I’ve never done new year’s resolutions. I find them a bit silly in general because no one really goes through with them, and then personally I would find it depressing having to set goals at some arbitrary time every year that I might not be able to accomplish (and it won’t be for lack of trying). Not that I think setting goals is bad idea, in fact, I think it’s a really good idea, but not like this. I have to want or need them.
There’s no point in my opinion in searching too hard for a goal to set if you’re never going to want it enough to go through with it. So my goals are set at random times when I need some extra motivation if I need to get something done, or some extra organization when I want to do something. I tend to try to take on too much all at once. If they’re hard goals I also need to set them when I’m sure I’ve been feeling well, and when they’re easier they need to be achievable whether I’m feeling horrible or not. When I follow those general rules it’s unlikely I won’t accomplish whatever I set out to do.
This time my goal setting just happened to sort of coincide with the new year (I published this late, but I wrote this up in January). Also I’m currently stuck in a sort of health limbo for at least a year at the pace I’m improving so it also happens they are for a year. I’m not feeling well enough to work/study full time but I’m well enough to do a bit of something everyday so I really want to use the otherwise wasted time to make an honest effort at making a living from all the things I know. If I succeed, great, if I’m stuck in limbo for longer I’ll keep trying, and if this doesn’t go well, but I’m feeling better, I’ll go back to school as I initially wanted.
I’ve divided this into sections, and for each goal I’ve put in a blockquote how it might translate to content that you’ll see. Only the starred goals have due dates for this year. Others are just general things that can be dropped. I’ll be happy if I can at least get all the ones with due dates done. I’d plan it by the time each thing takes but there’s always too many variables at play.
This is what has delayed this post. I’ve been working non-stop for the past month on this. I’ve scrounged together enough money to buy myself a domain so I’m doing it. The good/bad news is it’s not enough for hosting but that means:
Tutorial/s on how to set up a site with free hosting (via Github) using a static site generator.
Getting a domain is optional, but without having to get a hosting service, it’s really really affordable (~$10 dollars). Static site generators might look scary if you’ve just started learning HTML. I know I used to grown every time I needed to use a command line program, and I’m sure plenty of people have been equally put off by the little black box and UI-less programs so I will go through every little step, especially those that are often glossed over and assumed as obvious in the documentation. I’ll also go into making your own layout and theme, but again, it’s fairly easy to install a pre-made one or edit one a bit to suit you.
If there’s an interest in HTML, CSS, jQuery, I can also do a few tutorials on those.
I’m also learning PHP & WordPress because I have a few potential clients that want their site redone from scratch with a dynamic generator, but I think there’s plenty of tutorials out there for that. We’ll see. I’ve only just dived in, but the code looks relatively easy after setting up my static site generator.
Since I don’t have much work to show off, I want to put a lot of effort into this and make it a mix of all I know. My page is up if you want to support me but I wouldn’t really call it launched yet.
After Effects Quick Start Guide
Art Tutorials Video Series*
Pick one subject and record all at once otherwise I tend to jump around everywhere.
Considering anatomy (starting with hands because I had a request), guide to programs (in general), or guide to Photoshop. If you have any suggestions leave a comment.
…is a mess. There’s a bunch of projects just in organizing it, some of which I’m already working on like the:
I’ve mentioned these a few times. They are delayed because I hit a bit of a snag with the varnish I have to sand them all again and redo the stain. Somebody kill me, please.
How To for these.
Recording drawings/paintings is almost impossible without one.
Timelapses w/ commentary!
Custom Blender Shortcuts
I want to learn Blender. I already know in general what tools I tend to use in a 3D programs so it’s just learning where stuff is and a lot of that for me relies on creating my own set of shortcuts. This usually doesn’t take more than a day or two, but this is Blender, I’ve been on this for nearly a week already.
Video explaining my methodology. A demo with blender, one for photoshop. All the shortcut config files.
Organize Hard Drive
Need to make a better system in general and narrow down the number of programs/places I keep stuff in.
Review of all the system and any software used.
Logging Method/New Notebook
It looks like I’ll finally be filling up my first notebook. I find notebooks aesthetically pleasing, and I love to make them, but I never know what to put in them. I don’t really like to sketch in a sketchbook unless I’m out and about. I hate any sort of journaling and most of my writing needs to end up on my computer anyway so using paper just adds an extra step.
But a few months ago, before my health had started improving, I was in a very bad mood because I didn’t have energy to do anything, not even things I wanted, and especially anything that demanded any sort of physical exertion. Going out of the house was chore. It was almost always for doctors. I felt like a caged animal, wasting away at my chair, lazy, not doing anything with my life. I knew it wasn’t true, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was. Then I had the idea of logging everything I did because I was doing things, they were just things that were hard to quantify. Just because I threw away a sketch, my project/experiment was a failure, or even just if I’d learned a few new things about programming and I had nothing to show for it, it didn’t mean I didn’t do those things or that I didn’t gain anything from them.
Well that little logging experiment turned into a huge success for me. Really improved my mood and I’ve been keeping it up for 5 months or so. But now it means I’m going to be using up notebooks. I have 2-3 half-used ones but most of them have ended up being used as scratchpads, and anything with decent paper I’ve saved for art, so I want to make/start one just for logging. And also by that time I hope to have a proper system in place. I’m still experimenting with different formats in my current one. It’s a bit of a mess at times.
