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About Varied / Hobbyist Senior Member Aubrey Myers30/Female/United States Groups :icondragonartists: DragonArtists
Where dragons belong
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Deviant for 12 Years
Premium Member 'til Hell freezes over
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Once upon a time, I was chided for my proclamation that I didn't need a life drawing class or art classes in general. I was regarded as arrogant, holier-than-thou, immature, for this decision, the accusations made me slink back and no longer regard my art with any sense of fun, only 'correctness' to try to make up for it. It lead me to the most miserable years of my art production. I became so focused on anatomical precision that I think I damaged my ability to distort the human body, I'm still doing a heck of a lot of 'unlearning'. I forced myself to 'paint' because I thought it would be the only way to be taken seriously, that it was the only way to get better or gain any respect from those that had chided me. (but honestly they weren't worth keeping contact with in the first place) My production still is not what it used to be, not by a long shot.

While hyper-focusing on bones and structure did make a lot of improvements, it wasn't until i gained some freedom in gestures that I really started to feel comfortable with my forms, it no longer felt like a chore. I wondered why it was no one ever suggested gestures to me, specifically, and why no one ever wanted to admit that the problem wasn't anatomical correctness, but rather, anatomical harmony. For that matter why was advice always just throwing the same thing at me instead of working with me.

In any trade skill, lots of people want to improve and better convey the things in their head. But the one size fits all idea to critique and artistic approach is probably the most harmful thing to the people that are not specifically looking for it in the first place. There are dozens of ways to approach the same thing, and sometimes, being 'wrong' is something people want to see. And also very importantly You don't have to be a professional, you can remain a hobbyist, being good at it doesn't mean it has to be turned into a job. Allowing people the right to not 'improve' I think, is vitally important.)

Art advice, I find, so often goes along the lines of 'study X, study Y' with no real context on why or how to do it, or that there are different ways of doing it. There is constantly a narrative for improving but rarely a narrative for enjoying, about becoming objectively good based on a few markers & following rules, rather then being 'good' based on honing your strengths and being okay with not being able to do everything. The constant placement of an academic approach and methodology to an abstract skill. For some people it works, for a lot of people it doesn't.

When people critique they rarely tailor their critiques based to the artist's skill level. Telling a new artist to just 'study anatomy', 'study lighting', 'study color theory', or 'study composition' can often be more overwhelming than helpful, if they don't have the foundation to know or want to know what any of that means yet. It makes far more sense to point out the few small things that might give the piece overall balance without totally re-drawing it. Let them keep their 'bad techniques' for now, their dodge and burns, their filters, their lens flares, don't make it a part of the critique or advice. If they want to know more than that they'll probably ask for it specifically. eg: "I've been doing this fire via filter, but I'd really like to know how to do it by hand"

Regarding critique of artists that aren't new, the other problem is rarely do I find people that critique, asking or even considering what it is the artist wants to convey abstractly, instead of technically. say you have an artist who's drawn something rather dramatic and something feels off and they're asking for advice. Most critique will simply try to 'fix the anatomy' but in doing so, the image looses it's punch. sometimes art needs distortion, sometimes it needs to be 'broken', and the real trick is to make it look cohesively broken. Finding out what the artist prizes most in their current version and having your critique tailored to keeping that essence, is what a good critique should be.

And if someone says they don't want to improve or study how about you just... let them be? Who's it harming!

Now, for some suggestions that you are welcome to take into consideration or not:
Do gesture drawings! Be fast, be fun! Remember, it's about the idea, not about perfection
Draw lots of different subjects! Even ones you're bad at, allow yourself to be bad at it, the stuff you're already good at will be better for it
Use lots of different tools! Cheap crayons, Cheap Colored Pencils, different art programs, paper cutting, fabric, glitter, glue, cardboard, novelty art supplies. Changing up your options keeps things exciting and makes your core skills better because you're always subconsciously learning new things.
INDULGE!! If you deny yourself your comforts, it makes experimenting (if that's something you want to do) that much more terrifying, and that's the worst thing you can do for yourself.


armaina's Profile Picture
Aubrey Myers
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
I draw stuff, pokemon, pixelart, dragons, and now robots.

I like a lot of things
I will also talk at you forever if you let me.

What Type of Ref-Sheet Template Should I Make? 

11 deviants said Dragon
8 deviants said Feline
5 deviants said Canine
4 deviants said One of My Own Species?
3 deviants said Bird
3 deviants said Centaur
2 deviants said Gryphon
2 deviants said Something Else?
1 deviant said Manticore
No deviants said Ungulate


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Lexi247 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015
Just stopping by to say hello :hug: Have a wonderful day!
miamiamyrose Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy Birthday! :) :cake:
birthdays Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015
:woohoo: :party: :iconcakelickplz: !!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!! :iconcakelickplz: :party: :woohoo:

It's February 7th which means it's that time of the year again and your special day is here! We hope you have an awesome day with lots of birthday fun, gifts, happiness and most definitely, lots of cake! Here's to another year!

Many well wishes and love from your friendly birthdays team :love:

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vermilion-0 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015
:cake:  :star:  Happy :iconlevel-upplz: Day!  :star:  :cake:

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