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Postby laurenhiya21 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:11 am

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Subject title: How do you identify your strengths and weaknesses?

This might seem like a weird question to ask, but I am very bad at figuring out what my strong and weak points are. Maybe my low self-esteem gets in the way, but usually when I finish something I'm just not happy about it overall and can't really pinpoint what exactly I need to work on the most. On the flip side, I can't really see what I'm doing well either, so it doesn't feel that great to not see anything I like about a particular piece.

Does anyone have any tips on how to figure this out?


Postby DarkLored123 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:36 pm

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You are not alone when it comes to not feeling satisfied most of the time, although I can provide some tips that might help you identify strengths and weaknesses that you might have.

My first tip would be to make sure you are thinking while drawing. This is probably the most important thing you want to make sure you do, since if you are not actively thinking in your head when you are making decisions, then everything is being processed sub-consciously which can pretty much blind you to mistakes because you are running on "auto-pilot" at that point. When you are consciously aware of what you are doing, you can avoid careless mistakes and pretty much identify problems as you are making them because you are utilizing your knowledge that is already established. Thinking while drawing will simply save you a lot of time and is much better than going into an "auto-pilot" state.

Second tip, get a critique from someone is highly competent and is considered to have professional skills. Knowing how to identify your mistakes on your own is a crucial skill, but even you can be blind to your own weaknesses. From personal experience, not too long ago I thought my perspective is good compared to a lot of other people, which was completely false and I was blind to the fact that it was a weakness. After getting a critique from someone who is highly competent in the field that I like to do, I realized that perspective is a huge weakness because there were a lot of careless mistakes that I made, that otherwise could have have been avoided had I been more careful. That is why an opinion from someone who can objectively see your work is much more valuable to use than yourself at certain times.

Third tip, challenge yourself out of your comfort zone. One way to see if you have a weakness in a certain skill is to do something challenging that you would not do otherwise. For example, if you want to see if you have a weakness in perspective, then you can simply pick to draw a complex angle to see if you can handle perspective to that degree, or if we are talking about gesture, then draw a complex pose instead to see if you are capable of utilizing these skills to that degree. Going beyond what you are capable of and trying to break your limits, sometimes is the best option you can have to see whether you have strengths/weaknesses.

I was told by some artist that specializes in the field I am interested that drawing is mostly about observing on how you draw, which I believe is certainly true and a really useful piece of advice. I hope that my input helped you resolve your problem, even if it is just a little bit.


Postby CaptainKiryu » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:58 pm

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I think one of the biggest ways to get over this is to draw a ton. the more you draw, the easier it is to level-up sort of subconsciously and improve your hand skills, but more importantly it will create a body of work that shows patterns that can be analyzed for strengths and faults. It's just as important to identify commonalities in your drawings that you like as it is to identify ones you don't.

You can also find artists you admire and sort of look at your stuff beside theirs. But this has to be done objectively---beating yourself up for not being at their level will do no good. You can sort of compare things like how they do proportions in an appealing way, how do they use perspective, what level of detail do they add to each drawing, etc.

I think DarkLored123 had a nice idea of getting out of your comfort zone to find weaknesses as well. I recently have been doing more digital art and it has revealed how truly awful I am with color because there is no where to hide when the colors are so precise. So I had to reel myself in and start with more restrictive color palettes and learn how to make those work before I jump into some complicated painting.

Laurenhiya21, I'd say doesn't really matter what you work on first if you feel that you have a lot of issues. Just pick one that you feel like could be easier to deal with and take things in small steps/bites. Looking at your sketchbook, you seem to really like drawing characters, so that's a good place to start. Maybe do lots of figure drawing studies followed quickly by doing some figures from imagination---possibly start with a blank manikin-like form so you don't need to get caught up in things like clothes, hair, or faces. Then, to reward yourself for working hard at your studies, you could draw a pretty girl in a dress or whatever you want, but try to keep in mind the things you were thinking about when you were studying.

Contrarily, I have been listening to Feng Zhu's YouTube all day and he made a recommendation to start by doing studies of things like rocks and trees---not humans---so that you can loosen up with things that will still look cool even if you make some mistakes as well as get you used to natural rhythms and organic shapes.

I guess my overall advice is to just draw and learn to think about drawing.
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