADD/ADHD is that these people are supposed to have HIGHER capability of concentration than "normal" people. Their problem isnt that they cant concentrate on anything, their problem is that nothing seems to catch their interest/attention. But when they find that one thing that interests them, they go deep and completly forget about everything else. Thats why many artists are considered to have ADD/ADHD. They cant focus on anything for more than 5 min, but with their artistic creations, they completly forget that the world exists.

At least to me is like this. I was diagnosed by doctors already as "ADD/ADHD" and in fact I cant focus my attention on anything for more than 5 min, except when I paint or create animations. Then, I completly lose the sense of time. Creating some type of art, since I was a kid, is the only thing that kept me foccused :scream:

Codexus
05-12-2005, 11:50 PM
I think it's normal to have different abilities to concentrate depending on things we like and things we hate doing. For example, as a programmer I would sometimes be able to concentrate on my own hobby projects all week-end only to find myself unable to work more than 5 minutes straight on the same old boring work project the following monday. Not that I didn't want to do it, just that my mind would keep wandering. It's quite funny since the task itself is nearly the same, yet it feels totally different when it's work.

Clanger
05-13-2005, 12:04 AM
I think it's normal to have different abilities to concentrate depending on things we like and things we hate doing. For example, as a programmer I would sometimes be able to concentrate on my own hobby projects all week-end only to find myself unable to work more than 5 minutes straight on the same old boring work project the following monday. Not that I didn't want to do it, just that my mind would keep wandering. It's quite funny since the task itself is nearly the same, yet it feels totally different when it's work.

I remember a study done many years ago where they got a bunch of people who love ten pin bowling. In this study they put a curtain across the lane so they couldn't see the result. It took less than 30minutes before everyone was bored.
Not sure what this shows other than it's not what you do that makes it fun it's the end result.

DirtEater
05-13-2005, 04:46 AM
The brain needs to go through training exercises to reach its full potential.

When a person starts jogging, they will be lucky if they can complete a full mile. They are winded, the heart is racing, and they are suffering for the attempt. The brain is the same way. If you were to set up any simple mental game (concentration, math tables, whatever.) and start playing, initially you are very accurate. But after a certain length of time, you will start making mistakes, and if you continue beyond that point, your answers will be sloppy; the mental equivalent of winded. Give yourself some time to rest, and your answers are accurate again.

I've been jogging since I was seven, I understand where you are coming from, but you must realize that things cannot be generalized to this degree. I think this thread may have been started from a specific delima, not a common "artists block."

In our field, more than any other, you must face yourself honestly. Once again, I understand where you are coming from; rest, renew, and press on, but are you honestly telling me that my capability to love you just needs to be tested a few times before I think it's as good as it can get?

After reading what I wrote I realized how negative it seemed; I just intended to focus the discussion back to a place I was interested in, I thought something important was being overlooked.

I love not having answers, but these ideas can get closer to something better

Schwinnz
05-13-2005, 05:28 AM
On the other side of this are hunters, with an ever shifting focus, ability to latch onto and pursue something obsessively when the desire strikes them, an abbhorence of anything that is not leading to a direct and immediate satisfaction, and a distorted time sense (a five mile chase in pursuit of food might seem to last but moments, but an hours listening to a monotone lecture seems like an eternity). The descendants of hunters are the minority in our society today, and not being the norm they've collectively been slapped with the label Attention Deficit Disorder. Most people fall somewhere inbetween these two extremes, but in the artistic community a hunter mindset is predominant.

Wow, this is totally me ! :eek:

I gotta read this book. I really need to stay focused. :sad:

Good thing is, when I like something, or try to do something that I really said to myself I can do it for days at a time, I won't see the sun go up and down. :D

I need to practice my motivation on things I don't really like to do.

tayete
05-13-2005, 06:01 AM
I couldn't agree more with Jebas. (What would Jebas do?)

If you can't concentrate on a painting for more than 20 minutes, you shouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion that you have ADD. Too often, people don't realize that they can build up their ability to focus and concentrate, or they are too lazy to try. They use ADD as an excuse*.

The practice of painting or drawing is kind of like meditation. An artist needs to develop the ability to let his or her mind become completely absorbed by whatever they are working on. This mental shift is described well in Betty Edwards's book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (http://www.drawright.com/). It takes time to develop it, but it does happen.

However, sometimes when I struggle with my own procrastination problems, I ask myself if it's because I don't really like drawing and painting. I wonder sometimes if my desire to become a good artist has to do with my desire for the prestige that comes from having such skills.

Sometimes I think that truly great artists love to practice their art. Sure, it's hard work, but they love it. Sometimes I ask myself, If making artwork is so much of a struggle for me, am I really meant to be an artist?"

