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The [chat] Who Circumnavigated Fairyland

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Posts

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    I love my job, I've never not wanted to go in to the office. However, lately I find myself having fantasies about quitting and becoming a garbage man.

    zepherin
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Okay I'm genuinely curious

    Why?

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    I wake up early and finish early. Also, the amount of thinking I'd do would be minimal. I feel like all my creative energy goes to my job, by the end of the day I'm mentally drained. Does anyone else feel that way?

    Maybe I'm totally wrong as to what being a garbage man is like. Perhaps theres a lot of math involved.

    zepherin
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    I wake up early and finish early. Also, the amount of thinking I'd do would be minimal. I feel like all my creative energy goes to my job, by the end of the day I'm mentally drained. Does anyone else feel that way?

    Maybe I'm totally wrong as to what being a garbage man is like. Perhaps theres a lot of math involved.

    I've thought about this a lot but I don't usually say it because I figure I'll get attacked for sounding monstrously naive: seriously sometimes I think back fondly on when I was like, 18, and worked at a Wal-Mart, because by the end of the day I was just champing at the bit to do something creative, and took zero stress home from work with me because it didn't matter and was not going to carry over into the following day. I don't think it's weird to fantasize about a job with less potential for mental burnout at all really.

    header_image_sm.jpg
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited November 2016
    That's not weird at all. As rewarding as art can be it's at least equally frustrating and exhausting.

    I'm actually certain I would actually be pretty happy in a mindless pressure-free job for the rest of my life, particularly as someone prone to repetition, and that scares me. Like if I don't keep pushing myself, all my dreams will fade away, and my life will just be a grey blur. But who knows, maybe if I gave up on art the rest of my life would be much more interesting?

    Flay on
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited November 2016
    I totally feel this burnout. I write all day for my day job, and it leaves me mentally drained by the time I cloud out. Then again, I've worked retail and I feel like the monotony and tedium of that kind of work can leave me feeling just as drained.
    But who knows, maybe if I gave up on art the rest of my life would be much more interesting?

    Sometimes I think this, but then again I know plenty of people who have all the free time in the world and they mostly watch TV and play videogames while I'm working on art in the evenings. As someone who loves videogames, it's really easy for me to imagine how much time I'd sink into them if I let myself. The downside is that all my peers are immersed in a lot of pop culture that I don't have time for, and they want to talk about it a lot, but I don't know what anyone is talking about! Sounds trivial but I feel like it legitimately makes it difficult for me to foster new, close friendships at times.

    Lamp on
    zepherin
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @Lamp yeah, that happens to me. Half of my friendships are them trying to convince me to watch a show, I watched stranger things out of much obligation.

    I enjoy the day job I have and its ability to allow me to pursue art without pressure. But I for sure have to leave alot of tv watching and game playing behind to make it work. Sometimes sleep is the thing that gets tossed, but I'm trying to do that less. I make time for games because they are still a huge inspiration for me, but I have sunk time into a game since mass effect.

    I basically consider lets players a service that enables me to work but still experience games, so yay gamegrumps.

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited November 2016
    Yeah, I love lets plays too. It's so convenient being able to jump in and watch 15 minutes of a game while I take a break from work. I don't spend any money on games, and it's easy to turn off after an episode or two. It gives me the fix I need to not be too tempted to spend all my time playing. I do try to let myself play and beat a couple of video games each year, though I end up rushing through them and feeling guilty while playing. I'm in trouble when Breath of the Wild is out next year.

    I do watch a decent amount of TV (maybe an hour long episode per evening, not binge watching or anything), as obligatory time spent with my significant other who loves TV. So after that I just don't have much time for games.

    Lamp on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I wake up early and finish early. Also, the amount of thinking I'd do would be minimal. I feel like all my creative energy goes to my job, by the end of the day I'm mentally drained. Does anyone else feel that way?

    Maybe I'm totally wrong as to what being a garbage man is like. Perhaps theres a lot of math involved.

    I've absolutely felt this way when I have to spend so much creative energy at work. When I come home the last thing in the world that I want to think about is art.

