Month: March 2017

Swamp Thang – Episode 1 – is Here!

Swamp Thang!

He’s a Thang from the 80’s that just won’t back down! Residing in the city of Miami, he arrives in the nick of time to rescue teenagers when they’re in the grasp of danger. From the usual prom date mishaps that pimple faced kids have to predators lurking around each and EVERY CORNER, no teen has to live in fear ever again.

Unless you’re not in between the ages of 13 and 17 that is.

Apply your hairspray, put on your denim clothes, and get ready for the best decade that has ever EXISTED.

Just remember kids… if the Swamp Thang saves your ass, YOU OWE HIM ONE.

You Are The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn | Motivational Speaker

Hamburger Cat Average

The Average of Hamburger Cat

I want you to think about this quote. Who are the five people you spend the most time with? And more importantly…

Are you the average of those five?


Why This Is Important

I personally agree with this quote and I find that it’s something that most people don’t ever take into consideration.

We become like those around us. Be it family, friends,  etc. We pick up things from them that you might have noticed such as mannerisms and slang, but it goes much further than that.

With that in mind, think of what type of person you want to be.

Do you want to be rich? Fit? Hard working? Disciplined?

Whatever it is you want to be, are the people you spend the most time with those things?

If you want to be hard working and disciplined for example and aren’t, are the people you’re around also not those things?

This can be a very difficult thing. We like our friends and families (usually). We spend so much time with these people but sometimes if we want to change, we have to stop spending so much time with them.

It’s no coincidence that successful talented people are surrounded by other successful talented people!

For example, if you wanted to go the gym every day, wouldn’t it be easier if you were friends with people who went to the gym every day?

If the people you currently spend most of your time with aren’t the right people for who you want to be, you’ll have to find new people.


Find New People If You Have Too

Everyone’s circumstances are different so I can’t tell you exactly how to find these new people, but I will tell you ways that I found some.

  1. Online – Probably the most obvious one. For me some of the friends I’ve had the longest I met online. Through making art and flash animations back in the day I found other people that were doing the same thing and formed friendships with them that have lasted for more than a decade.
  2. Conventions – You could probably do this by going and walking around at a convention. However, I did it by actually having a table at comic conventions. Something about being behind the table selling your work changes peoples perception of you. You come across as another professional that is motivated and hard working. I’d recommend having something to sell be it prints, commissions, or whatever it is that you do. But starting out don’t be too concerned with it being about making money, but making connections. Share your table with a friend or family that can watch it for you so you can go look around a little bit. Strike up conversations with people that also have tables that work interests you. They’ll see your exhibitor badge. If you make a good impression, maybe they’ll ask where your table is and they’ll come by. A lot of pros don’t get tables though and just attend to look around and visit friends. But if your work is good they might end up coming and talking to you! I’ve made quite a few close friends this way.
  3. College – If you go to college or art school, there’s going to be at least a few people who want to do the same things as you. You just have to find the ones that are going to make you better by being with them. I got very lucky and made a lot of talented hard working friends in the short time that I attended.
  4. Randomly – Some times you just find the right people in weird places. My brother wanted me to play a game called League of Legends with him. Back when the game was more relaxed and you could really just do whatever you wanted, I met a guy while playing. Turned out he was a talent manager for musicians that used to own his own studio that made films. One of the smartest and coolest people I’ve met. He gave me a lot of advice while starting out and even got me work a few times, and I never would have met him if it wasn’t for that awful game!

Making Real Friends Is Hard

I know having to find new friends to replace old ones sounds awful.

It isn’t easy to find new ones.

It isn’t easy to spend less time with current ones.

Feelings could get hurt. But it’s wrong to allow friends to be lobsters that drag you down to their level with their big meaty claws.

Friends can come and go, it’s important that you focus on YOU. Because people that are your friend now might not be later. And then you’re left with you.

Find the right friends. Friends that are what you want to be. By spending time with them, you’ll increase your average.