*There are many people out there who genuinely do have ADD, and they struggle with it. I'm not claiming that ADD doesn't exist, I'm just warning against jumping to that conclusion too quickly, without being diagnosed by a professional.

Hey, that's exactly what I meant!!! I sometimes wonder if I want to improve as an artist just because people likes it, or if it is really something from inside. I have those same doubts.
About "Drawing with..." it didn't help much. I had entered in that state of mind since I was a child, but only can keep at it for 20 minutes. When I am in "trance" I cannot even hear the music I am listening at my headphones, it is like I am out of my body, just my pencil and my soul. But, again, just for 20 mins. I wish I could make it last longer...

Lunatique
05-13-2005, 06:15 AM
I've seen so many threads like this, and I find them a bit frustrating.

Often, people confuse what they like with what they are capable of doing. For example, I love watching various full-contact mixed-martial arts tournaments. I think those guys are the best fighting machines on the planet and I enjoy watching their skills and tactics. Does this mean "I" have what it takes to be a fighter myself? God no. Not only do I know I don't have the physical attributes for such an endeavor, I also know I don't have the mental capacity to go through the intense training, nor do I have the dedication to stick to it for years to become proficient at it.

But when it comes to creative stuff like art, music, photography, writing..etc, because no intense physical trials are required, it doesn't scare off as many people as it should. There are so many people who really don't have what it takes to be an artist, musician, writer..etc but for one reason or another, believe they are one, or tries to be one. Now, this has nothing to do with elitism--it's a simple and honest truth. Not everyone is cut out to be something they want to be. There are cases where you might be a fan of the people who practice the craft and the works they do, but you yourself aren't equipped to be one of them. The desire to do something has to go hand-in-hand with the discipline to go through the trials, the mental capacity to learn the necessary lessons, the physical capacity to master the motor skills associtated with that craft, and collectively they are what we call "passion." If you are missing any of the components, then you lack the passion. That's it. Nothing else to it. Notice I said nothing about talent? Without the passion, talent won't do you any good. For every person who posts stating that he/she lacks the discipline or motivation to create, there are lots of others who can't get enough of it and wish they never have to sleep so they could do what they love all day and all night. What does that tell you? It tells you that not all of us are destined to be what we want to be--only the passionate ones will make their dreams come true. Make no mistake, the desire to do something, without the necessary discipline and motivation, will not add up to passion.

Now, I'm going to rationalize why people who have the desire might lack the motivation and discipline. I think it has everything to do with instant gratification. For these people, they prefer instant gratification. If they aren't having fun or getting some form of reward for what they are doing immediately, they lose interest and move on to do something else that will give them that instant gratification. But with creative endeavors, the reward mostly comes after you've been doing it for a while and have gotten quite good at it. At that level, you have a sense of accomplishment, and you are rewarded with seeing your imagination turn into reality. It's a catch 22--if you never put in the time, you'll never get to that level, and you'll always give up too soon. For the ones who don't give up too soon, they happen to find the act of doing these creative things fun, regardless whether they are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment. They just love doing it, period. Or, they are just better disciplined and motivated, knowing that although the learning process might be hard, they love the whole thing enough to see it to the end.

So, bottomline is, your personality determines whether you are cut out to do something. Talent alone won't be the determining factor. Someone who has a talent for complex math but find it boring will never become a mathematician. On the other hand, if you have the passion but short on talent, your passion will more than likely make up for it--until you get to the most advanced stages. Only the talented combined with passion will reach that creative genius level of mastery.

tayete
05-13-2005, 06:32 AM
Ė don't agree completely with you LUNA. I mean, I know I have some skills at drawing (though my colour, composition, etc... sucks). I have the discipline to improve (I am currently drawing 3 hours a day even with my daytime job, my wife and kids, just to end all of Nicolaides' exerecises from "The natural way to draw"), and I love, really, I love drawing and painting. It has been a part of me since I was a kid. I have the passion for it.

But. Whenever I start painting sometimes I "suffer". It is hard to explain. I started this thread just because the other day my fine arts' teacher said "Painting is suffering" and it wasn't a "boutade" ...he really meant it!!!

So, I consider there are some people with the skills, the desire to improve, the autodiscipline to do so, and the passion for it, who, for some reason, cannot put their head down over their drawing for a long time. I just wanted to know other people tricks to avoid this. And it seems that even some of our talented folks suffer from this too (and even my teacher, a pro painter).

Codexus
05-13-2005, 06:45 AM
Tayete, "suffering" is a good sign that you have the passion. After all that's what the word "passion" originally means. :)

ashakarc
05-13-2005, 07:00 AM
I agree with Codexus, etymologically 'passion' is 'suffering' but this is not what Lunatique meant for passion. I think he meant the inner driving force to achieve what one loves, unconditionally.


