Failure and disappointment

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    Linn Hansson

    I started on the course “understanding form” about two weeks ago and I’ve made two attempts with it but it just frustrates the hell out of me. Not the tutorial itself but my shading technique, it is just plain awful. I tossed the first one because the proportions were way off but this second attempt does not have that bad proportions, but it looks like crap anyway. I just feel very frustrated with it because I know I can do better. I do not feel that my hands or pencils are working for me like they used to. I feel more heavy handed and clumsy.

    I hope that it is a temporary blockage or irritation that is haunting me. Any ideas when you feel like the crappiest student on earth?

    Marty Kulma

    Hi Linn,
    Unfortunately frustration is always going to be there – i feel it’s a sign of progress. What’s important is overcoming it. like they say “if you’re going through hell, keep on going” – you’ll get out on the other side.

    I’ve gone through it just recently – 3 or 4 bad pieces in a row – fighting each one. it is terribly frustrating

    hope you find your way to greener pastures soon 🙂

    Marjan Van der Donk

    Hi Linn,
    Saying that ‘we’ve all been there’ doesn’t help I presume 😉 ;-)? I have certainly been there, and still am regularly!
    Since starting DTO I have worked in sketchbooks instead of loose paper: I love to have a ‘documented account of my progress’ a.k.a. my failures are saved for prosterity too. And yes, leafing through my books I cringe when I come across those! As Mary wrote: the only way forward is to persevere! Perhaps try to do a few very easy exercises to get the feeling for it (again)? Experiment a little with different ways of shading? I did that with a series of orbs, cubes and cilinders when I first took up drawing (all kinds of hatching, parallel lines, smudging with a brush or tortillion). Hope this helps and fortifies!

    Alexander Shunko

    Hello, Linn.
    Every time I make a crappy drawing and feel disappointment – it’s because of the expectations. But sometimes when I am satisfied (even if the drawing is not perfect) – I’ve noticed that it’s because of the good planning of the practice time.

    I feel that it is more important to focus on the quality of the process than on the quality of the outcome.

    We can’t force the drawing to be better than it actually is, we can’t skip over the hours and weeks of work, but we always can make our practice better. And the perfect practice will eventually give the perfect results. It is very hard when a self-esteem depends on the results, it shouldn’t.

    Marjan Van der Donk

    Hi Linn,

    Matt gave an example in answer to your post in which he talked on images of rolemodels. He gave me that advice too November last year. It meant a breaktrough for me! First I copied (in great detail) two Raphael drawings he recommended. But the best was taking my role model Waterhouse! Somehow it ‘clicked’ and my style became loose and deliberate while copying him, and I just loved doing it!

    Linn Hansson

    I always experience those kind of negative feelings from time to time, I guess I am too impatient and eager to learn. But I usually come around after a while. I decided to draw something else than a statue to just break the bad pattern. I have started watching the tutorial on how to draw glass, which I think will be a challenge but a different one.

    I listened to last night’s podcast and I am one of those who never settles with one medium. I wanna master them all and immediately. :p I will try and focus mainly on drawing for a while and see if I like graphite or col-erase better. I have given away some of the drawings I’ve made from the tutorials like the cast drawing and the pencil to paper tutorial but I was thinking last night that I would like to do those tutorials once more and keep the drawings and store them to take out later on when I feel like crap and see if I have been improving. I have some photos of those drawings but I think it would be nice and an ego boost to keep them in the drawer, and some of the tutorials like drawing the foot didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to so it would be a good idea to try it again. Since I took such a long break from drawing I feel that I have forgotten a lot of the tips Matt has given in previous tutorials, like just the three value idea and much more. I hope to be able to schedule some drawing time in the near future to be able to set some goals.

    Yeah I guess you are right. 🙂 I did improve my proportions with that second drawing I did try to avoid lifting the pencil from the paper, which I still struggle with because I am not really used to it. Hopefully someday I will get more organic lines and less chicken scratch and my eye to hand coordination might be better. 🙂

    Marjan Van der Donk

    @Linn: I have tons of different materials/mediums as I always get (got!) very excited in trying out something new. Matt has a wonderful article on Finding your true North, and that really ‘clicked’ with me. I limited myself to graphite for about three months, and that truly was a revelation. The focus, the mastering of the material + finding my subject matter while improving my basic skills … I loved it! So stick to your pencils (either graphite or col-erase) and enjoy!

    Linn Hansson

    Yeah I think I will do that. One thing at a time. At least I have found a paper which I really really like. The Stratmore 300 bristol series in vellum. I’ve used it on all tutorials so far except from one I think and then I used the 400 bristol series in vellum. Not sure which one I like the most!

    I spend quite a lot of time drawing today and it feels all right, it is not perfect and the proportions are a bit weird since I got a bit carried away but at least I was having fun. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

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    Marjan Van der Donk

    Very nice!

    Virginia Stycket

    Hi Linn!
    I only started taking the courses here about a month ago and I am having issues with the same class that you mentioned (Understanding Forms).
    All the rest of the classes I felt pretty good about. I’m completely new to representation drawing so I don’t have big expectations of myself but I did feel I was making progress.
    Then I started the “Understanding Forms” class. OUCH.
    I just don’t seem to be “getting it.” I was starting to get a little down about it.
    Then I remembered that in the classes “Drawing Accurate Shapes” and “Seeing Shadow Shapes” Matt mentioned that he presents numerous ways to approach a drawing but not all would be techniques we would like or even want to use in the future. He prefers to give us as many tools/techniques as he can and then we can make up our own mind as to which ones work best for us.
    So maybe this technique isn’t working for me (at least not right now) but I did learn it. At least I’ll have it in my “arsenal” of drawing techniques for the future.
    Also, I’ve decided to try “marrying” some of the techniques together. I really liked using a grid so I’m going to try this technique again with a grid in place and see if that helps.
    Your drawing of the glass is lovely, btw! You really captured the reflections and shadows.
    Be well and take care,

    “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” Marcus Aurelius

    Linn Hansson

    Hi Virginia,
    Yeah I guess that some classes or even the subject is harder than others. I will try and re-draw it some day, but I think that it is time that I move on and just try to learn the other techniques so far. Sometimes the reference doesn’t work for me, even though I have been able to achieve nice results with similar techniques and other references. I guess that it is something that I just have to accept. Looking forward to start another project some day, but as for now I have to take care of my daughter who has kept me very busy these past two weeks, and probably will for a few more years :p
    Looking forward to watch the new series about gesture drawings, I hope that they are a bit shorter than the other classes so that I will have time to perform some of the exercises.
    Thank you for your kind words.


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