Improving while having another career.

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  09 September 2009
..What I wanted to say, was that improving while doing something else is possible.

For me, concentrating on that "smart rehearsing" works. So, not just pointless sketching (it would probably help me too, but don't have too much time for that), but more like motivated studies on something I would like to or need to learn. Usually I do those after I've "filled" my self with new theories and techniques and had to do something before can learn anything new.

I also try to include something new in every assignment I have - most of it on the safe ground, but always also something new, if possible.
  09 September 2009
I've definitely gone through a tough time while learning 3D design since I've had little income (although I'm still pretty young with no family depending on me) but I'm finally starting to see the benefits of what I've spent all this time learning... I think the best thing you can do is just not set your sights really high right away, by this I mean you don't have to try to be a "career artist" where people are going to pay for your original artwork (at least not right away) but rather just learn the basic skills of what you are trying to do and then, for example, get a job doing a company's marketing layouts or website layouts (or find freelance work online), I think there are enough jobs if you look around where you can apply art skills (at least for me I know of different ones where 3d skills are useful) without having to be a full blown highly accomplished artist.... some people may not like this sort of thing but I'd rather do company marketing layout work and such and make a decent income rather than gamble on doing some original artwork project that I'm hoping to sell as a movie idea or something... but everyone is different.

Last edited by rdane1010 : 09 September 2009 at 09:51 AM.
  09 September 2009
I think I might have some solid advice to offer on this subject. I have found that practicing and learning new skills needn't be a chore (or much effort at all) if you go about it the right way...

I think the mistake that most people make is that they try to be really organised about practice. They have a practice routine where they schedule an hour (or something) each day to practice. But this method tends to fail, because the routine is hard to stick to. Some days you don't have time, don't feel like it, or just plain forget. Then even when you do work up the energy to do some, it is not fun. Because you have cut into a big portion of your free time, and put pressure on yourself to use that small amount of time constructively.

To be honest there is no need to make extra time to practice something, because you probably already have a shocking amount of spare time that gets wasted throughout a normal day without you even realising. The key to getting good at something fast, and getting lots of practice is to find a way to utilise that time.

For myself I have a little sketchbook. It is small enough to fit in my jacket pocket, so there is never any excuse to not have it with me. I take it everywhere I go, and whenever I have a moment to spare I get it out a draw in it. And believe me there are a lot of moments to spare.

I draw in it on the bus, and on the train. I draw in it while I'm waiting for the train too. If I'm sitting having a coffee somewhere at lunch that's a good time to do a bit of drawing. If I'm meeting someone and they are 10 mins late... 10 mins to do some drawing. Any kind of appointment like the doctors or the dentist, where you get stuck in a waiting room is a great time for drawing. You can usually get though several pages at the airport with all the waiting around they put you through there.

I only ever really draw in the book when I'm out, and it still sees way more action than any of my sketch, books at home. I've gone through quite a number of little books now cover to cover, both sides of the page. And the drawings are often overworked (as opposed to usual unfinished). It has definitely helped my drawing, I'm much faster, I have more ideas, and I make less mistakes. And it has never been a chore because it is time I probably would have spent twiddling my thumbs anyway, or pretending to be interested in a news paper.

What's more, it is nice to have something like that with you. If I am talking to someone and they ask me what I do, I have a whole book full of stuff for them to flick through which people like. It's also quite a nice way to meet people. I get a lot of people coming up to me and asking me about what I'm drawing and if they can see. I've even got chatting to some nice girls that way... Which is motivation enough for me to stick at it

I have a similar routine with my guitar. Even though it's not really practical to take it out with me. I never ever put it back in the case or in the corner. It is always out, it is always in my way, or next to my chair. It's full of dents and scratches, but it gets played because it's never more than an arms reach away, and I will often pick it up and play about on it, even if only for 5 mins while I'm waiting for the microwave. I reckon I easily manage over an hour per day practice on my guitar, just through 15 mins here or 10 mins there. Which is actually a lot, even for a dedicated person. But I hardly notice it because I've found a way to fit it into the little gaps where I wasn't doing much of anything anyway.

I would definitely recommend getting a little sketchbook. It took me a while to get into at first. Because I felt a little self-conscious, and I found it hard to concentrate outside and my drawing would be kind of half assed. But now I can sit and draw quite happily pretty much anywhere, and some of the stuff in my latest book is perhaps good enough to go in my portfolio... even though it was only ever intended as a bit of practice. So I think that speaks for itself.
My latest work...
Rag Doll Scars (nudity)

  01 January 2010
Not to be a downer but with the economy the way it is a secure job is a pretty sweet thing to have. Not everyone is meant to make a living doing art and it is possible to enjoy it without it being your career.
  02 February 2010
Originally Posted by Trauco: "Art is completely different from being a surgeon."

On what grounds?

