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Hello again my lovely readers!! I had some issues with my computer and my internet conection yesterday but I hope they are fixed already. If nothing goes wrong, we’re having another chat event today in around 5 hours from the posting of this journal (2PM PDT – Los Angeles) in #CommunityRelations chatroom! I’ll raffle another 300:points: among the participants and we’ll have a small critique event and trivia! :D Join us!


The importance of the learning process

In the past days I’ve given you tips on how to draw, I’ve shared tutorials covering different topics and you’ve had the chance to meet professional artists who gave us valuable pieces of advice in their interviews. I want to dedicate this article to talk about the importance of the learning process and how to make the best out of every opportunity to extend your knowledge.

THE FIRST STEPS OF THE PATH

Most of us have found our favourite hobby in art and have dedicated our spare time to it since we were kids. Even though not all of us have been able to attend an art school we have found our way through art by learning on our own and applying every little tip or technique we learnt about. Learning on your own can be a very challenging task, especially if you don’t know where to find resources or don’t know how to use your tools of the trade. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there at one point or another!

When I was younger I made a habit out of eye-balling and tracing images from series I loved, like Sailor Moon and Pokemon. Doing that helped my mind, eyes and hand to get used to the shapes and the movements needed to recreate that peculiar style I was drawing. After quite some time my mind and my hands were able to remember what my eyes couldn’t see, and I started drawing fan arts without relying on pre-existing images. Still, my drawings were less than average, the anatomy was far too awkward and I barely had a few crayons to paint my “masterpieces”. I was happy with my art, I won’t lie, but I wanted more.

Some people suggest that we should pick an anatomy book and learn from it. It’s a very good piece of advice but how does an 8-year-old get a hold of an anatomy book? My parents considered that drawing was just a game for me, they didn’t know that such an uncontrollable passion was slowly growing inside of me, so they never really tried to nurture my artistic side nor provide me with any resources to help me along the way, but considering we had just about enough to pay for the bills and the food, I don’t blame them for not helping me develop my skills. Truth be told, even if I had been given a book I highly doubt I would have been able to learn anything, not sure about yours but my brain wasn’t ready for the world back then.

IDENTIFYING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Due to the lack of resources and the slow pace at which my skills were developing, I stopped drawing on a daily basis for a couple of years. When I was old enough I stumbled upon deviantART and the vast amount of possibilities it offered painted my world a different colour. I picked the drawing habit back up and started browsing through the galleries and reading all the tutorials I found. In the beginning I felt everything was going just about fine, tutorials were helping me a lot especially while learning how to use certain art programs like Photoshop (and Paint Tool SAI later on) or learning the very basic aspects of drawing in manga style. But after a while I started feeling as though the tutorials weren’t helping me as much anymore, I could easily draw this and that but whenever I tried something different I’d find myself struggling hard and eventually failing.

Finding these hard-to-surpass obstacles in the way made me feel like I did when I was 8 years old, like I was back at the start. It was frustrating. However, my brain was a bit more prepared for the world now, and it managed to do what I couldn’t: find learning opportunities.

One of the things that I consider to be one of the first learning opportunities I encountered on deviantART were the critiques I received from different deviants in my works. Some were soft some were harsh and I didn’t want to take any. Who were they to say my work wasn’t good enough or that it had flaws? That’s a very common response to criticism and everyone who genuinely wants to keep learning should stop taking it personally. I subconsciously applied their critiques into my work and, what do you know? They were right. My work looked better even though my ego was hurt.

Accepting critiques on your work allows you to see what your eyes don’t recognize as a flaw. It’s important to get help from other people to see what your weak points are and how you can overcome them! It might hurt to think you didn’t do it perfectly but in the end it will be worth it. If people don’t critique your work and you’d like to have someone tell you what you could have done better, join one of the many Critique Night events hosted in the chats!

A similar version of critiques is asking a knowledgeable friend to help you out with your pieces. You could consider it to be like a version of a beta-reader but for drawings. It’s very common to show your piece to a friend of yours that is more experienced in art and ask them to point any flaws out and draw over your work with a red line to show you how you ought to fix said issue. Comparing both works will let you see why your version didn’t work and it will give an insight on how it should be done next time. Since you’re talking with a friend, you’ll feel more comfortable knowing that they’re not trying to make you feel bad.
This can also be done with someone who is not a friend, during one of those critique night events I asked Rahll to help me out with a drawing I was struggling with, and he was kind enough to help me with all the flaws in my work and shared some valuable  tips and tricks with me. We became friends after that and I consider him to be one of my biggest inspirations in art. Don’t be afraid to ask other people for help, you already have the no, so you don’t lose anything by asking! Don’t miss out on any chance to learn!
Now that I’ve been on deviantART for so long being permanently surrounded by art, my brain has yet again started doing something I wasn’t conscious of: analyzing art. From a couple of years ago I stopped just appreciating art to also learn from it. When you find an incredible work that baffles you, take the time to actually look at the piece beyond its appeal, analyze each stroke, each detail, notice how the artist made something and ask yourself “How did the artist do that?” Furthermore, ask yourself “Why did the artist do that?” Try to figure out the answer to those questions by just looking at their art and you’ll be able to step forward at a faster pace!

