Irshad Karim
Irshad Karim
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
I'm a concept artist at Silverback Games, I run drawabox.com, and I draw the web comic "Orc and Gnome's Mild Adventures"
Caleb Asomaning
If you generate an idea that makes no sense and is an integral of purely unrelated entities, will it be possible to make a drawing out of, less difficult, and how would you be able to connect such entities by the smaller questions within those entities ? For example; what if cell phones could be charged by maize grains?
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Irshad Karim
That reminds me of something Feng Zhu talked about in some of his YouTube videos a long time ago - creating a world that is just different for the sake of being different, rather than using the real world as a grounding for our ideas. The farther we stray from reality, the harder it becomes to make a particular design direction plausible to the viewer. Above all else, our responsibility is to solve a given problem while maintaining the viewer's suspension of disbelief - their willingness to set aside the obvious issues with the idea and just accept, "this is the way it is". That said, it's also really difficult to think of ideas that are so far out there that they're impossible to solve. Feng Zhu's example was, if I remember correctly, something like a world made of cotton candy or bubble gum or something - but the very fact that these are materials with physical qualities we can understand, things we've probably touched before, means that while they are challenging to bring into the realm of plausibility, they're not impossible. Similarly, the concept of needing to charge a cellphone is a relatable, familiar thing. Sure, in this world we'll use maize grains to give it juice, but who's to say we don't throw a bunch of corn into the charger, and that it undergoes a chemical reaction to produce a charge? We can do it with potatoes after all. Potatoes may not produce too much of a charge, but people would probably be willing to believe that corn might produce more, and they're not as prevalent in popular media for people to challenge that notion. The question comes back to one thing - we can design a lot of really crazy ideas into approximate plausibility, but will it serve a purpose? Phones and electronics being charged by maize grain is a good starting point for the whole world, but on its own it's just different for difference's sake. So we have to ask ourselves why would this society charge their phones with maize grains? An obvious reason would be that corn is so prevalent throughout the world that of your phone runs low on battery, it's incredibly straight forward to walk across the road to the corn field, grab a handful of kernels, and dump them into a small device plugged into your phone. But things that influence the way in which one technology is used should, in order to be as believably integrated Into society as possible, should also come up in other ways. Corn husks being used as a common crafting material for instance, a heavily corn based diet, and a society that itself is laid out to compress human housing use of land, and expand the use of land to grow as much corn as possible. No single idea is likely to be too weird to be plausible, but they're also never going to exist in a vacuum. These concepts layer on top of one another like threads in a tapestry. At the end of the day, everything we create works towards creating a larger cohesive world, not just a one off thing.
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Shreyas Gupta
What is the name of that "implied detail artist." Can you please mention it
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Irshad Karim
Could you give me a timestamp from the video where I mention it? It'll help give me context with which to recall.
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Irshad Karim
This curriculum tends to be floated around a lot, and Proko and Marshall brought it up in one of the draftsmen episodes a while back. I feel I should clarify something- The curriculum shouldn't be ascribed to Moderndayjames - it was put together by Alex Honeycutt (Radiorunner), and features a quote from Moderndayjames, though it's easy to understand why people think it was made by MDJ or involved his input in some way. As far as the curriculum itself goes, the only recommendation I have here is that if you're following it, it's best that you not apply its 4-weeks-per-unit pacing to the sections that have you following along with Drawabox. Drawabox *really* isn't meant to be shoehorned into a specific preconceived timeline, and when students try to do so, they end up rushing and missing big chunks of the material. When working through any Drawabox content, just focus on giving it as much time as it requires for you to complete the assigned work to the best of your current ability. Setting deadlines/timelines/etc can be very useful further into one's learning process, but I think that the foundation one builds up at the beginning of their journey is so critical that it should absolutely not be rushed.
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koreley
Once you get to a point where you have a question, how do you actually go about getting ideas down? Let's say my what-if was "what if dinosaurs were still alive and got domesticated?" what ideas would i generate first? and how would i go about doing research? I surely know nothing about modern-day or old technologies, or even invented technologies to resist stretches I'm unsure what questions to ask myself to come up with a good design for a t-rex saddle, for example, and looking at real life saddles would just lead me to copy-paste the saddle onto the t-rex. Is it just an issue of asking more questions, am i worrying too much, or something else entirely?
