shackman
shackman
Earth
shackman
Week 19 This week was mostly coding and continuing to learn Blender/Boxcutter. I think I'm getting to a point where I can do less tutorials and more studying shapes, either from life or good artists. I also started the SynStudio class, like every color class it began with value studies. This is by far the most money I've ever spent on art education, I'll have to get as much as possible out of it. The teacher is quite good, so the other 99% is on me now. The homework this week is to take movie stills and compress them to a 3 value study. I googled for the best cinematographic movies and kicked it off with 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford'. No idea who is trying to kill whom and why, but every frame is worth a painting indeed.
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shackman
Week 18 I moved to a new place, literally living in a shack now. Turns out it's next to a pig farm, or rather factory. They use the shit everywhere around in the area, freaking annoying. Also full of free roaming dogs, which is complicated when you have a small dog and want to go for a nice walk. But very nice hosts and that is the most important thing. I half assed draw a box and did some Kalvachev homework, but I made giant leaps with Blender. I'm plowing through one tutorial after another, already getting a good grip on rigging and animation. I also started to learn Boxcutter and Hardops, 2 popular addons that take hard surface modelling to the next level. It takes a while to get used to it, but that time will be well spent. I did only one plein air this week since it was quite cold and windy. Hopefully I can post some cool Blender stuff next week. I did not cancel my Syn Studio despite the continuing bloodbath of my crypto savings. So I'll have to make the best of it, probably gonna get Photoshop for a few months since it is required.
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shackman
Week 17 Worked my ass off on releasing a new video for my YT channel. I spent easily 50 hours on it, and even in the best case I could only make 50$ of the tutorial. Not a great hourly... I see it as an investment in the future though, having an audience can be really beneficial and this is my best bet. Instagram won't get me followers (see images in this thread...) Unfortunately my financial situation is getting worse with the decline of bitcoin. Hurts to cash out when the rate is so low. I'm looking at the damn Syn Studio refund page all the time but so far haven't clicked the button. So not a lot of painting this week. A quick plein air, some animals and Viktor Kalvachevs exercises. It's a pretty cool one where you practice line control while sneaking in a bit figure drawing (though proportions are not the main focus). Tomorrow is moving day, my apartment was booked by other people. The next one is for one month, but kinda expensive so I will only stay that month. I'm currently contacting private owners, not on air bnb, trying to find a cheap place somewhere in southern Spain.
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Christopher Beaven
Hey Shackman! I love it that your on this journey and have committed to it. I've been on a similar journey for the past 9 years and have tracked EVERYTHING on my website, chrisbeaven.com. I'm trying to share a lot of the practical tools I've learned along the way here at proko.com. Such as avoiding procrastination, keeping motivation high, balancing art and life. Let me know if I can help you with anything to make sure that your new journey doesn't end up like the rest. Keep moving forward!
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shackman
hi! thanks a lot, I'm gonna check your site out! Always good to learn from others who have already walked the path.