I think the problem is more common than you think. It is an issue of focus and purity of the state of mind. Each person finds her/his own means to overcome this from time to time. I personally go out and do something completely different and as long as it takes, until suddenly, I excuse myself and go back to my room to finish what I want to finish. Those moments of revival are quite inspiring sometimes and could change you forever. It is quite a journey for us to get to know ourselves, and we might never will!

SheepFactory
05-13-2005, 07:14 AM
you should be taking short breaks every 30 minutes anyway.

I blame all this on the internet , why? because thanks to the net our attention span is shorter then a fish. Take a look at the way you browse the net , you probably check out 50+ threads , your e-mails and a bunch of other sites in 5 minutes , everyday , all the time. When you condition the brain like that its damn hard to sit down and focus on one thing for longer then 10 minutes. Like the other guy said we need to retrain the brain.

I think the best way for that is to give yourself an hour of internet time and shut it off , hide the cables whatever. I found out that when I dont have internet I am %500 more productive.

just my 0.2 cents.
-Ali

Lunatique
05-13-2005, 07:15 AM
Well, look at it this way--do you think the mixed-martial arts fighters "suffer" when they get their faces beat into a bloody pulp? Why do you think they continue? Surely no one likes to get their faces beaten in, right? This is what I mean by passion. Even the pain the comes with it--the trials, are a joy (relatively speaking) when you really love what you do.

For every artist, there is suffering when creating a new piece. There are so many problems to solve--the composition, the drawing, the designs, the proportion, the colors, the execution of the brushstrokes..etc. Sometimes you make mistakes and you start over, and sometimes you throw the whole thing into the trashcan. But you don't stop or lose motivation, because as a whole, you just love doing something creative, and you can't imagine living in any other way. Like the fighters, even they get broken bones and cut faces, they just love the thrill of competitive fighting. Either you love it overall or you don't love it enough. It's really quite simple.

ozhaver
05-13-2005, 07:41 AM
What Lunatique says is very true.

I only wish days were 72 hours long! So I would have time to do ALL the university work (art for class- commonly two art classes per semester- papers, books to read, exams to study for, quizes, languages...etc. etc. etc.- university is fun but it does drain all your time away), to rest, to do the things that have to be done around the apartment (cleaning, organizing), to cook and eat better, time for spending with beloved people and extra time to do art I really enjoy and love doing! <3 I used to have this extra time before, and I know I will get it back after I graduate. But now, most art I do is obligated and for grading in class, and to be honest it is all about the discipline. The professors usually choose the time amount, format, medium, theme, etc. *mighty combo for passion drain* So while I finish my studies any free time I get in this journey I dedicate to anything except art- unless I get that rush you get when that one image pops in your head and you can't sleep which leads to class cutting, studying forsaking, and LOTS of coffee.
By the way, this last month we went on strike and has been the only month in 5 years I have had free and vacation like! I so needed this rest to recharge batteries! It is very important to have a well rested head for doing anything. So I rested, relaxed and slacked all I could- cuz I really never have time for slacking! Now if you do have time, and you are slacking around all the time- stop and REALLY think about it.

Oh and you suffer a lot! especially if you are a very perfectionistic and detail freak artist. I can be days just sketching the hardest part to plan out for me: backgrounds. Days and days of just putting things into thumnails in copy-paper (my current version of a sketchbook). But in the end when it's all finished and your war with the characters/subjects/objects in your piece is over you feel this nice relieving sensation! Like you can breath and you are so peaceful and joyful...and you can smile and say it's done...even if nothing ever is really done- but it does get to a full-state of existance when it gives the feeling of completion...especially NOT in digital art where you don't have the excuse of "Oooooh my palete is dry- this looks complete..." or "Aw! I need to buy more cadmiun red, but it looks finished doesn't it?"

Practice makes perfect. Practice requires discipline. Be it visual art, be it martial arts, music, anything. The key IS discipline. I've had to finish so many projects for class where there isn't passion at all for the theme the prof chose...the one thing that helped me complete my obligations and to fulfill my priorities (BFA vs The End in this other video game- PRIORITIZE) is discipline. Without it, there is no artistry at all.

dominicqwek
05-13-2005, 10:08 AM
Yep. Discipline is really important, there are many artists who claim they are passionate, but when it comes to putting your words into action, they find excuses, and one such excuse is " no time" . Everyone has the same 24 hours, no one gets anymore than that.

I had to give up World of warcraft, and I'm glad I did. I don't regret it really, knowing how I am I can spend a lot of time on something I like. And I'd rather spend that time doing art I like. :)

Squibbit
05-13-2005, 10:50 AM
one such excuse is " no time" . Everyone has the same 24 hours, no one gets anymore than that.

time is the same, people are not. You can call it an excuse if you want but you can
go train a thousand people and still not get a thousand Carl Lewises , Al Pacinos,
Linda Berkqvists , or what have you. And you never know what kind of things going
on in the world might take their time. Not everybody saying such is lazy or something.