- Post on logging method.
- Post/video on how to bind a book, and the secret to straight pages without a guillotine. I always see book binding tutorials that either skip this part and leave the pages all messy (which drives me nuts), or they use a guillotine and who the hell has one of those on hand?
Scan Work/Scanning System*
There’s not much past work to scan because I haven’t done much in the past years and everything before that has either been thrown out or is so old I don’t really want to show it. I just dread this because I have the slowest scanner ever. There will also be lots of newer sketches. I’ve been keeping up with those, but I really need a better system. There’s also some books I’d like to digitize for myself since they aren’t available as ebooks. I did one by hand, it was a nightmare, never again.
Might modify the camera rig I’m planning to also function as a scanner.
3-4 Sketches a Week
I finally have the energy to do this so I’ll be working up to one page a day (2-3 hours) once I have the time.
One Painting a Month
I need to get the camera rig made first though.
Timelapse paintings (some of the sketches as well) w/ commentary.
Sketch Before Restarting Painting
This might seem like an odd one but I’m a perfectionist when it comes to any realistic paintings from imagination so what happens is that I restart them over and over and over again and rarely finish. Practicing with the same painting makes it incredibly easy to see any improvement, but, the cons are huge and I don’t recommend it. It can be really really frustrating. You’ve got to really still want it months later on the hundredth try. The paintings I want to do have always been more than enough motivation for me to overcome the frustration. I mean, what better subject to practice with then the one that motivate you? And it has also helped that I don’t expect to finish the painting/s anymore. I’ve come to see them as practice that will someday hopefully pay off. Is it a bad habit? Maybe. Does it get me paintings? Yes, a lot. So I wouldn’t be bothering to change much where it not for the fact that I end up with nothing to show for all that practice.
Even if I finish (and that’s incredibly unlikely) I’ve only got the final piece. I might give patreons a behind the scenes look at a few of my attempts with any future paintings that take multiple takes, but otherwise old ones have long since been deleted, and the pressure of sharing all my attempts would probably just be too much while painting. The beauty of them is that I stopped putting pressure on myself to finish, just to improve in the hopes of finishing.
These aren’t the only types of paintings I do otherwise I’d have nothing to show at all, but they are where the bulk of my practice comes from, and also any studies or things I learn are usually for those paintings. The breakdown is something like this:
50% Failed attempts at realistic paintings from imagination. 10% Sketches from imagination (mainly for myself). 10% Paintings & Studies not from imagination. 20% Studies to improve the paintings from imagination (not very presentable usually).
What I want to do is change my process a bit so I get this instead.
10% Failed attempts at realistic paintings from imagination. 10% Sketches from imagination (mainly for myself). 50% All Studies (presentable). 30% Paintings not from imagination.
Before I explain how exactly, first I’d like to point out what I’ve been doing all this time is a bit different than being stuck with a painting and not improving after each time. If that’s happening to you, there’s something wrong with how you’re approaching it. I’ve not stopped doing this because although it can be and was incredibly frustrating at first, I have indeed improved from it. After reading Talent is Overrated I realized that’s probably because what I do fits exactly into it’s description of deliberate practice. It’s repetitive, it’s hard, it’s not particularly fun (when I hit that part I just can’t get right), I get really fast feedback, and I concentrate on a specific area to improve. Before, I knew this intuitively from trial and error but now that I have seen it described as a concrete process, a sort of list I need to check off, I can further refine my process. In fact, after thinking about what I did intuitively and the methods of other artists I saw that there could be more to it than the general learning process the book reiterates. They’re just a really good base. So to change the above I’ve created a set of steps for when I want to redo a painting.
- Don’t dive straight into restarting a painting. Analyze what went wrong with the painting.
- Pause for a bit, work on a random sketch or study.
- Next day re-analyze what went wrong with the painting (the more you let it rest the more things you’ll see wrong), go read up on that subject, if possible practice it on it’s own as part of the daily sketches/studies.
- After practicing an element take yet another look at the painting to see if there’s anything else wrong.
- Repeat 4 until there’s nothing left, then restart.
That sketch during the pause is a step of my own addition. I haven’t seen this mentioned in any articles about the subject, maybe because it’s not directly related, but I still think it’ll prove very helpful. I think we’re all familiar with the phenomenon of sleeping on a problem. Well we already do that anyways, so this is just like an additional dose of that. I need to stop thinking about the painting I just did, and to do that I need to obsess over a different one. In the future I plan to switch between two separate paintings if I can.
- More more more more art! Since it’s likely there will be more than one thing to work on per try that’s where most of the subject matter and motivation for my daily studies will come from.
- Post on this whole process once I get it down. The above is just my first rough outline.
- Also I’ll be concentrating on making cleaner, more presentable studies w/ notes, both for my benefit and everyone else because they can serve as sort of mini-tutorials.
- Lastly since all this makes it a bit less fun to work on the paintings that are least likely to see the light, I’ll probably end up doing more paintings not from my imagination, which I’ve been wanting to do, are general good practice in and of themselves, and will get recorded (when the camera rig is made), finished (because I find them easier in general even if they’re more boring), and posted.