Does anyone else feel stuck?

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Does anyone else feel stuck?

Postby Lambs » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:57 am

Well I'm stuck. I can't get any of my ideas out in a painting or even a sketch. It makes me so discouraged that I can barely practice. When I do practice, I'm an unfocused mess and I struggle to learn anything. I get anxiety thinking about how hard other people are working while I'm lying around in a confused trance.

Does anyone else have this problem? Has anyone found a way to deal with it? There are so many things I want to do, and I can't seem to do anything at all. It's like I'm frozen in a block of concrete here. My ambition is to be a freelance illustrator, and I've never even been able to do satisfying personal work as a hobbyist. It's painful. I mean seriously agonizing.

Trying to learn art on my own with no real structure hasn't done me any favors. I seem to be incapable of applying most of the things I know and finding out what I don't. For a long time I've felt like I needed a mentor to kick my ass and show me how to stop making the same dumb mistakes, but there are no decent classes or groups where I live, I have no artist friends, and even the wonderful support I've had in my sketchbook thread doesn't quite supply the hands-on guidance I think I'd benefit from. It's frustrating to feel like there are people out there who could show you how to instantly improve your bad art habits, and you have no idea how to find them. So yeah.

I feel kind of dumb for saying any of this. I know practice is the key. I know that only a few decades ago, artists were getting by just fine without the internet and all of its awesome resources. I'm actually surrounded by art books and materials at the moment, and my body might as well be glued to the ceiling for all the good they're doing me. I'm never going to give up, but this problem has been dragging me down for a long, long time. It's a daily struggle.

Thanks for reading, lol. 
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Re: Does anyone else feel stuck?

Postby ubem » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:02 pm

Hey Lambs, I know what you mean, when starting I out had this problem. I procrastinated for over a year because getting good seemed like such an impossible task. However here's some advice I am experimenting with that works for me.

Having a critical eye. I look at a lot of novice to professional artwork, seeing the differences helps me understand what's lacking in the novice's art against the pros. Once I'm able to identify their sticking points eg. perspective, values, composition, color or whatever, it's a lot easier to see it to my own artwork.

Breaking it down. After I analyze my own work I try to find my biggest weaknesses. For example, my biggest weakness is creating a natural and believable value composition from my imagination. After identifying that, I look up resources, references, books, and tutorials on the subject. I also look at how other students and masters tackled their value structure.

Practice. Once I get an idea of how I should practice, I start making master, life, and photo studies mixed with my own imagined ones in simplified values. I gradually increase the number of values, complexity, ect. always trying to challenge myself.

Rinse and repeat . Once I'm a little more experienced with my weaker areas, I attempt a full painting utilizing what I've observed and studied. Eventually I hit another brick wall, so I do the whole process over.

Planning this way takes a huge burden off the overwhelming amount of progress I need to make. And having this structure gives me small steps I can focus on, without exhausting myself trying to do everything at once. I'm seeing small but significant improvements in my own work so far, and that in itself is hugely motivating. I hope this helps!
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Re: Does anyone else feel stuck?

Postby Lambs » Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:22 am

ubem: Thanks, I really appreciate the practical advice. I'll do my best to apply it!
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Re: Does anyone else feel stuck?

Postby ignite » Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:35 pm

Hi, I'm new! I registered, because I'm feeling very much the same and dearly hope for help, which I clearly need - just as you stated Lambs, one is so overwhelmed, even terrified and these feelings just get stronger with each wrong stroke one makes until even trying to practice makes one feel worthless in terms of artistic/technical skill. That's especially bad if one wants to pursue a profession that is based in the mastery of these skills.

So, please know that you are not alone. Let's both push away the bad thoughts, they rob us of the energy we need to get better!
It's the same here, I'm missing the structure. There is, so to say, no didactic scaffolding we can use to support us while trying to build our castle of skill.

Thanks to you ubem. Could you point out where you look at novice and master works to learn from? One tends to find only masters.
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Does anyone else feel stuck

Postby encous » Mon May 15, 2017 7:01 pm

Was metal detecting the other day and dug a plug, a few earthworms crawled out and I made sure I picked them up and put them in the bottom of the hole so they'd live.

Am I weird?

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