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Author Topic: From Fun to Fundamentals to Not-so-Fun-Anymore  (Read 2716 times)

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Offline suuper-san

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Re: From Fun to Fundamentals to Not-so-Fun-Anymore
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2018, 12:52:58 PM »
Nice to see you back Ryan :)

I often use language as a comparison to art, especially since learning Japanese, I can see how my brain is processing things with memory and logic very similarly to how I process art. Also my learning styles for both language and art are similar, although I dont usually advocate my methods because they are very stylized and would probably only work for me. that being said, this part summed up my drawing motto quite well, so I will mention it.

What to do about this? Lay the theory aside. Let the fundamentals do what they can do, in its own charming and limited way. Accept things the way they are. Copy art you love. Draw the art you love. If you don't know what you love, follow your ambitions and copy your ambitions, no matter how cheesy or stupid they are. Drawing is a collectively held language. Style is collectively held. Someone out there is using the same stylistic conventions, the same compositional patterns that you are. Someone out there speaks a language in just the way you do. Your original touch is a small component. It will peer through.
Art is so close to a language in perceived level of ability, knowledge vs. "feel" and so on. thats why I have always said to myself that, like language, it cannot be learned easily in a structured lesson-style way, or at least, it shouldnt be learned like that. Those who are most fluent (that is, native) in a language learnt it with no effort at all, with a very high immersion level, all in one go with no stops for 5-6 years. So its a very hands-on style of learning, being exposed to everything at the same time. My art method is similar in that I try and draw a very large amount of different things as much as possible, to keep all my links, connections and knowledge right there in my short term memory, and eventually shuffle it to long term. As much as I advocate theory and study to others, I spend a lot of my time not doing that :P

And to get that "fluency being faster than thought" you have to have all your information accessible instantly/v.quickly in your head, naturally. not that you have to know what every single thing plant animal person looks like, but all your construction/proportions/theory which is behind it. Just as you can learn a new word when you are older, and instantly be able to use it in a sentence, an artist can take new information/subjects/objects that they have never seen before, and be able to present them skillfully in their art.

In a way, I think that just doing any kind of art, even the wrong kind (whatever that is) if i dare say so, will bring you closer to the skill that you want, as long as you keep challenging what you can draw. doing the right kind of art at the right time is a lot harder to know, and I think that that is the only thing that will speed up your art growth in comparison. But its still a long slog :P
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Offline JackOfArtAndProse

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Re: From Fun to Fundamentals to Not-so-Fun-Anymore
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2019, 06:48:12 AM »
This is an important topic. It's something I have struggled with understanding in the past, and am managing to get over now. Also, hello everybody ^_^.



In essence, theory won't make you better at drawing. And knowing what the fundamentals are won't help you much either. To make a comparison, knowing grammar rules won't make you speak a language well. The speed at which an experienced and skilled artist draws exceeds conscious thought of rules and patterns, similar to that of a native speaker of a verbal language.

Throughout western society, we deconstruct skills and try to make sense of them. It's, truly, in a sense, academic. Teachers cheerily push concepts like "push the darks" because it is easy to objectively evaluate art in such a manner. However, it is completely ignorant of art that is beautiful with low-contrast values.

The usefulness of fundamentals is, in my opinion, quite limited to its ability to give names to parts of images. Such is the same with learning language, the parts of speech; being able to recognize what is a noun, verb, adjective, or particle is good. Such ability to comprehend the parts of language helps speed up the assimilation of natural grammar.

With images, you have the elements: shape, edges, line, depth, value, texture, color, saturation, hue. They just exist; they are. They existed even before you know what their names were. The patterning of the elements leads to principles: rhythm, variety, chaos, etc.

And the usefulness stops there, similar to the ability to recognize the parts of speech in a language. Knowing what the parts of speech are is hardly the key to making you a great speaker of language. So we make up silly grammar rules with a gazillion exceptions and weird cases, that in the end no real speaker of a language know. But we think the learner would benefit from knowing the rules ; (pro tip: it just leads them astray and make speaking more difficult and frustrating). Theory encourages invention of the wrong sort, the idea that if you stick to the theories you would end up with something good. However, it encourages near-nearsightedness and the foolhardy conclusion that if you stick to the theories you are conscious of, you will have perfect and beautiful speech. You end up, really, speaking in a language that nobody actually speaks...using words that don't go together.

