Embracing the Artist Process

casey-screenshot_006

by Casey Roonan, Art Prof Teaching Assistant

There was a long time after art school when I felt like I was just spinning my wheels. I’ve always been a very product-oriented thinker, and throughout art school I treated both class assignments and freelance projects as problems to solve. I loved the challenge of finding a visual solution and the perfect art media or format to express it. If the first image that popped into my head was at all workable, I would go for it. There wasn’t room for exploration. I was excited just to skip to the end.

When I was home on break I would give myself the objective of completing a comic book every summer, each time increasing my target page count. In a sense, I was doing exactly what I used to do as a kid when I would steal stacks of printer paper from my Dad’s office, staple them together, draw a “cover” on the first page, and then fill in from there… I was starting with the product first, then working backwards. The primary difference was that now I would at least finish the booklet, instead of just wasting office supplies.

EPSON MFP image

That approach worked for me at the time, and I’m still proud of a lot of the art I made during those years. But shortly after graduation, I found I no longer was finishing the little booklets I dreamt up in my head… I’d start in on those preliminary sketches, and then things would sputter out before I could move onto the final artwork. I was stuck in my sketchbook. Without school deadlines to push me, I found I couldn’t prioritize one idea over another. How did I know a concept was good? Which product was actually worth making? I was filling up sketchbook after sketchbook with fragmented, half-imagined notions and unresolved doodles. Everything looked awful. I was wasting paper, again!

Paradoxically, my only solace from making such bad drawings came from… well, making more bad drawings. I began regularly hanging out with my old high school art buddy, Mike Karpiel, and we started making “jam” comics: We would pass our sketchbooks back and forth, trading off panels in collaborative comic strips. We drew directly on the page in pen – crummy pens, even – without any kind of forethought or pencil under-drawing.

casey-jam-comics_030

Jam comics with Mike Karpiel


The goal wasn’t to make drawings that looked good, as we didn’t plan on showing them to anyone. The point of the exercise was to pass the time, to riff, to surprise the other person with a weird twist, and to make each other laugh. At first we would work at my place or his, but soon we were drawing while hanging out at coffee shops, or in bars. We started incorporating characters and objects from our surroundings into the strips. Suddenly, I was drawing from observation again! Not in the way I used to when I was going to figure drawing sessions in art school, however… In an unprecedented way, I was taking in my every-day surroundings, and drawing from my life as opposed to simply “from life.”

My sketchbooks started to look completely different. I’d tricked myself into enjoying drawing again. I started treating drawing as a process, rather than a means to an end.

EPSON MFP image

Lately I’ve been drawing virtually everyday, and I do it for a number of different reasons. I doodle aimlessly to get my mind moving. I brainstorm by drawing directly with my black pen, to fully resolve ideas as they come to me. I sketch out compositions in pencil for my freelance work. Before starting a finished piece, I warm up with blind contour drawings in colored ink, using photos I find on Instagram, magazines, or old yearbooks as my references.

yves-screenshot_010

Teaching Assistants Casey Roonan with Yves-Olivier Mandereau on the Art Prof set


I carry smaller sketchbooks with me when I go out, so I can capture the faces I see, and I draw “master copies” of the art when I go to museums. I draw on top of the lists I make compulsively to keep myself on task, or over my notes for future projects. If something feels compelling I redraw it, over and over again. The disparate ideas gradually come together. Initially unrelated influences meet and become coherent.

I mark an especially interesting idea by leaving an empty page following it – a space to resolve the concept more fully in the future, when I’m nearing the end of the book and my need to just fill it becomes undeniable. As a result of all of this, I’ve probably doubled or tripled the amount of paper I stack up on a regular basis, but at least now those pages are filled.


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to art education for people of all ages and means.

