Now the subject I want to talk about in this journal is a piece of advice that I gave someone someone about improving their drawing skill. I simply said "Don't buy into your own bullshit." That might sound like an odd and maybe even off-putting piece of advice, but I do say that phrase with purpose.
We all have to work our way up from stick figures and rudimentary shapes into solid forms and tight rendering. To do that we have to use what tools are in our means (I don't necessarily mean finical means, but means of conceptualizing and understanding). It doesn't take a genius to know that the more time that you spend with certain tools the more comfortable you are with using them, and often the negative effect that can have is that it can create this mental barrier and fool us into thinking that we can only be proficient with either one tool or in one way of doing things.
"Oh I'm only a pencil artist." "I can only ink with microns." "I can only draw on printer paper." "I can only draw digitally." "I only play piano." "I can only sculpt cats." "I can only juggle with toy balls." Okay you see where I'm coming from here.
This creates a very rigid way of thinking and puts a ceiling on our improvement. It takes experimentation and trial and error to improve upon our creative process. Someone who thinks that they are only good at piano should maybe try experimenting extensively with drums. Not only will you possibly become proficient at two interments, but what you learned from trying out the drums will inform the way you've been playing the piano in a way that you never thought about before. Then you can incorporate the knowledge of both into one or the other.
To bring up how this applies to my life, I would say that I'm less than proficient at drawing digitally, however I will often give it a try while I have my graphics tablet plugged in. While I feel like most of my output from my digital drawings aren't successful, I take what I've learned from the experience to build upon my skills of drawing with pencils on paper. I now use a layering process of penciling my pages similar to how photoshop artists do it with doing my rough sketch in light blue, then doing my more refined detailed drawing over that with either red or HB lead.
Now while this sounds like this piece of advice only applies to tools or skills, I also say it refers to an attitude that we can develop about all the knowledge we've acquired. A mentality that might sound something like "Why would I read a book about drawing with a pencil? I've been drawing with one for 'X' amount of years, I already know everything about it."
Well let me be the first to inform you, no you don't. You don't and you never will. There is always more to learn and always room to improve your skills. Also, just because you might know something intimately doesn't mean you won't benefit from hearing someone else's perspective on that same subject.
I guess what I'm trying to say in short is that we are all sponges with an unlimited compactly that we should try to fill with whatever we can, and sometimes we need to overcome our mental barriers and attitudes to understand that.
Sorry if this sounded preachy, but I felt inspired and compelled to write this. Hope you enjoyed it.