Psychology of an Artistic Mind. Part 1

This post has turned out to be far more than I intended it to be and due to its complexity and length, and I am going to break it into two parts. I originally started down a path that led me to an epiphany. Ultimately, everything I have been talking about for the last couple weeks about preconceived notions are tied directly to the subject of this post.

As artists and designers, we often find the most simple designs to be the most beautiful, and often try and make that happen in our own work. What we find, however, is that the most simple ideas are often the most difficult to portray or discover. My attempt to explain what is happening in my head day to day is no different.

I see and hear artists talk about skills related to how to paint and draw better – the technical side of being an artist. I feel this or I feel that and that is the result of how I got the image. I don’t know if I have ever heard an artist talk about the mental side of being an artist. I am going to attempt to do that. The closest thing I usually see is, how do you get your ideas, or how do I stop procrastination. Keep in mind that I am not a psychologist, and I have never played one of TV. All of these conclusions are being drawn from personal experience,
reading, and observations.

image from http://www.simplypsychology.org/

According to Sigmund Freud’s Structural Model of the Psyche, the psyche is made up of three parts: the Id, Ego, and Superego. In the first draft of this post, I used the ego to describe all the battles happening in my head, but it didn’t capture what I was trying to communicate.

Egotism vs. Egoism
Egotistic or egotistical is often used to describe a feeling of vast self-importance. It’s a weighty word isn’t it? Being egotistical refers to someone who is excessively conceited or vain, even narcissistic. You hear these terms applied frequently in the art world. There are many artists that have that reputation, and you can instantly tell when you are dealing with one of them. But all the artists I personally know are awesome people, and egotistic is the last word I think of when describing them.

Egoism is a preoccupation with oneself, but not necessarily feeling superior to others. The truth is, you actually have to have a certain degree of egoism to improve as an artist. It doesn’t matter if you are working for the entertainment industry or you are creating art for some lofty ideal or cause. Being an egoist means you always seek to improve as an artist. Improving as an artist is about improving yourself. If you seek to improve at a significant speed as an artist, you will choose to work on your art over doing anything else. But even reaching this point is a challenge in and of itself.

The Id
Let’s take a step backwards for a second. I want to talk about the Id. Freud says that as newborn children, we are completely driven by the id. The id is completely unconscious and is the instinctive part of our personality. To oversimplify, “Id touch oven, oven burns Id’s hand. That hurt! Id not doing that again.” Id can be thought of as your fight or flight instinct, but what the id wants most is to be happy, and Id wants it now. Id will do whatever it can to make that happen. It doesn’t take long of the id running things before the Ego develops as a result of our interactions with the external world.

The Ego
The ego is developed to keep the id in check. Where Id doesn’t care what it has to do to feel pleasure, Ego wants to feel pleasure but will delay gratification in order to achieve it in a realistic manner. Freud says the ego is relatively weak compared to the id, “like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse” (Freud, 1923, p.15). The ego is responsible for rational and realistic thinking and problem solving but has no concept of right or wrong. Enter into the picture, the Superego.

“like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse” (Freud, 1923, p.15).

The Superego
The superego is attributed to morals and values and is developed by one’s surroundings and society. The superego is also responsible for your dreams and aspirations or your ideal self, such as becoming a master artist, or mastering some kind of skill or occupational goal. It makes you have expectations that the image will look beautiful and punishes you with guilt and anger when that doesn’t happen. The superego is also the reason you feel guilty when you choose to play games or do some other activity instead of drawing or painting when you are trying to achieve the goal of improvement. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it is not. Just like the id, the superego needs to be held in check.

Generally, I am not a fan of disassociating what is happening in my head into seemingly different identities. When parts of the psyche are given a face and name they achieve an air of being uncontrollable, when in fact the opposite is true. You will need to learn to control these things if you hope to become the best artist you can.

