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10:47 AM, Monday April 20th 2020

Hey Nihlex, thanks for the criticism!

As you very accurately point out, artistic confidence is by far the largest issue that hinders most of my progress, and it's something I'm not sure how exactly I would be able to tackle.

Long story short, despite wanting to become a concept artist for most of my life, I have had a really rough and unfortunate start when it comes to drawing, and while I know most of the technical skills can be trained through Drawabox (Which I am incredibly happy with!), artistic self-confidence is an issue I don't know what to do with.

In a more practical example, the ghosting in the Super Imposed Lines and Table of Ellipses exercises, I grow more and more insecure about screwing up as I ghost a line that I would often have to ghost the line 40-50 times before then putting the pen on the paper, immediately panic as I don't believe I can do it, and then produce the wobbly lines seen through the results as my brain takes over in fear of failure.

I've tried most usual suggestions such as trying to calm down as much as possible before doing the exercises, trying to completely focus on the task at hand, convince myself that this is not something I should judge myself on, but insecurity always sets in.

I don't know if there are any exercises for "believing in yourself", but If you had any ideas, suggestions or advice at all, I would love to hear them as this is by far the most important issue when it comes to improving!

7:45 PM, Monday April 20th 2020

I'm not sure of any exercises that would necessarily help with this, but at least conceptually there is one thing you absolutely need to continually remind yourself of: every single action you perform is the result of choice. Whether or not that choice is a conscious one is the problem, and making more purposeful choices is itself something that we improve on over time, as long as we do so... well, consciously.

Your choice to hesitate before putting a mark down is a choice you are making. You second-guess your preparation out of the fear of a negative result. The solution here is not to believe in your abilities, to trust in the idea that "you've got this" and "you can do it". The solution is to choose to accept that the second your pen touches the page, any opportunity to avoid a mistake that may or may not happen has now passed. Whether or not you put the stroke down accurately is no longer within your control. What is within your control however is whether or not you choose to hesitate (and therefore eliminate any chance of having a smooth stroke) or whether you choose to push through with confidence, putting the mark down.

The ghosting method's strengths are not just in the fact that you're made to run through the stroke several times before committing it to the paper. Instead, it actually lies in the idea that each of the three stages has its own responsibilities and goals, and they can be treated as different people working in an assembly line in a factory.

The first person is responsible for identifying the specific mark that needs to be drawn, what task this mark needs to accomplish, which angle of approach would be most comfortable, and determining whether the mark you want to make is the best for the given task.

The second person in the line is responsible for getting your muscles accustomed to the motion required to make this mark. They're unconcerned with the how's and why's, and don't care if those things are correct. The motion required was determined already, its job is simply to get your muscles ready to execute it.

Finally, the third in the line is responsible for making a single, smooth, confident stroke. They're not responsible for accuracy, for how closely you reproduce that planned, prepared motion. It's just to make a simple stroke - and you know you can make a smooth stroke because if you go to a page and draw them as quickly as you can without even thinking about which stroke you want to make, they'll come out smoothly. Their job is just to make the mark with no hesitation, because they have nothing to hesitate about.

Now, it's easier said than done to put your mind in the shoes of each of these individual workers, to focus on just doing that individual, simple task, at any given point. But to do so is a choice, and to worry about the stage preceding where you are now, is also a choice.

So, long story short - take responsibility for the choices you make. If your marks are inaccurate, that's not that big of a deal. Flow and smooth execution is first and foremost your priority, and only once that is nailed down does accuracy become a concern.

You're not alone in your struggles with this, and if you want to talk to people who struggle through similar issues, you may want to join us on the drawabox discord chat server. Talking with others who are at various points along a similar trajectory may help you see a path forward.

4:49 PM, Wednesday April 22nd 2020

Your explanation of hesitating being an choice really made a difference for my understanding of how to approach the confidence problem I have.

In a way, it's much like preparing to dive into cold water, but knowing it's cold (in my case fearing failure), I never get swimming in the first place. The example of three men having their own specific tasks on the assembly line really helped visualize exactly what my issue was, and I actually tried doing a few extra exercises with the mindset you had in mind, and found that my confidence actually grew.

While it's something I have to get used to (and probably for a good amount of time), I slowly started reducing the times I had to ghost my lines, and the acceptance that whatever chance I had to stop is now already behind me allowed me to loosen up much more up.

Many thanks for the input, It really helped me out!

9:24 PM, Wednesday September 23rd 2020

This was helpful for me too. Thank you!

6:36 AM, Saturday May 8th 2021

This is really useful, thank you!

8:11 PM, Wednesday December 22nd 2021

Commenting to keep as a future reference.

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Sakura Pigma Microns

Sakura Pigma Microns

A lot of my students use these. The last time I used them was when I was in high school, and at the time I felt that they dried out pretty quickly, though I may have simply been mishandling them. As with all pens, make sure you're capping them when they're not in use, and try not to apply too much pressure. You really only need to be touching the page, not mashing your pen into it.

In terms of line weight, the sizes are pretty weird. 08 corresponds to 0.5mm, which is what I recommend for the drawabox lessons, whereas 05 corresponds to 0.45mm, which is pretty close and can also be used.

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