Because surgery is science, and art is art. Honestly, comparing the two and then failing to appreciate how futile such a comparison is really undermines your credibility.
  02 February 2010
What a great thread. I've been for some time now, which can be measured in years, looking for what I want to do, I just have too many fields of interest, but they are not so different from each other and can even be associated at some point. It was only recently that I started thinking of myself as possible future artist. I loved to draw all my life, and I had my first attempts to design game concepts when I was 12, after getting my brain blown by Doom, but then time passed, years went by, life got complicated and when I noticed, a long time had gone by without me drawing anything. A full time job also started to divert a lot of my day's time.

Now, several years ago I discovered CGSociety and started to rediscover my interest in art, and now I could mix it with my love for computers. On this forum I learned about the existence of Andrew Loomis and his books (thanks Lunatique for that!), so I started working with them, but somehow always stopped at some point because I couldn't avoid thinking that I wasn't able to dedicate as much time as it would require, so I kind of felt my effort was pointless. Then I found this thread, and I can say that here I found two of the most useful pieces of advise I could have got, not beacuse all the other advise is not good, but because these two just fit me, like if somebody who knows me had written them thinking of me:

Originally Posted by vicmonty: ...Drop the fears of sucking and just draw. The only fear you should have is letting your life go by and you not becoming the artist you want to be.

I've thought about that exact same thing for a long time before reading it here, but on a negative way, always thinking of the time that had already passed and that it was "too late" for me to start now, but reeading your positive view, made me realize that I cannot change what hasn't been done in the past, but I can change what I'm going to do in the future and the only grave mistake would be not to do it.

Originally Posted by smackcakes: I think the mistake that most people make is that they try to be really organised about practice. They have a practice routine where they schedule an hour (or something) each day to practice. But this method tends to fail, because the routine is hard to stick to. Some days you don't have time, don't feel like it, or just plain forget. Then even when you do work up the energy to do some, it is not fun. Because you have cut into a big portion of your free time, and put pressure on yourself to use that small amount of time constructively.

Well, that is exactly where I was, putting so much pressure on myself to make a good use of the time invested that it wasn't fun anymore, and also, instead of focusing on the drawings, I couldn't stop thinking that it better be worth it because I was taking time out of others things I wanted/had to do. Reading your words just made me stop and think, reflect of the things I did become good at, and I realized how true this principle is: I became good at things I did because I enjoyed them, learned with happiness and enthusiasm, not with time and usefulness measures.

So, now I've definitely changed my plan, avoiding the unnecesary pressure (you have to push yourself to get better at some point, obviously, that's the "good pressure" I think), I've thought of what I was missing, and that's why I started to read Loomis' books with a little bit more of patience, I also acquired several of the Gnomon dvd's to obtain a different angle of the concept artists work and that way try to find out what suits me more.

Finally, in regards to the little sketchbook, curiously, some time before reading your post I had already bought one and carried it everwhere, making small drawings on any moment I found myself staring at the ceiling, so maybe, I am not on such a wrong path.

Thanks everyone, also to Jokerman for starting the thread.
  02 February 2010
Keep the solid job you already have, probably pays better both now and down the line with more room to grow. Focus on making money. Try to make some time every single day for your art, even if it's just 30-60 minutes, make it a ritual. And make it count, quality over quantity. Don't let the dreamy stuff distract you, you will retire one day, but not if you go chasing illusions. If I had to do it all over again, I'd still love art but it wouldn't have set my heart on it as a career. Financially you'll be better off, and your art will be your own.
Photoshop: Color Extractor Script | Custom Split Script

Last edited by Jettatore : 02 February 2010 at 04:16 AM.
  04 April 2010
Wow! this thread is gold. I'm in the same situation but the thing is i'm still at school and i was thinking if i'll shift courses to art.
Figures i'll try self-education so if I fail I have a back-up waiting to save my livelihood, and besides competition in this filled is very narrow with not even 50% guarantee(with all those talented and creative ppl around the world). Also I think its pretty impossible and hopeless at my age i mean my performance is pre-beginner's despite doing it for 5-7 yrs.
  06 June 2010
No offense but I despise threads like this. Everyone loves to scare the beginner saying the art field is monumentally cutthroat, fast pace, ever higher criteria for excellence and extremely competative.

But imo, all of that is bullcrap to the individual. You are who you are, and everybody in the industry started from where you are. They are as human as you are, not Gods or giants. What they learned, you can learn too, and at your own pace. What makes you special is how hard you work to your goals. The more work and effort you put into your studying, the more your drawings improve and with time your style will develop. Do not waste time polishing turds (if you do not know how to do something, find a book and study how to do it instead of guessing and chicken scratching).

Its a competition in the industry. Don't make it a competition within yourself or you will setup for a huge dissappointment.

I'm in the situation as you are and there are MANY others in our shoes. We just have to work hard and be as focused as we can. Don't let the big talk get us down. Good luck to us!
Sketchbook: Panda's Pad!

3D Stuff: Panda's 3D Characters

  06 June 2010
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