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shackman
Shouldn't have complained about my financial situation because life has it's way of kicking you one more time when you think the beating is over. My goddamn laptop broke and after spending a day trying to fix it, I concluded that the motherboard was broken. Had to order a new one, since my plan to make money very much depends on having a laptop.... Also seems that my dog has a persistent hip problem and there might be some surgery required at some point. I use that as a motivation to work harder than ever before because it would kill me not being able to afford helping him. I was close to ask for a refund for my upcoming Syn studio class, changed my mind about twice every day. Those 400$ might be dearly missed in the near future. On the other hand I'm thinking that if it only lands me one job at some point next year, it will have been worth it. And having some artistic skill can make me stand out among many Blender artists (not the elite of course, they are mind blowing in all areas). That and the extra kick in the butt to do my absolute best work because it's 400$. I already emailed the instructor what I could do to prepare. This week has been mostly Blender and Unity. My plan is to release Blender and Unity tutorials on my channel and once I have enough skill and subscribers, I'm going to create a paid course. When it comes to drawing and painting, I managed to keep the ball rolling. I did a few plein airs but more as way to relax and sit in nature and have fun with colors. I'm going to continue with the draw a box animal lesson until mid January. First thing in the morning is one animal tutorial followed by a constructive drawing of an animal of my choosing. Excited about tomorrows Elk! To end on a good note, it has now become a very consistent habit of mine to review every day, make a plan for the next one and the same for the week. I always put the most challenging thing first (constructive animal drawing....), followed by what I want to do the most (Blender) and then some relaxing stuff. And then a lot of stuff I never get to, but that's fine as long as I have a plan for the day. (2nd image is a giant bone I've found, no idea if a cow died there or what the hell happened, only 4 bones in total, all freaking large)
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shackman
Week 15 Got back into Blender and coding.... I missed it too much, and part of it was also the continously bad performance of cryptos. Almost all of my savings are in crypto, and maybe it's my past as a professional gambler, I can't cash out because the overall prospect is too good. But no income and paying a fairly high rent for monthly, furnished apartments while watching your savings take a nose dive is pretty tough. So I figured I need to aim a bit more at earning money, and that sure as hell isn't going to happen with landscape paintings, or any kind of paintings for that matter. My best bet is selling Unity and Blender tutorials, and maybe a bit of passive income from youtube. I'm going to continue drawing and painting, but can't put all my time into it anymore. My plan is to rebrand my channel from purely coding to the full stack: Design, Create, Experience. So that will include drawing and artistic skill. It was fun though to go allin on art for a while. It gave me a lot of moments where I stared at the page/screen/canvas and couldn't believe I just did that. As always when I have to cut back on one of my creative pursuits I have to remind myself that I can squeeze out so much more by cutting out the real time wasters. So this will be more of my focus next week. I'll try to recover my productivity app and do the thing Stan talked about in draftsmen, where he wrote down every 15 minutes what he was doing.
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shackman
Week 13 + 14 Did plein air pretty much every day, sometimes 2 or 3 paintings. Living isolated with no distractions in the sunniest place of Europe is quite productive (I wouldn’t even know if there is a crazy lockdown going on or not). I got my backpack with all the sketching stuff ready and don’t need to check the weather. Only taking a brake on Sundays because too many idiots shooting around with shotguns, today there were 3 hunting parties and they looked far from professional. Anyhow, all this plein air painting is leading to a break through moment that I can almost grab. I knew the theory of color and light, and could probably tell you where the bounce light is hitting etc., but I feel like I’m reaching this kind of Neo sees the Matrix moment, something that happens to me once every few years when I go all in on something and battle through. It’s not there yet and the damn gouache is sabotaging my breakthrough moment, but I’ll strangle this bastard into submission eventually. I did well with the draw a box insect lesson, did it every day first thing in the morning without distractions. Insects are incredibly fascinating and come in such freakishly shapes it’s hard to even imagine crazier things. I ended up drawing over 30 insects with construction, all in ink without presketch, which means even more drawings ended in the trash. The next lesson is animals, and I want to really crush it. I can see myself go into creature design, so this is the perfect lesson because it’s not just about drawing animals by copying a reference, but comprehending them in their 3D form and function.
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shackman
oh crap, almost forgot to update... lots of plein air thanks to the endless sunshine in Southern Spain. I'm making slight progress, but still feel like burning every single painting.... Most of my efforts were focused on draw a box lesson 3, constructing plants. I got super helpful feedback by the creator himself, this has to be the best bang for your buck in the art world! Now it's all about constructing insects, next week I will start a new schoolism class with a discord art group. We will go through the 'Deconstructing People' class by victor Kalvachev. If anyone wants to join, just let me know and I'll send you an invite link (you need an active subscription for schoolism of course).