If it helps you could use the cartoon depiction of the id, ego, and superego if you would like. Think of the id as the devil on your shoulder, the ego is you in the middle, and the superego as the angel on your other shoulder. I like to think of the id and the superego as two different dragons I need to beat back into their lairs with a big stick.

Ego: I fight with the Id and superego every day. It is the constant battle that wages in my head, that no one can see and no one knows about. It’s a battle that happens in everyone’s head whether they realize it or not, and it’s an epic battle with so many twists, deaths, and betrayals, it even puts the Game of Thrones to shame.

When I don’t feel like doing work and just want to play games, or binge watch a show on Netflix that is id wanting to just be happy now! When I then feel guilty about playing games instead of working, that is my superego telling me I am not living up to the best person I can be or tell me I am working too much and need to spend time with my family. Which isn’t a bad thing.

The times when the superego becomes a problem is when I am trying to spend time with my family and superego makes me feel guilty for doing so. The mind is a complex place and a lifetime won’t even be enough time to understand what is happening up there.

The superego is responsible for so many people giving up on the arts at such a young age. It is the same superego that caused me to be embarrassed to be seen counting on my fingers doing math in school. Or why you didn’t want to raise your hand, even though you knew the answer. Part of the problem is every portion of our psyche (id, ego, superego) love so much to be right, and will reward us with dopamine for doing so. But more than anything, they hate being wrong. The superego fears help and thinks it can do everything on its own. I have come to realize that so much about becoming a better artist is learning how to punch your superego and id in the mouth, telling them to sit the f*ck down.

Hopefully you will return next week as I continue this topic, discussing a little bit more about the battles with my psyche and self-discoveries that have helped me improve as an artist.

Enviroment Thumbnails from this week.
Enviroment Thumbnails from this week. Click for higher resolution.

references

Simply Psychology Id, Ego and Superego McLeod Saul 2008 http://www.simplypsychology.org/psyche.html

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It’s Not the Brush.

I remember the day I realized digital art was a thing. I was deep into one of my drawing spells, frustrated with how things looked on the paper. I just couldn’t get what was in my head on to the paper. So I did what so many of us do, and went to the Google’s. Google! “How do I draw better?” I came across people drawing things directly in Photoshop. What was this sorcery, and how do I take part in it? Surely this is my answer to be instantly better at art. My brain and all the power of Photoshop…it will be instant improvement. Right?

That was eight years ago, and I was still in the middle of trying to get my degree in business management. Clearly, I had all the intention in the world of using that degree. At any rate, when I finally got my hands on a Wacom Intuos 4, I was sure the answer to all my lack of art powers had arrived. I unwrapped that bad boy, downloaded the drivers and I was in it to win it. Fast forward 10 minutes later. F*** this! How the hell am I supposed to draw when I can’t see my hand? Thus began the cycle of starting, getting extremely frustrated, then stopping, then starting, etc.

I never really did get a handle on using a tablet. I can use one now if I need to, and accomplish the same things, but I still hate the disassociation of not being able to see my hand while I draw or paint. It is just the way I am.

The truth is, having access to powerful tools such as Photoshop, Painter, or Sai don’t make us better at anything. The ugly truth is, we may even take a step backwards. It’s like in the Disney movie Aladdin, Jafar wished he was the most powerful genie in the Universe. He got what he wanted. All the power in the universe that he didn’t understand, and then was confined to a tiny lamp.

After I got my tablet and attempted to use Photoshop, it freaked me out, and I became Jafar trapped in a lamp. The surface of the tablet was too smooth and the way the brush moved on the screen was too hard to control. My brain had really nothing to reference how to get better at this sorcery. So I turned to Illustrator and the pen tool.

At the time, it felt like a cop out, but now I realize it helped me with my confidence in using the tablet. The pen tool allowed me to place lines exactly where I wanted them while I was practicing with the tablet. Sure, the mouse is much faster with the pen tool, but I had a fancy new tablet that needed to be used. The reason I realize this is valuable now is because I was improving my hand-eye coordination with my tablet by doing something that I was already confident doing.

