(Help) Critique my learning method?


Who I am:
Hello all. I hope I’m doing this right, I’m sort of new around here, I have been registered for a while but only lately I’ve decided the importance of art forums and to be active on them.

What I know/My current knowledge:
I’m hoping to get critique on my method of learning, I’m a 26 year old Art and Design Student of a bachelor Multimedia degree somewhere in Portugal. I have learned drawing, photo editing, photography, cinematography and graphic design and lately animation. I’ve decided however, after trying freelance for a long time, that what I enjoy the most is drawing and concept art, I did a freelance work on concept art and liked it a lot, but I realized that my photobash skills aren’t enough.

What am I doing:
After a few talks with instructors, they recommended me some elite schools focused on concept art and entertainment, which I won’t name, after looking at how much I’d have to pay to go study there and tuition costs, I quickly realized that it isn’t happening.
I found out that some of the best artists in this concept art/entertainment industry of the moment are self taught and/or learn from internet, I decided to do the same. I borrowed a few Gnomon DVDs, bought and rented a few others, requested books from the library and a few others and just started gathering resources from where these artists learned.

My studies/work:
I traced a custom course and started learning, first I re-learned anatomy, then went to perspective, then painting, storytelling, composition, and so on.

The studies: (chronological order, the most recent are the first you see)

My problem:
I think I’m just too confused, however I was happy with the outcome of the anatomy studies I did. I had already learned drawing in college and these extra workshops added a new layer of precision and helped me to push towards finding a drawing style!
The other courses, however, were dazzling. I had little practice of perspective, digital painting, but I did invest a lot of time and passion in them!

One teacher at college told me that I should spend one year practice drawing characters, then vehicles, then environment, etc. I’m already 26 years old, and told him that I want to build a portfolio and start working in the industry reasonably soon, I have to pay my bills and such, but something tells me that his words were true, that I should focus on a study of a subject for some time and then move to other things? I will never stop learning, I know that, but I can’t live in my parents house until I’m 40 because I’m still learning, you know? I already have two schools, the design and art college and all these workshops and studies when I get home, focused for entertainment design.

My current learning method/course:
My last attempt at organizing my learning method was to sign up to conceptart.org LevelUp! Workshop, they have a video for each class and then assignments. In the first one, intro to design principles, I learned about economy of detail, emphasis, variety, rhythm, balance, repetition and continuity, that live off the old masters paintings and how to effectively apply them to my work. The assignment for it was to copy 20 old master paintings (You can see the examples on the tumblr link I posted above). Then I took another video class there about drawing and healthy line quality and usage and it felt very informative. The problem is that I went from that to do environments, and it felt like I did not master painting figures and neither environment, I found myself taking video classes on perspective and developing more side homework to then come back to environment fully.
The problem lies that I disagree with their method of helping me, so even though I see huge improvements on my painting skills (check tumblr link above), and that I earned a precious thinking process, the old one was ‘I can’t do this’ and now I think ‘what is it that I’m doing, that is not working?’ They keep telling me to do a exact copy of the master painting and use a grid to see imperfections while I work, which I see as cheating
but anyway, I hardly get any critique there, other than ‘use grid’

My old method of learning:
Before this, I was doing stencil and graffiti, graphic design and photo manipulation and illustration in general, I had a big folder with reference and stock photos, and some artworks from other people thrown together that I really liked and would use as inspiration or tried to replicate them, I would just open the folder, go over everything and when I saw something that was really speaking to me on that moment, I’d take it and do it.
This led me to a illustration a day and saved me a lot of brain power, even if I was doing a replica of someone else, I’d usually not end up with a carbon copy and end up applying my style and another concept to it. I felt like I was in control although I wouldn’t have learned everything I did lately by staying in this comfort zone… but how much learning is too much?

At the moment, I’m having a headache of working so much, I only had like 2 or 3 headaches during all my life, and at the moment, I’m not sure whether tutorials to see first, how much practice to invest on them, etc. I just watch gnomon or other tutorials to the end, make as many pieces as the instructors make and then move on to the next subject, as if hungry for knowledge, this may be my problem?
I’m trying to weight whether I should stick to the workshop I currently signed in conceptart.org, even if I don’t like the lack of feedback, I did see some results, or should focus on characters first, until I’m very strong at it, then move to vehicles and do the same thing, then environments
I already have design principles from college too.
I just feel like I watch a lot of tutorials, sign up for workshops and courses and I know a lot of theories but no practical experience. I feel like an art critic not an artist.
I don’t mind training, I just develop it right.
I’ve even rejected my social life lately, just to be drawing and learning, but I now realize it a social life is essential for a sane drawing or painting.

Lastly, not not least, thank you for reading. If you can give me your opinion, that’ll be certainly a huge help, as at the moment I’m a bit lost and with a heavy headache!
P.S. - As I write this, it is becoming apparent that maybe I’m becoming a Jack of All Trades, Master of None? I have too many resources and I should cut them down and re-watch only a few of them a lot, maybe. I’d still like to hear what you think, rather than keep wondering…
Sorry, this turned out long.


The first thing I do when I see someone give feedback or guidance in a thread like this is to check out their portfolio. I want to be sure they’ve put in the time and they’ve made something great. That’s all to say… I’m not that guy. I’ve got a long way to go myself. The best I can offer is some things that have seemed to help me, suggesting that you take them with a grain of salt.

A few years ago I go in to photography as a vehicle to shoot my own reference shots. I quickly found myself much happier with my photos compared to my finished drawings and digital painting. I let my drawing fall to the wayside and focused on photography. One thing I noticed was that shooting had acted as a cross training of sorts for my art. My drawing and digital painting experience drastically shaved off the time it took to learn a retouch workflow. When I finally got around to dusting off the sketchbook again, it seemed like the time spend pouring over a single image for hours, studying light and shadow during retouch had help my portrait drawing perception.

As a side note, you’ll want to update the link to your tumblr in your post as “http://myartscraps.tumblr.com/” vs what you currently have. The link you provided is your personal dashboard view of your tumblr.


Thank you for reading! You have some really nice pictures, it’s obvious that you are now able to shoot photos based on your illustration knowledge and it works.
I’ll keep trying for a little bit more, I’ll finish sketching out my learning route, I’m feeling confident it’ll work this time! If it doesn’t, I’ll use adquired knowledge to graphic design, photography or something else, like you did!


After reading your post and looking at your portfolio, it is very clear to me exactly why your artistic development is stagnating and you are feeling confused and lost.

The main problem I see is that you don’t seem to be getting long-term, detailed, and honest critiques that tells you exactly what you are doing wrong and how you can fix them. You seem to be doing these assignments in the dark without proper guidances, and repeating the same mistakes over and over and not really improving. You can easily end up wasting years of your life just running around in circles like that and not grow as an artist. This is a very common problem I see everyday, and it was the reason why I created my workshop, “Becoming a Better Artist” (linked below in my signature), which I’ve been teaching here at CGSociety for over five years now.

In my workshop, I do everything I possibly can to teach my students how to actually learn and train effectively, avoid bad habits that can be detrimental to their artistic development, how to manage their life and time in order to grow efficiently, and how to deal with emotional/psychological problems that many aspiring artists face, such as feeling lost, confused, self-loathing, overwhelmed, etc. And all of that are just one aspect of the workshop–the other aspects are the critical foundations of visual art, professional workflow, and nurturing a compelling creative vision as an artist.


Draw, refine, seek critique.