shackman
shackman
Earth
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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shackman
Week 3 Finished the 250 Boxes and made quite a bit of progress. The battle with watercolor continues, I did one plein air painting every day. After watching the Marco Bucci video I added some grey markers and cheap paper to my arsenal to make a quick value study. This is an incredible exercise, even though I tend to forget about it during the actual painting. Just sitting there, thinking of simple shapes and values, and moving some trees around like a greed god for better compositional balance is a true eye opener. I still haven’t produced a decent painting, but I am having more of those moments were watercolor gives me a quick taste of what could be, then I do my next brush stroke and that curtain closes. After finishing a Polygon runway Blender tutorial I did my own take on it and fell flat on my face. Kinda frustrating how much I had forgotten, even though I went through it step by step and made sure to understand everything. And then everything I wanted to add proved to be quite frustrating. Adding a quick towel to the scene took an entire afternoon, also turned out Blender doesn’t render images. But I learned a great deal and incorporated some techniques I will use every time now. My twist is a space toilet. At least the toilet worked way better than expected. I lasted until Thursday with my attempt to not check any kind of news, stocks, social media etc. In hindsight I gained absolutely nothing by rekindling the habitual checking. This week I will try to go again until Sunday. Just now we had elections in my home country. I voted, I’m out. Watching the endless debates now is an utter waste of time. I will change things with my art, not with passive consumption. Resource highlights: Marco Bucci – How I Sketch Outdoors In My Sketchbook (youtube) Make a quick value study, put in the focal point first, crop things but not too much, greys are awesome, always think about warm and cool in relative terms (what is the coolest/warmest color on the canvas). Another exercise he mentioned was to go out and find a great scene, look at it and take notes why it has this impression on you. Go home and paint it from memory. I am determined to do that this week, sounds like the kind of exercise that has incredible value and no one does it because it demands high focus and seems to yield nothing but frustration, because the actual growth is happening much deeper and not on the canvas. Huberman lab - Science of learning (podcast episode) At first just put in a lot of repetitions, your brain needs the errors to stir towards the correct moves. Fits perfectly into the 250 box challenge. After a learning session do nothing. The brain will go through the motions in fast rewind and build neuro plasticity. I started doing 5-10 minute yoga poses after 2-3 hours of practicing. I probably won’t ever feel the consequence directly, but I trust in the science (actual brain plasticity after learning was increased by 50% with meditation). Even if it were bogus, I would meditate and stretch, that’s still a win. The science of rapid skill acquisition (book) A really good book about learning, gives a good summary about the different aspects. A good book to read as a refresher. Also talked about skill stacking, that was exactly what my confirmation bias needed ;-) The author even recommended to switch quite quickly between disciplines during a learning session. On a side note, I started looking for a mentor (digital painting, concept art, creature design). I start the search slow as I’m still working on drawing boxes, but thought I’d start looking early to find a good fit. That’s it for this week! Next week will be more plein air, that Marco Bucci draw from memory exercise, but also a bit more relaxing drawing, like painting photos of sexy women and cool animals etc.
spaceToilet
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shackman
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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shackman
There isn't really a focal point. Right now the biggest value contrast is where the trees meet the sky. In the second one it is also where you have the sharpest edges. Also the tree line and the top of the rocks are kinda uninteresting, just very uniform shapes. If you are okay with bending reality a bit, you could try to change the shapes a bit while keeping an overall balance. Like make the rock shapes a bit more interesting on the left, and only have trees on the right. And of course make the waterfall the main focal point, push the values, shapes and details there. Just a suggestion of course, some paintings work without a specific focal point.
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Pau Luna
Looking for feedback and critics. Thank you
DAY 14
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shackman
I'm a noob too but I'll try anyway ;-) It would help if you say what exactly you are looking to improve, and what you were aiming for with the drawing. If you were going for an elegant female, then the super bulging shoulders are doing the opposite. They would also be distracting on a male, it's pretty much impossible to have shoulders this big and upper arms this thin/undefined. Also I'd suggest to use less lines, be more confident (no matter the outcome) and try to give every line a purpose. The loosenes can come later
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shackman
(I'm not that good, take everything with a grain of salt) I think adding more values can help to push the forms a lot more. Kinda interesting to see that in your progress, in the first one the chin is blocky and masculine, but the shading then rounds it off. For example her upper lip is a tilted plane and becomes quite dark where it meets the lower lip. I think this is especially true for older people, so shading there could add to it. But of course the whole piece is pretty good as it is, if I had known how old she is by now I would have recognized her...
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shackman
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 conceptart.org, 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 drawabox.com 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).
shackman
This one is called fruit bandits. I know monkeys are all cute and funny but not when your only option to feed your family is to take one of those dangerous fruit pilot jobs. I really enjoyed this challenge because it's so much fun to see what everyone else did out of the same references. Turns out making a lemur ride a grass hopper motorbike is the ldo solution...
fruit bandits
Proko Reference Bash 02
Proko Reference Bash 03
Proko Reference Bash 04
Proko Reference Bash 10
Proko Reference Bash 11
Proko Reference Bash 16
Proko Reference Bash 20
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