Share Your Art and Start Building Your Audience TODAY!

If for whatever reason you don’t already, share your art!

HBC Share Your Art

It’s the Catalisa!

Put it up on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Deviant Art, or any other sites that you enjoy.

Don’t think your work is good enough yet?

PHOOEY.

Share it!


Reasons Why You Should Share Your Art

  1. It Shows Skill Progression – Not only to yourself, but to others. They can see how your art developed and at the rate you’re improving.
  2. It Shows Work Ethic – You might have the best work ethic in the world, but if you rarely share your art it gives the appearance of a poor work ethic. However, if you share several new pieces a week or even daily it communicates how hard working you are.
  3. You Can Get Feedback – You can get critiques on your work (solicited and unsolicited lol) to help you improve as well as see if anything you create gets a lot of positive or negative feedback. Plus you never know, maybe something you create will go viral!
  4. You Can Connect With Other Artists – It’s interesting to look at who follows or likes your work, and for whatever reason it’s extra flattering when that person is another artist!  Sometimes they just like a single piece, but other times they love your work and it can lead to meeting new friends or creating new professional relationships.

and most importantly:

5. You Build Your Audience

This is a big reason to share your work. When one first starts putting their stuff online it almost always collects dust at first. No one really sees it or comments or anything.

Pretty discouraging…

But the sooner you share your work, and more frequently you do the better. Eventually, people DO start to see what you’re making and that’s why you want a good amount of work already posted that they can then go back and look through.

If you only have a few pieces, they don’t usually stick around. They see the two or three drawings and in under a minute they’re gone. But if they like your work they’ll stay and look at more and the longer they stick around the more likely they’ll follow you or find a piece that they LOVE.

That’s when you’ve made a fan.

Fans can make the process of creating art far more encouraging. Sometimes they’ll comment or share your stuff. Feels GOOD.

And when they share, they find you more fans!

That’s part of how you eventually reach a tipping point and if you so desire, can start to take the steps of turning art into a career!


That Being Said…

My last bit of advice regarding this is that, personally I don’t like to bother with sites like Deviant Art or anywhere putting work up is overly tedious. I also find that with sites like Deviant Art that it’s hard to get much traction.

I really enjoy Instagram however as you can link a lot of your other accounts to it and post to them all at once.

However, the number of views your work receives isn’t what matters in the end. It’s WHO see’s your work. A hundred people that see it and scroll past aren’t as important as five people who stick around. Ten thousand views might not be worth as much as the one view from an art director that ends up changing your life forever.

So just because I personally do not enjoy putting up work on sites like Deviant Art there still is value in doing so if you are so inclined to do it.

 

Use Reference When You Draw, You Will Improve Faster!

Why use reference when you draw? Lots of reasons! For example:

Reference Will Make Your Drawings More Accurate

Hamburger Cat Reference

“Drawing Hamburger Cat is hard.” – Vince

Even if you have a good understanding of how to draw something, it doesn’t hurt to find a reference.  Sometimes the difference in making something believable in a drawing are the very subtle details that are forgotten without the use of reference.

So if you’re drawing cars, clothes with lots of folds, airplanes, a cityscape, etc. It’s a good idea to grab some references just to give it that extra bit of accuracy.

The More You Use, The Less You Need Later

When you gather reference and draw from it, you become more familiar with whatever you’re drawing. In a way you’re very much building up a catalog in your mind of how things look that you can pull upon later. Eventually when you go to draw things like rooms, you’ll have several different chairs designs already in your head. Different beds, lamps, dressers, the list goes on and on. This also applies for hairstyles, clothes, shoes, you name it.

This of course doesn’t mean you’ll stop using references, but the more of it you use now the less you’ll need later.

Using References Isn’t Cheating

I shouldn’t have to point this out, but I’ve heard a lot of beginning artists say this. “Using reference is cheating.” It’s not. Using reference is like using any other tool to get better results. If someone wanted to build houses they wouldn’t say that using a hammer was cheating! It’s not cheating. 