Empath
05-13-2005, 03:14 PM
There's some really cool discussion going on here. Just to clarify something, I was trying to make clear that ADD is not a 'disorder' as those freaky normal farmer people think, but just a personality type that it can help your life greatly to understand and learn to deal with. There have been some great suggestions here for specific ways to develop the ability to focus and to keep oneself productive, in fact when I get the chance I'll try some of them.
A personality trait is just part of who you were born as, but who you are is determined by how you apply yourself. I'm severely dyslexic and ADD among other things, and yet I chose to break my highschools records for standardized test scores (PSAT, SAT) and score higher than 99% of the nation on my GED the day I turned seventeen (that was eight straight hours of god awfully boring testing). I knew I wasn't as mentally capable as those around me, so I applied myself, something they never did, and ended up doing better than them. :)

Empath
05-13-2005, 03:19 PM
THere's one thing that people need to remember when talking about ADD/ADHD is that these people are supposed to have HIGHER capability of concentration than "normal" people. Their problem isnt that they cant concentrate on anything, their problem is that nothing seems to catch their interest/attention. But when they find that one thing that interests them, they go deep and completly forget about everything else. Thats why many artists are considered to have ADD/ADHD. They cant focus on anything for more than 5 min, but with their artistic creations, they completly forget that the world exists.


There's a lot of debate over what exactly it is, but in the end what matters is what it means to YOU. If that's your trouble, that's what you need to learn to deal with. If you find yourself distracted by every little thing going on around you, that's what you need to learn to deal with. If being oblivious to important things going on around you is your problem, that's what you need to learn to deal with.
Trying to slap a general label on anything only works for communicating an idea, but in the end the labels and other people's opinions don't matter.

Ilikesoup
05-13-2005, 06:17 PM
When I'm doing non-digital art, the best moment is holding a brand new sketch book. One hundred or so pages of unlimited potential. The worst time is thumbing through a sketch book full of messy, awkwardly drawn pictures OR safe uninspired ones. When I'm in the process of drawing, I'm aware that a few bad decisions will take me off into either direction and away from that brilliantly conceived and executed picture I had hoped it would be. :D

Art is all about making choices -- concept, pose, background, details, etc. I have a hard time making these choices because I hate thinking I made a poor choice that has sabotaged what I'm working on. Every picture is great until I make a mistake. Stalling on a picture is my way of protecting the picture.

If this sounds like you, there's hope! As you draw, take note of when you feel like breaking away from the picture because you might see a pattern.
-If you stall in starting a project you might have a problem with composition. Try doing 10 or more thumbnail sketches and picking the best one to work on. Each thumbnail is a little throwaway sketch, so it's no big whoop if you don't like them and chances are you won't hate them all.
-If you stall in drawing a leg, a hand, fold in clothing or shading it's probably because you're not familiar with drawing that aspect of the picture. Try finding reference pictures to help you through until you're familiar with that detail. Things I'm confident about drawing are a breeze. If I have to stop and think about how to draw something new I often leave that until last, avoid the picture for awhile or try to compose it out of the picture.

Make friends with Control-Z and duplicate layer (it's like a decoy so all the errors will flock to it and leave your original alone)! Since much of learning to draw is trial and error, make sure that making a mistake isn't so costly.

The Artist's Way (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1585421464/104-9285125-7048753?v=glance) by Julia Cameron is a good book for working through blockage.

Gord-MacDonald
05-14-2005, 12:22 AM
Art is all about making choices -- concept, pose, background, details, etc. I have a hard time making these choices because I hate thinking I made a poor choice that has sabotaged what I'm working on. Every picture is great until I make a mistake. Stalling on a picture is my way of protecting the picture.

If this sounds like you, there's hope! As you draw, take note of when you feel like breaking away from the picture because you might see a pattern.
-If you stall in starting a project you might have a problem with composition. Try doing 10 or more thumbnail sketches and picking the best one to work on. Each thumbnail is a little throwaway sketch, so it's no big whoop if you don't like them and chances are you won't hate them all.


Good advice - and positive :thumbsup: (sometimes I think the best solution would be a good swift boot - Ouch!)


Now, I wanted to know if I am the only one suffering this "procrastination" or if any one else feels like "suffering" when painting (yeah, it sounds strange, but I feel that way, and not in the classic 'arty café guy' who says how much he suffers and such), and how do you avoid it.

Guilty :sad:

Gord

ps: Ironically, thats why I am writing this post :banghead:

ps part deux: I just read Lunatique and Doms posts - you guys are absolutely right - See ya later, Im getting back to making some art!

tayete
05-14-2005, 03:51 PM
Thank you Ilikesoup (member.php?u=82834), that sounds sensible!

