Saturday, June 05, 2010

IF: End of the Trail

Another year in wild world of teaching comes to an end. We had some good success (250,000 in scholarship for portfolios) but perhaps one of the most mentally challenging years I've had. Things I always try to teach the students:

Potential without dedication and action means nothing. Art can be fun work but the majority of the time it is still work...don't run from it but rather embrace work is better than screwing nut A on bolt B 8 hours a day 5 days a week.

Learning to be a good or great artist means more than just being able to draw and paint well.

There's always an excuse to fail...always a reason to play the victim...but true success comes when a person adapts and overcomes obstacles.

Learning to learn is a student of life because it will open up your creative stockpile. The more you can do the more dangerous you are in the art world.

Proper planning will usually get you further than throwing crap against a wall and hoping something sticks. There are happy accidents but don't count on them. There are shortcuts but don't always rely on them...your skills will diminish.

As one college instructor put have to get out of the mentality that good is good enough. Don't let it grind you to a stop where you do nothing but stay hungry enough to push yourself and learn to be self-critical.

People will often notice what is wrong more than they will what is right...If you paint great faces but your hand renderings look terrible they are going to focus on the terrible hands much don't give them an excuse. People will usually try to say something nice regardless but it is the pruning that produces the most fruit.

Family is often the worst place to get a critique. They love you and will say nice things and defend you because you belong to them. My daughter drew an elephant that looked like a deformed beagle. I told her it was one of the best elephants I ever saw. That is what we do. If you are 17 years old and not related to me and draw an elephant that looks like a deformed beagle...and you want to be an illustrator/animator or whatever in commercial art...I am not doing you a favor by telling you it is the best elephant I've ever seen.

ALWAYS make the time to cultivate your inner artist. That doesn't mean to neglect your work but what you learn by playing will often come in handy at other times.

If you created something you think is great by waiting until the last minute, think of how great it could've been by spending the proper amount of time on it...and usually when you wait until the last minute truth be told it probably isn't that great.

Artists tend to procrastinate...that doesn't belong in the 'good characteristics column'.

Your first idea is usually shallow.Use the process to dig deeper. Explore the problem.

Everyone has a limited scope of reference...there are always people out there that have been down your road and trying to help you avoid the pitfalls they've already been through. Be grateful and humble.

And finally...easy clients, teachers, and people are easy to deal with. Most people don't need to learn how to handle them. Often teachers that appear 'difficult' are really trying to help you so you don't end up in the fetal position on the floor sobbing when you hear someone say something you don't like with regards to your work.


Coreopsis said...

Did the kids hear any of these lessons? I too teach high school (English and not art), and these are lessons that kids in ALL areas could use (hell, most adults could too....) Your chimp made me smile.

Have a great summer!

steve said...

This is excellent Brian - both the drawing and the advice! I'll have to stop by this post every so often to keep myself reminded of these things as well. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Kylie said...

Great advise, I'm in my final semester of a BA of Graphic Design, we didn't get to do illustration as a part of our course which is why I set myself the task of doing the IF exercises. I'm not sure were this trail is going to lead but I'm sure giving it 110%.

heidi aldin said...

I hope that by September you'll feel more human again. Love the illo, funny!

studio lolo said...

Wise advice indeed.

I was just reading Woodenisams after John Wooden died last week. Now that was one well-respected guy. Class act.

happy Summer!

roberta baird said...

Thanks .... I needed a refresher course!! What a treat it must be to be a student in one of your classes!

Sally Taylor said...

This is another wonderful illo and blog post. I am also a high school art teacher and I have started to follow your blog. You have made some very astute observations and I enjoy reading about your perspectives.

Amanda B!!!! said...

:) I miss being in your class... but what I really mean to say is that you should have used a Captain D's cup instead of Wendy's... or did you find a new favorite? Thanks for the bday wishes too!!!