SI #2- My blog's new purpose - An Instruction Manual!

People are often told that if they make art, they are an artist. Hence, they are a writer if they write things, or a designer if they design things. This is a statement meant to help people wrestling with the question of when they can call themselves an artist (writer / designer). It is very helpful when you are in the beginning stages, or when you make the mistake of comparing your art with that of other people and start feeling incompetent.

"An artistic journey" - my old header and mission statement

I asked myself this question a lot - mostly because I wanted to be a writer, and later an artist, but I didn't actually do much about it. I have now solved this problem by taking part in many drawing challenges and getting into the habit of drawing daily (and actually getting quite grumpy if I can't find the time). This is a huge step up, and I have made a lot of progress, and I am very proud of myself.

The problem is that while I now know that art is indeed what I want to do, and I have even decided on the 'specialist subject' of illustration - but I have no idea how to go about getting better at it.

The most common answer to that new question is, "Continue making art, and you'll get better!". This works; I can already see some progress in my own art. But it is not a guideline that will help you to focus your studies. When confronted with this, the next advice is to "check the internet - there are so many resources these days!". And that is true too. You can view instructional videos on how to draw nearly everything, how to colour in colouring books, how to set up palettes, or how to promote yourself on social media.

However, I noted a distinct lack of a clear instruction manual - and since I studied maths and natural sciences at university, instructions are something I know how to work with. A wide array of choices has never once helped me decide what to do. (I even experience jealousy if someone has picked a cup of ice cream that I didn't know I wanted more than the one I chose.) And how do I know which priorities to set, or how to know that I have studied something for long enough and can move on?

I don't have the luxury to enroll in a full course at an art school - I lack both time and money to do so. But what I can do is try and build an instruction manual for myself with the resources I have, and then
hold myself accountable. I was brainstorming how to best approach this idea when I realised something I already had - an art blog.

I could write down my research and thought process that led me to decide on a certain path of studies. I could list helpful resources so that I might find them again later. I could post progress pictures and take note of what I've learned during the week. I could start little side projects, and they would find a new home in this online world.

This has two added bonuses - first that I would also gain some sort of structure for this blog. It has been lacking a proper purpose for far too long now, and, like I noted above, I don't perform too well without a lack of clear guidance. Posting about the next step in my art, even if it was a bad step, is a much clearer goal than coming up with random art-related things every week. (I still want to pot about random art things that happen in my life or that I think about, but being able to do that when these things happen, instead of waiting for a Sunday when I am not interested in the subject anymore, will be a big motivating factor.)
The second bonus is that this process might be helpful to someone else who is starting out and trying to teach themselves illustration. I will surely make mistakes or unwise decisions, so feel free to laugh at my stupidity and then learn from it. I already made these mistakes for you - go make your own.

Now, this is just an introductory post. Next week begins the real work - setting up a studying plan and making time to follow it. Feel free to follow along, or make your own footsteps later - or just cheer me along the way if you'd like :). After all - what better way is there today to hold yourself accountable than to put a promise on the internet and tell an embarrassing amount of nice people about it? So, with the hope that I won't disappoint either you or me, I will now set out on this new path - a journey in illustration!

2 comments:

  1. A lovely post! I look forward to reading more about your journey as an artist Xx

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    1. <3 <3 Thank you! I hope it will be interesting :).

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