Basics Brawler

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malcress's Sketchbook

  • Sharing the Knowledge
  • Basics Brawler
    9:42 PM, Sunday December 3rd 2023

    Thank you too! I gotta finish reading it too haha.

    2:31 PM, Friday December 1st 2023

    It sure is, for me this is affecting any hobby/activity (I used to play guitar and sing A LOT for years, like 8hrs every day, and yeah it basically became an obsession to be "the best" which I know is 100% unrealistic (more like insane) but I guess my "animal brain" doesn't want to listen. So once I completely burned out and only hatred remained, and switched to art, and boy starting out with drawing is really really hard when I haven't learned my lesson. I was driven by getting accepted to uni which was in the following 2 years, I probably would've quit if it wasn't for that. I was so frustrated and angry all the time, which left a mark on the speed of my progress and relationship with the hobby. Thankfully I got accepted and placed high up so that told me I did good and I was able to slow down, and most of all, stop angering myself with human anatomy and focus more on the areas I love most (landscapes, plein air, fantasy) but then social media got into my head with the "necessity" to post constantly, to please the people there (and not myself) so now I'm on a long break and don't want to return until my mentality changes for the better. I'm also simultaneously working on a hobby without the goal of mastering it and competing so that I can better test it out. I procrastinated on art a lot with learning Japanese and now my interest in it decreased as I increased time for art so I'm still figuring it out. I'm also trying to learn new things, especially stuff that one can learn quickly (folding clothes differently to save space, whistling, cooking meals etc.) which motivates me. And It's also a good idea to do activities you're good enough at and don't plan on necessarily mastering so there's a higher chance of enjoying these (exercise, sports, reading, cooking, crafts etc).

    I can recommend some books that might help - Art and Fear (it couldn't get more specific haha), The Wisdom Of Insecurity, The Gift of Fear (I haven't read these last 2 but I'll get to them once I finish the first one. Having a healthy and rational mindset is the hardest part of anything for me haha, and it has to affect every area of every activity. I've also started to meditate and journal every end of the day so I hope it helps at least a little.

    0 users agree
    12:00 AM, Wednesday November 29th 2023

    As someone with ADHD I feel you so much. It will be a miracle if I find the right combo of strategies to become an "actual adult". Willpower is a myth for me, I'm quite literally internally screaming at myself and fully ready to go on with an activity/task but my body just won't budge. This has severely affected my ability to draw, and even though I have a motivator/deadline of having to reach a certain skill level before I can reapply for an illustration/concept art master's course (wasn't accepted this year), it's been more stressful than motivating because I have to force myself a lot to give in the "time and effort" and I have the constant fear of not making it in time.

    Now, regarding Drawabox, I jumped right into it as it was a solution to half of what the uni didn't accept me for, plus it's great to do these exercises as there's minimal space for perfectionism and forcing me to focus on creating a harmony between my eyes, hands and brain during the act of drawing, it's an interesting sensation too. I've been at it for almost 3 months and just started Lesson 2. I can't say if that's fast or not but I had to be very careful to avoid burnout and quitting, so it's the fastest I can (almost healthily) manage. I've been going through a lot of problems regarding initiating and maintaining focus on and off since the last 70 boxes of the 250 Boxes challenge, trying to implement new strategies like taking short breaks every 30 minutes, stretching/moving about more, having 1 art rest day a week (2 if it won't be enough, still testing). One day I can do 8 boxes in like 45 minutes along with doing a landscape speedpaint (art I enjoy/am the strongest at) and human anatomy practice (my weakest point), and the next day I take 2 hours to do 4 boxes because I keep zoning out and have to call it a day so as not to sabotage a potential following good day. It's the huge differences in my performance that complicate my attempts to smoothe them out.

