Hello, I am relatively new to art (a couple of months into school) and there are so many things to learn and it's so easy to feel overwhelmed. I spend most of my time on school assignments, if not all, and I'm not sure how to fit in time to practice drawing more like we are expected to. What should I do?
Haha Meg here to answer questions way too late because she is a butt! I kind of want to expand on this a bit because I know exactly how this feels.
THIS IS SO NORMAL. My first year of college I struggled horribly with how art was transformed from a stress relieving hobby, to work. I was consumed by projects, had exhausted all my creativity, and felt like I was somehow regressing. Three things helped me with this:
1. Find another hobby and take breaks. I started exercising and going to the gym! This would get me out of the art sludges I would get in, give me a space to de-stress, and surprisingly motivate me to get back to work. Turns out, spending a few hours at a gym is less of a time waster than psyching myself out about how much not-art I was doing for like 3 hours. When I got home I felt refreshed, and excited to get back to work. I got projects done faster and would let myself nap or watch a movie with the extra time. If I felt extra great I would draw in a sketchbook while watching Netflix, or put on youtube art tutorials while browsin’ the internet. You can actually learn a lot without even having to draw! Watching speedpaints, livestreams, or even just checking out art blogs can really help! If your are watching tutorial type things for practice, maybe try out the techniques they are teaching along with them and then continue practicing while guilty pleasure binging Pretty Little Liars for the 18th time.
2. Change the way you think about projects. Don’t think of them as homework. Really, truly make the effort to turn them into something you are excited about! Whether its foundational, 3D, whatever! If you are excited about it, you automatically will absorb the things you learn more precisely and more permanently. It’s kinda like taking a history test. Did you study by using flashcards, did you zone out in class, did you only learn the facts? You might pass, but its doubtful you will retain much even the next day! You gotta get involved, get fascinated by the story! Get invested in it like you get invested in a suburban mom from your hometown and an acquaintance you don’t remember ever meeting but always remember following having a passive aggressive comment duel about the moral implications of a shared Buzzfeed video on facebook.
3. Understand WHY you are given these projects. Do you have to draw a cube? Maybe you have to paint a still life? Understand that you are doing this so you can learn the skills of visualizing 3d forms in space inside your brain. Like a super power. Use your newfound xray vision to see through the forms. Knowing why you are doing these things is imperative to your growth. Projects ARE practice and you can learn a lot from them. They shouldn’t be something you do to get them out of the way
Some other things that help me were carrying a sketchbook around with me always! Understanding that practicing and learning mean making a million mistakes. Some drawings are gonna look goofy as heck and that is A OK. Focusing on small drawings instead of large personal projects. You can do A LOT of fast, small sketches. I started doodling little sprites in my free time to help me with poses, for instance. They were small and quick but I learned a lot more about anatomy with them than I ever would spending six hours on one pose in a piece. And like I said, I learned so much from just playing Youtube videos .
Drawfee is a comedy type livestream of people drawing silly prompts and hanging out that can be fun to have on while working too!
THIS WAS SO LONG. But I hope it was helpful! Just let yourself grow naturally, don’t feel like you need to be practicing 24/7. If you invest time and love into your projects you WILL grow, and if you absorb creativity you will learn. Draw when you can, but don’t police yourself to the point of it just becoming self inflicted homework that drains you.