AndrewStyons
05-14-2005, 11:37 PM
Some of you guys may have been a little disheartened by what's been said in this thread about passion. Don't be. There have been plenty of highly successful people that were told that they were not smart enough, not athletic enough, and not talented enough to follow their dreams and be successful. Maybe those folks weren't smart, athletic, or talented, but they made themselves the best by being passionate and by making themseves into who they wanted to be. Ignore the people who don't believe in you. Surround yourself with like minded people and just keep moving on, doing your best.

Passion, like self confidence, is something that you can choose to have at any point. Get in the habit of being passionate and focused. Get used to it and let it be your natural state.

Often, people confuse what they like with what they are capable of doing.
I say, often people confuse what they have done previously with what they are capable of doing. They underestimate themselves.

cha0t1c1
05-15-2005, 03:54 AM
My solution...

don't work unless you know what you're going to begin....
have an idea after your brainstorming...
then take a break if your mood changes....an artist is an emotional being do not produce when you don't feel it...

however if you're refining then force yourself, encourage, listen to music, do anything to get through it...

TheCleaner
05-15-2005, 08:00 AM
interesting thread, in art at college, we are almost forced to avoid this.. to gain full marks we must thoroughly demonstrate that we have planned and planned for around 90% of the time in our sketchbook/work journals

in it should be ideas for final paintings, but not just jumping from that plan to the canvas... we then

- look for artists who have done something similar in any way what so ever, and find out about them (this is a bit history of art, not 100% necesary for you to write a bio on the artist) but you can look at wha t made their work successful, and how you can be inspired by them.

- Break the final idea down into smaller chunks, and at least practice everything before starting it.. example.. your initial idea is to paint nude figure in mid flight doing the long jump.. in a roman colosseum, with a crowd...

so, rather than jumping straight into the painting, even though you may think you've planned, because you have some rough pencil sketch of your idea.. its not enough in my opinion, to delve into the final piece (it is the case for those who are proficient artist, but even still, tackling something new requires careful planning)

so youd possibly

- study muybridge, and his plates of mid movement, do any anatomical studies whenever you can, and make sure your up on proportions
-hire out track and field technique books, go to sports events with the sketchbook..
-take a camera out, photograph crowded areas, them work from the photos
-reserch it on the net for artists whove done the same type of image.. basically an action scene... youd possibly visit www.sparts.nl
-gather pics of the colosseum, master your colour pallette, this will save 'struggle' later

its basically the research and practice stage, and here you can constantly move about, it doesnt mater if its not goin too well, as its a piece of paper in a sketchbook full of pages to be filled, its all development at the end of the day

RayenD
05-15-2005, 10:14 AM
I am very sorry, but being unable to concetrate in most cases means that you are lazy and/or having too many distractions. Yes, ADD does exist, but it is like dyslexia (not sure about spelling). Few people have it, many claim that they have it. Having diagnosed ADD does not make you an artist as well.

Yes, I do suffer from this problem (being lazy) too. What I do:

- I don't use any internet communicators like ICQ, AIM etc.. except in very special cases
- no games are installed on my work machine
- I don't read any forums and emails when I work on something
- no TV
- personally I don't even listen to the music when I work, but this is personal preference
- I don't talk to people when I work, nor listen to them if it is not directly related to the thing I currently work on. That includes phone calls.
- plan ahead my day and stick to the plan

If I only manage to achieve 50% of the above during the day, I am good to go.

The other thing is what Lunatique said. Art or craftmanship looks very easy, like you pickup a pencil and off you go. Especially when you see someone experienced doing it (I believe gnomon DVDs spoiled many people, but this is different topic). But to get there... that's different story. You know, to be able to play an instrument on average level, you have to practice every day, for 2-3 hours for few years.. and practice means repeating the same boring exercises over and over, until it's perfect, not doodling around. One of the purposes of those exercises is to learn concetration. Same is true with painting, modelling, animating or whatever..

Empath
05-15-2005, 03:58 PM
True enough, Raven, a lot people use the label as an excuse, but just because you have a 'disorder' only means you might have more trouble with something than any other person, the methods for developing concentration are the same no matter the case.
ADD is a term most people have developed very strong opinions about, and on a whole don't have much of any understanding of, which is unfortunately also true for those telling people that they have ADD. A lot of people use it as an excuse, but the label doesn't really matter as long as the person is using an understanding of their mental chemistry to improve themselves and better function.
I'm dyslexic to the point where I am incapable of signing my own name; I CANNOT pick up a writing instrument and properly lay out all of the letters of name, and that's only the most embarrassing of all of my difficulties. I don't whine about it, I deal with it. I type absolutely everything I might need to write for other people, I read like a fiend to keep my brain developing the ability to process language, and I love the backspace key more than my own mother (don't ask me how long it took me to write this post). In short, I figured out where I was lacking and did something about it. Whether it was a habit or neural dysfunction only mattered in recognizing that I did have an issue and in finding information under the label that might assist me in doing something about it.
And dude, of course having a hunter mindset doesn't make you an artist, it makes you slightly more APT to become an artist. You seem to be trying to think too much in absolute terms.