    I don't know if you have ADHD as well or not but these strategies may help either way. I also recommend warming up your body with exercise and stretches before each drawing session (you'll be more relaxed, your body will be more ready and you'll prevent arm injuries like wrist tendinitis or carpal tunnels, I've been dealing with mine for years and this helps keep it at bay). With the 50/50 rule, I mention drawing something I enjoy AND I'm good/best at. That way you can increase some potentially lost confidence, you get to further improve in an area you're more skilled at, and/or experiment and play around. For example, with my 1hr landscape speedpaints, they're still mostly studies of my photos but I try to push/experiment with the colors/composition and find ways to draw trees/rocks/grass etc. in a faster/more fun/dynamic way. So far, even the less successful landscapes are still good enough. Plus I get to implement my improved line-making and my starting sense of feeling perspective. To mention some other art activities I've done with DaB - life object studies (great to test out DaB knowledge), 3D printed human skull studies (good balance between object/anatomy for me so it's not a weakness anymore), 2min gestures (from photos, digitally), sketching my partner/pet cat/animals at the zoo (to practice anatomy from life), animal studies and so far that's it during the time I've been doing DaB. I went through months of not doing any art before so I'm keeping the art on the shorter end of time taking. I really want to do illustrations, ref/pose sheets and other projects but there's a much higher chance of burning out and I have to take it slow.

    Nine months ago I was trying to find a way to make drawing fun too, and fully focus on that. What gave me a spark was grabbing the most feared/lowest quality art supplies I had (none were erasable and they are meant for generally quicker work I'd say), and do studies with them or doodle from imagination. Knowing how bad I am with the media, my perfectionism didn't appear or it was minimal, and so I had much more space to enjoy it and go through the process of figuring the media out in a more explorative way. Thanks to this, I am now comfortable with colored ballpoint pens, colored pencils and those cheap thin markers you find in a supermarket. So even if I'm still struggling with making art fun long-term, I have more options to choose from.

    In your place I'd give DaB a go but try to be extra aware of your ability to go through it and slow down/take a break when it starts getting bad (I don't know how you behave in that case, but for me it's the fact I can't focus after trying for over an hour, I'm slow, restless etc.) and try it later in the day or the next one, or just spend the rest of the day on more fun drawing activities if it's just DaB that's hard to keep going with. Also expect break days going for more than a day, or even a week, it's still miles better than not drawing for months or years, and healthier. Oh and if you have a good/productive art day, don't be like me and use it to the max and burn out for who knows how long haha.

    I hope this helps or gives you some insight, and I hope you'll find a way that works for you longterm, a way that balances out the skill building and enjoyment of drawing.

    2:00 PM, Tuesday November 28th 2023

    Sometimes the feedback is really quick here haha.

    That's odd, I know you get more avatars for increasing your reputation but they're different from the ones you get for completing lessons, I guess there are exceptions or errors.

    Great to hear about your effort to understand these points! Unless you've done so already, you can also try comparing your work with Uncomfy's with the new skills and knowledge you've gained and see if you further notice any points of value or just deepen the awareness of your strengths and weaknesses.

    I can feel that about Ex. 5 as I did the same mistake haha, though you don't have such a problem with the ellipses being noticeably smaller than the frame when compared to mine. What helps me is to rather imagine the points on each edge of the frame where it will touch the ellipse, instead of focusing on the whole edges.

    Regarding Ex. 8, it really is too early to have accurate perspective, especially as it's not just a problem of knowledge but rewiring your brain/eyes to see it, to see the approximate location of the vanishing point and see how parallel a set of lines is, for example. Once you do start to notice your errors in the 250 Boxes before you check with a ruler, though, the feeling is priceless.

    Yeah I think the point of the Rotated Boxes Ex. is to just bite through it even if it's gonna look terrible and try to take out as much knowledge as you can, even if you're not able to execute it yet.

    Oh no I've given feedback a number of times but it's my first here, and probably the first time it's this well structured too haha. You're more than welcome!

    3 users agree
    4:14 PM, Monday November 27th 2023

    Heya! This is my first critique here so I hope I can guide you in the right direction!

    Just a question, is this your 2nd time doing Lesson 1? As I see you have the badge of completing it.

    * Exercises 1-3

    Overall great linework, 3 has that extra cleanliness too, awesome job! Ex. 1 has a very few starting points that have some splitting (for example the bottom one on page 2) but the rest are nice and clean, in time and with practice, even the ending points will even out. I personally recommend Ex. 1 and 3 as a common warm-up for the 250 Boxes challenge (1 helps with tracing lines accurately, 3 is great prep for nailing those boxes overall).

    * Exercises 4-6

    I can clearly see you're comfortable with ellipses as well, nice! Maybe don't be too afraid to have the ellipses be larger than the boxes you're trying to fit them into in Ex. 5 - I got the same piece of advice actually, so I'm just passing it down haha.