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shackman
Week 11 I made it all the way to southern Spain despite my poor driving skills. So sick of driving after almost 3000km, being constantly confused by the unknown, and often unwritten laws of local traffic, booking places way too high in the mountains, packing and unpacking my bags every day, but it was of course worth it. I’ve seen so many incredible places that motivated me to step up my painting skills, so during the drive I listened to ‘Peak’, a book about how people become experts. It was quite a revelation that has given me hope to get out of my recent set backs. Some key take aways: 1. It is important to always push yourself a little bit outside of your comfort zone. Not too much so it’s just frustration and nothing works, but enough for your brain and body to adjust to this state being the new normal, it’s what we’re built for. 2. Staying outside of your comfort zone is not enough. You need to figure out what is holding you back and find ways to overcome that. Design specific exercises that isolate components, switch up your approaches. 3. Practice with a goal in mind and some kind of feedback to know how well you did. It can be an opinion by someone else, a self evaluation or a statistic. 4. Be focused. Sit down with an intention, don’t get distracted. Deliberate practice is less enjoyable than just doing it, so you need another kind of motivation that keeps you moving forward. 5. Chunking and mental representations is taking raw information and give it meaning, thus being able to process and remember it better. E.g. the positions of pieces on a chessboard represent a familiar situation, notes on a sheet of paper become melodies and rhythms. In art this would be things like value structure, how does light work, composition etc. Or construction, a pro will look at things and immediately recognize the basic building blocks, a beginner just sees chaos. Those concepts, combined with working my way through the recent gouache demo on the Proko channel, led me to come up with a new approach to practice plein air: I divide the page into 4 small thumbnails, and paint the same scene with different approaches. The first one will usually be a 3 tone value study with highly simplified shapes, for the other ones I will pick from a list I am working on. E.g. a full value study, very few flat colors and simple shapes, simple shapes with texture, a monochrome study, muted colors etc… This approach finally got me back into the zone. I am challenged but don’t feel angry and stressed out. The first scene I did with this approach was on a hike last week somewhere in northern Spain, of a rock that looked like a finger pointing towards the sky. I take that as a sign that with this approach, the sky is the limit :-)
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Talal Zulfiqar
I can give you my own approach: i have done a handful of some really detailed landscapes in my watercolour/guache sketchbook that were based on photographs/real life, and one thing i learned was that as long as it looks good in the photo/original source, it will look alright in your work. However, most of the times, such detail does not even look good within the source, and hence in such cases, i'd say either eliminate the unnecessary detail or try to get some other composition of the scene/subject matter that seeks to either eliminate such detail/pattern or present it in a way that looks good to you. Another option is to represent that detail in an abstract form by simply copying the general patterns without painting every single branch as per the source, and this can make the process easier and hopefully you end up work that doesn't look excessively "detail-y". ^ I hope this has at least something of value to you. Good luck!
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shackman
Thanks! Yes, that helps. Maybe I should practice turning backgrounds into abstract patterns in isolation, so I have it in my arsenal.
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shackman
Week 10 I finally did it, I embarked on my journey to Spain. I was a total nerve wreck the days before, I blame it on being responsible for my little dog and not a lot of driving experience. But things are better now that I have started the journey. I am currently in France and have already done 7 paintings, all of them suck. It might be my switch to Goauche or that I took a break from painting (though less than a month), but it is very frustrating to regress. Just when I thought 'looks kinda cool' was in reach, I am now back at childlike paintings.... Since I only have an old laptop with me, I've decided to focus mostly on drawing and painting. Coding and Blender is a lot more efficient with my home setup, and being good at drawing would really help me with Blender as well (so I can sketch some designs on paper first).
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shackman
Something that happens to me quite often is that I see something cool, want to paint it, but the background is a mess aka a forest. Leaving photorealism out here, how do you deal with these kind of backgrounds? Can you recommend me some resources where this issue is talked about by a good artist? Can you recommend me some artists, traditional or digital, that deal with these backgrounds in interesting ways? I think the obvious solution would be to simplify, add some soft edges etc. To be honest though, there is a very typical beginner look where the background is just blurry. I know someone like craig mullins would add expression and texture, and maybe pull out his mixer brush, and blow you away with the background while perfectly weaving it into the composition. How do I get there ? ;-) I've included a photo I just took for reference. Assume I wanted to make the painting about the bush and the grass in the foreground (the colors were actually quite good in real life), but unfortunately someone has planted those trees behind the bush...