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Irshad Karim
I suppose the easiest way to respond is to look at the question you've asked, and to identify all of the smaller questions within it: - How do saddles work? So for example, looking at real-world saddles, how do they stay on the animal's body, and how do they allow the person riding them to maneuver? - What kind of materials exist that could be used? You mentioned stretchiness yourself, that's one avenue to consider and explore, finding various materials that could suit that need, though you might consider stiffer materials and see what the benefits might be. If material stretches too much, it might not provide as snug and reliable a fit compared to a purpose-made saddle. Observing a saddle is definitely the first step, but it's not a matter of just copying it - it's about looking at physically what the interactions are between the saddle and the animal and the rider, and digging for more questions. This definitely is a skill in and of itself, one that develops through practice, and it's more one of thinking rather than drawing from observation. Drawing a saddle may well help you explore what a saddle is (that is, doing a direct study of one, both on an animal and off an animal, with and without a rider, etc.) but it's just a tool to get your brain juices flowing.
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Florent Mounier
"if someone shared them with you [tips and tricks] you'd make it into the big leagues in no time." Kinda wanted to react and say i agree, this is somewhat of a silly thought, but at the same time... What are beginners supposed to think when they browse through youtube and 90% of advice are about tips and tricks? especially when these come from youtubers who are former pros in big AAA companies and like to brag about it so they can hook you on their content? I like to think it's not my case, but i'd be lying if i said my brain doesn't want to believe there are certain "shortcuts" to success. It's a tough subject since it basically means you gotta believe these guys have no idea what they are talking about and at the same time were able to force their way into the industry.
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Irshad Karim
It's definitely a normal way to look at learning, and you're right - with the resources that are put out there and the way they're framed, it's a mistake we're often led to by no real fault of our own. At the end of the day, the majority of content that is put out is produced with the intent of generating a return. When content is put out for free, the focus becomes on making sure that it has as wide a reach as possible, in order to capitalize on passive monetization. That doesn't mean the information presented can't be extremely useful - just that it'll be marketed with a focus on how helpful and life changing it'll be, and might not take the time to establish what it *won't* teach you, or what you may need to know initially to benefit fully from it. At the end of the day, it's not that these people have no idea what they're talking about. It's more that the nuggets of wisdom they do have to offer aren't really going to have as much reach unless you... talk them up, maybe exaggerate them a little. You know, click-bait stuff.
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Irshad Karim
I ended up opting for the non-art related career myself, many years ago, having majored in Interactive Multimedia, and getting hired after graduation as a game programmer at a studio that made educational software for toddlers. It was around the same time I got hired, or even a little before, that I firmly decided I wanted to pursue a career in art (which had been a hobby of mine for the previous decade). It's not that I don't enjoy programming - it's just that I figured I'd rather do game development for my own projects, for fun, and I'd be happier doing concept art and illustration for clients. I worked full-time - so 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I would definitely consider it to be cognitively taxing, but I did find that if I pushed myself, I had different pools of energy to draw from. After work, I sure as hell wouldn't want to push myself to do more programming at home, but while it felt difficult at first, I was able to coax myself into putting time into my art. Granted, it helped that I didn't have any other responsibilities - I lived with my parents, so while I helped them with chores in the weekends, I didn't have to cook dinner each night and had a fair bit of free time. I started making a habit of spending at least 3 hours each night on taking my art more seriously. First, I set a challenge for myself, where every night I'd do a photo study - a minimum of 3 hours had to be invested, and a minimum of 1 study. So if I happened to be satisfied with a study before that time was up, I would start another. If I got into the groove and wanted to go loner than 3 hours, I could, but of course I still had work the next day. I did this for 31 days straight, including weekends. Setting that end date helped, because I could see the finish line. It wasn't an arbitrary endeavor, so even if it was tough, I was able to push my limits knowing that it wouldn't be forever. I feel this had a pretty significant impact on me - it showed me I had it in me to pull from this separate well of energy, and that a lot of the time it could even help me unwind after work, even though I was trying to learn and train. After that, it was easier to invest that time in a wider array of exercises, in tackling illustrations that would be spread across several days and weeks, and to generally push beyond the limitations of a salary man. After about 15 months of this, I quit my job, took my savings and funded a 6 month trip to LA to study at Concept Design Academy. The rest is, as they say, history.
