StudyPost 20 / Figure studies, reflecting on mastery & the growth mindset!

Hoy I’m back from my posting break! Not that actually took a break :’)

A collection of some of the figure studies I did from Stephen Silver’s references; doing self directed learning

I read Stephen Silver’s character design book and have I kickstarted to access his drawing academy site for a year which ended in October.

From here I have much more homework, practice and resources to do at my slow pace and will credit his references where appropriate when I get around to things :’)

Trying to balance between fast and slow studies!

I’m more of a line/drawing artist than a paint/shape based artist. I used to feel like that I *have* to be a painter and to leave behind lineart to be a great artist but I cannot leave lines completely behind!! Lineart is the slow and meditative part for me! Sometimes I do paint/shape concept art though I’m usually super slow at it.

I do hope to get better at both eventually but my bias is clearly towards the lineart side of things and getting things down efficiently. At this point I don’t really mind it if I’m not great at painting/shape based illustration – it’s just another way of doing things to keep things refreshing or for specific projects that need it. I mean I pushed myself to learn and do complex vector illustration years back (not that I want to ever do vector art again).

Thoughts on mastery & long term fulfillment – the growth mindset

So I read book reviews & brief summaries here about Mastery – The Keys to Success & Long Term Fulfillment by George Leonard so look at those for context! Yes I admit that I’m not bothered reading the book as I just want the gist of it ;P

Things that are reassuring and are good reminders for me:

  • goals are forever moving, changing and there is no destination nor quick fixes
  • path of mastery involves:
    • long periods of plateaus (no progress/significant improvement or results happening),
    • grinding with deliberation,
    • vision & intention,
    • effort, practice, patience,
    • willingness to look foolish/fail and make mistakes
    • dedication
    • exists by enjoying the present and the progress
  • after making progress in skills, competence, knowledge, experience (from a given rapid burst apparently), future plateaus get longer and harder to break out of :’)
    • whelp I don’t want to think about this continuous hamster cycle of growing pains and frustration!!
    • I think I’m stuck at a plateau right now for many years; I push through and then get stuck again
    • just embrace the plateau as my norm at this point as I always have plenty to improve
  • I think I fluctuate between the “Dabbler”, “Obsessive” and “Hacker” where I either
    • get interested, learn what I’m excited about/need and move on,
    • brute force myself into learning/solving/studying something until I burn out with frustration, stubbornness, ego and misery (if I really care about it enough)
    • other times I’m just stuck on the plateau and I either go into study mode or I treat art as something to do for comfort and expression. I can turn the “I need to improve” off when the latter happens because otherwise I’m too emotionally tired and burnt out from art making.
  • you can enjoy the plateau only if you love what you’re doing
    • and you will get better because you enjoy practicing
    • sometimes you’re in a bad headspace and just don’t feel like studying/practicing – it’s okay to skip for the day or make things low hanging/easy to do for next time. Ease into it as long as you start.
    • other times it’s a matter of not losing the habit. Excuses, procrastination, fear and lack of self control do get in the way! Easier said than done – I’ve been distracted and procrastinated a lot this year especially :’)
  • surrender/trust the process and be willing to give up what you’ve learned to learn new things
    • remaining open minded! Though I am not keen on “giving up” if potential new things doesn’t sit with me ;P
  • there are no experts, only lifelong learners if you have intention, vision and focus
  • be picky with what you want to master as it will take the majority of your time

Well I didn’t think I’d write a little summary again but here we are!

You could argue that by just doing the thing at your own regular pace, it inherently means you are growing and improving. On the other hand, I do agree that if you don’t really have a big picture and measurable goal, then you’re stuck at a plateau anyway.

If it’s too vague, then you’re not going to have a clear direction (like me?)

Currently my artistic goal is to be able to draw and construct believable human figures in perspective. And then maybe I can draw them from imagination and then design my own characters. And after I feel confident about these three (which will probably take years and years if you break each of them down), hopefully I can do more (such as fashion design, composition, colour, light, perspective, anatomy, gesture, character driven visual storytelling, etc).

Imaginative drawing really is a skill to practice on its own right and right now my brain doesn’t really visualise that well. My visual library and memory is pretty bad so I’m not sure what else I can do aside from lots of deliberate analysis and repetition. A lot of this is about making sure I do more imaginative drawing & unconscious drawing practice since otherwise I depend completely on visual references as my crutch (:

I’m not sure about my big picture goal though. Again I’m kind of winging it with whatever I’m interested in at the moment. At the moment I feel like I’m suited towards little character illustration and character design but I’m still focused on learning/study/course mode so I hope to start tiny projects? Less intimidating and I’m minimising burnout that way. Then again, course work is taking over my time so I don’t know how I can juggle in much personal art :’)

Indeed the juggling and balancing act between having fun/personal art versus improvement/growth will never end :’)

PS: now I’m a tiny bit jealous of people enjoying the latest stuff in Animal Crossing – so I watched streams and spoiled myself on what happens in the DLC ;P As I said last time, AC stresses me out and I’m still super burnt out from collecting and decorating. I don’t play it anymore and it seems like people don’t read my tweets venting about it :’)

PPS: I got rejected to belong to something because I’m not really one of the top entertainment/animation industry artists. As expected since I have a longgg way to go, am not interested in most commissions and I knew I wasn’t really part of the club! Though it made me think about what part of the industry I do belong because my work isn’t really in demand. As much as it gives me a sense of impending doom, anxiety, stress and dread, I shall keep thinking on this and experiment :’)

PPPS: Not having a great time mental health & personal stuff wise at times. Ongoing issues and also when I worry myself about the future and think about the worst “what if” things :’)

Digressing! Thank you so much for reading my rambles! Please take care today!

Heartfelt thanks for your readership & generosity! Your help keeps me going with my art & learning journey! ʕ ✿˵•ᴥ•˵ ʔ ♡

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