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shackman
Week 9 I spent most of the week coding because I won’t take my desktop computer to Spain, so I had a bit of last minute panic. Now however I’m starting to panicking that I will be seeing new places and still suck at sketching, so I’m gonna focus on prepping my body (neck and wrist are still screwed) and learning watercolor and gouache. As planned I kept telling people that I will be sending them paintings and asked for their mailing addresses. I finished a 3D scene, posted on social media and tried really hard not to look for reactions. I lasted about an hour, and the reception was ‘meh’ as usual. I’ll just keep making an effort every time that I post.
tower02
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shackman
Week 8 I’ve been toying with the idea of packing my stuff into the car and just drive to Spain for a while now, but due to laziness and fear of the unknown I have put it off. But life’s too short to stay in you comfort zone, so I’m just gonna do it. What makes everything a bit more complicated is my idiotic dog, who goes kamikaze on every other animal he sees, from mice to large dogs to bulls... That limits me to places that are secluded and accept pets, and I’ll just have to check a few places out and see what it’s like to go hiking there. At worst I’m just gonna drive back to Germany and have an adventure to look back on, and a car that lost quite a bit in value. Not sure how to proceed with my goals. I was really excited to get back into making games, especially VR stuff. It never stops to amaze me to write a few lines of code, put on the headset and then stand inside the world I’m shaping. And even if it fails commercially, a working VR project could get me some jobs. But I probably won’t take my PC, desk and chair, just an old laptop. Maybe I’ll just focus on drawing or learn more about coding in general, just not building bigger projects. Doing hard surface 3D stuff is also possible, as long as I don’t want to render it with good lighting... I did some plein air this week, but failed to keep up doing it every day. But the prospect of moving to Spain soon is quite motivating. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I traveled the world for 10 years and didn’t paint anything, I barely even took photos. I wasn’t into art, so it never even occurred to me this is something I could do. This time I will finally change that, painting all the places I’m going to see. Now if only I didn’t suck so much… Stan recently said in the podcast that he announced his paintings to friends and family in advance for extra motivation. I’m doing the same now and tell everyone I’m going to send them some nice paintings from Spain. At my current skill that would be quite embarrassing, so I better step it up!
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Ghada Dudts Mzid
lovely idea ! I would really love to do a "blog" too 😋 Best of luck for your journey !
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shackman
Just do it! Start with the minimum, one sentence every week (you'll probably write more anyway ;-) )
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shackman
Week 7 Treated myself to some nice ganja, and things went off the rails… I put in over 50 hours of focused work, but almost all of that was for a new game I started working on. In a way that was lazy, because I just did what I felt like doing all day. Practicing drawing always means overcoming a bit of resistance, but with weed my hands were tied. At least it reminded me how much I love making games, so I will allocate 20% of my time to it from now on. Since I didn’t do much besides that, my draw from life challenge has almost failed. I was going to hit 100 this week, but now I’m like 6 days behind. The weather is good and the weed has been destroyed, so I’ll try to go for an epic catch up this week.
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shackman
Week 6 Turns out posting art on Reddit and Instagram does more harm than good for my journey. I got sucked into checking again and again if some stranger out there gives me the lowest sign of affection by clicking like or subscribe. That opened the floodgates for all kinds of quick dopamine hits. I tried to stop Zuckerberg and Co sucking out my attention and selling it to advertisers every day, but man those machines are powerful... In the end I managed to stay strong by enabling a bunch of browser plug ins. Every time I try to open social media now, it just redirects me to good, inspirational art (simply the image, not Instagram etc.) I have to practice using social media, not getting used by it. I plan on posting my next painting on instagram and reddit and then totally not check the reaction until I post again. By then I hopefully won’t give a damn and realize there never was any value in giving a damn at any point in time. I’ve even found a cool plug in that hides all likes, comments, and new subs for instagram. Just the art, nothing else. On a brighter note I kept up my draw from life streak and did plein air most of the days. The autumn colors are so spectacular now that it hurts not having the painting skills to do it justice. I made a painting for the Proko challenge. Boring theme but I took it as an opportunity ‘to make the best of it’ and submit something. I had an idea for a VR game that I think could have great potential, but this wouldn’t be the first time that my great idea is just a giant time sink. I have to give this one a shot though, and I think I can build it step by step, giving me a lot of exit points in case nothing works. Drawing practice went well, I made it through Draw A Box lesson 2, got my feedback and will now tackle lesson 3, which is about constructive drawing of plants. Quite exciting and I can see my skill growing every week.