Not only can you learn from looking at other people’s art, but you can and definitely should learn from looking at reality. Look around you, but look beyond what you see! Notice how the branches of the trees are placed in the tree, how the leaves are attached to them, how foliage casts a shadow over other leaves, how light passes through it creating dappled light on the ground…etc. There’s just so much you can learn if only you take the time to observe and understand nature!
Observe your body, observe other people’s bodies, notice how shadows are cast due to the different shapes of the body. Figure out why your character’s arm looks awkward by looking at yourself in the mirror doing the same pose. Look at the bones and the muscles, see how they move, where they are placed, what shapes they create underneath the skin or how their visibility is altered if your character puts on or loses weight. Understand the body in order to draw the body!

You can do this by looking at your surroundings, like anatomy, buildings’ perspective and landscapes, but you can also help yourself understand them better by reading books about those topics. Books are a major source of knowledge and you ought to make good use of them! I’m no longer 8 years old, I can find anatomy books in the library or the store, my brain is now capable of reading through them and understanding what is written in the book and my hands are desperate to put all this knowledge to practice!!


UNDERSTANDING YOUR OWN LEARNING PROCESS

Now that you’ve identified the learning opportunities, it’s your turn to actually put them to use. Each person is a different world. One person might have found a certain technique very useful whereas some other person might not have been able to succeed with that same technique. It’s a matter of experimenting and finding the learning process that you’re more comfortable with and that gives you better results. Don’t give up after trying just once, persevere and if you don’t succeed, try a different way!

Remember, seize all the learning opportunities you come across, it will benefit your skills and your capacity to spot and fix mistakes and flaws in your art.

Do your best!!

Hope you found this guide useful!


Skin made by Ikue and Redesign by SaTaNiA
I want to dedicate this article to talk about the importance of the learning process and how to make the best out of every opportunity to extend your knowledge
Add a Comment:
 
:iconapple-kitty:
apple-kitty Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2013   Traditional Artist
I am the worst person I swear for learning art. Whenever I draw I usually get frustrated and walk away because my drawing is terrible when I think I'm doing good. It pretty much extends to most things I am learning =_=;
Reply
:iconminato-kushina:
Minato-Kushina Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013
Such a beautiful and a kind of nostalgic article! :heart: Thank you a lot for sharing it! :hug:
Reply
:iconsun-lily:
sun-lily Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Hobbyist
This is great! This promotes the importance of learning. I only wish more people would critique me. :) (Smile)
Reply
:iconhoukou-nrl:
Houkou-NRL Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013   Traditional Artist
*applauds* Great article! It does well in discussing possible means of improvement, and reminding the reader that there are many opportunities out there—they just need to go out and take those opportunities for themselves.

For me, observation and a great deal of thought about "How does this really look? What is the actual form?" have been my means of improvement, not to mention that I love seeing artists who are better than me and receiving critique. The one serves to drive me to keep working—there's such a vast world of art out there, and there's still so much for me to explore!—and for the latter, I know by nature not to become self-absorbed or jaded. The pride's there, sure, but there's no ego to hurt, and so much insight to gain. One day, I need to find an army just so I can say, "Fire away!"
Reply
:iconlablayers:
LabLayers Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Student Interface Designer
:heart:
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:love:
Reply
:iconblackfoxasakura:
BlackFoxAsakura Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013
Interesting, one more fav^^
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks sweetheart!! <3
Reply
:iconblackfoxasakura:
BlackFoxAsakura Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
Welcomes dear^^
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ohh thank you so much for this article, it's indeed very useful!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::love::iconflyingheartsplz:
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So glad you found it helpful <333
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconflyingheartsplz::iconsweethugplz::iconflyingheartsplz:
Reply
:iconvangellj:
VAngelLJ Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Really nicely written, Rydi :)
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you so much hon!! :glomp:
Reply
:iconkarolusdiversion:
Karolusdiversion Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013
Granted that the best way to learn to draw is the "copying from life" of the reality
that surrounds us (as also Leonardo stated in his Trattato della Pittura (Treatise on Painting),
you can also give a look at the following links:
drawsketch.about.com/od/learnt…
drawsketch.about.com/od/learnt…
www.learn-to-draw.com/
www.karmatoons.com/drawing/dra…
All this is for informational purposes only.
Plagiarise Mangas is not a good idea to learn how to draw.;)
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Surely I don't recommend plagiarising manga as a way to learn, I stated the way I learnt. Needless to say, an 8-year-old child doesn't have access to good art resources, nor do they know that said resources even exist unless they have parents who actively encourage and nurture their children's hobbies.
If you get into art when you are already old enough to find your way through the internet and the library, yes, there are a thousand better ways to learn than to eyeball pre-existing images, that is undeniable.