Be notified of our early 2017 site launch by subscribing to our email list.

subscribe


FB  Youtube   tumblr   Pinterest   LinkedIn   Instagram   Twitter   snap_chat  email  etsy


Portfolio Video Critiques for Art Students & Artists
Prof Clara Lieu offers 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for students working on a portfolio for art school admission, and for artists of any age working on their artwork. Watch a sample below, and get more info here.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories, and post select submissions on our Instagram  and other sites throughout the month. Use #artprofwip and Prof Clara Lieu might just stop by and give you some feedback! We have a special prize for art teachers who assign the Art Dare to one of their classes. More info is here.


Ask the Art Prof Live was a weekly live video broadcast on our Facebook page where Prof Clara Lieu provided professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Prof Lieu discussed being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more.

Advertisements

Enter the February Art Dare!

2017-feb-art-dare

“RAPID FIRE DRAWING”
When Prof Lieu’s daughter was in 1st grade, she would come home with these drawing charts. This month, draw responses for each word on one (or more) of our charts!

child-example_006    child-example_002    child-example_004    child-example_005


Requirements
Print a hard copy of a chart from below. Draw directly on the hard copy chart with any 2D media.  You must fill in every box on at least 1 chart to qualify, brownie points for doing more than 1!

Art Prof February Art Dare Chart  chart_002  chart_003  chart_004  chart_005
chart_006  chart_007  chart_008  chart_009  chart_010


To Submit
Post your chart on Instagram, tag us @art.prof  w/ #artprofdare. Or, post your chart on our Facebook page.  Use #artprofwip and one of our staff may stop by and give you feedback!

 We feature your submissions on our Instagram and Facebook page too!
Submissions close Tues., Feb. 28 @ 11:59pm EST
Questions?  Comment below or Email us.

Subscribe to the Art Dares email list and be notified on the first day of each month!

subscribe


Artist Prizes
We award prizes in categories based on the submissions we receive. In the past, prizes we’ve given have included “Tremendous Improvement,” “Innovative Brainstorming,” and Honorable Mentions. To be eligible for a prize, your artwork must be created specifically for this Art Dare, and follow all guidelines.

Prize winners receive: Prof Lieu’s book Learn, Create and Teach + a 10 min. Q&A audio response to 1-2 questions about any art related topic. Your audio will be from 2 Art Prof Teaching Assistants.  Honorable mentions will win an Art Prof sticker set.

cover      4_stickers


Art Teacher’s Prize
Art Teachers: assign this Art Dare to one of your classes!
For your class to be eligible, each student must complete at least 3 charts. 

One class will win a large Art Prof sticker for each student, and a class video critique from Prof Lieu. (watch below) In the class video critique, each student will receive a 1 minute critique on an artwork of their choice. Limit of 25 students. Grades 8 and up are eligible.

Submission Guidelines for Art Teachers
If you have an Instagram for your classroom, post your students’ responses there. Encourage your students to post on their own accounts as well!
For each submission, tag us @art.prof w/ #artprofdare.

You can also submit via DropBox or Google Drive.  Place your students’ artworks in a folder, and then share the folder to Prof Lieu‘s email.


Related Articles
How Do You Begin to Think Conceptually as a Visual Artist?
How Do Visual Artists Come Up with Ideas for their Art?
How to Brainstorm
When Should a Visual Artist Let Go of an Idea?


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts which provides equal access to art education for people of all ages and means.

Be notified of our early 2017 site launch by subscribing to our email list.

subscribe


FB  Youtube   tumblr   Pinterest   LinkedIn   Instagram   Twitter   snap_chat  email  etsy


Portfolio Video Critiques for Art Students & Artists
Prof Clara Lieu offers 30 minute video critiques on 8-20 artworks for students working on a portfolio for art school admission, and for artists of any age working on their artwork. Watch a sample below, and get more info here.

ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories, and post select submissions on our Instagram  and other sites throughout the month. Use #artprofwip and Prof Clara Lieu might just stop by and give you some feedback! We have a special prize for art teachers who assign the Art Dare to one of their classes. More info is here.


