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On Creative Habits

Make For An Audience!

Why do people buy your work?

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Do You Do What's Popular, Or Do What Makes You Happy?

The issue at hand is: should you make things with an audience in mind, or should you make what pleases you?

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Learning To Draw: The Top-Down Versus The Bottom-Up Approach

Forty-two years ago—I might as well tell you that I am an old man—my father started teaching me how to program. We had an Osborne computer, and my father taught me how to program in Basic, the programming language you had on all these computers back then.

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Work LESS efficiently!

Seinfeld has this trick: he’ll sit behind his desk. He doesn’t HAVE to write, but he is not allowed to do anything else.

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Work MORE efficiently!

Dear friend,
A long time ago, a Political Sciences student told me something: they would discuss one philosopher one week at university. They would read about what they had to say about human society and think, “yes! that sounds true!”

Then the next week, they would discuss another philosopher who would radically argue the opposite, and the students would think, “yes! That sounds true!”

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Rembrandt Did Not Have A PlayStation

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The BEST Introduction To Perspective Ever--And It's FREE!

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The Free Figure Drawing Bootcamp You MUST Check out!

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Expand The Definition Of What You Do Creatively!

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Why Is It So Hard To Draw Every Day?

We do brush our teeth every day.

So why is it so hard to draw every day? They are both habits, or they can be.

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Artists: Measure Your Ignorance!

In another life, I was a team leader at a technology company. We were developing a new geographical mapping dataset, and we hired a young student who had an affinity with maps to look over them to find out if there were mistakes in them.

In the first weeks, he’d find around eight mistakes a day! And these were severe mistakes. He’d walk up to my desk, a big smile on his face because he’d found a stupid error in our data again.

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Optimal Conditions For Creating Art

Caravaggio lived before and was an inspiration to Rembrandt. He made these still-life paintings of fruit, giving each a different texture to brag about his skills.

One day, he broke part of a wall and ceiling in his apartment to get the perfect light from above on his still life, for which he naturally got in trouble with his landlord.

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Question Your Assumptions

We all have opinions on things. Things that we believe that we know for sure.

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Composition Yin And Yang

In the past, artists would make these portrait drawings, drawing the facial features with excruciating detail. Artists would then draw the clothes with loose lines that suggested the texture of the fabric. The contrast makes the illustration much more interesting.

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Artists! Take Breaks!

Long ago, when I was at university, I had a fantastic summer job: I got to write apps or plugins for a cad cam program for my uncle during the summer. It was a super-sweet gig and made me almost as much as I was allowed to earn as a student for the entire year, which meant I could focus on studying—or rather, should I say, student life—the rest of the year.

My uncle would pay me a fixed price for delivery. “Great!” I thought. I’d just put in long hours, and then I would be finished much sooner and have some time off.

I remember one day putting in 17 hours and noticing that in the last few hours, all I was doing was pushing the cursor up and down, up and down. I thought I was still doing something, but in reality, my brain was fried. I was too tired actually to do something, and I’d just stare at a problem for hours.

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Are You Too Old To Become An Artist?

You often hear people ask if they are too old to start making art. Here are my thoughts on that.

First of all, making art is fun! How can you be too old to have fun! Making marks is something a ninety-year-old can enjoy as much as a two-year-old!

There are reasons you could think that you are too old.

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Should You Draw Every Day?

Often you hear people say that you should draw every day if you want to become good, but is this true?

For the longest time, I got nervous when I hadn’t drawn for a day because I thought I had to draw every day.

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Creating Art With Social Media In Mind?

“Practice Drawing This” is about getting you—and me!—into our sketchbooks. For that, I make YouTube videos that require me to draw. That way, I can draw and have something that I can base my videos on. I hope that you find them inspiring to watch and listen to while drawing.

The topic for today: you shouldn’t make art just for social media. Social media, if you let it, will just gobble up all of your time.

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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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