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Irshad Karim
Feedback is useful at a number of stages - not just when you're done. Once a piece is done, it's done. Any feedback you receive on it can be used on the next piece, but this one's over. Lots of people seek feedback when they're at a crossroads and aren't sure which direction to take. Plenty of people post WIPs (works in progress) when they aren't sure about something specific. I think when posting unfinished work for feedback, the best things to consider are what specific issue would you like the feedback to address, and simply whether you yourself put a good deal of time into working through your issue on your own first. For the first one, "I don't know where to take this piece" is vague, but certainly still an issue worthy of feedback. If you can offer people something specific to focus on however, that is certainly going to make things easier on the one offering their time. That last one is subjective, but some people have a habit of valuing their time in this context a little too highly, and actively seek feedback early and often as a way to minimize their own time investment. As long as you feel you've made an attempt to think through whatever it is you want help with, then there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Worst case scenario, let's say you post something for feedback and you receive none - that doesn't mean posting your work was somehow wrong, a mistake, or inappropriate. It simply means no one had the time to offer in that instance. No harm done. Ultimately just remember that posting your work for feedback is not a performance. No one is looking for you to meet some standard or to please their sensibilities. They're giving feedback ideally because they want to help people grow. That's all. It's easy to forget that sometimes amidst the eternal pursuit of validation social media engagement.
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Irshad Karim
I've got a bit of a spiel about style, and how it relates to the "fundamentals" - which is, in a lot of ways, what you're asking about in regards to style vs. realism. You'll find it in its original context here: https://www.reddit.com/r/ArtFundamentals/comments/gpxkca/the_battle_with_style_vs_fundamentals/frpzxn1 but I'll paste it below as well. --- There's no battle between style and fundamentals. It's not an uncommon way people look at things, but it's not accurate. Instead, it's better to look at the concept of style as being a filter or a coloured lens through which one is looking at the world. The fundamentals are the world itself, specifically taking things that are three dimensional and capturing them - not hyper-accurately, but at least in a believable, tangible way - on the page. The fundamentals are about selling the illusion that what you're looking at in a drawing is real. Style is a series of choices an artist applies to their work. You can think of it as a recipe, or an algorithm. In that sense, it's not unlike how an instagram filter works. You've got an input (the actual thing being depicted), it goes through a series of choices, and out comes the final, stylized work. So when it comes to creating a style of your own, what you're doing is developing your own recipe, your own clear set of rules and choices that will govern the works you wish to produce in this style. The first thing you need to learn, therefore, is what are the recipes that others use? And really, what is a recipe? How do I apply it? You can do this by doing master studies - that is, studies that involve looking at another artist's work, and attempting to reproduce it specifically focusing on the stylistic choices they've made. You know how one might go about capturing something real at its most basic and most un-stylized (assuming you've got pretty solid fundamentals, which you should if you're worrying about style), and so you need to analyze how the artist got from that point to their end result, and decompile their algorithm. Find out what choices and rules they followed to achieve that cohesive look. Do this a lot. Do master studies of works you admire, do master studies of works that are in the totally opposite direction you'd like to go yourself. As you do so, you'll find little pieces, individual rules that will appeal to you, and as you gather these pieces, you'll be able to start experimenting on how those rules and choices can fit together into their own styles. These things will develop slowly - just like a chef testing out a new dish, they'll try things out, make tweaks, let things sit, scrap them entirely, and try again. And gradually you'll come to a style that has been tailored and engineered to suit what you want now. And you'll probably keep working on it even beyond that, eventually your tastes will change, and you'll find yourself desiring a new style altogether. And this is how you'll go about it again. But if you don't feel like you have a solid grasp on your fundamentals, on capturing things as they are (again, not hyper-realistic which is a style in and of itself), then you may want to strengthen those building blocks. That isn't to say you can't do master studies now, but that it helps a great deal when analyzing another artist's choices to have a good grasp on the raw material. --- So in this sense, understanding, say, how human faces are actually structured in 3D space will help immensely when it comes to understanding *why* other artists - say, manga, or cartoonists - choose to represent their faces in a particular fashion. It helps us understand why they're making the choices they are, and so in turn it allows us to better understand the choices we make. When we just attempt to create style without this bedrock, our choices become more arbitrary and less grounded. That said, if your art teacher is suggesting that you stop drawing whatever stylistic stuff you're drawing now - ungrounded and arbitrary as it may be - I staunchly disagree with that. I think there is a lot of benefit in balancing both areas, to draw the things you love most on one side, just for its own sake without stressing over whether or not it comes out well, or as you intend, and studying the fundamentals, reality, whatever you want to call it on the other side. Setting out separate periods of time for each will help you maintain balance. It's very easy to just delve completely into studies, and to lose one's sense of direction as a result.
