AuthorTopic: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?  (Read 6252 times)

Offline Saffron

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

on: April 02, 2009, 11:12:07 pm
Howdy. I'm 15 years old and I've been observing, and sometimes participating in, the pixel art community for about two years. As is true with most of the people that pixel art, I was introduced to it by video games I love. I really enjoy the interesting discussions that take place on this forum. It's good to find some good forums that aren't filled with Sonic edits. ;)

Anyways, I realize you all probably get a lot of threads from people new to pixel art asking how to become adept at creating pixel art. They usually receive a warm welcome, are told just to practice, and read some tutorials. I read those and took that advice. I've read basically every scrap of text available on the web and in my library on pixel art techniques. I've studied professional and amateur pixel art alike for hours on end, trying desperately to imitate the techniques and style for the sake of pixelling something decent and learning something. I've practiced so, so, so much. Thus far, in about two years, (on and off), I have created nothing but utter shit. I know it's not supposed to be easy, but wow.

I rarely share my work in pure shame as to the low quality. I think I've shown one work on here, but that's about it. I usually end up spending some hours on a project, decided it sucks and that I hate it, and deleting it. Sob story over, I have some questions for you all.

Is it possible that no matter how hard I may try, I'm just not meant to do this? That I'm just not artistically talented in this way? Also, where do you get your inspiration to make what you make? Music? Games? Do you just vomit it out effortlessly?
And how long have you been at this pixel art hoobie joobie? Am I too young to really do well at this?

Offline JonathanOfDrain

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 292
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Lonely
    • View Profile
    • TheyWillEat.Us

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #1 on: April 02, 2009, 11:56:45 pm
One very useful piece of knowledge I can share with you is to stop studying pixel art.

Make sketches as much as you can, use references even after you think you got everything down pat.
A lot of us here aren't just pixel artists. I am a sculptor and screen printer.

When I make pixel art I usually do it with a solid idea in mind, sometimes a sketch. If I'm doing work that I'm getting paid for I have multiple sketches and a handful of references pinned up around my computer or opened in my computer.

If you can paint the Mona Lisa with oils you can probably make something nice in with pixel art. If you can sketch a sketch a bird you can probably pixel push one into existence.

I've been pushing pixels for fun for a few years. Nothing serious, I do it when I'm bored or get a job offer.
I'm a student at college, I have my associate degree in English but am now pursuing the fine arts.
I make a little money selling my sculptures and do some graphic design work whenever I can.


P.S. At the age of 12 Picasso was already a pretty talented painter. Mind you he dedicated his life to art.

Offline Atnas

  • Moderator
  • 0100
  • *
  • Posts: 1074
  • Karma: +2/-0
  • very daijōbs
    • paintbread
    • paintbread
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #2 on: April 02, 2009, 11:58:46 pm
Quote
I've studied professional and amateur pixel art alike for hours on end, trying desperately to imitate the techniques and style for the sake of pixelling something decent and learning something.

I'm sorry but... I don't think that's the right way. You can have great technique, but the technique is not going to help you make good art. You need to practice traditional fundamentals before your art can be good. How well you do with a pencil or paintbrush generally correlates to how well you do with a pixel. Sometimes, people can jump straight into pixel art and be great at it. That's because it's just another medium. My first watercolor wasn't the best, but it was still rather good because I have a level of understanding concerning fundamentals.

If you look at paintings, study paintings, research all the famous painters and try to emulate them, you will fail. You will fail because you need to become an artist, not a copycat. There's really nothing to understand, it's about doing. It's never about technique, it's about how well you understand the fundamentals.

What are the fundamentals? Understanding depth, form, light, anatomy, geometry, the negative and positive space. Mostly anything you will learn in a fine arts class.

Even if you already have a grasp of them, it would do anyone well to concentrate more on them than they do any specific medium. Devote all this time to them.

I started pixel art at age 12, it's never too young.

Edit: eek john beat me

Offline NaCl

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 437
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • When it rains it pours
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #3 on: April 03, 2009, 01:15:02 am
I'd say you just need to be a bit more humble. You are expecting more out of yourself then you can deliver, so when you try and make something then it fails to meet your standards, and you throw it out and learn nothing. If you want to advance, come to terms with making things that are not great (or even good). Then, put aside your ego, and post it on the board here and see what people have to say. Don't expect anything but people pointing out what's wrong with it though, and if you have really put your ego away then you'll be fine with that, listen to them, and start improving.

I can say this from experience, not because I am yet very good or anything, but because I suffered from the same thing you are describing. Since around 14 I tried to draw on and off, but nothing I did matched up to my own expectations, so I never got anywhere. Only recently have I overcome this and begun to improve.