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demonPrince 006
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shackman
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shackman
Week 5: Thriving in every environment Not one but two family visits and a lot of grandparenting made this week quite challenging, and I almost went down the road of self pity which leads to useless frustration… It is quite a mental challenge to stay focused, and unfortunately I stopped doing my gamification plan and also broke my ‘Draw from life’ streak. I spent an extra hour outside today painting the incredible autumn colors trying to catch up, only one painting behind now. Still didn’t produce a keeper, but the little successes within the paintings are slowly getting more. I tried to be an extra good student for draw a box and made a few practice rounds before doing the homeworks, so at least that went well. I finished lesson 2 which was a about texturing and tons of fun. I also finished another lesson of Polygon runway and did my own take on it. For that I learned to do a cool fire shader, and then sculpt the fire which felt quite magical. I expected a better reaction on social media but I do that every time…. I rest in the fact that everybody does that and one day I’ll blow everyone away. Next week I will try to do Yoga first thing in the morning (inspired by reading ‘Eat that frog’), unless I hit the gym in which case I will do it after the gym. I am not sure how to proceed with drawing/painting, I kinda abandoned the Schoolism course as I didn’t feel I was getting a lot out of it. Maybe I will just do draw a box and maybe a few inktober prompts. And of course the new Proko Challenge. Not a fan of the theme but I want to partake no matter what.
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renderPotman
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shackman
Week 4 Going strong! 6 days of plein air despite a storm, only caved in today after getting smacked by twigs yesterday. I got some watercolor pencils and took them out for a ride. While the overall result was a train wreck, a few cool things happened. The way they blend together while keeping some strokes, and adding lighter details within a big dark area is much easier. It is also a huge advantage to be able to draw while standing, should come in handy when it gets even colder. I still love splashing around with a palette, so I’ll just keep switching between those 2 mediums. And a bit of gouache, and oil sounds pretty cool too... This autumn might be really stunning with colors, thanks to a shitty ass summer whit lots of rain. My biggest problem is that my body is too weak for crazy long sessions. My neck, shoulder, back and wrist start hurting quickly, so I’ll have to work a lot more on that. I’ll use some gamification to motivate me. Everything related to boosting health and productivity gives points, which I can trade for watching movies/sport events and VR games. Not sure if I should put weed on there too. I did that last time and it was incredibly motivating, but once I had it everything went down the drain so I literally flushed it down the drain lol. Anyhow, I’ll just start and will post my results here. Attached is the blank sheet. This month my entry for the Proko Challenge didn’t make it in the video, which was quite sad because I’m a fan of Peter Han. Having him looking and commenting my work would have been epic. But it was a pretty weak piece and there were so many incredible entries that I didn’t feel like the misunderstood genius like I usually do. Lesson 2 of draw a box is way more interesting than the beginning, right now I’m doing what has become my favorite drawing exercise so far: Draw a sausage/potato, chop it into pieces and texture every piece, outside and inside, with a different material. It leads to drawing things like an orangutan haired croissants, very tasty! I’ve decided to do some tutorials on youtube again. I took some thinking time whether I should attempt to make a video game, but decided to focus on small VR experiments instead. That way I can do a Blender followed by a Unity tutorial, and by not making real games I won’t spent time on coding stuff like UI’s or balancing. Not that I couldn’t enjoy it, but my main focus right now is getting good at art. And landing a job for a VR company would be a lot more exciting than being the UI coder. My plan for next week is to finish draw a box lesson 2 and go the extra mile. I’m close to finishing a new Blender illustration based on the polygon runway tutorial (my space toilet flopped, barely any likes, did I mention I’m a misunderstood genius?). I also want to record a new tutorial, how to make a light saber in Blender and swing it around in Unity, add some effects, measure angle of impact etc. Resource highlights: Draftsmen did a plein air episode! Unfortunately I missed the chance to ask a question… Breath – The new science of a lost art. Very interesting book about the effects of good breathing. Seems to be one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ in what you can do for your body. It’s free and easy while having great benefits.
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planBlank
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