Struggle with 50 % rule

3:40 PM, Friday June 17th 2022

Hello everyone. Sorry if my english is not on point, I'm not a native a speaker.

So, I just started lesson 1 yesterday and I find myself struggling with the 50 % rule. I red through tens of similar posts but some of them got contradictory answers.

Before starting drawabox, I sometimes drew in my free time and got a lot of enjoyment from it, but I exclusively used photo (not other drawings) references (I tried to copy them completely). I mostly drew still life and sometimes landscapes.

So when drawing for the 50 % rule, according to the instructions, I saw that I should not use a single reference. Does it apply both to photo and drawing references ? If yes, should I just persevere trying to draw exclusively from imagination, even I have much less fun doing so ? In your experience, was there a point at which following the 50 % rule became enjoyable and stopped being a struggle ?

I often overthink things and would like to really follow drawabox method meticulously, so being fixed on these questions would help me a lot.

Thanks in advance.

2 users agree
1:51 PM, Saturday June 18th 2022

Hey there! I was on the same boat as you days ago; I just finished the Box Challenge and I did not follow the 50% rule on the lesson 1 and also I did not follow it during the box challenge.

When I submitted my box challenge for official revision the mentor rapidly knew that I was rushing the course, and not following the times that brain needs to start adapting to the drawabox mindset.

So first of all, the 50% Rule is a must for what I can tell you, not only protects you to burnout, it also allows you to have fun as you mentioned before, because let's be honest, drawabox is great, but it isn't the most funny stuff on the world, it acts like a bridge to helps us develop the skills needed to have fun drawing, with that said, first you need to start that bridge and then face the reality that it's better to take some rests inbetween, otherwise you will end up being a professional bridge maker, but there will be no plan after that, you wont know what art attracts you, or what you can actually do with the skills you learned already or just you will forget the most important thing, that is having fun, and with having fun I'm not saying that drawing isn't something serious, but if you enjoy working you will always work with more passion and energy, and I honestly think that drawing follows that premise more than any other job.

Well, after that wall of text I'll tell you what I did, I guess that it follows very personal tastes, but maybe you find the joy of that rule with some of my ideas:

  • Start a Sketchbook and draw everything in your desk. First drawing it flat, then trying to apply some shadow so it feels more real and then trying my best drawing contour lines to make it seem cool

  • I'm also a Photographer, so maybe here we have something in common; I like to go out with my cam and take a picture of whatever I want to draw, it's a totally different approach to handle a cam wanting to take a pic of something I want to draw compared to take a photo of something you want to show as a photographer, both things work, but I noticed that if I go out with my cam thinking on the drawing my imagination goes more wild taking pictures of some stupid stuff like patterns on a rock or from some cool wood patterns on a tree instead of taking a pic of a complete forest and stuff like that

  • Continuing with the Photography I have some knowledge of Photoshop and since I also want to practise digital painting I'm also learning Digital Painting from CTRL+PAINT.com he has a HUGE step by step guide to learn digital painting and its 100% free; he also has paid courses, but the biggest stuff is on the free side

5:03 PM, Saturday June 18th 2022

Hey, thanks for you elaborate answer.

Your experience helps me making more sense of the rule.

I'll definitely try some of your ideas, never thought of taking my own photos to draw but I think I might really like that

I also have some interest in digital drawing, so thanks for your recommandation, I'll check this out !

1 users agree
7:21 PM, Friday June 17th 2022

I've also struggled with the 50% rule - I still honestly do, but that's mostly because I've barely tried to apply it; each time I get myself to draw something for fun, I get slightly more used to it.

In general, the 50% rule is just 'drawing your own stuff for fun' - for a lot of people, that's "don't draw from references, and just mess around with imagination (which is why a lot of people give that as their answer)", for myself (and it seems you?) it means "still draw from references and use drawabox methods as you learn them, but don't put any stress on yourself to do anything as well as you would when doing coursework.".

So, if drawing from references is how you have fun with drawing, do that.

8:02 PM, Friday June 17th 2022

Thanks a lot. I guess the main focus of the rule is to have fun without putting pressure on oneself, regardless of the way it's achieved.

0 users agree
4:21 PM, Saturday June 18th 2022

There is a part of the lesson 0 FAQ that talks about use of reference during the 50% rule. I would simplify it as:

If you try to copy it exactly, it counts but probably won't be helpful in learning to draw from imagination because it doesn't build your spatial reasoning.

If you practice drawing a specific thing from different angles and variations, this is a study which is useful but counts as learning not fun.

If you use a reference perhaps altered a bit in order to draw some picture then this is fine. Uncomfortable's example is looking up a picture of a tiger when you are trying to draw a picture of a warrior princess riding a tiger.

5:10 PM, Saturday June 18th 2022

Yeah I saw the FAQ but was not quite sure of how it applied to my interrogations. Thanks for your enlightment. I guess even if it's not what I have the most fun with, I should definitely force myself to draw from imagination, at least for a portion of my 50% rule time

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