    After getting laid off a number of months ago I actually seriously considered trying to find a non-art job that was manual labor (to hold me over for 6 months or so), because it would be SO FAR from what I used to do in an office....I'd get exercise daily, and I wouldn't feel creatively drained all the time. Most of this was a result of me also being at a job that was becoming more and more toxic as time went on, and feeling like I absolutely just needed to take a huge break from that to reset myself.

    I feel like I've had that break now, and I was able to spend a good chunk of time having creative freedom by working on an Etsy shop for awhile. And now I'm working on a portfolio that is entirely self-directed! I feel much better now than I did, and I'm aiming once again for an art job. If your day job is also becoming less fun, less challenging, not fulfilling, I'd suggest that maybe it might be good for you to put out some feelers to see if there are any other jobs out there that might suit you better. I was so far into the reeds in my last job that, though I knew it was bad, I don't think I realized HOW bad it was, and how much it was affecting me as an artist. Just something to think about, maybe!

    tapeslingerMagicToastertynic
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    ...I watched stranger things out of much obligation.

    I did this exact thing!

    I'm not sure if you guys feel this way, but even when I actually have time to play games these days I find I'm enjoying them less and less. There's always the spectre of 'I could be drawing right now' looming in the background. Do you guys get that too?

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    My anxiety around playing video games is so intense that I even feel it during times when I wouldn't otherwise be drawing. For example, I usually read for 30 minutes to wind down before bed. But I just picked up Pokemon Moon, and I thought I'd just play that during my reading time a few nights per week. But I've so conditioned myself to feel bad about gaming that I feel anxious even when doing that.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I can guilt free play games because its quality chill out with the boyfriend time, Which is important and we both work hard and its a good way for us to spend that couch time. Games are great because you can keep talking and I dont feel obligated to pay 100% attention when he's playing. TV hits my anxiety much harder because not only do I have to give up an hour, its sorta rude to draw through a movie, there's no downtime.

    Flaybowensquidbunny
  • ProjeckProjeck Registered User regular
    the only game i play any more is super smash bros melee for the nintendo gamecube, and i do that competitively - it's actually a huge inspiration for my art practice and keeps my critical faculties sharp

    i can also vouch for having a not-art job being good for making a lot of work, and wanting to make work -
    i work as a barista, and i clean screens at a screenprinting shop part time as well - both are relatively mindless jobs with great coworkers and a good atmosphere --can't say i don't fantasize about being able to pay for everything by drawing & painting for a living, but that fantasy is a lot of what keeps me making new shit!

  • PeasPeas Registered User regular
    Oh wow Artgerm is a very generous person

    veor2jbabktb.png
  • gavindelgavindel The reason all your software is brokenRegistered User regular
    Peas wrote: »
    Oh wow Artgerm is a very generous person

    Did he give someone the charcoal flu?

    ...I'll see myself out.

    I've got a book! Angels, innovations, and the hubris of tiny things: Seraphim
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    What's this about Artgerm?

  • PeasPeas Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    For the first meeting he treated the entire class (16 peeps) to a family restaurant as well as allowing us to select 3 of his art posters and signing on it, did the same for a fan who came to see him. Seems like a pretty chill dude too

    Peas on
    veor2jbabktb.png
    bowenNightDragonFlayProspicienceGrifter
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    Oh neat, I didn't realise he was part of your course. He generally seems pretty chill in his streams too, that's cool of him

    How's it been so far?

    Flay on
  • PeasPeas Registered User regular
    It's been great so far, it makes a world of difference when everyone around you is passionate about the same subject. The flow of time is kinda wierd in there though, I feel like I've been there for more than just two weeks but also that the day just passes so quickly

    veor2jbabktb.png
  • ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular
    Proko is doing a neat 12 Days of Proko thing where he's gonna be giving little gifts and whatnot away.

    Today he's sharing hand bone demonstration vidz from his course.

    tynictapeslingerPeas
  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    Hey guys. Haven't posted in here in a while. Hope that everyone is enjoying their holiday season.

    I need to sit down and see just how rusty I am at this art thing.

  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    Hi Grifter.

  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    NibCrom wrote: »
    Hi Grifter.

    Hi, Nib. How's it going?

    NibCrom
  • PeasPeas Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    Hey folks
    999f427c5b9e15659bb592bcb3c48807.jpg

    Anyone knows what I should do to emulate the lines in photoshop? What kind of brush setting should I use?