How many of you have a similar story or are still struggling with this issue? The reason for this story is to smash away the preconceived notions that we have when it comes to art. The truth about improvement is that you are going to follow your own path of discovery and there are a million things I can share with you about becoming a better artist, but if you aren’t ready to hear it, it won’t matter.

What brush are you using? What program is she using? I tried that brush and it didn’t do that for me. How do I get better at art? How do I get better at drawing? is coming to town. She is going to share all her secrets to success. Are you doing dude? Did you see that new tutorial? I totally get it now. Nope.

All of these questions and thoughts were running through my mind, until I realized the real secret is there is no secret. There is no hidden world in the wardrobe. Every professional artist practically shouts it out when they give their presentations, and post their tutorials. Hard work and time – that’s it. If you don’t understand, design, shape, contrast, composition, form, value, anatomy, light, perspective, contrast, color theory, or have no muscle memory, the brush the artist is using or program the artist is using means nothing. It is window dressing. Sure, it is inspiring to watch what they are doing, but the focus is in the wrong place. Inspiration is a powerful thing but can only take you so far. I know this because this was how my brain worked before I realized I wasn’t improving. I would watch tutorials and then try to do the same thing. I couldn’t even come close to producing what that artist was doing. I was so focused on what other artists were doing rather than focusing on me and what I needed to do to improve.

Once you start to focus on yourself, improvement will follow. At first, you will have huge canyons that you will have to build bridges to get over to the other side. But as you stick with it, those canyons get smaller and eventually turn into puddles you only need to hop over. Once you get to that point, you’ll know how to solve the deficiencies in your art, because you will have put in the time and hard work to understand how to improve. Now you will understand why that artist is using that brush and understand the struggles they were talking about and the steps they had to take to get where they are.

Here are some tips:

If you are struggling with your tablet. Hide your mouse for a month and only use your tablet to operate your computer.

If Photoshop is overwhelming. It can still overwhelm me at times. Get rid of all the options except the brushes tool, and then get rid of all your brushes except for a simple round brush, an airbrush, and a painterly brush. I will upload a set that can be found here.

Improve your hand-eye coordination. Practice drawing straight lines, ellipses, curved lines, pen pressure by going from thick to thin lines. Do this on paper, do it with your tablet.

Don’t limit yourself to working on the computer. Drawing or painting with no CTRL+Z will do wonders for your confidence and speed over time.

scan1922

scan1934

A few watercolor explorations of some space dudes.
A few watercolor explorations of some space dudes.
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Find your passion and enjoy the journey.

I was invited and had the pleasure of being a part of a portfolio review panel I mentioned last week for students just finishing their two year degree in game design. The students work ranged from amazing to sub-par. It was clear from the work displayed which students were passionate and knew what they wanted to do, and which students were unsure of their direction.

With the students who were unsure, you could tell the difference between the students who were unsure of their direction, and who were unsure of their direction because their work wasn’t to a standard they wanted it to be, and knew the amount of work that lay ahead of them. That led me to reflect on my art journey for this blog post but I still wasn’t sure what this week’s blog post was going to be until I was watching a Vsauce YouTube video this morning.

The host Michael was talking about Super tasks (I linked his video) near the end Michael was talking about the difference between Neanderthals and Homo-sapiens and the difference in our exploration habits. Neanderthals were content with stopping when they reached a body of water or some other resource, while homo-sapiens have always strived to conquer every barrier that stands in our way, which has led to our population of this planet.

Study of Frank Frazetta's Sketches.
Sketches trying to understand Frank Frazetta’s Sketching style.