They have this idea that to be a legitimate artist you have to be able to come up with everything from your mind. Also don’t think that you’re supposed to strictly copy the references either, it’s to help draw something better. For example, for a complicated pose you might need different references for different parts of the pose.

All professional artists use reference.


Start Collecting Reference

A long time ago artists would clip out drawings from magazines, make xeroxes from books, take photographs, etc. and file them away into filing cabinets filled with labeled folders of their references.

Nowadays you have the luxury of just using google and finding tons of reference at a moments notice!

But I would recommend that you do start your own folders of reference to use on your computer.

Whenever you see clothes, or a room, or a hair-do, or anything that you really like. Save that picture into an appropriate reference folder so that you can view it later when you need it.

This can go for any tutorials or such that you find as well!


Software You Can Use

Here are some free programs that you can use to display and arrange references while you work!

Kuadro

ArtRef

PureRef


All that said, what are some resources that you feel help make you a better artist? Respond in the comments below.

Finish Your Drawings! How to Get Better FASTER!

This is some of the best advice for the sketchers and doodlers out there, for I was once a doodler myself and should have done this much sooner.

Finish Your Drawings

It can’t be said enough, finish your drawings. You don’t have to finish every drawing. But you should try to finish most of them.

This is important because the fastest way to get good at doing finished work, is to finish your work! For too long I would do incomplete drawing after incomplete drawing. But if you want to get good at drawing that other eye, you have to draw it in every time.  Put in the hands, put in the feet. If you want to ink and color your work, do those as well, even if you know it will come out poorly.

Growing up, in retrospect, the artists that I saw improve the quickest would do completed pieces of work. Fully inked and colored, they’d even put in backgrounds. Eventually their inks looked good. Their color choices were really nice. The backgrounds stopped be wonky!

FinishDrawings

Finish Them For Their Sake!


Don’t Make Excuses!

“Why would I ink my stuff when I can’t even draw it correctly?”

That was my thinking long ago. Amongst many  other excuses.

But all that type of thinking did, was by the time I got decent at drawing, my inking skills were HORRIBLE. It made me not want to ink because it would ruin the pencils!

You might have similar or different excuses that you allow to keep you from doing completed works. Ignore them and push through and finish the work.

You’ll see problems with the piece that will make you want to stop.

Don’t stop. Finish it.

You’ll always find something wrong on a piece the longer you work on it.

Little problems are rarely noticeable to the average viewer. I once read that the typical person spends around 10 seconds per page reading a comic book.

There’s a lot of art on a comic page!

But, I’ve found that people spend about as much time looking at a single picture as well. How long do you spend looking at a picture before you know if you like it or not? Probably not very.

It’s usually only artists that then go on to spend additional time looking at all the details in the picture.


Remember the 10,000 Hour Rule

The 10,000 Hour Rule, which I wrote about here. This rule applies to each individual skill. So if you have 5,000+ hours in drawing, but you want to ink and you have less than 10 hours experience inking…

It’s gonna be rough!

Now, of course the skills do overlap to a degree, but it’s a good way to think about it. If you want to be an animator. Then animate.

Yes, the better you are at drawing the easier it is, but by improving to draw while animating you would learn how to draw specifically for animation. You would learn what details to leave out and how to simplify things, how to draw consistent, etc.


Decide What Finished Is

What is finished to you? This is an important question to ask yourself.

Depending on what your goal with your art is, will change what your definition of finished is, and this definition can change.

For some comic artists, it’s penciling. Just penciling. Drawing the full image, characters and backgrounds as clean and complete as possible for it to be passed to an inker.

Concept artists depending on the level of development have varying degrees of completion to their work.

And this goes on and on and on.


All that being said, if you were like me and leave out the other eye or only draw half a body then start drawing something else.  Keep all of this in mind.

If you want to improve faster. Finish your drawings.

