Shackman's art journey
Greetings! I am Shackman, a failed novelist who became a failed game developer and now I want to become a… really good artist! I used to be a poker player and publicly writing about your journey was really common because it encourages honest self reflection, motivation and tips from others, and the occasional friendly kick in the butt. It was also really cool to have those blogs all in one place and in a forum so there is high visibility and very little friction for discussions. I keep hearing about this thing for art journeys back in the days at, but that site is gone and I couldn’t find an alternative. Instead of whining I decided to take a shot at getting the ball rolling myself. I chose this site because there are a lot of artists here who are beginners/intermediates but dedicated enough to have a promising future ahead of them. I also trust in Stan and his team to keep this site alive and bustling. I asked in the suggestions forum if I can do that here and got the go ahead, I also asked for a category but there is of course no demand yet. I’ll do my best with this blog so it will motivate other to start their own thread, and maybe one day we get a category. Week 1: I have been drawing on and off for a few years now, but lack solid fundamentals. About 2 months ago I decided to go all in with art. I have made a challenge to draw from life every day. Currently at day 50 something. I use watercolor and paint mostly plein air for maximum frustration. So this week I want to do a few watercolor tutorials, Marco Bucci just uploaded one and there is a recent Gouache tutorial on the Proko channel. Besides that I’m doing the 250 Box Challenge for and some Blender tutorials. I use an app to track my progress, and split my time into equal parts of drawing tutorials, drawing for fun (podcasts listening allowed), Blender tutorials and Blender freestyling for fun (no podcasts though as that would just irritate me when trying to do things in Blender).
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Week 2 Feedbacks given: 3 Asked for feedback: 0 This week I’ve been doing a lot of Blender, working my way through a Polygun runway tutorial. I just finished following along, so now I’ll do my own version of the scene to incorporate what I’ve learned, I will post it next week. I started the 250 box challenge, which is a lot more than I thought. I try to do every single line with effort and intention, so each page of 5 boxes takes me 20 minutes on average. The exercise includes extending all the lines after each finished page to see your mistakes more clearly. For the first time I forgot to do a watercolor painting from life, so I did 2 the next day to not get into the habit of letting it slide here and there, which is the first step towards letting it die completely. This is where I am, nowhere near a painting a sane person would put on their wall, but way better than my first ones which looked like someone had punched a palette and then punched a piece of paper and trampled on it with muddy shoes. Despite poor results I feel like I’m making progress and enjoy it a lot. Watercolor feels like working with actual magic. Right now I’m more of a Terry Pratchett kind of wizard who constantly blows up his lab or accidentally turns his assistants into rodents, but with enough practice I will get there. I watched Marco Bucci’s recent live stream where he told his water color story. He did it almost every day for an entire summer, and ended up with a huge stack of bad paintings but a much deeper understanding of watercolor. Since I wrote about self reflection here last time, I figured I’d take a look at why I didn’t make it as a game developer. My mistakes, more or less in order of gravity, and how I try not to make them with art: 1. Starting and abandoning projects Finishing a painting is a lot faster than finishing a game. I should hold off a bit on my ideas for animated shorts though…. 2. Starting projects that are too big This is where I laid the ground work for abandoning projects. To avoid those mistakes, I added a column in my blender and painting ideas spread sheet for estimated time. I will force myself to start at the bottom. 3. Not enough of a structured approach. Also my biggest mistake in my drawing career so far. Which is why I now work my way through the fundamentals and write (and adjust) my overall plan. 4. Not enough feedback I tried hard to find other game developers to work with, joined endless projects etc. The problem was that the pros had no interest in working with some random, unaccomplished guy. I already have a schoolism study group where we critique each other, that helps a lot. Further more I’ve decided to ask for feedback here, and I will make sure to give even more feedback to others. 5. Started teaching too late At some point I made a youtube channel with game dev tutorials, which is a great way to learn. The problem with drawing is that anyone can see how badly I suck, so I can’t make tutorials yet. At least I can teach simple stuff in Blender, which I’m already doing. 6. Not enough tutorials/not being a good student I always wanted to work on my own stuff, and watch the tutorials ‘later’. While I watched hundreds of hours, I should have done more in the beginning. Even more important, I should have done more than just following along. I try to correct that now by first taking notes and then take the learned material and do things with it until they became ingrained. 7. Not taking my health and mind serious enough. Just do it ;-) Next week I want to finish the 250 box challenge, make a scene in Blender (a sci-fi toilet), and continue with Schoolism’s Story driven illustrations. I will also try to go one week without any kind of distractions. No news, crypto, stocks, reddit, facebook etc.
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I really like your linework on your boxes and the inking in your watercolour. Sometimes I feel like getting confident, crisp likes can be half the battle. Watch you don't pile too much stuff onto your plate though or you might get stressed out :)