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Irshad Karim
It's important, I think, to understand portfolios in terms of what they are - a tool to get work. The type of portfolio, what goes in it, and what is okay to include (as well as in what form) all depends on the kind of work you're trying to get. I think as a rule of thumb, it's always important to show respect for the time of the person going through your portfolio. So, in that sense, WIPs could add clutter and become somewhat distracting, making it harder for that individual to gauge you at a glance. If we're talking about a digital portfolio - a website, a PDF, etc. - then there's always the opportunity to provide a deeper look at a given project, how it was iterated upon, etc. via a link that does not detract from or diminish the standalone portfolio itself. If that's the case, then I would still recommend making sure that your WIPs are not arbitrary. They should all serve a purpose, serve to communicate some aspect of how you solve problems, and how you thought through a given piece. If you did work for a client (for which you received permission to share), there *might* be some value, for some people, to see how you engaged with feedback, how you handled revisions, etc. But still, all of this is very much secondary to the main elements of the portfolio that a potential employer or client would want to be able to traverse as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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Jme
Hey Uncomfortable, it's me, one of your fledging DaB students. My question is, how do you "know" when you have reached the intangible threshold of "good enough" to start using a platform and trying to build a following? Too soon, and I'd imagine you do more damage to your potential career than good, but given that it's incredibly hard to judge your own art (or maybe if you can't, that's an indicator that you're not ready to start throwing it up on instagram or wherever), and especially if you're always in a space where you feel like other people on those platforms are always "better", how and when do you take the risk? Side note: I'm finally getting to the end of DaB and you throw this new Science of Drawing Course up, thanks for nothing...there is no finish line. Looking forward to it.
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Irshad Karim
Hah! Drawabox is the starting line! It's the tutorial zone, you're only just breaking free of your box prison and going out into the world. Make sure you pack sunscreen. So I think the main issue here is a single erroneous assumption - "I'd imagine you do more damage to your potential career than good". I honestly don't think this is true, or at least not as true as you might think. There are things you can do now that can mess with your career going forward, but none of them have to do with drawing badly. Rather, it's things like being a jerk - and even that fades with time - that'll mess with future opportunities. There is however a reason one *might* avoid posting their work to social media, and that comes back to the things you may have seen back in Lesson 0 of Drawabox. It's the tendency for students to be obsessed with the end result of their work. Social media kicks that into high gear, causing us to think a *lot* about not only how something's going to turn out, but how it's going to be received, and the worst part is that it starts creating a clear connection between how many views and likes and whatevers our work gets, and how we feel about it in general. It quickly overshadows the joy we may have experienced while working on it, if we allow it to. Often times just being aware of this, and being in tune with how you're feeling is enough to counteract it. To celebrate your shitty drawings for what they are and what they were, and to continually fight against the bitterness that rises in us whenever we feel we haven't gotten the attention that we deserve - or worse, that we don't deserve the attention we received. If you feel you can keep that under control, and guard your sense of self worth in that brutal social media hellscape, then strap on your red cotton onesie, grab your guitar, and hop onto the roof of your weird speaker truck. It's time to ride. As a side note, I would check out the answer I gave to Pedro Kaponautas below on the topic of when the right time is to start a web comic. Similarly to you, they asked about the threshold of skill at which it would be appropriate. My answer was similar, but there are additional points that may be of use to you.