    * Exercise 7

    Nothing needed to say here, nice job. Just get that longer ruler.

    • Exercise 8

    Improvement is visible here, even with the pause for exams, all the line convergence inaccuracies will improve with the 250 Boxes challenge so I recommend to do this as a warm-up a couple times and be mindful of the most visible mistakes when drawing the boxes (for example the farthest edges not converging towards the vanishing point/enough, it's a very common thing for everyone and it will improve throughout the challenge, I can atest to that myself).

    • Exercise 9-10

    The Box Rotation exercise should result in a more spherical shape and the profiles/side-views should have been smaller (compared to the front-facing box) and connected to this overall "form of boxes". That said, your lines here are better and the hatching is nice and sleek too. In addition, in Ex. 10 I notice you're much more aware of the box size relative to the distance from the viewer, especially on the last page, I just love how the very last frame turned out, very pleasing to the eye! The amount and frequency of rotating/varying boxes also increases so you're getting the hang of that as well.

    Next Steps:

    Overall, I'd say you're ready to tackle the 250 Boxes challenge so I'm marking this as complete. As I mentioned above, I recommend warming up with Ex.1 and 3 often during the challenge, and giving a few more tries to Ex. 8 every once in a while too (it's nice seeing the improvement there after a certain amount of boxes in the challenge). Well done with completing this, even after a pause! Wishing you luck and patience with the following challenges and lessons, and I hope your exams went well!

    This community member feels the lesson should be marked as complete, and 3 others agree. The student has earned their completion badge for this lesson and should feel confident in moving onto the next lesson.
    2:40 PM, Monday November 27th 2023

    Hahaha same here, when trying to be extra clean (like with the 250 Boxes), I use the combo of the glove for my dominant hand and a piece of recycled paper for my other hand, and even that piece of paper had to be changed 4-5 times during the challenge lol. I also have to keep track of my body temperature as it's not very regular in general, and the desk lamp I have is heater-level-hot when on which makes me start sweating around the middle of a Drawabox session so I have to open the window even though it's winter here, otherwise I'd be liquified.

    Though it can veeery occassionally be an advantage when not using a glove, as it forces one to do quick strokes so as not to touch the paper too much, which comes in handy when life sketching or plein-air, which are one of my favorite art activities. But the glove does help regulate how slippery the paper gets, with my hand alone it jumps from waterslide mode to an abrupt stop quite often, especially when using a graphic tablet, very funky.

    4:59 PM, Wednesday October 25th 2023

    Heya so here's an update on my 250 Boxes, 110 Boxes behind me yay!

    10:44 AM, Sunday October 15th 2023

    So I just watched your video with the CT extensor exercises (took my time, huh) and I wanted to thank you! His explanation of what's happening (especially the connection with the neck) is even better than in my videos, or at least I understand it better, and his take on why braces are not supposed to be used in these cases assure me that my avoiding of using it (for more than 24 hrs) is correct.

    For everyone else here, I recommend watching and trying multiple types of these exercises/relief methods from these videos and find the right combination for you.

    10:31 AM, Sunday October 15th 2023

    No worries, Thank you!

    10:30 AM, Sunday October 15th 2023

    Thanks a lot!

    Yeah my current goal is to go over the outline twice at max but I always have an unaccurate line and try to compensate for it by balancing out the line weight of the other lines lol. On one hand, it's good practice to go over the lines more than once but it changes (or even hides) the original angle of the line/box edge which is the main goal of this exercise, so I'm gonna leave the mistakes out in the open, and see how thick the lines are compared to going over it once.

    You're correct there, I do prefer when the vanishing point is closer as I feel I do more mistakes with the less dramatic angled boxes, time to face that too then.

    Thank you for the link, I'm still struggling with that quite a lot, I've only just started properly realizing that the further side/plane of a box is "wider" from our POV (as Uncomfy states in the tips for the challenge). I'm also starting to sense that the length ratio of 2 neighboring lines of the initial "Y" shape don't keep that same ratio for the 2 opposing lines that finish the shape of the plane, especially when the rate of foreshortening is high. I've watched a couple videos on box rotation and tried studying my rubic's cube to see how the length and angle of each line change so I'm hoping I'm slowly absorbing it haha.

    Thanks again and hope you're doing well, both in art and life in general!

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