This is for people like me—artists that just want to create imaginative things, but know they need to practice and train more.
I just want to make cool artwork that’s fun to look upon, but since I’m constantly stifled by how to draw the correct angles of faces or building perspectives, I have to instead draw something that I know. It’s saddening.
To draw the bits in my imagination that I don’t have experience with, I’ll have to practice. I picked up a “work” strategy from the hosts over at the Sparkline.
I think this strategy may motivate me to get more done than any other I’ve tried. It’s made up of alternating weeks of two different modes of art creation.
Spend a week practicing—the must do stuff. Spend a week creating—the fun stuff. Repeat.
Week of practice
- learn or practice fundamental skills
- study still life, draw from reference
- copy other artists’ work
Week of creating
- put your imagination on the canvas
- let the previous week of practice affect your creation
Here’s results and opinions of my first 3 1/2 weeks of this strategy. Spoiler alert: I like it!
In my first week (practice):
Spent time at the bar in my kitchen and sketched what I saw in front of me.
Found some hand pose images on the internet and copied them.
In my second week (create):
I did a layout for a scene.
Here comes the opinionated side note part:
In the next week of creative work I’ll start back on this, but before I get to I have to practice for another week. It’s like I’m earning the week of creative work. Looking ahead to new weeks, I think it will be an incentive to get the creative work done quickly so that I don’t have to wait 7 days to get back to it.
If there is an aspect of a drawing that I want to improve upon, then I get to do that during the next practice week. I’ll be able to spot a weakness while creating and then work on improving that the following practice week.
In my third week (practice):
Based on the scene that I setup last week, I decided to practice hands tying ribbons.
In my fourth week (create):
Back to the scene I began making 2 weeks ago.
I am currently in this week as I finish off this article. The painting below will get finished this weekend (7/13/14) and make its way here. Update: Life and laziness stood in my way. I did not finish on 7/13/14. I’m forgoing my practice week until I finish this piece. Afterwards, I’ll continue.
This work strategy feels like a keeper. It has structure. It has incentive.
The practice week didn’t feel like a chore or an assignment. To use a commerce metaphor, it —the practice part—felt like a fair price to pay for a week of fun—the creative part.
I’ll continue this strategy until I feel otherwise. Come back later and be a judge.