Offline huZba

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 409
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • MekaSkull
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/19396.htm
    • huzba
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #4 on: April 03, 2009, 05:18:02 am
If it at some point becomes totally effortless, it means you've found a safe spot and stopped learning. Frustration is fine, overcoming it is even better. Post your latest without shame, open to anything that comes your way, but also critical enough not to adopt rules without knowing their reason. Ask yourself "why?". Ask others "why?". Challenge and let yourself be challenged and maybe the ability to interpret your thoughts with a pen will increase. There's nothing to lose.

Offline blumunkee

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 325
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #5 on: April 03, 2009, 07:20:25 am
Basically, to address the subject matter, "Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?" The answer is yes, and that is a good thing. Being self critical of one's work is what in my eye marks the difference between a great artist and a mediocre one. Your outlook, while not universally shared, is normal and healthy among people who wish to build lasting proficiency in a skill set.

Not being completely satisfied with your art means you will always strive to improve. There are many artists who seem to reach a certain skill set, usually around their mid 20's, who become complacent with their ability and never seem to grow any further. In my experience, a good artist is never completely "happy" with his skill set--there is always a higher plateau to reach.

I suspect that while you honestly do believe that you haven't improved over the past 2 years, if we where shown work from year 0 juxtaposed with work from year 2, we would not feel the same. Self criticality does tend to blind your ability to see gradual improvements over a long period of time.

Now, to answer specific questions:

Quote
Is it possible that no matter how hard I may try, I'm just not meant to do this? That I'm just not artistically talented in this way?

Is it possible? Yes. However, I think there are very few people out there who are truly hopeless. More likely these people want instant gratification without substantial effort, or they go about learning in an inefficient manner. (There is such a thing as good practice and bad practice.)

Also, "talent" will get you only so far. I was talented at drawing as a young boy, but if I relied on talent alone, to this day I would still draw like a ten year old boy! I suspect about 90% of what I have achieved artistically is thru skill (which is learned) not talent (which is inherent).

Quote
Also, where do you get your inspiration to make what you make? Music? Games?

Yes. Also TV, books, friends, walks in the park, head injuries, etc. "Inspiration" comes from a mind that is actively exploring, perceiving, and processing the world about it. As an insomniac, some of my best ideas have come whilst laying in bed with nothing to do but processes the things swimming about my head.

Quote
Do you just vomit it out effortlessly?

Sometimes. This is called a fluke. It is exceptionally rare, and it can't be relied on.

Quote
And how long have you been at this pixel art hoobie joobie? Am I too young to really do well at this?

I started drawing--in ernest and with a definite agenda--at age 10, which is younger, I believe, that many. Almost exclusively, I focused my skill set on rendering (drawing), and my major duration of improvement was from age 15 to 17. The improvement slowed at 17 due largely to the unbearable inanity of institutionalized education. I didn't get into pixel art until age 18, and the 7 years of drawing definitely provided a strong foundation which smoothed the transition into a different medium. From my experience, high school seems to be the most fruitful period of artistic growth, with college as a close second.

Offline Panda

  • 0100
  • ***
  • Posts: 1008
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • 威風堂々
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #6 on: April 03, 2009, 08:03:31 am
I don't know... don't think about anything else and just try to have fun.
When you are having fun, you tend to give better results (and well... since you are enjoying it, it is a win-win situation :P).

Also forget about other people's expectations, as you don't have to impress anyone. Just go wild and let the pixels flow.
As corny as it might have sounded, getting that weight off your shoulders makes it easier.

And just keep at it, post here for receiving criticism, challenge yourself, work on projects you like, etc.
But mainly keep at it, because if you have the passion for it, everything will start clicking together eventually.

And uuuh, I started pixelling when I was 16-ish, so that makes it 5 years at it.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2009, 12:29:24 pm by Panda »

Offline bonehead11

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #7 on: April 03, 2009, 08:02:37 pm
When making pixel art, just have fun as mentioned earlier go wild, let loose your inner self, relax. Inspiration isnt problem, it will come by its self, for instance you watch a film and wow that character is cool I will try to make him even cooler, or when you hear a song it gives you emotion and it comes automatically. The best thing to do is to listen to music when you draw.
You will never learn by studying, you have to DO it, maybe you will learn techniques etc. but what it will be good if you dont know how to draw...
As mentioned earlier if what you were typing is right, than you have very good thing, you strive for perfection. Many people go to a specific point in wich they stop to evolve and wont progress further, but if you are perfectionist, like mine humble self, than you will keep learning and learning, afterall "Humans go for perfection, even when they know perfection is impossible to reach, that makes them to go on" dont know who said that, but its truth.
You should show your work because there are things you wont see, bugs that you wont find or have really hard time repairing them, dont be ashamed of your work, everybody has to start somewhere, if you will stay at "I suck, mine art suck, man this sucks" than you wont accomplish nothing, remember pesimism only leads to failure.
You dont have to have inborn talent to do something, it will be harder to learn, but you will get there. Well so much from inexperienced person :).
And remember have fun, its all about having fun.