Furthermore, this difference contributing to our desire to reach other planets, and is ultimately why Neanderthals are extinct and our species lives today. He has a terrific quote at that end of his video, “If you want to solve problems you don’t just solve the ones that are there, you find more and make more, and go after the impossible ones, fostering a love an obsession with problems is how you solve problems. “

We as artists and designers are problem solvers, no matter what kind of artist you are when you set out to accomplish the next project you will be solving many complex problems. The problems may be for commercial purposes, they may be with the world, or maybe they are personal, but they need solving just the same. I often reflect and tend to do more reflection near the end of the year. I often wonder what my purpose as an artist is, what am I really contributing to the world? I still don’t have the answer but I know this is my passion.

Michael then went on to quote Antoine de Saint-Exupérym who said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t just assign them tasks like getting wood. Teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

Neither one of these quotes I have mentioned are intended for artists but they are fitting just the same. Is the exploration of other planets a matter of life and death? Possibly, as it certainly increases the future generation’s chance for survival just as spreading across the surface of this planet did for us.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/AltamiraBison.jpg
Cave of Altamira

Is art itself a matter of life and death? Who is to say that art and storytelling doesn’t hold the same implications for species survival? Is it a type of sustenance that homo-sapiens need? Is that something that is even measureable? Why are there examples of it dating back 40 thousand years? Art has always been something that has evolved with the human species. It must carry some importance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_painting#/media/File:SantaCruz-CuevaManos-P2210651b.jpg
Cueva de las Manos

I don’t think anyone has come up with an answer to that question and it might never be answered. If you know of answer please leave it in the comments and I will correct my statement in the next post. Obviously, the reasons behind our art and storytelling today are far different than in the past, but the desire to master the skill or any other skill is just the same as reaching for the stars.

It isn’t easy and never will be. It takes a lifetime to accomplish and even that may not be enough time. However, if it is indeed your passion, pursue it! Don’t be content with stopping because you’ve reached a certain point. Don’t let anyone tell you that just because your idea lives with the stars that you can’t strive to attain it. Even if you don’t get all the way there, you will probably find yourself in a far better place and feeling more accomplished than you could have dreamed, and you will look back on your journey – glad you that set off on in the first place.

I think this video from Neil Tyson Degrasse is very fitting for this post, and as always I will leave you with some sketches.

A page out of my Sketchbook.
A page out of my Sketchbook.
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November Warm-up Environment Thumbs

Here are some warm-up environment thumbs. I like to do these to get my brain functioning at a normal capacity. Not quite as many as last month, but I was messing around in 3d quite a bit more as November moved along. Counting left to right, sets 1,2,4,and 5 are done in traditional medium. 1 and 4 are with pencil, and 2 and 5 are with an ink wash. 3,6,7, and 8 are all done digitally. I was messing around with abstraction and composition with a lot of these, and set 6 are abstract value comps of master paintings. I would call them the value essense of master studies. Hope you enjoy.

NovEnviroThumbs

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Self-Improvement

First off…Happy late Thanksgiving if you are from the Americas, and Happy start of the holiday season for everyone else.

This week I want to talk about self-improvement and how it relates to becoming a better artist/designer. The topic came to me this week as I was trying to help my son with his Math homework. Helping my son was like staring straight into the past and looking at myself at his age. Man, I hated everything about math. (I know exactly why now, and no longer suffer such afflictions these days.) Like younger me, my son fights tooth and nail when I make him go back and redo the math problems he gets incorrect. He gets frustrated and exclaims how bad he is at math.

I was always lazy and rushed through math work, it took far longer to do and understand because I never took the time to understand what I was solving. My son is the same way.The math problems he really suffers with are story problems. The truth of the matter is my son is quite good at math, but he lacks the patience it takes to extract information and then organize that information in a way that simplifies the problem.

timegraph

He doesn’t understand that story problems are hard, not because of the math, but because of the skills and processes that go into getting the information to solve the math problem in the first place. He just assumes that because it is math homework, he is bad at it. It is my goal to try and help him understand that there are different skills involved in completing math problems and the same goes for every other subject.

He also needs to understand how his mind works in order to get the best results and enjoyment from each subject. Sadly, this is not something the American public school system seems to understand, much less do anything about it. They teach the students facts and concepts, but they don’t teach them how to think.