    Peas on
    veor2jbabktb.png
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    Hey so I've noticed there's no secret santa thread up or anything so I was figuring we could just make a casual gift giving thing, like the draw a forumer threads we used to do, instead? How's that sound? I'm not on here a lot any more but I still wanna give some kinda gift to the forum somehow.

    edit: nvm, just saw the christmas horse thread. Seems like a nice thing to participate in.

    m3nace on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @m3nace yes! draw a Horse.

    We could start a draw a forumer thread but everyone's been so quiet that I'm not sure if it would just sit there or not.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    Peas wrote: »
    Hey folks
    image

    Anyone knows what I should do to emulate the lines in photoshop? What kind of brush setting should I use?

    @Peas: Since this is just a pencil drawing that the person scanned in and upped the contrast on, a dark pencil-emulating brush would probably work best. I found a really nice one that you can download here: http://andantonius.deviantart.com/art/Photoshop-Pencil-Brush-105284502

    As for your brush settings, depending on your Photoshop version you're using...you're going to want to set either the Transfer option or the Other Dynamics option to [Flow Control: Pen Pressure]. You'll see this option in the drop-down menu underneath the Flow Jitter slide; the Flow Jitter should be set to 0%. (Some people like using the Opacity parameter better, but I've always found Flow is best and mimics a pen much better. When you cross over a stroke using Opacity the results can be streaky).
    Photoshop-CS5-002.png

    If you're using the Transfer parameter, you can also select a minimum strength. If you'd like to keep your lines generally darker like in that image, bring the minimum up from 0% until you're happy with the results.

    Hope that helps!

    NightDragon on
    Peas
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    I'm about to be funemployed again come the 1st and looking to knuckle down on my arts again once that's the case (and maybe get around to making my own damn thread!)

    but yeah til then everything is madness... :\

    m3nace
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    Hello! (and I miss this place)

    tapeslingerProspicience
  • JarsJars Registered User regular
    I've reopened some loony tunes drawings and gotten 3 done and when I was looking at new ones to do I gotta say I don't want to do lola bunny because she's all that sexy bunny vibe and it would be a lot less sexy if she didn't wear clothes

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I posted this on FB but I think I'll post it here too, just because I think it's a good thing for artists who have any self-doubt to remember...and hell, maybe if I post it here too I'll re-read it and get it tattoo'd onto my forehead because dammit I need to remember to just RELAX.
    The times I tell myself to stop worrying so much about "making it perfect" are the times I end up having the best art breakthroughs. The second I allow myself to relax, to explore and experiment, suddenly the panic gives way to a clarity, things start to come together, and I wonder what I was so worried about in the first place. So many times I've gotten to a point where I feel a piece might be doomed...but pushing through this stage has ultimately ended up in some of my best work. I just need to remember to keep going even if I'm not sure something is going to turn out.

    In a way this is similar to me worrying about being lost before the days of phone navigation, when I would be driving to a new place with only a map and some text directions printed out next to me. I would start to get nervous that I'd missed a turn, I'd pull over, only to look at the map and confirm that I hadn't actually gone far *enough*. I told myself (after having done this a number of times) that I should adopt the mentality of "waiting until you KNOW you've gone too far before turning back" as opposed to "waiting until you THINK you've gone too far".

    Bringing this back to art, I need to remind myself to "wait until you KNOW the piece isn't salvageable" rather than jumping the gun and abandoning a piece too early because I just I THINK it might not get there....because most of the time, it does. And even if it doesn't, pushing through gives me some valuable lessons in what works and what doesn't. So maybe the next piece I do might actually "get there".

    And now all that being said, I'm off to make something awful. :D

    Angel_of_BaconWassermeloneGriftertapeslingerNatriProspicienceRed_Arremer
  • TheBogTheBog Registered User regular
    Merry Christmas, you filthy animals. I got a surface pro 4 stylus for my sp3 and it feels so nice. I'm kind of giddy to draw again. Also finally picked up Animal Crossing New Leaf (adorable) and VA-11 HALL-A (super well-written). Good stuff!

    Angel_of_Bacon
  • Red_ArremerRed_Arremer Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    Merry Christmas Artists' Corner. So how often do you guys have mental breakdowns where you stress about becoming a better artist so hard you get 2 migraines in a week, think that maybe you don't have it in you and you'll never make it only to finally come to the realization that there is no other option. I'm an artist and there's nothing I can do about it and I can't give up ever, have to find the fun again and art until I'm good?