In drawing there are a million invisible obstacles that no theory could ever articulate well, which can never be captured. They seem obvious to the highly skilled artists that "those two things just don't go together." However, if you asked them why they would have trouble to tell you (in most cases). Just as a skilled speaker of a language doesn't know why two words are not used to express a certain concept, which could be traced back to a grammar rule that the grammarians are conscious of.

What to do about this? Lay the theory aside. Let the fundamentals do what they can do, in its own charming and limited way. Accept things the way they are. Copy art you love. Draw the art you love. If you don't know what you love, follow your ambitions and copy your ambitions, no matter how cheesy or stupid they are. Drawing is a collectively held language. Style is collectively held. Someone out there is using the same stylistic conventions, the same compositional patterns that you are. Someone out there speaks a language in just the way you do. Your original touch is a small component. It will peer through.

Dare to be derivative. Separate from your frustration and allow yourself to do things that are just the right amount of interesting and engaging to you. Let your output follow your input. Your input, what you look at, what you copy, what you enjoy observing, whether it's real life or others' drawings, should have considerable impact on your artistic output. Input the same kind of information, over the period of months, okay. This isn't some hardcore repetition I'm talking about. I'm talking about over a very lengthy period of time, you come back to the same input, the same kinds of input (and do consider expanding what you input and output ;)). It's okay. Dare to do things that are comfortable, as long as you aren't bored. If you want to trace, trace. Just do whatever the hell you want as long as you're putting your eyes in front of art and images and you're not living within a wonderland of theory.

Borrow others' voices. Stand on the shoulder of giants. Everything you could ever ask for is already out there. All of the artwork, the visuals of our worldly existence, hold all of the secret sauce. All you need to do is to look, to continually draw, and allow your being to slowly be invaded by something greater than yourself. Because, in my understanding, there is no such thing as a rational reason as for why improvement in art occurs. I don't believe it can be explained with a phrase such as "I improved at art because I did a, b, and c." But, I do believe improvement cannot occur without the inputting and outputting of art. A truth that was inspired upon by the input-learning method for learning languages. That input of language is the absolute driver of assimilation of language and being able to speak well. And, I think, what we want to do as visual artists, as illustrators, mangaka, or comic artists, is to be able to speak in a beautifully authentic, true-to-our-genre fashion, yet minutely original and true-to-ourselves, in the way that we can't stop ourselves from being. Discovering our unique place within a genre, and having it come effortlessly. During all that copying, inputting and outputting, you will be discovering yourself. Because you make the choice of what you input, of who you copy, or whatever way you want to interpret this wall of mess. Eventually, you will find a way to fit it all together in a way that only you can. Our memories, they are merely flimsy reconstructions of our past. Because it is you that will be reconstructing your output, it is yours and belongs to you no matter how many stylistic conventions you use that can be traced back to a collectively used style, or individual artists.

This is no way to improve fast. But there is no way to improve fast. Fast improvement is artificial, limited. However, this philosophy I have elaborated on depth here also isn't difficult either. Reject boredom, and reject chronic frustration. Embrace fun, enjoyment, and stress-free, low-risk drawing. Fun easily trickles down to boredom because of fear of failure. You have to expand ever so slowly, whatever that means to you. Staying still can be dangerous. Looking at art consistently is a great way to insure you are sparked by the desire to expand your artistic reach whenever boredom starts to develop.

NOTE: This post is not directed to anybody in particular, but perhaps to individuals that are similar to how I used to be. To those who internally place too much emphasis on theory and having things spelled out for them in terms of 'why' this and 'why' that, as I once did. And to those with tendencies to spend too much time trying to invent their art. To those who wallow in a great deep sea of confusion, not knowing how to compose their drawings...or even what they want to draw, or how to make engaging drawings. It's better to have wholesome generic drawings, than empty unique drawings. This is all about language, it's communication. No one is going to get down on you for saying what somebody, and what everybody, is saying. Just go for it and be free.