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purpledun
what's your best advice on portrait drawing ? and making drawings that actually look like the people you're trying to draw
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Irshad Karim
When it comes to portraiture, I think the most important thing is understanding how the face is made up of a lot of separate "planes". Beginners will usually try to draw the face as a sort of singular flat surface, but as one gets a better grasp of the major planes in which it can be divided, they can better understand how the face exists as a three dimensional structure.
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purpledun
hello so I'm like doing drawabox rn and it's kinda driving me insane im on the rotated boxes part of lesson man I just want to know how I'm supposed to apply this stuff to my drawings like how do I apply boxes and ellipses and circles to my drawings when I draw I just draw things the way I see them and that's the only way I know how even outside of drawabox literally every beginner drawing video talks about boxes and spheres and ellipses and I just don't understand how to apply that stuff to my actual drawing
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Irshad Karim
The way Drawabox is designed isn't as a small-scale tutorial. It definitely includes things in it that will individually improve aspects of your art (mainly as individual tools, like the ghosting method, the concept of drawing from your shoulder, etc) but as a whole, it's a course that is meant to put you through a series of exercises, in a particular order, in a particular quantity, that is designed to rewire your brain as a whole. The main concept Drawabox focuses on is teaching students to understand how the things they draw on this flat piece of paper, actually exist in 3D space - how it's made up of simple forms, and how those forms relate to one another within that space. Outside of Drawabox, you don't need to push yourself to actively try to apply what you're learning - if the course works as intended, it's going to gradually sneak its way into your work by changing the way in which you see the world, and the kinds of habits with which you approach drawing as a whole. Long story short - relax. Just focus on following the instructions to the letter, including the instructions on the rotated box exercises which state that you're probably going to have a horrible time with that exercise. Try it once, and move on. There are exercises in the course that are specifically assigned at points where you're not expected to be able to pull them off especially well - it's part of the process.
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Uku Kivisild
Hi Irshad, do you think it is more important to progress through classes and not stay stuck on each one for too long or getting to grips with a topic before moving on? and why? It also applies to learning the figure since I struggle to move on from gesture but I have decided to progress anyway and just keep coming back to it.
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Irshad Karim
So in my experience, when we're introduced to a new topic, or we're reintroduced to an old topic after a while, we tend to pick things up very quickly. As soon as it starts to get stale, as soon as we just stare at the same thing constantly, the efficiency with which we learn diminishes quite a bit. Long story short, I wouldn't stay stuck on the same thing for far too long. That doesn't mean you can't visit it regularly - one of the most important things when learning figure drawing is literally just mileage, but if *all* you're doing day in day out is figure drawing sketches, then that might not be the most efficient approach. So yeah, I strongly support the idea of learning a concept, continuing forward, then circling back regularly to continue practicing it while continuing forward. A good example of this in Drawabox is the concept of texture. We have students tackle it in Lesson 2, but then students have the option of pursuing the 25 texture challenge... which is *literally* just one of the texture exercises done 25 more times - but I encourage them to do this in parallel with the rest of the course, rather than all at once. Here's one I critiqued today, which shows their progress over the course of *many* months: https://imgur.com/a/qUAmmaX
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monkeybini
what do you think on the mindset of art shouldn't be fun? there are parts in the art process that isn't fun like line art or blocking in a sketch with color for visual appeal or visual problem solving some things and research etc. what are your thoughts? i try to keep my mindset on art as some parts in the process wont be fun and to have a goal or expectation for what i'm going to draw like wanting to just learn about values and even if it may not look like what i hoped for i reached my goal. think of it more as school work. what are your thoughts on this type of a mind set. do you agree, disagree? think it could be added upon and what's your mindset on drawing? how do you approach it?
