AuthorTopic: "Drawing hygiene" - How to expand the daily drawing time  (Read 656 times)

Offline Runensucher

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Hello everyone!

This topic is about discipline. It's about structure and about motivation. I don't know if the phrase "drawing hygiene" works well.

The thing is: I really want to improve in art. I'm totally happy about my current results. I'm doing my excercises (almost) every day and recently I just WANT to draw. It's not a thing of negotiation any more. (I feel like that for about three days. Of course I'm aware that it can change again and I still need more time to be sure about everything. And I still get frustrated fast, what is in fact the greatest obstacle I have to overcome.)

Now that I came to this point, I have the urge to expand my overall drawing time. Currently I draw about one and half an hour a day. That makes 10,5 hours a week what is nice output and really is a difference to my earlier drawing time (zero hours a week).
It doesn't seem like I can focus on drawing longer than this time. My body and mind start to feel unfomcortable about it after this period. Things like "eating", "housekeeping" and "videogames" come to my mind.
I always think "you can draw more in the evening" but this rarely happens. When I want to push it I start feeling tired or exhausted. Although I'm more a night person.

There are other things that bother me about my daily routine.
I can't draw when my boyfriend is at home. He has a fulltime job and is coming home arround 4 PM. It's not like he does something special to hold me back, but just his pure presence let me stop being an indipendent entity. (This is an overstatement to make it easier to explain.)
The other thing is that I can't intregrate my drawing routine into days on which I have a shift. I mostly start in the afternoon and of course I have to prepare myself for it. A day where I have to go to work is mostly lost. I theorically can draw at work and I've done it in the past, but I start to feel that it's not the right thing to do, since I lack of focus there. The results are still okay, but I'm afraid the lack of focus influence my habbits in a bad way. And morning shifts are an absolute horror, since I'm to tired to draw after getting up so early. Additional, I'm very moody at these days.

This is the essence of my situation. I would be happy to hear some thoughts about it and maybe you have some advice.

Of course this topic can generaly be used to share some of your rituals and routines that help you stay focused, even if you don't have something to say about my personal story.

Thank you for reading. :)
 

Offline 0xDB

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Re: "Drawing hygiene" - How to expand the daily drawing time

Reply #1 on: January 23, 2017, 01:05:34 pm
Quit j0rb. Dump BF. Draw all day, every day.

Ok... while that may be radical, it's probably not possible (insert reasons here, there are plenty of them).

Real advice that comes to mind is, make a schedule, prioritize activities. Drawing should always come first, e.g. go to bed an hour early, get up an hour early, draw for an hour before breakfast and everything else (work, chores), that way your mind will still be fresh and not exhausted from all the other life-maintenance crap that goes on every day and which is the reason you can not and will not draw in the evening.

If drawing before everything else does not work, taking a 20 to 40 minute nap after coming home from j0rb before tackling any other activities might be worth trying. And... delay those chores, chores can always wait unless the fridge is empty, drawing is more important than having clean windows or no dust on the floor.

And to use a William Wordsworth quote "To begin, begin."

Last but not least, and this is very important, have a life, do other things, spend time with other people, have fun. If all you ever do is draw and think about drawing, you'll just end up hating it.

Offline Ai

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Re: "Drawing hygiene" - How to expand the daily drawing time

Reply #2 on: January 23, 2017, 11:26:19 pm
DB's (serious) advice is pretty good. Except drawing should be something that *usually* comes first, not always (If you aren't moving all areas of your life slowly forward, this can result in a dissatisfaction that infects everything you do). I use a whiteboard to plan the day, looking at the previous day's stuff to help balance time allocation over ..time.

One strategy that generally works for me is normalization: find ways to turn non-drawing tasks into drawing tasks. For example, I learnt about typography (Wotzkow:The Art of Hand Lettering) partly so that I could make 'writing' into a short drawing exercise whenever I had the time. Or if I had to leave a note on the fridge, if it could possibly be made a diagram, make it a diagram, so that I can practice design.
One effect of this approach is that it makes drawing more like an 'ordinary thing that occurs anytime', which helps you to notice further opportunities to draw, as well as building up your endurance.