Like many of us, my son also suffers from the affliction of caring what others think about how he arrives at an answer. In his eyes, (and younger me was the same way) someone isn’t as good at math if they need to keep track of numbers on their fingers, or if they have to use extra paper. I told him, “Who cares as long as you got the answers correct and didn’t cheat by copying someone else?”

Proof of horrible figures.
Proof of said horrible figures.

I use this example because I never understood the different skills involved in math, and I gave up on the subject when I was a sophomore in high school. I think this is how people often feel with art. Too frequently, people give up on becoming an artist before they give themselves a chance to even scratch the surface of what takes to be an artist. The comment is usually, “I drew a stick figure, it looked like poop, and therefore I can never be an artist.” I draw some shitty looking stick figures all the time and I have been arting for quite some time. If you want to improve yourself, you have to give yourself time to improve.

This idea is also relevant because I don’t think we are a society that takes time to reflect on ourselves. Social media keeps us too busy in other people’s lives to really understand ourselves. If you don’t understand your deficiencies, or how you think, operate, or learn, how can you ever hope to improve to your great potential?

There is a saying, “you have to help yourself before you can help others.” Social media has made it so easy to offer our solutions and criticism to others that we don’t take the time to think of solutions for our own problems or give ourselves constructive criticism. On the other hand, when we do criticize ourselves, we can be so hard on ourselves that we may fail to take the steps to improve.

Art skills take time.
Improvement takes patience.

“That drawing sucked…welp…I guess I’ll move on.” No. If you want to improve, ask yourself, “what worked in that drawing? What didn’t work in that drawing?” Identify what made that drawing suck and fix it by studying the areas you don’t understand. Redo the drawing. Then do do it again to ensure that the knowledge sticks. That is learning and drawing with intent to improve.

Self-improvement should be followed by self-assessment. If you can’t identify your strengths and weaknesses, you will never make the gradual improvements necessary to reach your fullest potential. The difference between a person who self-assesses and a person that doesn’t, is self-awareness. By being self-aware and reflecting on your weakest areas, you’ll be able to pinpoint which ones are most important to your happiness and goals. Those who don’t go through this crucial step may feel overwhelmed by trying to address all of their weaknesses without any idea where to start.

Self-improvement is followed by self-assessment, if you can’t identify your strengths and weaknesses you will never improve to your fullest potential.

Remember, we don’t have to fix every weakness at once, and we don’t want to kill our motivation. Take an honest look at your abilities, embrace your strengths, and pinpoint the most important areas. Better yet, find someone whose strength is your weakness and recruit them to help you.

I often talk to my son about these kind of things on our drive home from football practice and when I am helping him with homework. Ultimately, I know he will never understand what I am talking about until he discovers these concepts for himself. I am confident that one day my son will figure all this out on his own, because his old man was able to put two and two together to make art.

Do you know what your best strengths are and what are some of the weaknesses you wish to improve? Furthermore, do you know which weaknesses are not as important to improve because they don’t fit your goals? Let me know in the comments.

Some vehicle sketches from a warm up session.
Some vehicle sketches from a warm up session.
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Getting Serious about Starting

Last week was just about creating something, it didn’t matter what. It was about getting the creative juices flowing. Likely, if you have been away from creating for a while or just getting into it, that worked for you. This week’s post is for those of you who have been creating (drawing, painting, sculpting, modeling, etc.) for a while, or maybe you just started and are ready to get serious about your passion. Where do you start? Starting to create is easy: pencil… paper… move hand around page, and done.

Inktober Drawing
Ballpoint Pen Inktober Drawing

The real improvement comes from focused study and practice. This is how I approached prepping for my career and this is just my observation from the best artists I’ve seen. I have spent a lot of time stalking…I mean studying their work habits. The good news is if I can do it, you can do it. I am married with three kids and didn’t start my art study habits until after I was married and had two kids.