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Irshad Karim
So while I think your wording is a bit misleading, I think I agree with the sentiment behind what you're saying. It's not that art shouldn't be fun - it's that there inevitably will always be parts that aren't necessarily enjoyable. Some of it's just boring. I mean, you're talking to the guy that forces people to draw 250 boxes. I'm the king of not-fun. Drawabox itself, is a course that leans very heavily into the idea of learning to draw being like learning anything else in school. There are, however, a lot of people out there that feel entirely turned off by the prospect of doing *anything* related to art in a way that isn't fun - and I feel in avoiding tediousness, they're missing out on quite a bit. But for some people, they simply aren't in the right point in their journey to sit down and do the boring stuff. That said, one should balance things out. Where we do plenty of boring stuff in Drawabox, I leave it to the student to adhere to the "50% rule" - which states that for every hour you spend on courses (be it drawabox or anything else), you should be spending an equal amount of time drawing just for the sake of drawing - basically to help people learn how to enjoy drawing on its own, without worrying about how things turn out. But again, based on what you've written, I think this does line up with what you're saying - so yeah, I can say that I agree with the meat of your view on this.
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misbha
When someone is studying by themselves with books and online resources, what are things that they should keep in mind and is it possible to actually be industry ready when you're self taught?
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Irshad Karim
Nothing is impossible - but that doesn't mean that there aren't things that are very, very difficult, and fraught with dangerous pitfalls. Whenever someone talks about studying "by themselves", it raises the need for some clarification. Do you mean working entirely in a vacuum, on one's own, trusting wholly in one's own individual capacity to understand the material they're studying and their ability to identify their own mistakes, without feedback? Or do you just mean, relying on those resources and seeking feedback from online communities? 'Cause that's a pretty big distinction. I would *never* recommend anyone work in a vacuum, completely on their own. There's no good reason for it, and it leaves one susceptible to misunderstanding the material they're studying, and working for long stretches off those misunderstandings. Now if you mean going the no-school route, working with a community of people pursuing the same kind of goals, critiquing each others' work, and basically making your own school - then sure, you can get there. The structure school offers does help, but it really isn't the end-all be-all, and it has its own pitfalls along the way. What matters most is that you're open to feedback, that you're highly disciplined and self-motivated, and that you DON'T just obsess over your weaknesses. So many students - especially those who like to think themselves to be particularly driven - will focus entirely on their weaknesses, and leave no room to acknowledge their strengths. It's a great way to lead to burnout. The biggest thing with self-taught students is that a lot of them go out of their way to make things harder than it needs to be. I feel like it might be the whole "suffering artist" nonsense - but hopefully it'll fade away into the cultural irrelevancy it deserves.
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Attila Mityok
Is it a healthy, or positive long term set goal to one day become a show runner for an animated series, with creative control? What are some of the compromises to personal vision and just how hard does one need to work and have the patience to find the opportunity to show your peers and potential clients your own ideas and pitches?
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Irshad Karim
So if I'm understanding you correctly, you're asking if the goal of having creative control is a healthy or positive one. The longer you are with a team (and the more experience you have in general), the more latitude you're going to have to offer your own thoughts and ideas. When you start out at the bottom of the totem pole, as a junior artist, you're not likely to have all that much creative freedom, rather you'll be there to help support someone else's vision. That doesn't mean it's bad to ultimately aim to become the one with creative control, as long as you understand that this is something you earn over time - that is, over the course of years. When you start out as a junior artist, it's not so much that you're compromising personal vision as much as... your personal vision isn't really a factor. It's not being compromised, it's just irrelevant. As you deliver on your responsibilities in a reliable, consistent manner, you will likely be given more latitude and control. It varies, of course. Some small studios just don't have much of an art team, and so an individual artist - even one relatively new to the team - may have more opportunities to speak up, to offer their input, and so on. But even there, one needs to understand their role in a team. If you join a team and spend the whole time itching to take hold of the steering wheel, then that is probably going to have a negative impact on your ability to perform in your responsibilities. The studio isn't there to bring your vision to life, after all. To be completely fair, I don't really know how animation studios work - so perhaps there are opportunities for individuals to provide their pitches. Being that my experience is from working at an indie game studio though, those kinds of opportunities were basically non-existent. Having been there for six years, I had plenty of creative input on how we worked to achieve our clients' goals, but those goals were still defined by the clients. There were a few instances where I did concept art for game concepts that I was particularly enthusiastic about, but they were all invariably shelved. We only spent time on those when client work dried up - and as soon as it was back, they were set aside for another rainy day. All that said, if you want creative control and have your own ideas you'd like to bring to life, definitely pursue them on your own time. Just be careful - if you work for an animation studio, and work on something on your own, make sure your employment contract does not by default give ownership of what you make to your employer. There could be some complications regarding non-compete clauses, and other such legal nonsense.