Recommended Reading: The Practice & Science of Drawing

Today I’m going to recommend a book about drawing that I found very insightful years ago that I don’t see mentioned very often.

The Practice & Science of Drawing

The Practice & Science of Drawing

The Practice & Science of Drawing

This book isn’t particularly an instructional book that walks you through step by step. But more of an explanation of the order of learning  to draw and why.

It was written by an English painter named Harold Speed and I originally came across it many years ago at a thrift store and I’m very glad I bought it. It’s the type of book that gives a lot of, “oh, so that’s why!” moments.

I’d say that anyone that’s serious about drawing, I would fully recommend giving this book a read through. Best of all, you can read it for free thanks to Project Gutenberg!

It Can Be Downloaded For Free, HERE.

Normally when reviewing a book I would be inclined to talk a lot more about it. However, you can read it for free! That being so, if you’re interested in having a stronger understanding of art, I’d say go download it right now.

If like me you prefer to read physical copies, it’s fairly inexpensive and you can get it below.

 

How to Critique Young Artists

For many artists, the only people they can go to to have their work critiqued is by friends or family.

Therefore they must journey to the wild west that is the internet. A place where anyone can give their opinion.

For better or worse.

Time and time again, I see people post their art online and ask for critiques. But there’s a very specific critique I see that always baffles me.

“If You Want to Draw THAT, You Need to Learn How to Draw THIS First”

MUSCLES

Just call him, Muscles!

The person looking to be critiqued will have posted their work online and it will usually be stylized. Be it cartoony or some variant of anime.

They will have posted a little chibi character and the critique they receive will be along the lines of, “If you want to draw chibis, first you have to learn perspective.” Or some other aspect that hardly applies to what they drew.

And they’ll always point to either the work of Scott Robertson, who is a fantastic artist. Or they’ll show work by people such as Kim Jung Gi, and other artists that are insanely skilled.

It’s this inability to critique the picture with who drew it in mind rather than with their own personal taste that drives me crazy. If someone posts art that looks like Fairly Odd Parents, then it should be obvious that they aren’t aiming to draw fighter jets from every conceivable angle nor intend to draw anything that will require a real understanding of anatomy.

Your Critique Should be Tailored to the Individual

I say this because, if it isn’t tailored to them, they’re not going to take the advice.

Pay close attention to how the person asks for a critique. How specific are they getting? If they’re asking what you think then they’re probably looking for praise.

If they ask you  how they could draw the eyes better? Or perhaps how to study rendering hair? What they need to do to learn drapery? Or even what book will help them with anatomy?

These are the types of questions that people ask that are really looking for answers.

Your answer does have to fit with what they want out of their art, however.

If they’re trying to draw tanks or perspective heavy things. Point them to someone like Scott Robertson.

If they’re trying to draw Looney Tunes and other classic cartoons, link them to Preston Blair’s Cartoon Animation. Etc.

They don’t have to be, and probably never will be the next Kim Jung Gi. You just have to point them in the right direction to be better than they are now.

A Thing to Remember About Non-Artists

People who aren’t artists, in most cases, lack any ability to differentiate the quality of artwork. If it’s better than they can draw, “it’s good.”

Which is good to know. Create the projects that you want to create and put them out there. Only other artists will judge the quality of the work. That’s a very small percentage of the audience.

If you don’t believe me, look at Rob Liefeld’s work from the 90s, it’s super mangled and messed up looking. However, he was extremely successful and that’s because the majority of people aren’t artists! Don’t let your current skill level keep you from creating the things that you want to create.

This is a part of why friends and family that aren’t artists almost always either say “it’s great!” or “it’s awful because it’s not as good as (insert thing).”

In Conclusion…

Critique is an important part of learning for multiple reasons. When you work on a piece of art for so long two things can happen. Either your eyes stop seeing certain mistakes, or you’re so intimate with the piece that you know every single error and you can’t NOT see them; skewing how you view the piece objectively.