Basically, you're saying that fundamentals are like cliches - even if you know what they are, you don't necessarily know how to apply the knowledge. One's understanding of a cliche needs to be instinctual for it to be of any use - and in doing so, the cliche is transformed into something that works, rather than being a dead cog in a narrative.

Offline Ryan

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Re: From Fun to Fundamentals to Not-so-Fun-Anymore
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2019, 03:04:43 AM »
This is an important topic. It's something I have struggled with understanding in the past, and am managing to get over now. Also, hello everybody ^_^.



In essence, theory won't make you better at drawing. And knowing what the fundamentals are won't help you much either. To make a comparison, knowing grammar rules won't make you speak a language well. The speed at which an experienced and skilled artist draws exceeds conscious thought of rules and patterns, similar to that of a native speaker of a verbal language.

Throughout western society, we deconstruct skills and try to make sense of them. It's, truly, in a sense, academic. Teachers cheerily push concepts like "push the darks" because it is easy to objectively evaluate art in such a manner. However, it is completely ignorant of art that is beautiful with low-contrast values.

The usefulness of fundamentals is, in my opinion, quite limited to its ability to give names to parts of images. Such is the same with learning language, the parts of speech; being able to recognize what is a noun, verb, adjective, or particle is good. Such ability to comprehend the parts of language helps speed up the assimilation of natural grammar.

With images, you have the elements: shape, edges, line, depth, value, texture, color, saturation, hue. They just exist; they are. They existed even before you know what their names were. The patterning of the elements leads to principles: rhythm, variety, chaos, etc.

And the usefulness stops there, similar to the ability to recognize the parts of speech in a language. Knowing what the parts of speech are is hardly the key to making you a great speaker of language. So we make up silly grammar rules with a gazillion exceptions and weird cases, that in the end no real speaker of a language know. But we think the learner would benefit from knowing the rules ; (pro tip: it just leads them astray and make speaking more difficult and frustrating). Theory encourages invention of the wrong sort, the idea that if you stick to the theories you would end up with something good. However, it encourages near-nearsightedness and the foolhardy conclusion that if you stick to the theories you are conscious of, you will have perfect and beautiful speech. You end up, really, speaking in a language that nobody actually speaks...using words that don't go together.

In drawing there are a million invisible obstacles that no theory could ever articulate well, which can never be captured. They seem obvious to the highly skilled artists that "those two things just don't go together." However, if you asked them why they would have trouble to tell you (in most cases). Just as a skilled speaker of a language doesn't know why two words are not used to express a certain concept, which could be traced back to a grammar rule that the grammarians are conscious of.

What to do about this? Lay the theory aside. Let the fundamentals do what they can do, in its own charming and limited way. Accept things the way they are. Copy art you love. Draw the art you love. If you don't know what you love, follow your ambitions and copy your ambitions, no matter how cheesy or stupid they are. Drawing is a collectively held language. Style is collectively held. Someone out there is using the same stylistic conventions, the same compositional patterns that you are. Someone out there speaks a language in just the way you do. Your original touch is a small component. It will peer through.

Dare to be derivative. Separate from your frustration and allow yourself to do things that are just the right amount of interesting and engaging to you. Let your output follow your input. Your input, what you look at, what you copy, what you enjoy observing, whether it's real life or others' drawings, should have considerable impact on your artistic output. Input the same kind of information, over the period of months, okay. This isn't some hardcore repetition I'm talking about. I'm talking about over a very lengthy period of time, you come back to the same input, the same kinds of input (and do consider expanding what you input and output ;)). It's okay. Dare to do things that are comfortable, as long as you aren't bored. If you want to trace, trace. Just do whatever the hell you want as long as you're putting your eyes in front of art and images and you're not living within a wonderland of theory.