    Red_Arremer on
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    Merry Christmas Artists' Corner. So how often do you guys have mental breakdowns where you stress about becoming a better artist so hard you get 2 migraines in a week, think that maybe you don't have it in you and you'll never make it only to finally come to the realization that there is no other option. I'm an artist and there's nothing I can do about it and I can't give up ever, have to find the fun again and art until I'm good?

    this basically sounds like. "I'm an artist!"

    DEFINITELY spend some time on the fun parts if you keep hitting the wall like this tho! It really should be enjoyable on some level and I have found a lot of my best projects came about specifically out of just doing something for myself, just because.

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited December 2016
    Started writing this post before you posted @Red_Arremer , and I don't know if my summaries are going to be encouraging or discouraging at the moment. On the mental breakdown/stress front, I've certainly experienced those feelings, I think everyone in this field has. What I can offer is that the people I've found to be really good at what they're doing, or are students progressing quickly, are not people that are throwing chairs around in anger, or drinking themselves to death. As a whole, I've found them even-tempered, calm people. Why is that?
    It's not because they've reached a point of satisfaction in their work, or their career- they will list you out a book's worth of things they're not satisfied with, that they need to work on, that career-wise they're not happy with, valid reasons to be concerned. And they will tell you that when they were young, they too may have had a lot of stress and anxiety about the same issues. So what's changed, if it's not that they've just reached a point of being fine where they are?

    At a certain point, it becomes clear that the kind of stress, bodily and visceral, you're talking about? It's simply, not useful.
    Your body is reacting to the situation with fight-or-flight instincts- kicking up your heart rate, boosting your adrenaline- a lot of energy with nowhere to go, because neither fighting nor fleeing will solve this problem before you. Your body is dumb, so you have to learn how to use your brain to combat it.

    Now, I've been here, and I've tried to learn about such things to keep my mind right, so my energy is being spent on what I value, rather than my body burning energy on whatever stressors exist in the moment. An experienced teacher, coach, or therapist might have more insight, but here's my $0.02 based on what I've found out thus far.

    In the book Drive (https://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates/dp/1594484805/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482895408&sr=8-1&keywords=drive), sort of the main thesis is that rewards and punishments don't really help motivation or performance, because having a reward or punishment means much of your mental energy will be expended thinking about that reward or punishment, rather than focusing on the actual task at hand. Or to hear Yoda say it, "All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph! Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things".

    The Jedi, or in this case, an artist, or any expert, knows to put their mind on the task at hand, and not elsewhere. Even- and I'd say, especially not- where you want to be one day, how angry you are with how this thing is turning out, 'why am I not better yet'. And this isn't a 'hey calm down, it's going to be alright' speech that you've probably heard a million times before, and dismissed as many times because that's not helpful- this is saying, if you are thinking about these things, your mind is not where it needs to be, in order to solve any of those problems. You can't have half your head dedicated to mulling over these issues, and still have enough of your brain left to be able do a good drawing- drawing's too hard for that, it needs all your head if you want to get anywhere. One of these things has got to go, so you've got to learn to kick that shit out of your head.

    Now, that's all well and good to say, but yeah- it's not easy. This is why it's useful to look into Zen meditation and/or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- again, not as "these vague-ass things will make you feel better, :)" solutions, but as a practical tool to bring about a desired result. Of practicing the ability to recognize that moment, "I am freaking out right now, and that's not helpful and is not what I want or need to be thinking of. I need to dismiss that thought and return to my single-pointed focus at the task at hand." And this is very difficult indeed, even if you're not stressed about anything in particular- maybe you're just hungry or have a song stuck in your head- even that can be enough to foul your efforts up. But it's a skill that can be worked on and improved (but, it should be said, that skill will never be so perfect that you can just roll into a state of sustained perfect concentration effortlessly, it will always require some mental work), and doing so will help not just your art, but your mental health as well.

    Of course, you may be thinking, yes that's great for when I am actually drawing, but I am not drawing every moment of the day- and nobody in the world could or should do so. What about the rest of the time, when my brain's wandering around and there's nothing else to occupy my attention?