Lunatique
05-15-2005, 05:55 PM
Steven Stahlberg has ADD, and I don't see it stopping him from KICKING ASS as an artist.

archerx
05-15-2005, 06:36 PM
i get distracted very easily, but that planning your day thing sounds like a good idea, but how many hours should i put in each day ? and should i also plan some breaks here and there ?

P.Alexander
05-15-2005, 07:40 PM
Here's an excellent book for dealing with these sort of issues, even if the label doesn't apply:
ADD: A Different Perspective
by Thom Hartmann

To summarize its theory: In human history, there have been two main types of cultures: hunters, and farmers. The agriculturalists that dominate modern society have through generations developed a mindset necessary for farming, patience, an ability to work regularly and methodically, a linear and very regular perception of time, etc. On the other side of this are hunters, with an ever shifting focus, ability to latch onto and pursue something obsessively when the desire strikes them, an abbhorence of anything that is not leading to a direct and immediate satisfaction, and a distorted time sense (a five mile chase in pursuit of food might seem to last but moments, but an hours listening to a monotone lecture seems like an eternity). The descendants of hunters are the minority in our society today, and not being the norm they've collectively been slapped with the label Attention Deficit Disorder. Most people fall somewhere inbetween these two extremes, but in the artistic community a hunter mindset is predominant.
As for specific suggestions for living with this personality type, I'd suggest you check out the book. Lots of good insights and stories in it.Aha, now I know about my history ! thx :thumbsup:

I'm trying to learn how to program and I have an enormous difficulty to keep focussed on it, have the same with drawing :/

dominicqwek
05-15-2005, 08:06 PM
time is the same, people are not. You can call it an excuse if you want but you can
go train a thousand people and still not get a thousand Carl Lewises , Al Pacinos,
Linda Berkqvists , or what have you. And you never know what kind of things going
on in the world might take their time. Not everybody saying such is lazy or something.

Well I was referring to when you know you have the time to do something important but end up procrastinating or doing something else that you know isn't worth the priority.

KreatorOvWorldz
05-16-2005, 02:13 AM
I've often found that people make excuses when it comes to "no time", but then its not always clear cut, and sometimes even a little deceptive. I will sometimes find myself with "no time" for my art, but then i look at why... sometimes i find, less often than in the past, i find i mismanage my time. Mostly i find that I fill my time with a great deal of other things. I find myself giving away too much time to my job which entails a great deal of responsibility, i give precious hours away to people who come to me to solve their problems, i give time to worrying about personal and familial issues that are not easy to solve....

After a while one beings to realize that they are giving very little time to themselves, and that is so key to being an artist, giving adequate time to your own thought process, your own exploration, your own world. I know many very talented and passionate artists who struggle with these issues and the answer isnt always easy. Not because you dont know what to do to solve these time conflicts, but because solving them often means making difficult decisions.

I think in such situations, the answer is found in really asking yourself what it is you really want. Most people get caught up in what they "think" they want, they dont really consider the whole picture when they say, "lets be an artist"

Art requires alot of the artist, you are opening yourself up and putting what is inside u, on a canvas for people to see... You spend days, weeks, months doing this because you feel this incessant need to create and express what is inside you. And it requires certain sacrifices. Time, energy, patience... These sacrifices can yield amazing fullfilment and personal adventure though, any true artist can tell you this.

Sometimes lack of drive or patience is a result of too many stressful situations draining you. If you work 10 hour days in a high stress job to earn your pay, or your constantly keeping your family from tearing itself apart, and you find you have no time for your art, or have no patience for it, or tire of it, you have to decide if you are giving too much time to your job or to others, and not enough to yourself. Believe me, it is not normal and healthy to be scrambling for enough time to stop and develop yourself, and its all to common these days for people to do this. Youll have others tell you you are being selfish for taking time for yourself, when its probably the most important thing to do in the day, especially if you create anything worthwhile.

I've found that months of stress wears you down to the point that when you have a bit of free time, concentration becomes almost impossible. During the worst episodes in my life, i have come home after a day and had some free hours and literally sat without really moving. I could barely even think, let alone begin an art project. You become this automaton after a while, moving without will. And you can even develop a defeated attitude, you begin to declare failure at art before you really get started because youve become used to being empty. It was only when i started taking more time for personal things that my creativity began to return to me. Consider taking time for yourself, and if it is in conflict with your employer, begin searching for a better alternative...THERE ARE ALWAYS better alternatives. Make the decision to nurture your own world, your own space. That may entail making hard decisions and dissappointing people who've become very dependent on your presence, but if making art and being good at it is what you want, then youll have to do it. Maybe youll earn less for a while, but youll be more content. You may hurt people, but if they care about you they should understand what your trying to accomplish.