Ask the Art Prof Live was a weekly live video broadcast on our Facebook page where Prof Clara Lieu provided professional advice for art students and professional artists. Ask the Art Prof began as a written column in 2013 and was featured in the Huffington Post from 2013-2015.  See the full archive of columns here. Prof Lieu discussed being an artist today, art technique & materials, work strategies for artists, career advice, teaching art, and more.


Make Your Art a Necessity

img_5806

by Deepti Menon

One of my greatest struggles as an artist has been staying motivated to create my own artwork while balancing all my other responsibilities. I’d always hoped that chunks of free time would be an opportunity to just create anything and everything.

However, jobs, internships, or just day-to-day activities were exhausting. Working on personal projects would just frustrate me more. My mind was in so many different places, so I would end up just staring at the paper or craving something less stressful. This became cycle of continuous frustration.

deepti_art1

During my time in art school, I had a professor who always emphasized the importance of working on bits of our projects everyday, rather than all at once. She emphasized the importance of working daily, making it a routine we cannot avoid. Recently, I was reminded of this important lesson through Art Prof itself!

Having recently graduated, “real-life” responsibilities started to consume my time and my art was left behind. That is until I saw Art Prof teaching assistant Lauryn Welch’s Art Hack video in which she explains how one should treat their art like hygiene – a daily necessity. If I can allot time each day to brush my teeth, shower, etc., I should do so with my art. After seeing Lauryn’s video, I started forcing myself to do something creative for at least 15 minutes a day. No rules, just create.

I started doing a rapid-fire doodle marathon right before bed, or I would take reference photographs on my walk to work. Waiting for bread to toast or pasta to boil became a creative opportunity. I brought my sketchbook everywhere and started finding inspiration in everything. Working daily in small amounts was so much easier to do, and there was no pressure.

The best thing about these quick spurts of creation is that I would forget about it afterwards. I’d place these creative moments between two tasks, or during a longer activity. By doing this, I wouldn’t have that much time to spend on each creation and, afterwards, I couldn’t dwell on what I wasn’t happy with. However, when I wanted to sit down and spend most of the day working on my artwork, I had an arsenal of ideas I could revisit. This process really validated my ideas as well; when I revisited my sketchbook, I saw what I was capable of doing in such a short amount of time, creating excitement, confidence, and inspiration to move forward.

deepti008

I realized that just making work and exploring ideas was more important than worrying about the end-product. I was able to just play around and put anything in my head onto paper, which was so informative when tackling larger projects.

Integrating the creative process into my daily life, making it a part of my daily routine, took off the pressure of making something “good”, it just forced me to create.

deepti_art2


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

October Art Dare: Choosing an Idea

by Clara Lieu

Watch the videos above for how to get started brainstorming and sketching our your idea for our October Art Dare:  “Your Future Self.” A mind map and sketches count as submissions!

The third video demonstrates how to explore a second idea, and talks about how to choose the idea for your final drawing.  Selecting your idea is sometimes glaringly obvious, and other times it feels impossible.  In these videos, I discuss choosing between the idea of living alone in the future, and developing arthritis in the future. The image I sketched of living alone had to do with the idea of eating meals by myself at my dining room table at home. I was interested in the arthritis idea because many years ago when I had DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis and had to see a hand surgeon, he told me that he was almost certain that I would eventually develop arthritis after looking at my hands.

img_5680-copy

After thoroughly sketching out both ideas, I decided to go with the arthritis idea.  This was interesting because I was sure as I sketched the living alone idea that that would be the idea I would use for my final drawing.  Good proof that it’s always worth taking the time to develop more than one idea for a drawing.

