You will never get better, unless you make mistakes.
So this comes up often in my class, it’s a universal obstacle to learning, and improving rapidly.
This often leads to a lot of cautious, stiff, even scratchy lines when we draw too. The hesitation, not trusting your hand to do the thing, worry. It doesn’t really help does it?
In class I talk a lot about learning to be a bit fearless, and to help that, compartmentalizing Doing from Study, so that even more so when studying, we de-prioritize outcomes, or even better shift them during study, to welcoming messing up and making mistakes!
We can learn from those, and I think like many we never get better if we only do what we already know how to or feels comfortable. Maybe you’ve already come to similar conclusions but for many it’s a new approach.
But don’t take my word for it! First, I’ve posted Peter Han’s “Pardon My Dust”, on the class site here. Embedded along with a few much longer more detailed instructional clips he’s generously shared on Youtube and my notes on how those ideas intersect in places with my course plan well.
The first main short, directed by Adriel de la Torre, is a very nicely made 3:44min doc of him talking about his process. Including addressing a philosophy of fearlessness. If you’ve never seen it watch that for sure. I think the course he founded? – Dynamic Sketching – has aspects close to what I talk about in Dynamic Drawing. Analytical Sketching at Syn gets into the structural things he does more though.
And on this page, I want to share with you a group of videos created by students of the Berghs School of Communication in Sweden, all of designers and thinkers, talking each for about 2 minutes about their opinions on, and approach to the questions of “Fear of Failure”.
I’ve always liked this first one by Milton Glaser. It’s the first I saw, and I’m an admitted fan. Often very slick in this one he looks like he got banged on the forehead in it a bit, bad lighting really brings out the great shapes in his expressive face. I didn’t find one when I googled but I wish Al Hirschfeld had drawn Milton, he must have at some time. He’s made for Hirshfeld. It made me chuckle to think of him as nursing a black eye in it, like he’d just confirmed this life philosophy during a visit to fight club or something. 😉
That resulted in the fun sketch here, and this post! So again I recomend you think in iterations, and give yourself a limit. I drew pages for Dream Life, 5 times tops each: thumbnails for layout, pencils, cleanups, then inks. For Therefore, Repent! Just three, it had a very fixed deadline, so just three times. Layout, pencils, inks. You have to have a red line, the deadline.
When you’re learning, set a similar kind of structure, finite focused period of practice, designed to maximize learning from our mistakes!
Now watch this, Jake Parker’s great clip expressing his take on this kind of thing. It really is better to be finished rather than perfect. That does not mean give up on the first draft. You still want to work towards making each thing you do a bit better than the last.
Bonus Glasner! I’ve added a bunch of clips from creatives on this topic, including a fantastic 15 min Ted talk where Glasner discusses ‘Theme and Variation’, and the art of being fearless. And is generally an adorable self satirizing smartass. His work is truly fun. It helped to define visually a good part of my own formative years, before I was an artist, as a child of the 70s and 80s.
Also note when he talks about Theme and Variation, he shows us the results of a Study Series he’s done? Also his rap about the “Dutchman”, and the juxtaposition of ideas ties in with this post on juxtaposition in comics from my Making Comics at Syn Studio site. Do yourself a favour and check out his stuff after, if you haven’t already! In fact, you almost certainly have, even if you didn’t know it. 😉
There’s another from him as part of a series, from the Berghs School series, and i’m going to drop in one by Adam Savage too, on the same topic at the end. Enjoy, and then go boldly into making your beautiful messes.