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Should I even bother, anymore?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:27 pm
by Rain_Davenport
I feel like I should give up with art and comics, altogether. I don't feel like I'm moving forward, anymore. It's like hitting my head against a brick wall. I've been drawing for more than 10 years, and while I can't say I haven't gotten -any- better, my artwork still really sucks, in spite of drawing practically every day. (Maybe less in more recent years.) I tried to launch two different comics, before. Both of them were major failures, and pretty bad. Since then, I've been struggling to keep getting better, but for a number of years, now, I feel like I've been at a standstill. I don't feel like I can become any better, and I don't feel like I have enough imagination, anymore, to create good stories, like I used to. Should I even bother with trying anymore, or just give up? How can I reignite that spark I used to have? Where do I begin to continue?

Re: Should I even bother, anymore?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:43 pm
by VeryCuddlyCornpone
Aw heck, you should always try. I mean, if you feel like you're still getting anything out of drawing, that is.

If drawing has become to you something that is only depressing and discouraging and feels like a chore, then don't force yourself to do it. But if it's something you do enjoy, don't give up on it.

You may find it helpful to take a break for an undefined period of time. Another suggestion would be to try working with a different medium for a little while. If you work traditionally, try digital for a bit, and vice versa. Or try something radically different, like working with clay or take up oil painting.

To reinvigorate your creative processes, try some brief writing jaunts. Sit down at a laptop/typewriter/diary and write for 20 or 30 minutes each day. It doesn't have to be about anything; it can be just something that happened to you, some ideas you thought up during the day, even straight-up stream-of-consciousness writing that barely has coherence.

Take some Wiki Walks on TVTropes. Sometimes reading about tricks and ideas other authors/artists use can trigger you to think of how you could do something differently. TVTropes even has a tool that can generate a basic plot for you; then you just fill in the story. It'll give you the main character type, the antagonist type, the problem, the setting, et cetera. Cool for breaking out of writer's block.

Hunt around for webcomics that you appreciate on an artistic and storytelling level. Consider how each artist handles a subject matter differently. Perhaps look at random images on DeviantArt to get inspiration. You may even like to try doing some fan art of television shows or movies you like, something where you don't need to come up with an idea wholecloth, but can instead just put your own spin on things.

If you feel your own inabilities as an artist are what is holding you back, you can take art classes to improve in specific areas, or if that's not in the cards, there are loads and loads of tutorials online where artists share their own ways of approaching something.

Even if you think you aren't getting any better, I'm fairly certain that's not true. I haven't seen your work so I can't speak with specific authority, but practicing does make a huge difference. There are very few artists who draw on a regular basis who haven't improved (or who have actively regressed) over years of working. If you feel that you actually do fit into that group, try and figure out what it is you don't like about your work. Have your figures grown too stiff and emotionless? Have you lost a style or flavor that you feel you used to have? Or have you perhaps gotten into some bad habits that have prevented you from growing as an artist? Look at your recent work and compare it to that from the past to see if you can identify key issues you'd like to work on.

Everyone can improve their art, no matter how hopeless it may seem at times. All artists go through periods where they want to give up. Usually one will find one's second wind after going through such a time. I hope you'll find yours.

And of course, though the community isn't as active here as it used to be, you can always post your work here for critique. Every review I've received here has been well thought out and helpful. Sometimes having another set of eyes looking at your work can help you identify problem areas that you were perhaps subconsciously aware of but could not directly pinpoint.

Re: Should I even bother, anymore?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:41 am
by McDuffies
Take a break? Comics will eventually call you back.
What exactly did you use for learning? Which books, schools, references did you use? Maybe we can give an advice or two in that regard, and sometimes finding new learning tools can reinvigorate desire.

Re: Should I even bother, anymore?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:17 am
by Mastermind
What do you draw anyway? Tutorials are good for realism but you may be good at something more avantgarde (Yucky Duck lol) and don't even know it. Maybe you're forcing yourself to draw in some particular way and it looks strained. List what things you're bad at and draw them fast, without thinking that they shouldn't look like that. Drawing hands used to frustrate me, so I thought: screw erasing, it's my world and people will have four rubbery fingers if I say so. Ren doesn't have a tail because John K decided it was too much effort. So find the stuff that sucks the fun out of drawing and simplify, change or trash it (never hide it). Make your style shift once again, to something you're passionate about.