SpeccySteve
05-16-2005, 02:49 AM
Often, people confuse what they like with what they are capable of doing. For example, I love watching various full-contact mixed-martial arts tournaments. I think those guys are the best fighting machines on the planet and I enjoy watching their skills and tactics.

At the risk of dragging this waaay off topic, which ones? K1, Pride, UFC or something else entirely?
A guy I know linked me to a few vids lately and I'm finding them really good viewing so far, very interesting sport.

-Steve

Lunatique
05-16-2005, 05:42 AM
SpeccySteve - I like them all, and each have their good points. My favorite fighter is probably Sakuraba. He always does surprising things in a match, has a great sense of humor, and has a good heart (cares about his opponents).

Nehym
05-16-2005, 08:31 PM
Well well, i am a little late to reply to this, but ah well, i'll do it anyway.

That kind of things also happens to me a lot, i have a hard time managing my time but it seems to only happen from time to time. It is not that i lack time or motivation that i would actually stall on something and end up not doing much after some hours, but mostly because of my perfectionnism that makes me work someting over and over again until i am satisfied (and i rarely totally am..). So i might start working on something for hours but i'd stall on a particular part, not because i cannot get it right, most people would tell me it looks good (and not only to be nice), i would know that it could be good, but i still rework it to get that perfect one i had in mind. Which ends up eating too much of my time...

Also the fact that i cannot focus on one single idea at a time, i am the type thatwants to do everything at once and have a hard time sitting down and actually choosing one to work on and not work 1 hour on this, 30 minutes on that, you get the point i think. The fact that i am a stressful person doesn't help either i think...

I agree that this mostly has to do with discipline and that discipline is something we have to learn if we want to work efficiently, along with various other traits.

Everyone have very interesting thories about this subject and i share part of each of them. And i appreciate some of the pointers on how to help the situation, i will surely try some of them. http://img192.echo.cx/img192/610/1smile0ex.gif

Tughan
05-16-2005, 10:10 PM
So i might start working on something for hours but i'd stall on a particular part, not because i cannot get it right, most people would tell me it looks good (and not only to be nice), i would know that it could be good, but i still rework it to get that perfect one i had in mind. Which ends up eating too much of my time...

That is exactly why I'm still working on my new 3D Character's Rigging for over 3 months! That is madness! :eek:

Somebody stop me.:scream:

leeyiankun
05-17-2005, 02:14 AM
Ah, A fellow perfectionist.
I got the same habit problem myself. The Practice pictures, I can draw a good one in a quite short amount of time. Some work pics, I can even manage to do that.

But not my own private projects.
Those are the ones that got extended over the month. And there are pictures that ended up being incompleted over the years, simply by lagging too long.

But these are the pics that I look back at most often though.
I can still go back to some of these pieces and say ' Gee, how did I do this? This is GOOD!'
(ha! reminds me of the ending scene in Tekken4, Law said the same thing ,didn't he? :twisted:
"Hey, what are you talking about, This is good!" And then his reatuarant went backrupt...)

Then again, I often end up saying ' Hey, this crap took THAT much time? You've got to be kidding me!' So I really don't know what to say on this method of managing time.

GOTgraphic
05-17-2005, 03:46 AM
From what I understand, time reasoning is a left-brain function, along with language and math (and other stuff I don't recall off the top of my head). So I've always figured that since artist in large part depend on the creative right-side of the brain that they are not as in tune with their right-side... hence they don't pay attention to time as much.

Its also known that southern, warm climate cultures do not place as high an emphasis on time-based deadlines like northern, cold cultures do. An example that some friends always give me is that they can go to church in Sweden and everything is on time EXACTLY (and they freak out if you're late). Then when they visit their friends in the Philippines, church begins when everybody shows up (even its an hour after the start time).

yenvalmar
05-25-2005, 03:30 AM
is not enough hours in the day to finish all th art i want to make and still have any social life, and do my job (which is also making art, which has pros and cons). spending long hours working on drawings or art has always come naturally to me, thats why i do it all the time! i would suggest trying to find an activity you really like doing, though i understand there can be issues such as ADD, and in fact i know a number of really good artists with ADD, who just need their vitamin R..

as far as perfectionism or discipline, i definitely take far longer on my personal projects than i do on commercial work, because a- i tend to enjoy it more (if i didnt enjoy doing my personal work what would the point be, honestly, i'd spend all my time at work instead), b- i hold myself to different standards. not necessarily higher, but just different, more personal, and i like to take more time developing a concept vs just copying someone else or doing what the art director sez. but its not that i am not working at it, it just takes longer.