Offline Cow

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 528
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #8 on: April 05, 2009, 07:28:50 am
Nintendo Power Protip: Never just skim the thread when you're about to write a massive post. Turns out most of what I wanted to say was said already, but here's the leftover 5 sentences (which sound pretty disjointed without their padding of echoed suggestions):

Remember the Law of Diminishing Returns; although it may not seem like it, the biggest strides of one's artistic growth happen during these early formative stages. Of course, development can only happen with the input of time, effort, and heart. Overcoming your current creative paralysis will be a good first hurdle. I've seen members of this board make massive strides in the span of the couple years I've been lurking here, beginning as very inexperienced artists. "Getting serious" about art involves shutting off a lot of your brain (whatever portions are required for internal censorship), or if you've played X-Wing Alliance or any similar game, routing the power from the shields to the main thrusters...

« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 07:33:01 am by Cow »

Offline Rydin

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 925
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • ...zzzt...
    • @thickDumps
    • View Profile
    • thickDumps

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 01:39:27 am
Is it possible that no matter how hard I may try, I'm just not meant to do this?
Only if you hate doing it.

That I'm just not artistically talented in this way?
Maybe not yet. You have to learn.  Either purposely or accidentally make the biggest mistakes you can make.  Then learn from them.

Also, where do you get your inspiration to make what you make? Music? Games?
Everything is inspiration.  Anything you can perceive and communicate to others about how you perceived it.

Do you just vomit it out effortlessly?
Sometimes.  But in most cases, the effortlessness is a lie.  Doing something religiously and devoting your life to something requires tremendous amounts of effort.  But after infinite dedication, many of the little particular things become second nature.

And how long have you been at this pixel art hoobie joobie? Am I too young to really do well at this?
Your life is way too short to say that you're too young for something.

Hours upon hours, like you say you've spent, is nothing.  Devote every minute of every hour of every day to doing anything related to pixels or art in someway, if you want to be any good.

Don't beat yourself up though.  Only do what you love to do.  Everything else isn't worth your time.

Man cannot remake himself without suffering for he is both the marble and the sculptor.

Offline Ben2theEdge

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 503
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • I'ma drink mah coffee!
    • View Profile
    • My Deviantart Gallery

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 02:54:42 am
Is it possible that no matter how hard I may try, I'm just not meant to do this?

I don't think there's anything that qualifies or disqualifies a person from making art. If you want to, then you should. But desire excellence.

Quote
That I'm just not artistically talented in this way?

Talent is not only overrated, but mis-diagnosed. Technical skills may be intuitive for some but most of us have to train hard for them. The real talent is in having good ideas - if you have a good idea you can always receive training to bring it to reality, but no amount of study or training will teach you how to have original thoughts. If you have a vision in your head, that is enough talent to get by.

Quote
Also, where do you get your inspiration to make what you make? Music? Games? Do you just vomit it out effortlessly?

This is different for everyone I think. Inspiration is simply the things you find interesting and want to share with others, even if it's at a subconscious level. If you're passionate about anything, then you're inspired. As far as vomiting it out effortlessly... I wish! I feel that I have to fall in love with every project, even the ones I don't think I'm going to like... otherwise the amount of sweat and tears that it takes to create is simply not worth it.

 
Quote
And how long have you been at this pixel art hoobie joobie? Am I too young to really do well at this?

I've been fiddling around with digital art since I was a little kid but I didn't get serious about it until I was about your age. Now I'm almost 25 and I still feel like I'm too young to do well at it. You have to walk a thin line. One the one hand you see a brilliant piece of art and say, "of course it's better than mine; they've had more training than me." BUT at the same time tell yourself, "they're mere humans, if they can do it then so can I!" Then you begin to analyze - instead of looking at the Mona Lisa and saying "it's flawless! I'll never be able to do that!" you say "why did he do it this way? what was he thinking? what mistakes did he make? What would I do differently?" Blind admiration stunts the growth of many a young artist. The worst thing you can do as an artist is look at someone else's art and say "it's perfect!" If you do, you won't analyze it. If you don't analyze it, you won't learn from it.

