What do you suck at as an artist? How are you going to fix it?

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  04 April 2005
Add one more to the "not being able to finish things" pile. I've had to confront this issue in a serious way recently as it's now affecting my client work. Here are three ways I've been working toward recovery:


1. Apologize to those in your past whom you've affected by not finishing their work or pushing their project past deadline.

For me at least, I felt better knowing that those people knew I really cared about their project but just have an inability to finish things sometimes -- let's be honest, many times. Plus, those people will sometimes give you pointers on how to more effectively work with clients when you need extra time.

One pointer that I sometimes neglect is to do frequent check-ins so my client can gauge progress and make suggestions. Most of the time I don't check-in out of fear that the client won't feel I'm far enough along -- which has never been the case; I just worry too much. Not all client suggestions have to be followed but at least some will keep you from hitting a problem area in your work which you, as a perfectionist, will try everything possible to overcome. It's the obsession to overcome all problems, many of which the client won't see, that will quickly make you run over deadline.



2. Schedule your day/week.

Don't rely on your memory when it comes to organizing tasks for the day/week. Write down every task and appointment you need to perform and prioritize them -- even the small things that seem insignificant at the time. Those insignificant things are the ones most likely to be forgotten until the last minute, at which point you'll have to stop a more important tasks such as client work.

My tips for scheduling:

- first, schedule repetitive tasks such as sleeping, eating, laundry, grocery shopping and job/classes. If you're hardcore, make this schedule two to four weeks in advance of when you'll use it.

- next, schedule non-repetitive tasks and prioritize them. Certain things you'll be able to schedule far in advanced but always add to the current day's schedule as same-day tasks arise.

- when bidding on a client project, always propose a timeframe that allows for human/computer errors. For a project which I feel can be finished in three hours, I'll tell the client four hours. A quality client will value reliability more than speed and you'll eliminate the need to regularly schedule doctor's visits for high stress levels.

- schedule a time when you can practice your craft. This is time you've earned so be generous. To keep you focused during this practice time, write a loose schedule for what you'd like to accomplish. You can really make your practice time meaningful by engaging in your weaker artistic areas.



3. Create personal projects.

I don't think I'm alone in this one but I'm having to come to grips with the fact that although the creation of my client work feels like art to me (I do illustrations and animations), it's considered a project asset to my clients. So as much as you want the work to look perfect in your own eyes, remember that it's the client's eyes that sign off on a project and they may have an altogether different view of things.

By working on your personal project, you can regain the control you lose when working for a client. It's no mystery that we all want to feel in control of something, it's just a matter of when you choose to exercise that want. If you're having difficulty developing your own projects then, when all is finished on a client's project, revisit the client's work and complete it to your liking. When the pressure of a deadline is off, you have more opportunity to explore and learn.



While I'm still in the confessional, I also have poor color sense when going past two colors and my painting skills are rustier than all getout. During my alloted practice time I hit the painting books in search of traditional techniques and do digital color paintings using ArtRage or Painter Classic.
 
  04 April 2005
I've been drawing since I was a kid, but never once in all that time did I think to add a background. For that reason, my perspective and composition skills are very undeveloped. Color, too, since I did most sketches in pencil or in ink.

Participating in the Daily Sketch here at CGTalk has been great practice (Much thanks to Roberto Ortiz ). I've started reading tutorials and I try to incorporate new methods into my work, but old habits die hard. Also, I find that trying adopt a new method kills the spirit of the picture -- I get to focused on following the rules and the picture loses all spontanaiety. I'm finally getting a decent composition together in my Master & Servant entry, but I keep waffling between portrait and landscape formats, creating characters and then killing them off.
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Last edited by Ilikesoup : 04 April 2005 at 04:58 PM.
 
  04 April 2005
Sounds like most of us have problems with environments. I know that once I start on an environment, I need to work it into the ground, then it loses spontaneity and fun... otherwise it'll not be textured enough.
Oh, for talent....
 
  04 April 2005
What i suck at? Hrmphf.. The list could go on and on but here are the major things i suck at:

-1: Not able to finish the projects i start and/or focus on one project at a time
-2: Environments and backgrounds
-3: Lighting
-4: Spontaneity

1: It is very simple... I just can't focus on only one thing at a time, only one project at a time. Always being inspired and having new concepts in my head and wanting to put them down on paper (or on the screen, if digital). Also, having trouble to only paint when i start painting and not having 29847256 other things waiting to be done beside or doing at the same time (surfing forums, talking on msn or icq for examples). This probably results in the fact that in my whole life i've always been doing a lot of things at the same time so focusing becomes hard and it greatly slows me down. Though a_w' suggestions are good, particulary the schedule one, i think i'm gonna try it.

2: Same thing as paperclip.. Been drawing for a long time but never really thought of adding backgrounds, or only little elements like one tree here or a green spot under the character to ''try'' to make it look like grass. I'm getting somewhat better at it now, and i tend to try to think about every part of the picture i plan to paint before i do anything else. To improve, i've also started a serie which consist of 4 themed setting (mostly organic, forests, plants and such) with different time of the day to improve my lighting at the same time. I try to re-use about the same theme with different species of trees, plants with daylgiht or night light, for examples.