So roll your sleeves up, because this is where the hard part starts. Truthfully, it never gets any easier. It will require a lot of work, time, and frustration. But the knowledge, rewards, and self-fulfilment will change the way you view the world. A word of advice though; proceed with caution and don’t let this undertaking consume you, because it will if you let it.

I am guilty of many 18 hour days, and quite a few beyond that. You will hear this from a lot of artists, but as your mom always asked, “If everyone else jumped off the bridge would you do it too?” These are not healthy habits. The simple fact is, your brain can only take so much in a day. If you focus your time, you can accomplish the same amount as you would have if you told yourself you had 18 hours. Turn off all the distractions and get to work. Take a break when you get frustrated or hung up, and let your subconscious turn the problem over for a while. You need to allow your brain to process and chew on all the information you are ramming into it. I know there is research and science behind this, and Google can lead to all that stuff in case you want to call B.S.

Enough of the preaching, let’s get to the nitty gritty. It starts with knowing yourself. What are you most passionate about when you create? There are three main categories: characters, environments, and vehicles. If you are like me, you love them all. If that is the case, well, I’m sorry. You have a long road ahead of you. What about animals, creatures, and props you ask? I lump animals in with characters, and creatures tend to be animals, so you saw what I did with them. Props I lump in with environments because they use the same knowledge.

Pro tip: go outside and draw from life.

Male Jaguar at the Woodland Park Zoo
Male Jaguar at the Woodland Park Zoo

All the answers you need are out in the world. If you love drawing characters, go draw people (they are everywhere) or join a life drawing class. If you love drawing creatures, go to the zoo, a local farm, or anywhere there are animals. If you are the type that loves to create environments and vehicles, those are outdoors and everywhere also. Keep in mind you should also draw people and animals because they should be living in the environments you create.

Fundamental
: forming or relating to the most important part of something → (That something being your art education.)
: of or relating to the basic structure or function of something

Fundamentals. You will hear this word time and time again and with good reason. Take this word and ingrain it into your soul. If something doesn’t make sense or doesn’t look right, you most likely to be lfailed to understand or execute a fundamental element. This applies to everything you undertake in life, not just being a good artist. (I will link a story of my first job in the game industry as an example)(Here is the link).

Value Study of Ceasar Statue
Value Study of Augustus Ceasar Statue

So what are the fundamentals of art, or more specifically, concept design? First and foremost: arm control. Then comes composition, shape, perspective, anatomy, value, color, and understanding how to use your reference. The great wide internet is filled with knowledge of how to become a better artist. Some of it is utter crap, but there are a lot of great people to learn from out there. I will link to the books, websites, and videos that I found the most helpful learning the fundamentals.

In a later series, I will break each one of these elements down from my vantage point, and likely the resources I link to at the bottom will do a far better job than me. Most importantly, don’t burn yourself out. Enjoy the journey and value the lessons you learn along the way, because those are the things you will take with you through the rest of your life. The images you make just sit on a wall, in a book, or in a file somewhere.

If you like what you read let me know in the comments.

John Singer Sarget Master Study.
John Singer Sarget Master Study.

How to Draw – Scott Robertson

How to Render – Scott Robertson

Scott Robertson’s YouTube Channel

Framed Ink – Marcos Mateu-Mestre

Color and Light – James Gurney

The Gnomon Workshop

Feng Zhu’s YouTube Channel

James Paick Gumroad

The Collective Podcast

Muddy Colors

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Getting Started: Motivation for starting your Art Journey

What better way to start a blog off than by talking about getting started? I see this question posed to talented artists time and time again. How do I start? Where do I start?

I still have problems getting started all the time. It is a recurring issue, and I can’t speak for any other artist, but I am fairly sure I am not alone. It is a issue you will face many times throughout your art journey. However, the simple answer is: anywhere. Just start. Emulate Jackson Pollock and spit on the page. Give yourself something to respond to.

