I’m going to be doing a series of what I’ve dubbed ‘Mo Tips.’ A period of my life where I was soo utterly lucky to soak in the wisdom of a wise wise man. Some will be art related, some will be life related. Eventually I’ll post about how I got to have this experience, but for now, tip number uno.
There is never enough time to be as good as you want to be. You are behind the curve. There are people half your age who can draw twice as well as you, and you are competing for the same job. In order to throw the balance, you HAVE to draw every second you get. This means you need your tools by your side wherever you go. It means you need to take advantage of every minute you are sitting idle.
In line for a coffee? Draw.
Sitting at a long red light? Draw.
Watching ads during a Hulu show? Draw.
Riding on the bus to work? Draw.
You will be surprised how many drawings get done. It will also force you out of your comfort zone, you will be inspired in new places that used to be boring and a waste of time. The DMV becomes your favorite place to visit. You have to have a sketchbook around you at all times. Start hiding them places. Put one in the console of your car, in your backpack, carry around a small notebook in your back pocket, keep one at work, at home, wherever you can, stash one.
And last but not least, fill those suckers up.
Another notebook down!#hyperlapse
Been posting a bunch of my sketches on instagreezy @shawnkirsch. (And no, I still don’t have a smart phone.) I don’t believe in posting the same pictures over all my blogs, twitters, tumblr, all that shit, so every once in a while I’ll do some cross posts, but since I hate seeing the same images in all my feeds if you wanna see em, you’ll have to put in some work.
Finished a #sketchbook
Been really addicted to Gumroad lately. Such a great source for self-learning. Cheap (~5$) videos created by individuals with personality, helpful tips, and it feels good to be helping out a single artist. I’ve been brining lunch to work from home, and buying a video for lunch. Here is a quick one from this morning based off, Kalen Chock’s latest video, “approaching studies.” I’d like to spend more time on it, but I think I just need to start posting the work I’m doing. A lot of times I think, no reason to post this, and I just have folders full on images that I probably won’t ever finish or post. Maybe this will help. Either way, it was fun to play around with the brushes.
I’ve totally been neglecting my blog. I feel bad about it. I was looking at Brett Bean’s blog and he’s posting ~40 posts a month. Why am I not doing that?!?! I’m usually pretty good at carving out some time to document my work, but lately I’ve been super busy. (That’s no excuse though). Between the new job, moving, and life, it’s just been a crazy past few months. I’m excited though! It’s a new beginning, a chance to take what I’ve learned, and apply it again, this time the RIGHT way. I’m also really excited to be a part of Apple. At Sony, I felt I was part of something big. Something that couldn’t be accomplished by a small group of people. I feel that again, and it excites me.
As for the drawing, I am happy to say, even though I haven’t been posting, I’ve been drawing a ton. I’m over halfway through a sketchbook and it’s been one of the fastest yet. I’m finding recently that I just really love the quick drawing. Trying to get down a full body gesture in 10 seconds and not worrying if it turns out bad. Taking Steven Silvers Figure and Caricature class really made me think about a lot of things. And I’m so glad I took it. I believe it was one of those things that will stick with me for a long time.
While, my life has been pretty easy and I feel very happy, professionally, the past few years have been pretty hard for me in. ~7 years ago I began my training in both computer science and art. And while programming came easier to me, I spent more time doing art, because I truly enjoyed it. The jobs for programming came rolling in, while the art didn’t, so I rolled with the programming. I felt inferior to most of those around me since I was still splitting my time between the 2 very different skillsets. The programmers were smarter than me, and the artists were better than me. For years I felt bad, and loathing myself about my skills, but things are changing. I’m feeling very happy with my current level of achievement, I’m elevating my skills drastically, and I’m getting some recognition from people about it. Where people used to look at my drawings and say, “oh, it’s nice” or something generic like that, knowing they are trying not to be mean, I now have people come up to me and compliment a specific drawing. It’s taken 6 years of struggling for me to get to that point. Although I did have people supporting me, I felt my art and programming was shit. But, I pushed forward. Mainly it was just me putting my nose to the grid, telling myself, “one day I will be better.” I don’t want to say that day is today, but recently I feel very good about things. I’ve been creating cool automated systems at work, and learning how to manage my time and others. In art, I’ve been drawing a lot, and I started working on a “guided” daily drawing, rather than uncomitted sketching.