Borrow others' voices. Stand on the shoulder of giants. Everything you could ever ask for is already out there. All of the artwork, the visuals of our worldly existence, hold all of the secret sauce. All you need to do is to look, to continually draw, and allow your being to slowly be invaded by something greater than yourself. Because, in my understanding, there is no such thing as a rational reason as for why improvement in art occurs. I don't believe it can be explained with a phrase such as "I improved at art because I did a, b, and c." But, I do believe improvement cannot occur without the inputting and outputting of art. A truth that was inspired upon by the input-learning method for learning languages. That input of language is the absolute driver of assimilation of language and being able to speak well. And, I think, what we want to do as visual artists, as illustrators, mangaka, or comic artists, is to be able to speak in a beautifully authentic, true-to-our-genre fashion, yet minutely original and true-to-ourselves, in the way that we can't stop ourselves from being. Discovering our unique place within a genre, and having it come effortlessly. During all that copying, inputting and outputting, you will be discovering yourself. Because you make the choice of what you input, of who you copy, or whatever way you want to interpret this wall of mess. Eventually, you will find a way to fit it all together in a way that only you can. Our memories, they are merely flimsy reconstructions of our past. Because it is you that will be reconstructing your output, it is yours and belongs to you no matter how many stylistic conventions you use that can be traced back to a collectively used style, or individual artists.

This is no way to improve fast. But there is no way to improve fast. Fast improvement is artificial, limited. However, this philosophy I have elaborated on depth here also isn't difficult either. Reject boredom, and reject chronic frustration. Embrace fun, enjoyment, and stress-free, low-risk drawing. Fun easily trickles down to boredom because of fear of failure. You have to expand ever so slowly, whatever that means to you. Staying still can be dangerous. Looking at art consistently is a great way to insure you are sparked by the desire to expand your artistic reach whenever boredom starts to develop.

NOTE: This post is not directed to anybody in particular, but perhaps to individuals that are similar to how I used to be. To those who internally place too much emphasis on theory and having things spelled out for them in terms of 'why' this and 'why' that, as I once did. And to those with tendencies to spend too much time trying to invent their art. To those who wallow in a great deep sea of confusion, not knowing how to compose their drawings...or even what they want to draw, or how to make engaging drawings. It's better to have wholesome generic drawings, than empty unique drawings. This is all about language, it's communication. No one is going to get down on you for saying what somebody, and what everybody, is saying. Just go for it and be free.

Basically, you're saying that fundamentals are like cliches - even if you know what they are, you don't necessarily know how to apply the knowledge. One's understanding of a cliche needs to be instinctual for it to be of any use - and in doing so, the cliche is transformed into something that works, rather than being a dead cog in a narrative.

Fundamentals aren't like cliches, in the sense that fundamentals are really the precursor of cliches. Getting fundamentals confused with cliche art advice, however, will lead to something that looks like poorly using literary cliches.

Knowing how to think about what you see visually in a manga, or art, is the important part about fundamentals. Not so much dictating how to draw. Fundamentals are a shortcut that grants you the ability to see, and the ability to talk about what you see. At the end of the day, how you draw is defined by how you want to draw, which is defined by what you like (not what other people say is how you should draw).

Fundamentals are the building blocks of what builds up a cliche, or really, style. The problem is when we see fundamentals and cliche art advice as synonymous. Every art style, every art purpose has a different function and aesthetic. The fundamental building blocks differ between art styles and purposes.

The cure, then, to drawings that don't know what they want to be, is to stop taking advice from others and to take advice from the art you want to make. Advice about how to draw in the end should come from what you've judged personally, with your own eyes, to be favorable to you. You view the art, you take note of how the elements are. Is it low contrast, or is it high contrast? What colors does it use? Are the lines thick or thin? Think about why those elements are the way they are, and think about how it relates to the artist's messages or intentions of their work.




Offline JackOfArtAndProse

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Re: From Fun to Fundamentals to Not-so-Fun-Anymore
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2019, 04:08:09 AM »
Ah, I was using the word "cliche" in the storytelling sense, and was using a metaphor. I was not calling fundamentals cliche art advice.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2019, 04:25:08 AM by JackOfArtAndProse »