Having someone critique your work not only allows someone to point out something that you may have missed, but you’ll also be able to see what mistakes they don’t notice. If you trust this person’s critique and they don’t notice it, most other people won’t either.

I hope that this has gave you a better understanding of how to critique someone’s work and point them not in the “right direction”, but the right direction for them.

Do You Have Artistic Talent? The 10,000 Hour Rule and Accumulated Advantage

“I wish I had talent.”

Who hasn’t said, or at least thought that before?

While innate ability does play a role, it plays a much smaller role than most people believe. This leads us to–

The 10,000 Hour Rule

What's that guy doing here??

Well, poop.

You may have heard of it, the 10,000 Hour Rule is the average amount of time it takes someone to become a master at something through deliberate practice.

This is often seen when one attends art school, there’s always some students far ahead of the others. The “talented” students.

Rarely does anyone stop to ask what that person’s experience prior to art school was. Perhaps they started drawing since they were very young?

Maybe they had a parent or sibling that did art that helped them to progress. Their parents might have gotten them art lessons or sent them to art camp during the summers.

But most people don’t think about these things playing a role. They figure that said person is, just better.

If you practiced drawing for one hour a day, it would take over 27 years to reach 10,000 hours.

If you practiced for 40 hours a week, like a typical job, it would be slightly under 5 years.

The practice of course has to be deliberate practice. Talent isn’t developed through half-assed work.

But most often it takes one about 10 years to reach mastery over whatever they pursue.

That being said, let’s go over–

Accumulated Advantage

So what is accumulated advantage? Accumulated advantage starts when we’re very young and is based on our surrounding circumstances.

For example, someone born in September and someone born in July the year following. That’s 9 months difference. But they will very often be in the same grade going into school.

It doesn’t seem like a lot, but 9 months difference as a child is a lot. It starts as a very small advantage. That being the case, chances are however that they’ll be a little bit better at things like writing and math. Therefore, by being better it’s very likely they’ll be placed into harder math and english classes than the person born later. Harder classes with better teachers… you learn more. This continues through the years and by the time they reach high school, the person that originally had a small advantage has accumulated a large advantage over their younger peer. Giving the illusion that the person who was born earlier was simply more intelligent and talented from the start. Of course, other outside influences such as parents play a role as well, not everyone born earlier in the school year go off to be “geniuses”, but the cards are unfairly stacked in their favor.

Think about this in regards of being right out of high school.

You’ll see all these people that appear to have been blessed with OBSCENE ARTISTIC TALENT. It might even be you that comes across to all the others as the talented one.

But either you or they more than likely just have thousands more hours of experience and are that much closer to mastering your craft.

Artistic Talent

So, do you have “artistic talent?” Think about it realistically. How much time have you put deliberate practice into art?

I don’t mean just drawing for fun, I mean deliberate practice. Construction, perspective, proportions, anatomy, drapery, etc.

Studying other artists, from books, tutorials. How much time? If you have less than a thousand hours. I would say, not yet.

But you can. 

It’s just a matter of how soon you want it.

1 hour a day = 27.4 years

2 hours a day = 13.7 years

4 hours a day = 6.8 years

8 hours a day = 3.4 years

We’ve all seen those people who go from awful to incredible in a incredibly short period of time. Now you know part of how they do it.

DELIBERATE PRACTICE FOR MANY HOURS– EVERY DAY.


Not everyone can put in 8 hours a day though. Becoming a great artist isn’t a race and certainly don’t torture yourself if it means reaching mastery sooner.

You’ll be good far before you reach mastery.

But this should give you a good idea of how much time you need to put in so that you can make time to become as good as you want to be.

Now quit dillydallying and go make some art!


If you’d like to learn more about the 10,000 Hour Rule, Accumulated Advantage, etc. I would HIGHLY recommend reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers.” I personally found it very entertaining and enlightening on the subject of talent. Be warned though, it’s about 300 pages long. It however, didn’t feel like a 300 page book if that says anything about how good a read it was.

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