I checked your links, the tutorial about holding the pencil drew my attention the most, I had wanted to include some references about holding the pencil too but I ran out of time. I use the "underhand pencil grip" style xD ever since I realized I wasn't holding the pencil the right way *for me* I started improving and having less pain in my hands while drawing.

Thanks for the resources!!
Reply
:iconkarolusdiversion:
Karolusdiversion Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2013
Whereas it isn't the hand that draws, but it is the brain which has a visual memory of the things that surround us, to learn to draw, you must first train this visual memory, learning to observe and copy the reality that surrounds us. All this must be done since you are very young, if it is possible.
That's how you acquire those "visual capabilities" in order to draw something that you've seen "out there" and that now remains in your visual memory.
These basic perceptual capacities can be applied in a various way and progressive, as occurs in the case of the basic capabilities of the language and arithmetic.
Then, of course, the hand must be trained to draw what you have in mind, but this is just a matter of "gymnastics", if you have a clear idea of what you want draw.
Enhancing your brain functions and visual intelligence, learning to draw produces also a physical reward: the drawings! Happy
In order to train the hand, on drawspace.com can be downloaded free drawing lessons in PDF format:
www.drawspace.com/lessons
There are lessons to suit all ages and all levels of ability.
Reply
:iconworldweissweb:
WorldWeissWeb Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I am a total beginner.  Started drawing,  a week ago.  Thanks for the words of advice!  I take in, everything I can find!
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good luck in your artistic path! Don't hesitate to ask for guidance and help to anyone who can aid you!
Reply
:iconjessica500:
Jessica500 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Student General Artist
At first I thought the title was referring to gym class (Physical Education= P.E.) :XD:
Anyways, this is a great article ^.^ I also like to go around (anywhere) and look at different object, scenes and people and ask myself "How would I draw/paint this?" :)
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's a great thing to do in order to learn and improve :love: Keep it up!!
Reply
:iconjessica500:
Jessica500 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Student General Artist
^.^ Thanks! :)
Reply
:iconkagaminelink:
KagamineLink Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorta like me! ....but I gave up drawing for two years, then restarted...
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good luck with your developing process <333 you can do it!
Reply
:iconkagaminelink:
KagamineLink Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks! :D I'll try my best!
Reply
:iconkura-ou:
kura-ou Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this article ;A; I wish I read something like this when I was getting serious 10 years ago; it feels like I'm in a rut at the moment, but after reading this, I'll try to expand my horizons.
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So do I! It would have saved me so much struggle :C
This Project Educate Week has shown me just how many things I am unable to draw, all my pieces are the same, I also need to expand my horizons and learn new things! :3 Good luck to us!
Reply
:iconiingo:
iingo Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ry u r a saint to all beginning manga artist out there
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you so much dear <33 I hope it was helpful to anyone
Reply
:iconcharfade:
charfade Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013   Artist
I'm definitely going to link back to this journal when I write next months speed paint study challenges! Thank you so much for the wonderful read  and great reminders. So much truth in this!
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
that'd be so lovely of you! I hope other people find this article useful too <3
Reply
:iconsatoshid:
SatoshiD Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
and what is this "critique night" thing ? ... i don't have any idea that where should i get some critique ._.
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
these critique nights don't always happen at night, keep that in mind :XD: that said, we're having one in 4 hours from now in #CommunityRelations (chatroom) the event goes as follows, people claim a turn to get a critique and when their turn comes, they link to the work they want critiqued in the chat and the rest of the participants share their thoughts on the piece and give tips to improve :)
Reply
:iconsatoshid:
SatoshiD Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
so it just happens in this group ... 4 hours will be 2 am in here so probably i'm sleep ... but any way ... i just have to go to the chat room right ? ... and i'll have my turn then ? ... or i should do another ?
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You'll have to ask for a turn when the time comes, yes ^^ it will be 11 pm for me, we're going to lack sleep tonight :XD:
Reply
:iconshirara-chan:
Shirara-chan Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is an amazing article! It really gets the idea through that we were all beginners. Thanks for writing it.
Reply
:iconrydi1689:
rydi1689 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you dear <333 hope it will help you learn some new things!
Reply
:iconshirara-chan:
Shirara-chan Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I know it will! I'm always going to do my best and try to learn from the little and big things :D
Reply
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