Variety of approach also helps IME: spending half an hour on training one skill (eg. gesture) and then another half hour training a different skill (eg. modelling) is less draining than spending an hour training one skill.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 08:33:44 am by Ai »
AA tutorial about handling irregular lines.

If you're not at least a little uncomfortable, chances are you're not learning that much.

Offline 32

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Re: "Drawing hygiene" - How to expand the daily drawing time

Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 11:19:35 am
I'm a hardline schedule and routine guy. Being self employed it's a bit easier to stick to a schedule for me but you can probably do up a schedule when you get your roster based on whether you're working mornings or nights.

Set out a few hours a day that are drawing time. I tend to get my phone to hassle me about it until I'm used to the schedule. And then just no matter what know that that is drawing time. The most important thing is just sit down and draw. Art block is something you can train yourself out of and you'll move past that if you force yourself to just work, no matter how poorly. It helps if you give yourself a variety of different projects to tackle so you can always choose something that suits what you're in the mood for. Take a 10 minute break every hour if you're struggling to stay focused and maybe come back to something else if you aren't feeling it. You don't have to suddenly jump into a dramatically increased work load. Maybe add an extra 10 minutes a day each week.

Online API-Beast

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Re: "Drawing hygiene" - How to expand the daily drawing time

Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 03:25:13 pm
Be ready to draw when you are bored.

Waiting for a bus? Draw. Sitting in the bus, waiting for your station? Draw. Waiting for a friend? Draw. Off-time at work? Draw.

Invest a bit into proper tools and paper and experiment with different styles to keep things from becoming stale. Make drawing something you do because it is a good way too pass time, don't make it a chore.

Make sure to always have your equipment on hand. Get a cheap clipboard because you also want to draw when you don't have access to a table.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 03:46:48 pm by API-Beast »

Offline Ai

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Re: "Drawing hygiene" - How to expand the daily drawing time

Reply #5 on: January 26, 2017, 12:06:48 am
@ 32: Nice clear explanation! I appreciate that Runensucher didn't use the dubious term "Art Block",  but yeah.. that's fundamentally what "art/writer's/etc. block" is about, the fallacy of "motivation"/"inspiration" versus "I can draw even when I don't feel like it, there is nothing wrong with that, and in the long run it will help even if I don't feel that it's doing me any good right now".

@ API-Beast: A bunch of people seem to get drawing utility out of clipboards. Here's a thread over in DrawABox's subreddit that gave me a few more ideas on how they could be used.
Flat table is generally bad (for quality and physical endurance) IME. Standing desk is better for endurance, but definitely requires some thought to pull off. Carefully arranging things so you never have to look down (significantly) at your drawing pays off IMO.
AA tutorial about handling irregular lines.

If you're not at least a little uncomfortable, chances are you're not learning that much.

Offline Runensucher

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Re: "Drawing hygiene" - How to expand the daily drawing time

Reply #6 on: February 01, 2017, 08:41:55 pm
I'm thankful for every suggestion.
I think the tips that helped me the most were:
1. Draw everywhere and every time without thinking about the result. There is always improvement and therefor results don't matter for you in person. (Does not mean I don't finish things.)
2. Drawing comes first. Wrap everything else around the drawing, not the other way around.
3. Don't be to serious. As drawing is not what I make my money with, I don't have to be that disciplined. I still need to have fun to get comfortable with doing my exercises every day.

With this in mind, I doubled my drawing time the last week. (Just a feeling.) I've drawn at work, just one line after another. And I've drawn a lot more at home.
I didn't use a shedule. I hate them and the energy for overcoming to make one can be used for just starting to draw.

And there was something else that helped me a lot: Alpha waves. I found some videos at youtube and after half an hour my brain really feels good and I can draw with less disturbing thoughts. I'm having a yoga vibe right now.  ::)