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Jeremy Carter
Hi Irshad! For years I have told myself I am "not ready" to start applying for art jobs and that I want to keep training before I attempt to enter the industry in a real way, despite friends/fellow peers having told me that I am good enough. I truly do feel unprepared in many areas of drawing and expect after a couple more years of training I will indeed feel ready. But felt like I have stumbled into producing a couple portfolio-worthy pieces that make it seem like I know what I'm doing lol. Was there a point when you felt, "Okay, I feel I have enough skill/knowledge in this particular field that I am ready to apply for positions," or is the "I am not ready" mentality holding me back? Thanks!
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Irshad Karim
So the thing to keep in mind is that the position of a junior artist comes with it two distinct responsibilities. First, a junior artist is expected to have the capacity to follow the instructions of their art director, to do fairly menial tasks roughly in the vein of their area of study. In any studio that's going to have more than a single artist (which unfortunately is where I worked), the new junior artist fresh off the street isn't expected to perform miracles. They're there to sweep the metaphorical floors. Secondly, a junior artist is expected to *learn*. To benefit from the experience of their seniors, and to gradually expand in their responsibilities over a period of months, and even years. I think you have a bit of an inflated expectation of what it really means to be a junior artist in a team. I mean, a lot of people do, and so they immediately disqualify themselves before they've ever applied. But the fact of the matter is, that's not your responsibility. Don't do the hiring manager's job for them. If you want a job, and you have a portfolio, send your application in. If your portfolio isn't good enough, they will toss it aside and forget you ever applied. What is there to lose?
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Anton
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Irshad Karim
Not really my cup of tea.
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Pedro Kaponautas
Hello Irshad! I can't tell you enough how Drawabox has helped and is helping me improve my drawing skills, and I'm very thankful for all the great work you have being putting out for these past years. Now here's my question: I have interest in drawing webcomics, but I'm still a beginner, how can I tell when my skills are developt enough to the point where I can draw a comic that doesn't look awful.
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Irshad Karim
There's no actual point at which your skills will be developed enough to where you can draw a comic that doesn't look awful, for the simple reason that drawing comics is an entire beast of its own. What you're asking is essentially this: if I sit by the poolside and talk about swimming long enough, how long before I can jump into the water and swim a lap? In order to get good at drawing comics, one must first draw comics badly. It really comes down to the same principle I talk about back in Drawabox Lesson 0 - the idea of "being ready", and how we tend to be so focused on not making asses of ourselves. In being preoccupied with saving ourselves the shame and embarrassment of drawing badly, we avoid doing it at all - outside of the bubbles provided by courses where every step is neatly outlined and we're always told what the next step is going to be. But alas- there is no hiding from it. Whether you do it now, or you do it a year from now, you will have to step out there and fall flat on your face - regardless of how good you are at your exercises. The advantage to doing it now is that you *know* you're kind of shitty at drawing, and so when your comics come out poorly, that'll just be a normal thing. But what about a year from now, when the work you do in your courses is actually getting pretty good? How much more will it hurt to have your comics fall far short of your expectations, despite all of the hard work you put in? Lots of people have done this, and at least some of them have decided to throw in the towel as a result. Now this doesn't mean you *have* to go publishing your web comic and showing it for all to see - but you should at the very least be producing them, to get a feel for all the considerations that go into making one. But if you *do* want to publish to a website, or to a platform like WebToon or Tapas, there's something else to keep in mind: I've been working on a web comic for over 3 years, and even now, I'm pretty sure that if I spent the time working on it working at a grocery store instead, I'd probably have more money to show for it. Don't get me wrong - I fully expect my comic to blow up *one day*, but I expect it to take quite a few more years before that can happen. The thing about web comics is that it's all about reaching a critical mass - that means, reaching the point where your audience is big enough, and enthusiastic enough, to fuel its growth without your own intervention. It's where you lose control of its growth. That's when it explodes. That's when you've succeeded, and where you get "reimbursed" for all the long hours for pennies. That sounds like a lot of drudgery, pinned on a hope and a dream, but it's actually kind of freeing - it means that web comics are, at their core, a waiting game. As long as you put the work in to update *regularly*, and that you hold to the commitments you make to your audience, what you do now beyond that doesn't really matter. In the fullness of time, your art will get better. Your stories and writing will get better. And as they improve with that practice, you'll accrue more of an audience. Sure, you might be embarrassed of the first pages, but look at all the web comics out there with their dogshit archives. You're reading them *now*, and you don't like them any less because they started out trash. So, if achieving that critical mass is just a matter of time and consistency, then the sooner you start, the sooner you'll get there. The fact that your art doesn't meet some arbitrary standard is irrelevant, and it's only holding you back from doing the *one* thing that'll take you that step closer to success. Just understand that it's a very, very long road, and that means your endurance needs to come from somewhere other than external gratification - that is, the attention others give you. You need to tell that story for yourself, because for a while, you're probably going to be its only reader.