    Again, it's a matter of putting the work in to make logic rule the day over emotions. Break down the problem.

    I'm not where I want to be. Why? What do I need to work on? What am I doing to improve those things? The exercises I do to improve them, where did I get them from, who suggested them, how can I confirm they are effective ways to learn? Has this teacher produced work I am impressed by, have they produced students I am impressed by? If I am confused, who can I ask, have I asked them, do I understand the answers? Am I getting enough feedback, and if not, why not, how do I get more feedback of a higher quality on a consistent basis? What research have I done into the training of people that have the skills I want, where did they go, who did they learn from, what did they learn there? How much time did they spend, in what manner? Is my lifestyle helping me in pursuing art? Or is it getting in the way, being discouraging? Do I need support from like-minded people, have I had the experience of having that support that I would realize the difference that absence makes? If so, what can I do to change that?

    Break the back useless emotions by expending your energy instead in defining practical, logical questions, and pursuing the answers as far as they can possibly go. There's a reason every great artist I know has dozens, if not hundreds of art books on their shelf, even though they will tell you that 95% of their content is likely to be redundant with each other, and that's because they're searching for that one tiny little answer they don't have yet, or didn't know the question they should even be asking yet.
    More importantly, if you have logical answers to all these questions- you wrote 'em down, you did your research, you've come up with answers you're satisfied with, you've run it past people that would know, took on their feedback, made adjustments, and executed on everything you possibly can do to address them, that you are as a result 100% of the belief that your energy, time, and money are being as well spent as they possibly can be- I can't say you won't have stress or disappointments, but you will be able to look at your plan, your list of what you're doing and why, and you'll say, "I am doing everything that I possibly can be doing, and I've done my homework so I know that that statement is as true as I can make it"- then, you can rest a bit easier knowing that's the case.

    So much time and energy is wasted on stressing out, especially among beginners or people that only have a few years on them, when it doesn't help them or anyone else. So much energy is wasted on vague problems like, "Why am I not good enough", which are too broad to be dealt with in any meaningful, useful fashion, and thus they only go about solving their problems in vague, useless ways, which only compounds the stress when it doesn't work.

    So if your brain has the energy to stir up a hornet's nest of stress in your brain, then you have the energy to type something into google and try to figure out what specific thing on a specific problem that you're missing, or to write a letter to an artist you admire asking their advice, or to go get a book that you hope will inform you on the issue and study from it.

    The pro is someone who's figured out, "I need to take my ego and the stresses that come with it, out of the equation, if's it's not going to help, it's gone"- they just focus on where they are, what the next step is, how to get there. Go get some rest, repeat. The success and rewards come from what you do as a matter of sticking to the unglamorous, logical day-to-day routine of the thing, not thinking harder or more about what those rewards (ie:"I'm going to be so good that I'm going to be a pro and people will be like wow you're so good", etc.) you covet so much are, how sweet that stuff will be.

    So that's how I handled it, YMMV. I certainly still have stresses and concerns, but I'm certainly a lot less stressed than I was before, even when my career/personal life aren't going the way I was hoping for.

    Am I having more 'fun' when I do art as a result of this? I wouldn't say that, exactly- it's more a sense of satisfaction in doing a job to the best of my ability, rather than the sort of 'fun' I would associate with just doodling for pleasure or doing some other 'fun' activity. But since the immediate thrill of fun isn't my expectation, it's not like I lament that I'm not getting that visceral sensation. That may sound like a bummer, but think of it this way- a heart surgeon probably isn't having 'fun' performing a triple bypass, but they (and their patient, of course) are probably very satisfied when they do their job well, which makes all the other things they went through to be able to do that surgery well, worth it. It's worth it, doing the hard work. (Also speaking as a professional working Video Game Concept Artist- if I had an existential crisis every time I wasn't having fun painting because sometimes modellers just need to know what a plain unpainted wood fence post is supposed to look like, I wouldn't stay employed for very long.)

    ______________________________________________________

    Back to the original post, which now is as long as the addendum I added above that I originally meant as a brief aside!