But, I think your problem is more that you feel your technical skills have not yet developed enough to support your vision. But that is a good place to be. Your technical skills WILL improve with practice and study, just like a musician or an athlete. It is a far worse thing to have the technical skills, but nothing to draw.

Also, STOP deleting your work. Save it. You can hide it away somewhere and not look at it, but you must keep it. That way, when you feel discouraged about your work you can dig it up and look at your progress. If you destroy your history you will always feel like you've just started and that you are not improving at all. Also, you can't analyze your mistakes and learn from them if you are trying to hide the evidence that you ever actually made any mistakes!

And you need to learn not to be ashamed of your art. Acknowledge that it is imperfect, yes. Acknowledge that you are still learning, as we all do. But do not be ashamed. You created something, you expressed yourself. You took a little piece of who you are and put it in a tangible form for the world to see. Don't try to hide that or bury it. Share it!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 03:01:56 am by Ben2theEdge »
I mild from suffer dislexia.

Offline Squiggly_P

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 66
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #11 on: April 09, 2009, 02:09:26 am
I'm not really the best Pixel artist from a technique point of view since I just recently started pixeling, but like a lot of other people I started out with traditional drawing experience.  I was interested in it as a kid, but like a lot of kids I got frustrated by my lack of "talent" in my teens and stopped for a long time.  I doodled off and on, but it wasn't good and because I wasn't really studying anything - just doodling crap - I didn't progress very far.  I got back into drawing in my mid 20's and have been starting to get into digital painting and pixel art recently.  I'm 30 right now, and while that's probably older than a lot of people on these boards, that in no way makes me better at art - I'm sure most of these guys could draw and pixel circles around me - so I don't think age has much to do with it at all, aside from maybe having more life experiences to draw from for inspiration.

The great thing about art in general is that everything you learn in one medium will inform every other medium you work with.  If you paint a lot of drapery studies then go to sculpt that sort of thing, your sculpt will look better for it, and vice versa.  Don't just pixel.  Draw, paint, do whatever you find interesting.

Another thing I learned is that you'll learn more by studying things rather than just drawing them.  I mean, sure, you can take a pine cone and draw it a few times, trying to be accurate and trying to make it look just like that pine cone, but you'll learn a lot more about pinecones and how they work if you take a pinecone and rip it apart, really study it, draw the pieces, make notes about the texture, the colors, the sound it makes when you snap it, the smell of it...  hell, the way it tastes.  Take notes and use a sketchbook to really look at things beyond just the surface - beyond just looking at something and drawing it.  The next time you draw a pinecone you'll take all that stuff and try to communicate it, and you'll have a better idea of how to communicate it.

But it's easier to learn what's right if you know what's wrong.  Screwing up and realizing it is pretty much the best way to learn everything.  Hell, it's the only way to learn anything.  You don't just pop out of the womb with a perfect grasp of your naitive language.  You have to say one word incorrectly a million times and be corrected a million times by your parents before you've learned that first word.  Everyone can learn how to draw and be a great artist in the same way that everyone can learn the language their parents speak.  But, you'll notice that a lot of people don't actually get that great a grasp of their naitive language.  They can speak it and communicate basic ideas, but not many people learn the more complex words and propper grammar.  Art is the same way.  Anyone can just pick up a pencil and make a picture.  The quality of the results relies entirely on how much time they've spent really studying it.

So keep working at it, cause the more time you put into it now, the better you'll be down the road.  Take it from someone that waited till they were in their 20's to start really learning.

Offline Scribblette

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 185
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Livejournal

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #12 on: April 15, 2009, 02:52:49 pm
Dang. This thread both disappointed and inspired me.

Quote
One very useful piece of knowledge I can share with you is to stop studying pixel art.
Why didn't anyone tell me?? Nooo!!

Though I've started to figure it out. There's been too much "Why did they do this? How could they have known it'd work with this dot here and that dot there, how did they know what impact it'd have on the overall image in advance?"

I spent most of the last few years studying pixel art. I've thrown in bits of studying photos, objects in RL and as time has passed have spent weeks at a time focusing on just learning to sketch things better... which would probably account for what progress I have made in pixel art as well. Mostly I learnt by making mistakes. I have no background in art.

Actually the more I've tried non-pixel art stuff recently, the more my pixel art has improved, I guess. @_@ It's just frustrating to realize I focused on the wrong aspect of things for so long.

