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Measuring Art Skills

I find that there are five skill levels, and for any single skill, you are somewhere on that scale.

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Testing Your Art?

The story goes that one day, Leonardo Da Vinci wanted to find out if the anatomy books were correct. So he went out in the night and stole dead bodies from the morgue, and he dissected them.

He found out the anatomy books were wrong!

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Know The Rules Before You Can Break Them?

Cézanne made a painting once where you saw a fruit bowl. The thing with fruit bowls, though, is that they tend to be symmetrical, and in his painting, the fruit bowl wasn’t symmetrical at all.

It’s not that he couldn’t paint symmetric fruit bowls; he had proper training at an art academy. He was perfectly capable of painting a perfectly symmetric fruit bowl.

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For Artists, Input Is Output

When I started on my art path, I wanted to learn how to draw as well as editorial cartoonists, and so, naturally, I set out to try that.

I soon figured out that it wasn’t for me. To be an editorial cartoonist, you have to make yourself angry every day, and I am just not like that.

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New Year's Resolution? Do This Instead!

For years, I would have cool ideas—or so I thought—and then I would enthusiastically pile things on, which I could add to that idea until I ran the idea into the ground!

Then, one year, I decided to choose a “motto for the year,” which was “Do Not Overthink It.” And it helped immensely. Each time I had a new idea, as soon as I started to pile on new parts, I saw the motto at the top of my to-do list, and I managed to stop myself from doing so.

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Why Artists Should Create Campaigns

One of the main things that are so cool about campaigns is that they are limited in time. A “campaign” is something with a goal, a proposed approach to reach that goal, a start, a middle, and end, and a moment to evaluate the results.

The duration can be flexible. You can try something for an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year. I tend to do a campaign until I get what I want from it, which usually means I learned something that to me suggests the next campaign, the next thing to try.

You can use this structure for anything you are trying. The “hundred days doing X” challenges or the “Draw one hundred X” challenges are that.

You don’t have to keep on going for years and years if something isn’t working. Instead, you can decide on a criterium to end the project.

And then you evaluate!

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Gamify Your Art Creation Process!

I recently decided to let go of producing output and just focusing on the process. Just have fun drawing, you know? Fill sketchbooks and such.

And it is great fun to fill sketchbooks. But! What you miss if you don’t create finished pieces is that rush of endorphins when you finish and publish something.

I think it is like playing computer games: you play a level, and you enjoy the process of going through the level. But when you reach the end of the level, that’s it. First, you are elated, but then you feel restless, directionless. What to do next? And oh, of course, the computer game has the next level for you: one that is slightly more difficult and more fun. And you dive into that next level.

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Listening While Making Art?

In her remarkable book ‘Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain,’ Betty Edwards explains how you should shut out words from your mind while drawing.

Those words are from that know-it-all part of your brain that is constantly talking loud. If you shut that down and create perfect silence in your head, your silent, creative part of your brain starts to tell you things.

It is very subtle.

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Best Drawing Pen?

If you watch Kim Jung Gi’s YouTube channels, you can sometimes hear the exasperation in his voice when yet another person asks what pen he uses.

I still take it as a compliment when someone asks me which pen I used. I mean, it is an insult; it implies that yes, my drawing is nice, but surely that’s because of the pen!

Haha.

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Artists! Please! Do NOT Follow-For-Follow!

I’m noticing this surprising thing as I am starting my YouTube channel: other creators comment on my videos in a way that makes it clear that they watched my videos, liked my videos, subscribed to my channel.

And now they would like me to reciprocate and follow back their channel and to also watch and like their videos.

The so-called follow-for-follow strategy.

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Art is NOT War!

What is the single worst advice you have ever seen when it comes to making art?

For me, it’s from the book “The War of Art.” I literally could not finish the book, so disgusted was I with the premise.

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Should You Go To Art School?

I have been to an art academy. I went for slightly less than three years. A few weeks before the end, I realized it wasn’t the right course for me anymore, and I quit.

It is a great art academy. They taught me a lot of the fundamentals. They got us to fill sketchbooks; they took us outside to draw from observation, we drew and later painted still-lifes—which is a topic unto itself I have to talk about some other time—, and we did model drawing classes, of course. We drew, we painted, we copied masters, we had art history lessons.

It was an excellent basis for me to start from.

So why did I quit?

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Artists! Procrastinate with me!

You probably know that copying the masters is an excellent way to learn how to make art. But did you know that’s not just limited to creating art?

Learning new skills is a skill too. When learning to play the piano, it is helpful to practice playing music composed by others. When learning to cook, it is useful to follow recipes. Eventually, you can write your music or create your own meals.

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Should A Modern Artist Be A Jack Of All Trades And Master Of None?

There’s an exciting thing happening nowadays, and it started around ten years ago. With online publishing in blogs, newsletters, and on YouTube and such, people could suddenly market themselves. They could put their work out there and present it to their audience without going through a middle man.

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My One Rule For Watching My Tutorial Videos

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My Favorite Sketchbooks

If you’re an artist like me, you’re probably constantly on the lookout for the perfect sketchbook. Each sketchbook has different properties. Which ones to choose?

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Daily Drawing Prompts?

Each October, there is a drawing challenge where you are invited to draw based on a daily prompt.

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What I Learned From Re-Inking Joseph Clement Coll

I tried out episodic stories online a few years back and decided to try that out on public domain stories. One story I tried it on was The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle—the story on which Jurassic part was later based. It is pretty interesting to read the story after seeing the movie. The filmmakers did lift a lot of ideas from the original story. But I digress.

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Fiction And Immortality

One of the reasons some people are attracted to writing non-fiction is that it feels like it can be timeless. We’re all afraid of death, and all want to leave something behind in this world. We all want to become immortal.

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Hand-Written and Drawn Emails and Blog Posts?

I am experimenting with hand-written emails and blog posts. I haven’t seen anyone else try this even though email is so suitable for this!

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Some Thoughts On Story Illustrations

Some years ago, I decided I wanted to try to make illustrations for stories. I posted on Twitter, asking the writing community if anyone would be interested in trying it out. I’d do it for free.

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Keeping A Drawing Habit While On Vacation

I just came back from a wonderful, superb—and therefore too short—holiday with great friends—hi, you-know-who-you-are!—in Normandy. I had taken several books with me with the plan to copy from them.

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What artists can learn from making YouTube videos

As you know, I have been trying my hand at making YouTube videos. One cool thing about it is that, when it comes to audience retention, the things you can do to make your video a success actually translate well to other things you make!

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Copying other artists, is that bad?

I often say that it is good practice to copy other artists. But isn’t that bad?

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