Sketch_Dailies on twitter, is a great group. Every day at 11am, a topic is posted, “blackbeard, or joan of arc, or centar” And people draw them. Some ideas are funny, some are cliche, some are good and some are bad. But, it’s really helped me focus. I have a hard time calling a drawing finished, because I almost always think they suck. Yesterday, I was really happy with my drawing, and when I submitted, it got retweeted by the group, and I got 50 favorites from people all over the internet! I think that was the first time I got more than 3 favorites for something I had drawn. I was blown away, people who’s drawings I look up to, favorited MY drawing. It was a really good feeling. All that hard work, 6 years of suffering, eliminated by one drawing.
I want to keep drawing and enjoying my art, while at the same time using programming as a functional way to save me time. It’s a nice feeling, that I’m not used to, feeling content with some of my skillsets. And while I don’t want to loose focus, I think it’s important to celebrate the victories!
Lastly, I want to say, it’s taken me a really long time to get to where I’m at, but all the sacrifices were worth it. I hope if you’re reading this, you feel the same way.
— Shawn Kirsch (@ShawnKirsch)February 8, 2014
I’ve never been much into NYR’s, due to the inherent falloff rate, but this year I’m going HARD. Not sure why, but I listened to Chris Oatley’s podcast about resolutions and he had a lot of great thoughts to think about. Matt Kohr, had very similar ideas about it, and I was thinking if you are going to get serious about something you might as well do it now. So here are this years resolutions. I’m creating a google doc to keep track of where I lie so I can keep track of my progress. There is an emphasis on measurable goals, something my wonderful ex-boss at Imageworks was crazed about, but I have to say it feels good to say, “I completed my mission,” and gives you something to push for that last 10%. Drumroll…
- 5 Altdev Blog Posts - This is hard for me because I know a lot of people are going to see it, comment, and argue. I’ve only done 3 articles in 3 years. How lame.
- Finish My Art Portfolio - I’ve been slacking on this for a while now. Time to get it together and see where I stand.
- 40 Photo Ref Drawings - I take a lot of pictures of people in public. I always tell myself that, “I’ll draw them later” and never do. This year I change that. These 2 artists do a lot of that, and I’ve been pretty inspired by them. Steph Lew and Kybum Lee
- Digital Sketchbook App - I’ve been slacking on this one the last year as well, I promised a friend I would make it for them and still haven’t delivered. This is on the list.
And now a few general “unmeasurable” things, because not everything has to be science.
- Single Drawing Per Page In Sketchbook - A lot of times in my sketchbooks I’ll draw 10 people per page. As long as I get one good one per page I’m pretty happy. I hate having pages with no decent drawings. This creates a bad habit that I want to break, and also means all my drawings at 2cm high. This one will be hard.
- Celebrate Each Sketchbook I Finish - Somehow celebrate. Buy something on amazon, post the best sketches on the blog, post a video on youtube talking about the drawings, (will terrell style) go to dinner or drinks, go to a museum, watch a movie. Something out of the ordinary to commemorate it.
- Focus on Magic Box - I’m taking Chris Oatley’s Magic Box Digital Painting class. and I want to make sure I give it the attention it deserves. I often times take on to much, and I want to stop that. I’ve wanted to learn how to digital paint, and that means spending time doing it, and blocking out the rest.
I did this last year, so I figure maybe I’ll make it a yearly thing. A lot has changed in a year, as would be evident if you could see inside these books. I’m still not super comfortable posting all my drawings because I think most of them suck, but I’m becoming more ok with this as a way to move foreward. The amount of sketchbooks you go through in a year isn’t a great factor for deciding how great of an art year it was. I guess I’m thinking about this in terms of quality versus quanity. Last year I was so excited to go go through all the books I did. I was excited, surrounded by talented artists at Sony, and in a large growth spirt in terms of my artistic development. This year I spent more time focusing on what I was drawing rather than just filling up the pages with pencil and pen. I’m feeling more confident, but I still have miles to go. So here’s to a fruitful 2014! (will post some content of these shortly.)
Let’s make this happens!!! Follow Cale (@2dcale) and Genevieve (@GenevieveFT) on twitter, as well as @_VMAT_ for more updates!
I participated last year, and will definitely do it again!