I noticed that I'd been shrinking to such an extent that the width of the lead was a severe enough presence on even basic shape/silhouette exploration, and after thinking a bit found that it was due to me considering speed and progress as a matter of "pages". I'd always disliked people who, for example, in school who wrote 5 page essays with content that could be compressed to 1 page with no losses, so I'd been taking to making sure my sketchbook pages would not have a density problem. But I had forgotten that how I had handled it in school was to write or think up something that was essentially 7~9 pages and got down to 5 not by "compressing" the arguments, but by "trimming" them. The problem was never that I used too many words to say something, it was that I had too much to say. And those people who worked up to 5 pages did so not because they liked using more words, but because they didn't have enough to talk about.
So I drew larger and stopped actively caring about page count. And I've noticed a massive improvement in page-filling speed as a result. Though I have about the same number of pages as usual, and really average item size is still under a square inch, I definitely got through pages 2-4 significantly faster. The density of ideas is somewhat lower, but it feels much more comfortable, not just the mechanical drawing part but the thinking part as well.
Somewhere along the way these couple of weeks, somewhat related to the above, I learned/decided that on "learning", how well one does it is essentially just iteration speed. I've seen more famous people talk about it before but it never clicked much at all; "you don't learn if you win", "if you always win you'll never get better", "failing/losing means learning", "fail harder", etc. All of these are nice but aren't usable, except for the last one, which is good only for critical fundamental errors. Feng Zhu and some more traditional teachers talk about volume instead, which makes much more sense and definitely both immediately usable and verifiably true, but it was missing something. I think it was a combination of Feng Zhu videos, this video
, and this video
(and this video
), doing some coding myself, and looking back at how I've gotten about learning drawing that I came to this conclusion. For a while I've known that advice and books and classes won't particularly help; it's logically true that having mentors is the greatest single external type of help you can get, but it's also logically true that you are incapable of evaluating how sound or true someone or something is if you don't already know about it yourself. Assuming you are going about things yourself and don't particularly care for taking big chances with artists who claim they know or can teach you things because literally-whether-you-admit-it-or-not 'reasons', then all you have is to try more things out until they click.
Progress is usually thought of as like "distance". "Look at how far you've come" etc.
v is more easy to visualize and optimize I think. Feng Zhu's 16 hours a day is not something I know where to start comprehending.
I should rename this thread to "rezzealaux's blogbook" or something.