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Weijak
Hi Uncomfy! I have two questions, do you plan on doing streams again? And also, seeing that you´ve always been having different proyects at the same time (work, DaB, webcomics) what some important things you take into account when planning your days/weeks or scheduling what you do. Im currently doing graphic design in Uni and I sometimes feel like I could be using my free time more for drawing but I also Im afraid of burning out. Anyways, I hope you are having a good day!
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Irshad Karim
Hey there, Weegee. So, on the topic of streams, I do, but they've been a pretty low priority thing for me. I put them on pause primarily because I was putting so much of my time towards both the Drawabox overhaul and my work on the course I made for Proko (which dropped today! https://www.proko.com/course/the-science-of-deciding-what-you-should-draw/overview), and now with my apartment flooding and Scylla and I being temporarily displaced, it's all kind of up in the air. I will in all likelihood return to it, but it's gonna be a while yet. We'll be back to a point of stability in September... unless something else goes wrong. I think I've had the good (and perhaps, in some ways, bad) fortune of hitting a point in the development of Drawabox that a *lot* of opportunities hit around the same time that it would have been unwise to reject. Proko was a big part of that - when Stan reached out to collaborate together, first on the Aphantasia video, then this course, the opportunity was too good to pass up - although to be fair, my imposter syndrome alarm is going off like crazy right now. The way I used to see things, I had three jobs - at least for the last few years. My day job at Silverback Games, Drawabox, and OGMA - which is pretty much what you listed. OGMA itself took up that block of time I used to commit to doing things for fun, with no real pressure. Illustrations, working on my game development projects, etc. That was certainly unfortunate, but it was for a good cause, since it was basically a shared project I worked on with Scylla, while we were still long-distance. Since then however, it's turned into this giant thing of its own, although one with a workload we've been able to reduce quite a bit, down to just one day per two weeks. Last summer, I was able to really wind down my work at Silverback, but that is also the same time that Stan reached out, and my responsibilities with Drawabox also increased, both filling the void - so it's like the free time I promised myself I'd reclaim evaporated, and I've been joking to myself that I burned out many months ago. That's my secret, cap. Now, the main difference is that unlike before, none of these projects are just continuous things that will go on for the forseeable future. The Aphantasia video's done. This course is done. I may work on other courses in the future, but definitely not for a while. Even my overhaul of the Drawabox material will be finished eventually, and updating Lessons 3 and 4 will allow me to hand off those critiques to TAs, freeing me up even further. So whether I'm just fooling myself or not, free time is on the horizon. To actually address your question though, I think that block I kept free, which eventually got eaten up by OGMA, is *incredibly* important, and we all owe ourselves some down time to keep from going nuts. It's not that we can't work during that time too - it's that it is a block of time we should not commit to anything long term. A block of time where no matter what you choose to do, you have the permission not to feel guilty. Draw, play video games, read a book, go outside, join a cult. All is allowed, in your free time.
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