Regarding stories, try short ones. This way you can create many different characters and find the ones you want to stick with for something bigger.

and pardon my cartoon examples :wink:

Re: Should I even bother, anymore?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:18 am
by Rain_Davenport ... ath=scraps
My scrapbook on DA. I recommend this, because I have trouble drawing with a tablet, and I feel my work is much better on paper. Also, these drawings are much more recent than the ones on my main page. Though, feel free to check those out, as well. This is a small sample of my work.

Re: Should I even bother, anymore?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:35 am
by VeryCuddlyCornpone
Thanks for sharing that with us!

One thing that I think you can improve on is your line confidence. I notice that when you get to a part of the body/just some part of the picture that you aren't quite sure how to draw, your lines break up into little segments. Lots of artists do this in the same situation as you. I'm not sure if there's a proper term for it, but I'll call it Battleshipping, because the idea is to throw down lots of little lines in the hopes that they will land where you want them to. The problem with Battleshipping is that it makes it very apparent that you don't know how to draw a certain thing (and to clarify, it's possible to usually be able to draw something, let's say hands, and then suddenly you have a huge struggle with one particular hand so you Battleship it and it looks out of place with everything else).

It can be hard to transfer things from the mind to the paper when the image in the mind might not be so clear to begin with. When you run into trouble with a particular thing, this time let's say it's a shoe, instead of thinking "How do I draw a shoe?" what you want to think is, "What details do I need to include so that my readers know this is a shoe?" I always go back to the hand analogy, because hands are a thing that artists often struggle with- when it comes to hands, we don't need to see all five fingers to know that something is a hand, we don't need to see the arm connecting to it either. Think about drawing something using shapes and movement as opposed to aiming for photorealism. It will make the act of drawing more interesting and rewarding, and may make it feel less like a chore, because you will be less concerned with exactness than with representation.

Two exercises I can recommend for you:

To combat the problem of Battleshipping, draw a few things that challenge you, and while doing so, don't let the tip of the pencil/pen leave the paper. It will look kind of silly, as you'll need all of those connecting lines to floating pieces, but it will keep you from doing little hashes and picking up and going back when you reach a "dead end." Get more in the habit of using long connected lines as opposed to short, separated lines when possible. This will help maintain flow in your art and keep the image looking cohesive and well-thought-out. If you aren't sure where an outline of a body part is supposed to go, first map out the underlying skeleton (which is a good idea in general, too). Do this on a separate piece of paper a few times to see if there's a way of putting that line down that you think would work particularly well for a given piece. Remember, if you make a long line that you don't like, you can always just go back and erase it. A long line that is slightly imperfect in placement or shape or whatever looks more professional than many small lines that approximate a correct line.

The second exercise is gesture drawing. Here's a website that can help you out. The idea is that, instead of trying to make a drawing that is technically correct, you try to convey the movement or feeling behind the pose. What you do with this website is select an image and a time frame you feel comfortable with (usually 30 seconds is a good idea) and do your best to sketch out that image within the time frame. You'll notice you don't have time to lay down a skeleton or draw each piece of each body part, but the idea is to draw something that, if you held it up next to the image you were given, a person could look at it and say "Yup, they're standing the same way." You may choose to start with one minute to complete your drawing, and as you find yourself getting better, reduce that time. This will help with line confidence as well, as you'll learn what lines are necessary (at least with regard to the human body) in order to represent human or human-like beings.

Both of these exercises are things you wouldn't do and just explicitly leave in, say, a comic you were working on, but they are useful in the inking and sketching stages, respectively. Gesture drawing is great for mapping out body language and creating poses that don't look stiff and flat. Using connected long lines when inking makes it look like you know what you're doing, even if you don't, so much so that eventually you WILL know what you're doing :lol: It makes your work look more professional and won't distract, as Battleshipping does, from parts of the image on which you had done particularly well.

Hope some of this is helpful to you. Good luck, friend!

Re: Should I even bother, anymore?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:02 am
by Mastermind
And reverse image or use a mirror before correcting to easily spot what's wrong.