It’s funny the comments you get when people catch you drawing in public. Almost always, someone will say something along the lines of, “Wow! So much talent. I wish I could do that.” It reminds me of a conversation I had with my pre-med college roommate that has stuck with me. She said, “People say I’m smart. Like it’s natural, like I was born with it. But they don’t realize how hard I work, how much time I spend studying. I just work _really_ hard.”
I think this gets lost often when people see artists doing their thang. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in order to cultivate and nurture our technical skills and creativity, a lot of observation, and discipline.
Here are some of the ways I’ve been studying:
• Mastercopies. Copying the sketches and drawings of artists I like and admire. This is an incredibly effective way to learn how the artist approached their piece, their technique, and how they problem-solved within their piece. I’ve been trying to do mastercopies everyday.
• Film studies. Freeze-framing animated and live action movies to break down the compositions, lighting, how the focal point is emphasized. Working with a black marker to break the frame down into simply blocked out shapes is a good way to learn about layout designs and compositions, too.
• Learning about LIFE things. I listen to Radiolab episodes while working, I’ve been reading about neuropsychology, learning about social-psychology theories, branching out into other worlds of interests lately. I’ve been reading a LOT, more than I ever have. Also, I’ve been trying to watch one classic film a week so I just have that cultural knowledge. I’m making more of an effort to go out and experience new places and things when possible. Creativity does not exist in a vacuum.