L.Rawlins
05-25-2005, 06:58 PM
The thing with perfectionism is... where do you draw the line at something being 'perfect'?

jud
05-25-2005, 07:45 PM
The thing with perfectionism is... where do you draw the line at something being 'perfect'?

And is there an actual limit to perfection, every product or species keeps moving forward and evolving and adapting and trying to reach that ultimate perfection, thats why "nothings perfect" because it will always be just that bit too far out of reach, and we will always strive to reach it.

Try painting without thinking too much, just try and think about what it is you want to draw, start with a small sized brush or pencil and just go fot it, don't think about how it looks but how you want it to look, and just concentrate on the image and not the time, and try to focus on achieving what it is you want to achieve, then go and colour it in on a new layer even if it looks bad just use that as a reference and just paint roughly and do the same thing, just think about how the light should look and where it's coming from and bouncing off, look around you, study your surroundings, your reflection, your hand, look at how the light reflects onto objects and creates shadows, and try and dedicate a whole day to just painting and practicing so you won't be worried about time and how long it takes, just be patient and focus on the now.
This has helped me go beyond just drawing, it took me ages just to have the guts to go into the colouring stage, I could not get past the enitial sketch (which I always thought looked crap) but I started realising that the only thing stopping me from going further was me, not the P.C or the tablet or the software , just little old me.....so One day I just tried to give myself a whole day to painting and tried to just think less about the negative and focus on becoming more or less braver and more focused on the positive, and if there is nothing good you like about the painting.....change it, just charge at it like a bull, it's you who is in control.
I still battle with finishing stuff, but using this method and joining the DSG(see signature) has helped me go past the sketch stage and to actually finishing stuff.
With the DSG you have a day to create something and sometimes "A deadline has a wonderfull way of concentrating the mind" Prof. moriarty(star trek)

Anyway I am in no way a professional, but thought it might help someone, if anyone.

jmBoekestein
05-25-2005, 07:49 PM
The word perfectionist in itself is a joke. Do you even realise what it means? A human being cannot achieve perfection, dead end. Form is flaw due to the nature of matter. Matter is everchanging, but don't let it bug ya though. I like art with details! :D

Empath
05-25-2005, 09:45 PM
As to the concept of 'perfect', there's no such thing as it's a matter of opinion. One is only capable of doing ones best... but you might surprise yourself with how good that might be.

pearson
05-26-2005, 03:40 AM
Art is all about making choices -- concept, pose, background, details, etc. I have a hard time making these choices because I hate thinking I made a poor choice that has sabotaged what I'm working on. Every picture is great until I make a mistake. Stalling on a picture is my way of protecting the picture.

I run into this a lot. The more choices there are, the more bogged down I get; the harder it is to keep going. I make a bunch of copies and sequential saves, but still, the fear of "ruining it" can be very hard to overcome. If I have a deadline, then I can usually save a "safe" copy and just keep plowing through, but for personal stuff...too often I want to explore all the different options (infinite) at each step, which means I never get anything completed.

Having no distractions and a constant feed of techno music to my ears (late at night) is usually the only time I can get in the zone and really crank out some good progress. :/

soapy
05-28-2005, 07:22 PM
Top ten reasons why people procrastinate:

1.

zombiehellmonkey
06-02-2005, 01:35 AM
Top ten reasons why people procrastinate:

1.


Hahaha, good one

TheClick
06-05-2005, 09:49 AM
King of it here. Not only in artwork, in darn near everything besides eating, sleeping, and other necessary funktions. Actually, when I have a big task at hand, in life, I end up focused on creating art or something. And when I have a big task of creating art, I end up focusing on whatever task in life. Today I went through all my paperwork and cleaned living quarters. Yesterday I finished drawing. By end of drawing, room was disaster area.

Don't be so hard on yourself. If your mind wanders, there is a reason for it. Handle your business, priorities are strange things and you never can be too precise with the use of time.

Me, well, I have too many other things to address before sitting down and doin hours of art. And guess what I did yesterday and today? Well, yesterday I spent about 3 hrs finishing a drawing. Today I cleaned up flash code, about 2 hrs worth. I have a new interface I want to experiment with, and implement, but it'll be extremely tough under the circumstances I've given myself.
So I decided instead of doing that I better take on some physical fitness. Start Jogging everyday. And keeping on top of organization as number one priorities. If my time to do the art is limited, I will be more anxious and focused with it during the time spent.

But thats just me. I get no money or booty from doing art. It's an ability I like to call a hobby. And it keeps me from getting myself into trouble.

CGTalk Moderation
06-05-2005, 09:49 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.