Also, to realize that sketching won't translate to texturing & coloring skills. I have to spend years learning to PAINT before I can spend years learning to pixel paint pretty? *sob*
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 02:54:24 pm by Scribblette »
Now reading: Animator's Survival Kit, Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain, Fun With A Pencil. No time to pixel!
Pixelated Anatomy|Foliage

Offline Shrike

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 412
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #13 on: May 05, 2009, 02:25:53 pm
Howdy. I'm 15 years old and I've been observing, and sometimes participating in, the pixel art community for about two years. As is true with most of the people that pixel art, I was introduced to it by video games I love. I really enjoy the interesting discussions that take place on this forum. It's good to find some good forums that aren't filled with Sonic edits. ;)

Anyways, I realize you all probably get a lot of threads from people new to pixel art asking how to become adept at creating pixel art. They usually receive a warm welcome, are told just to practice, and read some tutorials. I read those and took that advice. I've read basically every scrap of text available on the web and in my library on pixel art techniques. I've studied professional and amateur pixel art alike for hours on end, trying desperately to imitate the techniques and style for the sake of pixelling something decent and learning something. I've practiced so, so, so much. Thus far, in about two years, (on and off), I have created nothing but utter shit. I know it's not supposed to be easy, but wow.

I rarely share my work in pure shame as to the low quality. I think I've shown one work on here, but that's about it. I usually end up spending some hours on a project, decided it sucks and that I hate it, and deleting it. Sob story over, I have some questions for you all.

Is it possible that no matter how hard I may try, I'm just not meant to do this? That I'm just not artistically talented in this way? Also, where do you get your inspiration to make what you make? Music? Games? Do you just vomit it out effortlessly?
And how long have you been at this pixel art hoobie joobie? Am I too young to really do well at this?

Hey.
I'm just going to digest some information here and spit it back out, but might as well anyways.

Definitely stop studying...  Studying imho comes after you feel somewhat happy with how your work looks.  In my history I blundered around making HORRID art, but I thought it was great, and started posting it everywhere on the Internet.  Boy, did that one hurt.  I got fixed right up.  Bringing me to point #2:  If you cannot improve yourself by hard practice, self-critique and study, give it to someone else, post it on here.  Rarely the artist is the best judge of his/her work for several reasons:
He/she has been staring at the screen/paper for several hours and can't see anymore,
Since it's you that's drawing it, you won't see obvious faults,
Since you're an artist, maybe, just maybe, you think it's perfect and unimprovable.  Imo that's NEVER true, you can probably always go up another level.  According to your own standards at least, as there is not such thing as good or bad art.  It's only a form of expression.  Whether people like it as much as you do is not really the point of art.

But, it sounds like you want to improve!  So here's the moral of all that annoying text:
1. Practice your butt off.
2. Post it for others to see, and we will help you!   ;)
3. Don't try to imitate someone else's style.  Don't worry about your own even.  Ignore style, that will come.  Right now just draw.
4. Feel comfortable on pencil and paper before you do this.  (personal opinion, not necessarily true or that important, but it might speed up the learning process.)
5. Ages do not matter.  I'm 13.  I started at, what, 9?  I blundered around until I got help.  Trust me, it was horrible:
  Just ugly.
  Pillowshaded, total disregard to anatomy, bad color choice, not much contrast, ugly, and outlined without AA.
  Let's not talk about this one.

But I started drawing on pencil and paper, and still do, from 5.  It's my thing.  I think I'm good at it.  If you think the above are better than you can do, then it's because I'd had 3-4 years of practice, maybe one year of training.  Now I take personal art classes with a professional, and we work on actual art-work, making framed pieces.  Now my pixel art looks like this:

  (after buying/reading the Animators Survival Kit)
  Old and not finished....   :yell:
  working on this one now.
So, you see?  I was horrible at pixels.  Now I'm good.  The difference is practice, posting it for critique here, (btw without pixelation I would NOT be where I am now.)  art instruction, and self-critique.  And maybe some talent, though I'm not sure.  :)

Hope I could help,
Shrike
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 02:28:35 pm by Shrike »

Offline Saffron

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile

Re: Extended Exasperation Enrages Eternally?

Reply #14 on: June 24, 2009, 03:59:42 am
Hey everyone. It's been quite a long while since I posted this thread, and I'm very sorry for such a late reply, but my last computer had some issues and I had to get a new one.
I really, really appreciate everyone taking the time to reply to me, and I've thoroughly read through all of them and I think I've learned some things. It's been enlightening and interesting. I'm definitely looking forward to continuing to pixel and I thank all of you for the help.
This is the only site that I know of where a person who has about three posts can ask a question and get so many honest, helpful, thorough, and well-thought out answers.
Thanks again.  :)
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 04:04:51 am by Saffron »