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And now for the dramatic conclusion to the epic trilogy. Heroes will rise, bad habits will fall, in this last chapter we'll discuss how to focus your efforts and learn the most and improve quickly with your studies. If you missed them, click these links for Part One and Part Two. And now for...

WISDOM NUMBER THREE!!! Work smart and leave your comfort zone. This part is my qualifier for art school, tutorials, and educational resources in general, because they can be good, but only if you make them good. Once you've gotten in to the habit of drawing consistently, it's important to start being mindful of what you're drawing, how you're drawing it, and why you're drawing it. A key ingredient of success is hard work, but if that work isn't purposeful it might not move you along very quickly. For a highly nerdy analogy, think about a video game; generally speaking a player with the strongest weapon or the largest army is going to have a serious advantage and likely to win the game, but if that player just goes around attacking things at random then a smarter player with fewer resources has a good chance to win the game. It takes not only resources and dedication, but also a little bit of strategy.

To translate that to art, if you're drawing all day every day but only draw the same front-view character that you've drawn a million times already, chances are you won't learn too much. Sure over time that character will start to look pretty awesome because you've ironed out so many mistakes, but what happens when you're called upon to do something else? To be a successful artist you must be a master of principles that can be applied to any situation; if you just follow the same 3-step formula every time you're not going to be able to deliver when an art director asks you for something you've never drawn before.

Now the problem here is that there are different ways to draw the same thing, and a lot of the times beginners will practice, but they do so in a way that doesn't strategically help them with their immediate needs. For example, if you go on any art forum ever and ask for advice, I guarantee you someone will drop this bomb:
COPY BRIDGMAN!!! and the crowd goes wild! And I can tell you that I've seen a lot of sketchbooks with pages and pages and pages of Bridgman copies that the artist learned absolutely nothing from, mine included. But why? How can this be? Because it is copied with the wrong things in mind; people open their book, grab their pencils, then start copying angles, try to get the same texture as him, draw fun swoopy lines, and notice that he has a little zig-zag shading and they completely miss the point. They are copying Bridgman by observation, not realizing that he's meant to be copied by construction; not by using the same angles, but by understanding that all his drawings are forms: cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones that are welded together to form 3d representations. Now, if you copy Bridgman with the mindset of form and perspective, you're going to learn a whole different ball game, and odds are your figure drawing is going to jump 10 levels in the coming months because you're not not just drawing lines on a page, but you're learning to create 3D space on a 2D surface.

Because of these dangers, you must seek out good information to help you in your quest. If you're trying to walk to a store, you can walk up and down every street until you find it and you'll eventually get there, but it's easier if you just get directions beforehand and go straight there. Similarly, you'll improve faster if you seek out quality information and use it as a compass for your artistic journey. Now don't get me wrong, because that does NOT mean finding a magical figure drawing tutorial that instantly makes you great. Rather, use your good judgment to analyze whether or not the information you're ingesting is actually educational or if it's simply fun to watch. A big one here is time-lapsed speedpaint videos; digital art is great, but these videos are the bane of beginning artists of today, because they leave people with the impression that if you just use texture brushes you should be able to create awesome art in 20 minutes. But what people miss is that the artists who can actually do that have such strong foundational skills that they're able to condense the massive amounts of information they have in their mind in to a few simple brush strokes. You can watch 10,000 speedpaint videos and download all the custom brushes in the world, but you will never learn as much from that as you will from a solid lecture about vanishing points and how to place cubes in perspective.

And lastly on a similar note always remember that you have to have the courage to leave your comfort zone. You improve by doing the things that cause you trouble; so if you have trouble with drawing dynamic figures in crazy perspective, don't try and sneak your way around it and always draw the same one point perspective and hope no one notices. Rather than shirking and avoiding, charge that shizz like a bull and just get it done and get it out of the way. If you can draw great figures from photos but as soon as you try to draw from your head it falls apart, the solution probably isn't to keep drawing figures from photos. Take off the training wheels, put on your helmet and ride. You will fall down, scrape your knee, try not to cry, cry a lot, but then you'll get over it and try again and eventually you'll figure it out, and once you do it will never cause you problems again. You don't want to be 30 years old still riding a bike with training wheels because you're just not sure if you're good enough to ride without them. Of course you're not good enough, that's why you need to take them off and fail a few times, because ultimately that is how we learn.