3: Well it goes a little in #2, mostly for what i am doing to improve.. But the problem really is that for long i had a difficulty to pick a lighting color, it was always mostly white or light yellow with no ambient lighting etc...

4: I just think too much about everything and do not let myself add this or that during the process... I really need to loosen up..


Hope i'm making some sens here.
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  04 April 2005
i have got to learn how to texture things.. and also actually stick to texturing something after i have finished moddeling the character.
get better at my composition..
actually do hmwk so my mum doesnt remove my computer....
push myself harder to finish stuff generally as i am really really bad at self motivation... unless its a game.. which is no good...

thanks for this.. it helped put what i need to do into perspective
 
  04 April 2005
what do i suck at as an artist? just about everything. what am i going to do about it? work work work (and continue to improve my critical process, as without that i wouldn't even see that i sucked, nor be able to see how to improve each area).
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  04 April 2005
Fear making me impatient is my biggest suckiness. If I'm unsure how the next stroke or next set of edges is going to affect my work, I tend to procrastinate or pull back from my experimentation. I've got to learn to keep going with a work, because I always forget that in CG mistakes can quite often be easily corrected!
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  04 April 2005
I suck at painting. I am more of a sketch artist but I can do greyscale painting.

All I have to do now is to put in some work on my painting skills.
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  04 April 2005
Biggest issue? Having something to say and knowing how to say it. How to fix it? I guess I just have to try to educate myself on a broad range of subjects to be able to analyze the world around me better.

There's technical stuff too, but that's what practice is for. Content is king.
 
  04 April 2005
hmm..lots of things to list but what i suck at the most is probably anatomy..withought ref. pictures i can't draw characters in a dynamic pose or do much from my imagination

perspective..i know the basics,i just need to apply it more in my work but i still suck at doing anything complex

composition..my compostion isn't bad but still lots of room for improvment

coloring..i think it's my strongest point but painting skin tones,textures and getting the right colors is huge challenge..i love coloring the most but there's so much possibilities with colors that sometimes i feel i just don't know anything about color..hmm does that make sense at all

hmm what else..oh industrial desings, cars, weapons, robots or anything like that..now that's major suckness..lol but i'm not really into it so i don't feel that bad about it

also sometimes i get caught up in the detail and forget about the whole piece then the picture end up looking flat with no depth

but i think my biggest problem is that i need to spend more time on art..may be one day i'll pack up and go live on an isolated island so i can focus on my art..lol

there's a lot of things i know i can do to improve myself like reading books, drawing more from life and stuff..but it usually fails because not enough motivation

even though i know i suck at a lot of things i just have some confidence in my self that i can be as good as any other famous artist out there if i put more time and effort..so i'm just keeping my hopes and trying to free myself more so i can focus on art
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  04 April 2005
NATFT for me as well! Lately I've found that an idea you don't fully understand has a better chance of being completed than something you can completely visualize. The fun is in discovering what the hell is going on in your mind through your art. A lot of work can be created on the way to an answer.
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  04 April 2005
Sketching and painting - majorly. I got lazy doing cg/animation and I didn' really have to sketch anything beyond simple stick figures poses.
What I do to improve? Sketching as much as possible, 8-10 hours weekly. It's a lot of fun and I am doing it purely for fun. I am too shy to join DSG now
I am wannabe digital painter and plan ahead to do it full time when I retire in like 25 years from now. Maybe by this time I'll evetually become semi-decent at painting.

Last edited by RayenD : 04 April 2005 at 11:24 AM.
 
  04 April 2005
i suck at backgounds.. mainl cos i always do character work...And sticking with something all the way to the final... figures are imporving and i try to be spontanous with all my stuff sdo i would not say i sucked at those... mainly i ju8st get frustrated with myself never finishing anything! Which is strange why i am doing two concpets for master and servant!
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  04 April 2005
Im bad at alot of things. but this is the worst.

Inspiration thats hard to come by. It leaves me stranded. I watched or listened to a great movie/songs that I like or anything, yet it didnt tick me going to the paper, I hate it with that happens.
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Last edited by Limiter : 04 April 2005 at 02:33 PM.
 
  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by paperclip: I suck at finishing things. If I get an idea, chances are slowly it'll fall apart while I'm doing it. I suck at plenty of other things, but this is one that really irritates me. See my master and servant for a prime example!
Oh, why can't we all paint like lunatique, stahlberg and enayla.....


I thought I had dibs on that one. Even if I do have the time and inspiration something else pops up and ruins the whole thing.

Other than that, I suck at just about anything. The worst thing is I don't really have a clue for what composition in 2d art is. Lots of B-shitting(pardon my french) about focuspoints and balance and diagonals, but when I see the result it just strikes me as odd to name things in that way, let alone categorising. I just don't see the friggin' points for instance, I see a dynamic charge and that's all.
Colour is another weak point of mine, I simply skipped it and only just recently have started to see the power of it. The main reason was always that my surroundings are something that can be mimmicked, they are too intensely colourful. Just imagine a butterfly backlit and you'll get my point I guess.
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Last edited by jmBoekestein : 04 April 2005 at 03:35 PM.
 
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