    Flying back and forth from my hometown I read some books about, broadly, 'how to get better at shit', which I think a lot of you may find helpful/interesting given that 'get better at art' is kinda this place's raison d'etre. (Also it's going to be helpful for me to write down because I'm probably going to yammer on about it in future critiques, so I might as well write something I can copy/paste into those easily).
    I found out about these listening to the Freakonomics podcast, which was recommended on the Muddy Colors blog- which is probably where I'd recommend you start if you want a quick, free primer:
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-become-great-at-just-about.html


    Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011H56MKS/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o04_?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Definitely would recommend this book to all y'all.
    This book is by the person who did the original study that lead to the '10000 hour rule' made famous by Malcolm Gladwell (stating that reaching an 'expert' level of skill in a given discipline requires 10000 hours of practice)- and goes into why that 'rule' may be partially informative in conveying a sense of the quantity of effort required, but misses the key component of the quality of that effort. In all disciplines (chess experts, athletes, artists, professional violinists, etc, etc.), he found that experts were engaged in what he dubbed, deliberate practice, rather than just simply practicing.

    The key elements of what separate deliberate practice from general practice are:
    -Working exclusively on one aspect of they want to refine at a time- not trying to improve broadly at everything, or even a subset of things.
    -Making sure that their practice is designed to be objectively measurable, that the parameters of success or failure are defined, so it's clear what to strive for and it can be recognized if that goal is achieved.
    -Always working on something just beyond their current skill level- not being complacent to work only on things they are currently well capable of, but not reaching for something beyond their capabilities that succeeding would be almost impossible at the current point in time. Trying to cut a second off a lap time, or adding another rep to an exercise, not trying to cut 30 seconds or doubling the number of reps.
    -Giving full, undivided mental and physical concentration to the task at hand. They don't think about other things going on in their life, or listen to music, or let their mind wander- all their attention is placed on exactly what they are doing at that moment. As a result, deliberate practice is incredibly exhausting, even if the task isn't physical in nature- and he found that people were incapable of maintaining that level of concentration for more than an hour without taking a break. An examination of the habits of music students for that the best ones arranged their schedules to take a nap after their practice sessions, to recover and allow them to continue practice later on.
    -It's not fun. Executing the skills in performance (painting that big illustration, running the race you've been training for, performing the dance in front of the crowd, etc.) may be described as pleasurable and enjoyable and fun, but none of the top people thought the practice was fun, or had that expectation. (A study of a singing class comprised have of professionals and half of beginners/amateurs, found that all of the amateurs found it enjoyable because they came at it with the idea of "this is a time to express myself, let loose, do something fun away from work, etc.- while all the professionals did not find it enjoyable, because they were focused on narrowing in what they were doing wrong and fixing those things, at maximum concentration.)


    There's a couple more things of interest he mentions as well, such as having good coaching/teaching that uses/teaches deliberate practice makes a huge difference in effectiveness versus trying to learn on one's own or with coaching that it more vague about why they are practicing certain things, or doesn't do much to give individual attention to what each student needs to work on. They also found that individual solo practice in between sessions was a larger indicator of success than simply spending more time in classes, doing more performances, or working in groups- it's dedicating those a great deal of time focusing on those individual aspects at a high level of concentration, that makes the bigger difference beyond just doing one thing more.

    Also relevant: natural talent, as far as he can determine through study, does not genuinely exist.

    The only 'natural' advantage he has found, after looking into hundreds of experts supposedly possessed with so-called 'natural talent', is that they MAY (but is nowhere proven) be more inclined to focus on things longer and with more seriousness than other people- and that's it. While some people will always pick things up or understand concepts quicker than others on the onset, it's the people that stick with it and practice seriously that actually excel in the end- it's just that we as a society have such a belief in the idea of 'natural talent', that people that pick things up quicker are vastly more likely to be encouraged, to get better access to teaching, to spend more time in practice- while people that don't get things quickly are more likely to be discouraged from spending that time, or continuing in that pursuit.

    Even autistic savants, he found, were explained simply by the fact they spent so much more time focusing on a single thing than anyone else, that of course they end up with a 'talent' that seems inexplicably advanced on the face of it. So if you're of sound mind and body, chances are that you're not where you want to be with a skill is almost certainly due to other factors (didn't spend enough time, didn't have the resources/money/support, wasn't that interested to start with, had other priorities, never had access to good coaching, etc.), than lacking in some natural ability. Generally, expert performers will chalk their ability up to the effort put in, and those that do say they have natural ability? Generally can be explained away when you look into what they actually did, and how much time they actually spent- simply put, making it seem like one is possessed of an inexplicable, magical quality makes for a better story than the mundane reality of, "I worked really hard in an effective way".

