Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hand Studies and Why You Shouldn't Please Everyone

I always find reason after reason to love and respect the work of professional illustrator, Endling.

 "Blue Mage" by Endling

And tonight is no exception. Endling, in his dA journal, addressed the ever-present topic of "I Want to be a Better Artist". Bullet Four in particular stood out to me, because it's something I'm sorting through myself right now. Here's a snippet that I thought was important to highlight for myself, and for others. But click the link and read the whole article!

"4. Don't try to please everyone.
Be willing to grow, be willing to learn, but be willing to enjoy your own work.

I've never had a harder time improving than when I was too busy thinking about everyone who dislikes my stuff. And it's true. You can't please everybody, no matter how hard you try. It just spreads you thin, it makes you lose focus.

The problem here is the interpretation, though. I'm not advocating you don't listen to critique, and plug up your ears when others give you suggestions on how to improve. Having a thick skin as an artist is immensely important. So is the desire to get better, to be receptive to change. However, this does not mean you should allow a hateful opinion to change the course of something you personally want to do. Really, it all depends on your personal standards and what you want out of yourself as an artist.

Again, let me make myself clear here. Critique is vital to an artist's growth. Being used to criticism, and able to take it and shape something out of it, is an invaluable trait, one you will benefit most from learning early on in your career. I don't like it when artists hide behind the word 'style' more than anyone else. But you know what else is important? Knowing the difference between criticism intended on bettering you as an artist, and just straight-up hate for your work. One is a resource you can use to level up. The other is noise. Noise wastes your time, and the time of the person making it. Chances are nothing you could create would make them happy, so it's not really meant to be. Press on, and don't lose sight of yourself. : ) " - Endling

Well, said, Endling, well said. Like I had mentioned a few posts ago, I recently decided to make a change in who I was listening to and why, and I think it's important to remember that, as an artist, you ARE allowed to make choices about what's helping you, and what's hurting you. 

But like in Bullet 1 in Endling's article, I have been working to not neglect my basics. It took me some time to realize this, and he puts it so well:  
"It may seem like you've grown past the need for stuff like the most basic perspective, lighting, dynamic, color theory etc.. but the reality of it is, you never grow past it. You should always be seeking to learn more about these things. Every step of the way" 

So here, have some hand studies.
 These are by me, lol


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Lots of truth in his post! I myself have a problem with trying to please everybody ha ha...But I understand what he means when he says a lot of artists hide behind the word "style" :P. It's okay to admit imperfect execution sometimes! :)

  3. I have this problem a little bit, but I think for the most part, I'm still my toughest critic.
    There's a fine line between being genuinely unhappy with your work, and just fishing for compliments, so I try not to mention it at all haha
    A lot of people can't seem to tell the difference. =/
    But overall, I'm trying my best to improve for me.

    Thanks for posting this. It's nice to have a reminder sometimes.

  4. Chris - Yea, I definitely agree. Sometimes I feel it's selfishly easy for me to avoid the "style" excuse because my preferred "style" is realism. But I think when I politely disagree with critique because I just don't see it to be accurate is when people start thinking I've got some crazy ego, or something. I have to let it go and learn not to please everyone; I just think it's silly that there are people who think I have this monstrous ego... I wouldn't be posting studies, now would I? Because I'd think I was already too good for them. Derp. It's definitely okay to admit imperfect execution, and I admit to it quite frequently, lol.

    Britt - I would say the same. I think we're all our toughest critics, in a way. I admire that you're improving for yourself. Sometimes I feel I lose sight of that. And thank Endling - he's such an inspiration to me. Not only as an artist, but as a person with an awesome attitude.

    I wonder who deleted their comment... whoever you are, thanks for reading :)

  5. Even before I really "met" you in the AD, I could tell you were confident, but not egotistical.
    There's a fine line there that I feel a lot of people cross ):

    I'm intimidated by the quality of your art, but not your attitude.
    You're very kind and sincere, and I really appreciate that.
    Especially since I'm a newbie to art and the art scene, it's comforting to know that there are people like you around who won't bite my head off for asking silly questions.

  6. Britt - you know, I feel ego can go both ways. Ego in someone who denounces crit because they don't feel they need it. And someone who denounces the artist because their crit wasn't heeded like the gospel truth.

    I try to convey the attitude that yes, the critic can be wrong, and it's okay. Giving critique as an artist often turns out to be a learning experience for both of you - it's not just for the artists' benefit alone.

    I'm glad I come off as sincere; I do try to be 100% of the time. I don't believe heads need to be bitten off; I simply believe in holding people accountable for what they say and show.

  7. That's true.

    I've gotten some critique before on finished pieces that I felt weren't very helpful at all...
    It felt more like the person was just attacking me and throwing out words to look important. They clearly had no idea what they were talking about lol

    There's this nice little streaming community I ran into this weekend with Kwidda, and everyone there is very skilled. It's very intimidating for me, but they're all very helpful and kind.

    The awesome thing about it, is that you can watch them draw in real time, as well as chat with them instantly.
    It's like a group livestream. Multiple people streaming at once.
    I've found myself actually helping THEM with their pieces. Just little bits of input and advice here and there when I think something's off.
    At first it made me feel really weird. Here I was critiquing work that is far above my own skill level, but they were glad and accepting that I was doing so.
    I mean, I actually helped. Which was amazing to me.

    One of them said that the ability to see faults in others' work is a great skill to posses, because it helps you spot errors in your own work easier.

  8. Wow, those hand studies are awesome! Really love the gestures!

  9. Britt - yea, she was telling me about that community - definitely gonna check it out when I've devoured some more commissions ;)

    Jia - Thanks so much! I suck at hands, I need the extra practice, ahahah...


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