I hope this series has been useful to you, I'd like to do more things like this in the future, perhaps weekly and with some better editing and presentation, so if there's something you're hungry for feel free to suggest it. Beyond that, keep drawing, don't give up on your dreams, and go kick some ass! :)
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:iconkemikly:
KemikLy Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015  Professional General Artist
I guess I'm a little late to the party (by about a year and a half), but I wanted to tell you that this series rocks! Your posts are really well-written and to the point, not to mention inspiring as hell! Thanks so much for sharing your insights! :hug:
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! I'm glad they were helpful to you. :D
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:iconkemikly:
KemikLy Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2015  Professional General Artist
:D
Reply
:iconpengroach:
PengRoach Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Awesome journal!! Very wise words and just what I needed since I've been slacking lately. Thanks a lot for this :)
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Glad it was helpful! :D
Reply
:iconryfkah:
Ryfkah Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014
Oh man, thanks ^-^ I'll reread this triology as soon as I feel demotivated and loosy again. I hope that takes a while though and now I'm going back to that pencil and this sheet of white paper.
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Glad it's helpful! Keep up the draws! :D
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:iconryfkah:
Ryfkah Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Of course, thank you :) I won't get any better if I stop now xD
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:iconviridrain:
ViridRain Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014   Digital Artist
I've read that again, I love this trilogy, it's GOLD WISDOM ! Thanks again for that ! I wish you could write more like this, please u
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks so much, I'm glad you've found it helpful! :D
I've got some lurking schemes to get back in to producing tutorials, will update when it starts happening!
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:iconanevis:
Anevis Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I will always came here, when I feel lazy. Thanks for these :>
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
haha, glad they're helpful! :)
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:iconignifero:
Ignifero Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
Thanks, thanks a lot for this : D
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
No problem! :)
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:iconeclip-se:
eclip-se Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Hobbyist
Good read, thanks!
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers! :)
Reply
:iconkattperuk:
Kattperuk Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! I've already read/heard these advices before, but you wrote it in a perfect way which gave me the motivation I needed right now :)
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Glad it was helpful! :)
Reply
:iconhunting-wolf:
Hunting-wolf Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013
Danm you're motivating, I love the way you write!! And it has definitely been useful, all the way, thank you! ^^
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Haha, glad you're feeling motivated! Cheers! :)
Reply
:iconlou2209:
lou2209 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Student Digital Artist
ugh you are the best person ever! was really gutted when I read this was the last one though ;_;
all good things must come to an end though I guess tho aha

thank you! <33
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers, glad you found it helpful! :)
Reply
:iconan-chan123:
an-chan123 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful! Great analogies excellent concept and beautiful word flow. It's understandable and capturing writing~! I agree fully with every word of this! <3
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Glad you found it helpful! :D
Reply
:iconan-chan123:
an-chan123 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
;)
Reply
:iconrogtom:
rogtom Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Are you stalking me, and tryna secretly give me biking tips too? Celestia, this is weird for me
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yes, this is actually an instructional series about biking, I just used artwork as a facade to keep people interested until revealing the truth at the end. Just like an M. Night Shyamalan film.

And is it just me, or did you just drop an MLP reference? :0
Reply
:iconrogtom:
rogtom Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yep, you caught that celestia part
Sarcastic much
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
lol, I was merely joking. =P
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:iconrogtom:
rogtom Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok
Reply
:iconbrotherofmysister:
BrotherOfMySister Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013   Digital Artist
It's always relieving to know that these thoughts torture more minds than mine :) Nicely said Andantonius, thank you for the great share and for introducing me to Bridgman's artwork :)
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:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Haha, yeah, this has been rolling around in my head for, oh.... 4 years now. xP

Glad you found it helpful! :)
Reply
:iconchuck18mp:
Chuck18mp Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Dude thank you so much for this. Much needed inspiration for this summer!
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers! :)
Reply
:iconegreonna:
Egreonna Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Student General Artist
Thank you for taking the time to write these three journals. I've often heard or thought of the same advice but here you've put it clearly and straightforwardly. Thanks for sharing this advice! It's definitely true.
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers! I'm glad it was helpful. :)
Reply
:iconwla91:
wla91 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This really put a fire on my ass, great advices man, gonna read it from time to time to keep focused
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers! :)
Reply
:iconsparksflystudios:
SparksflyStudios Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well written/said, my friend. I now understand how to use my "Bridgman's Drawing from Life" book.
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers! :)
Reply
:iconjeremycolwell:
JeremyColwell Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Bravo. All three parts were excellent.
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers! :)
Reply
:iconviridrain:
ViridRain Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013   Digital Artist
Perfect motivation serie ! You're a great coach :)
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Cheers! And hell yeah, draw the socks out of that sock! You're my favorite now. =P
Reply
:iconsormia:
Sormia Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"draw figures from imagination, try again and eventually you'll figure it out" :iconbadumtssplz: ba dum tss.
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
lolol, I c wut u did thar. xP
Reply
:icongreen-roc:
Green-Roc Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I smell me in this ... and mostly in the not-so-good stuff....
For me, this is a needed slap in the face :)

Thanks Andan, thanks for these Jorunals.
/hugs
Reply
:iconandantonius:
Andantonius Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Haha, I smell me in the not-so-good stuff here too; I think we all do. But now we can work towards making it better! :D

/hugzorz
Reply
:iconalp:
Alp Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Again, your descriptions are insanely accurate, it's like you're describing me specifically! This series really put things in perspective for me, I'm glad you did them and I hope I'll be able to make something similar in the future for people who are at where I am now. Take care.
Reply
:iconjuliejean:
JulieJean Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013
Great advice, will have to look up Bridgman now :P Can you share a few guidelines or tips for getting started in painting? I'm really struggling with trying to paint without line art but can't seem to get a handle on it. I suppose it's to do with lighting right? Sorry for my ignorance, I'm trying to learn on my own but sometimes it's so frustrating, I feel like I'm circling around the answer and just need a big cartoon sign saying "This way dummy"!
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