    I've been saying this shit for 20+ years and still people don't believe me, so it's nice to have some actual data to back me up on this point- but I don't expect people to stop arguing with me about it any time soon, (mostly because I feel it's a defense mechanism for people's egos- "if it's a magic thing, I am off the hook for attaining the same level of performance- if we're all capable of it, then I have to accept fault with myself...I don't wanna.")



    Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010MH9V3W/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    I didn't like this book quite as much as Peak, because it's a little less immediately useful in terms of application, has a lot of "We don't have the data for this YET, but taking an educated guess..." parts in it, and spends more time seeking out the works of various social scientists to support the central thesis (success is in a large part determined by grit (ie: following through and sticking with one's efforts), and grit is something that can improved upon and learned.)

    While it's still worth reading, I'd be interested to read a second or third edition written with the benefit of specific long-term studies having been conducted/continued to a point where there was more specific hard data to point to (ie: following children up through adulthood in gauging grit against success, gauging long-term grit development efforts vs. control groups, etc). It seems like a promising vein of research thus far, I just wish there was more data and drew less upon anecdotes/individual stories.

    That said, for the purposes of picking out useful information, it's got a couple things to offer that make it worth reading:

    -Grit was found to be more important for ultimate success than grades, SAT scores, IQ tests, etc., at least according to studies of West Point and Harvard.

    -Grit is a lot easier to engender in someone if you're made part of a specific culture that values that (ie: "Nobody likes getting up at 4 am to go swim laps, not even the best ones. But if you're on a swim team that demands that, you do it without complaint because everyone is doing it."

    -An Effort vs. Talent mindset is deeply ingrained in our culture/individual minds, and someone stuck with a teacher/parents that believe in the value of natural talent over effort will naturally lead to their charges having a very pessimistic view of the value of their effort- even if they use all the right words (and few people would consciously say that effort is not important), body language and their overall behavior will make their true beliefs on the matter plain. So as an individual, it's important to seek out mentors/coworkers/social groups/teams that do value effort in actual fact and not just words, so you will have access to genuinely meaningful support to push you past your current capabilities. It may also take some examination of what sort of environment you grew up in, what your parents and teachers valued, to see if you were raised to believe in 'talent' more than effort- if that's the case, you may need to do some self-examination and work to overcome this inherited, false mindset. (May require/learning about CBT therapy, reading up on the concept of Learned Helplessness, etc., so you get in a habit of questioning your own 'talent-biased' assumptions when they come into your head.)

    -She gives the advice that if you're going to take up a discipline, that in doing so you have the option to quit or continue- after all, nobody gives their all to something they fundamentally don't like- but the point where one quits should be at a natural stopping point that is predetermined- the end of a season, the end of a year, after a set number of runs, or miles ran, or classes taken. Do not let yourself quit in reaction to an event in the moment- you're discouraged that day, you feel you've reached a plateau, someone in the class is mean, whatever. You can quit, and it's important to know you can, that you ultimately have control- but it's also important to learn to see things through in spite of difficulty, and often you'll find that the setbacks were temporary, while quitting would be permanent. You want your decisions made on the basis of what you value as a person, rather than your emotions in the moment. (Which is why it's important you have control over whether you start/quit or not- if a parent/teacher forces you to do something, you won't attain grit or succeed at your task because it's not something you actually value being good at.)

    -Acquiring the trait of grit does mean finding success after effort. As with determined practice, this means setting goals just beyond current capabilities, and sticking with it until success is reached. Many people as a children are allowed to give up too quickly, or the class moves on without them, and they come to the conclusion they just don't 'have it in them' to succeed. If they never see success, of course that's a natural conclusion. So it's important to set immediate goals properly so they see the value of effort, and then keep going and ingraining that idea so they can reach further, and will be able to sustain effort in larger goals that take longer to achieve.