Just start to write, scribble, or paint, your brain will start working to solve a problem. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to attempt to beat this topic to death, and then step on its grave.

You might be saying, “but that still doesn’t answer my question.”  But it really does. If you are early in your art journey just start somewhere, anywhere. Process will come later. “But that’s not how (artist name here) does it.” How long has (artist name here) been working as an artist? 5, 10, 20 years? That’s why, they have started so many projects and they know how to get through the starting phase. You need to discover this too.

How often do we talk ourselves out of doing something we should do for reasons like: “that’s not how (artist name) does it.”,“I don’t know the right people.”, “School is expensive.”, “Art supplies are expensive.”, “I don’t have the right markers.”, “I don’t have a Cintiq, Photoshop, or a tablet.”, “I don’t have any ideas.” The list goes on and on.

Could these just be excuses we make to avoid inner turmoil and confrontation? Avoidance of those deep, dark questions: am I good enough? Was I born with the right talent? If I invest all this time will I be that good?

If these are the things holding you back, I can tell you that all you need is a pen and a piece of paper to practice. Start with the fundamentals if you need a place to start. One day, you’ll see that these will be the foundation for every image you create. The difference between the really good artists and not so good artists is time, and not letting nagging questions and problems hold them back.The only thing holding you back is you.

Here is another way to look at it. How many times have you seen someone’s collection of art books and said, “Man, I wish I had that? I will never have a collection like that.” And then done nothing to start your own? Keep in mind, you are seeing several years’ worth of items and books.  When the person started the collection, I bet they bought a book once every few months. Every artist has a couple terrible books in their collection that were bought only because they had no idea what to look for. Every time they see that book, they smile inwardly, knowing their collection had to start somewhere. Without a starting point we have nowhere to go, so just start.

“The only thing holding you back is you.”

Onward, Copic markers are amazing, but expensive. Better wait till Christmas or your birthday so someone else can foot the bill and buy that sweet collection, right? No. Why not? Because if you’re like me, that 36 or 72 marker collection is going to overwhelm you. What pen do I start with? How do I blend these? This looks like shit, I’ll just use a pencil.

The better option is to buy two markers for $5 each. (C1 & C5, T1 & T5, W1 & W5, or N1 & N5 would be my suggestions) Copic Markers and Refills for a good price. That’s two cups of coffee, or four energy drinks. (For how many times this example has been used, coffee stands should be out of business.)

Buy one pen every week for a full year, and you’ll have a nice collection of 42 pens. Give or take a few, because you need to buy some refill ink. If you aren’t refilling that pen, you’re just throwing it in the trash, along with your money.

Incoming Tangent: For $8 you can refill a pen about 15 times. Think of every refill as buying one new pen. That brings the total cost of that pen down to 86 cents per refill.  Buy one more refill and you are down to 67 cents per refill. That’s almost Bic ballpoint pen cheap.

The point being, instead of waiting for someone to foot the bill, you can take matters into your own hands, buy two markers, and practice everyday. By the end of the year, you will have a badass collection of markers and be far better at using them than had you waited for someone else to buy them for you.

“By the end of the year, you will have a badass collection of markers and be far better at using them than had you waited for someone else to buy them for you.”

Let’s bring this thing home. If you are like me you see all these awesome paintings, designs, and images in museums, books, and Google.  You wish so badly that you could be that good. You might often have the thought, “How will I ever be that good?” Relax and take a deep breath, you are looking at skills that took years, or even a lifetime to achieve. They started just like you need to start. They took it one hour, one day, one painting, or one drawing at a time. Eventually, all those ones add up eventually you will hit that magic 10,000.

Just start, who cares where or how. Just grab the nearest thing you can draw on and draw on it. Now! Your mind will do amazing things, if you let it. You just have to give it a push and turn the engine.

Last months enviroment thumbnail warm ups.
October’s enviroment thumbnail warm ups.They is a mix of pencil, Copic markers, and inkwash.
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