    -She talks about her setting up a debate between Anders Ericsson (the Peak author) versus Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (author of Flow, which is about experts in various fields attesting to achieving a positive, sublime state of satisfaction and happiness when going about their work). Since the hard toil of deliberate practice seems to contradict the contented feeling of 'flow', she was a passionate argument to erupt in defense of their arguments, trying to knock each other's down. But that argument never happened, because these theories are not incompatible- Anders's theory is fundamentally about practice, while Mihaly's is about performance. One can have a tough time in the hard hours of practice, and that's what enables the actual performance to be smooth, sublime, positive, easy feeling. Practicing so hard every day for years is hard work, but often people that have just beaten world records at the Olympics will feel like the actual race came easy to them- that's the moment they were in 'flow'.


    So...I hope any of this stuff is helpful to you guys, I'd certainly recommend reading the books if they sound interesting/useful. I'm certainly going to be spending some of my vacation time figuring out more specific/measurable practice work I can be doing (I already started doing an after-work 30 minute drawing practice drawing routine last year, so I know I can stick with spending the time- now I just need to make the practice more laser-focused on individual problems.)


    Angel_of_Bacon on
    gavindelRed_ArremerIrukaYoshisummonsNatriNightDragontapeslingerScosglenacadia
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited December 2016
    Shit is that the longest post I've ever written? Is that the longest post ANYONE has ever written on this forum??

    I think I need to make a firm choice between working on writing with more brevity, or switching to writing 20 book long fantasy sagas where long-windedness is appropriate/would be profitable.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
    zepherinYoshisummonsNightDragontynic
  • gavindelgavindel The reason all your software is brokenRegistered User regular
    Uber post, Bacon. Keeping the AC going, one mega post at a time. Like Megatron, perhaps, but with less Tron and more holy pig meat.

    I've got a book! Angels, innovations, and the hubris of tiny things: Seraphim
    Red_Arremer
  • Red_ArremerRed_Arremer Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    @Angel_of_Bacon That post is extremely useful and really something I needed to hear at this point in time. Over the past year or so there's been a change in the way that I think about my art, in that i want to be at a "professional" level "someday" without satisfactorily defining concrete goals and perimeters, other than starting Proko/Watts online classes, that I wanted to have enough money to attend Watt's in two years, and that I wanted to get a certain number of hours in a day or week. I'm finding that the "hours a day" is a counterproductive strategy, causes stress without planning, and I need to be more goal focused and incorporate a lot more of the deliberate practice I've been hearing more and more about. What I've found over just doing more art than I used to is an abstract form of that idea "effort" versus "flow." When I'm practicing heads or gesture or references it takes a lot of effort and a lot of thinking, and then in the final execution, in my best works over the past year, which is not that many, I finish in a very quick amount of time with a small amount of pain. You put in the pain so when it comes time to really deliver, it's ingrained and flows on auto.

    I definitely want to read that "Peak" book and will focus on putting forth a solid piece of goal oriented planning as my short rest period draws to a close. I think I have to really think about how often and in what manner I'm going to create finished pieces, as it's been the case that I practice and practice and practice, thinking that if I just practice a little more my next work will be that much better and losing sight of the fact that finished works are what motivates me and makes me happy and excited to do illustration.

    Red_Arremer on
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    I wake up early and finish early. Also, the amount of thinking I'd do would be minimal. I feel like all my creative energy goes to my job, by the end of the day I'm mentally drained. Does anyone else feel that way?

    Maybe I'm totally wrong as to what being a garbage man is like. Perhaps theres a lot of math involved.
    Not really you just have to do a waste manifest at the end of the day, that can be a bit of math.

    I know how you feel about being mentally drained. Some days when I look at spreadsheets for 10 hours. My eyes feel like they have been crisped and my brain is just numb. I want to do zero critical thinking after I get home, so I watch Top Gear or some other mindless show so my brain can rest. Spoon feed it to me television.

    However physically being drained and being mentally alert is worst in my opinion, which is what you would get as being a garbage man.

    Edit: Also the smell is pretty awful.

    Not even the right chat

    zepherin on
    bowen
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    @Red_Arremer - I've struggled a lot with the same stuff, it's super super common. I've had this book recommended to me multiple times over the years by multiple people. It's a great book, and I found myself highlighting sentences every single page in my digital copy. It's super cheap too, might be something that helps ya:

    https://smile.amazon.com/Art-Fear-Observations-Rewards-Artmaking/dp/0961454733

    Angel_of_BaconRed_Arremer
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