To figure out which idea to use, I went back and looked at the thumbnails I sketched out for the living alone idea. (see above)  I decided that the images I had sketched out were far too obvious. I felt that the images didn’t leave much to the viewer to interpret, and the scene I sketched out seem too ordinary and literal. I chose the arthritis idea because I liked the specificity of the idea. The idea wasn’t just the development arthritis, it was also about my fear of not being able to draw some day because of some kind of physical ailment.  I liked the idea of demonstrating the effects of arthritis on me by showing how my drawing style would change. The concept seemed a lot less obvious and was a more unusual depiction than the living alone idea.

img_5696-copy


Create your own mind map/thumbnail sketches in response to “Your Future Self”, and it counts as a submission for this month’s Art Dare!  More videos to guide you through every step of this Art Dare are coming.  We hope you’ll follow along and complete this month’s Art Dare with us.

Submit your brainstorming/thumbnail sketches on Instagram using #artprofdare and tag us @art.prof!  If you don’t have Instagram, you can post your image on our Facebook page. Get more info on the October Art Dare/prizes/tips here.

2016-10-14_09h10_42

Mind map of “Your Future Self” by @humaneyefloater


2016-10-14_09h14_31

Mind map of “Your Future Self” by @ellymeeks


Related Videos
Charcoal Drawing Tutorial:  Line Thumbnails, Part 4 of 20
Charcoal Drawing Tutorial:  Tone Thumbnails, Part 5 of 20
Charcoal Drawing Tutorial:  Finishing, Part 20 of 20
Ask the Art Prof Live #4:  Oversaturation, Brainstorming, Beginning a Series
Ask the Art Prof Live #3:  Personal Themes, Never Too Late to Start Drawing
Crit Quickie #13: Figure Drawing on Black Paper

Related Articles
“How do you begin to think conceptually as a visual artist?”
“How does an artist come up with ideas?”
“How do you know when to stop working?”How To Brainstorm
How to Create a Dynamic Composition
“How do artists manage to get their soul out into images?”
“How do you develop an idea from a sketch to a finished work?”
“When do you let go of an idea?”
“When and how should you use photo references to draw?”


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

Fundamental Failing and the Artistic Process

img_3951-1

by Annie Irwin

My days making art are made up of a series of problems, which over time, I learn to avoid by trial and error. Or sometimes, I just fall flat on my face.

I find the artistic process to be no different. We learn to avoid problems only by bumping right into them. The uniqueness of any individual artistic process is how we troubleshoot. When I started art school, I was quickly frustrated by my lack of ability to find subjects in life to draw that truly interested me. I lacked control over what I wanted to make. My drawings of shells and plants were the results of as much inspiration as comes from a souvenir bag-o-shells in a coastal town gas station or a plastic houseplant with no context. The hours I spent sitting in front of houses that did and continue to actually inspire me, might well have warranted my arrest for loitering.

6479740379_bb6b251f9f_o

Dilemmas happen every day in art making.  They are never a bad thing. Creative thinking is a means to work around these dilemmas.  Reframing your problem will allow you to approach it with new direction. By shifting perspectives you can flip your problem into a prompt. How can I draw what I have around me to create what I am inspired by conceptually?  

While this question lingered, for an assignment in drawing class, I was set on including a sock monkey in my drawing. The catch was, I didn’t have a sock monkey. I had to make it. To be perfectly honest, it was a Frankenstein monster made from paint-dyed socks, yarn and lace from the thrift store, and terrible embroidery. Monster grotesqueness aside, it was my monster, and I could control how the lighting would work, the space, and the context in which my bizarre sock creature could be drawn.

6289376030_e13fc7084c_o

That initial sock monkey was a turning point.  The physicality that I could apply in my drawing started before the canvas, and opened all of the doors I had seen as locked. These objects were essential in my artistic growth and contributed to my choice to pursue a degree in the medium of Textiles instead of Painting.   My new found practice fueled the concept for countless works, and inspired my entire undergraduate thesis. Today, the monkeys live on and are being sold as artist edition objects in Colorado. The artistic process calls for these moments, to encounter problems, while frustrating, is the most eye-opening thing that can happen. Fail faster, fail better, and troubleshoot!

aam_1-copy


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

The Tug of Thumbnail Sketches

IMG_2643

by Clara Lieu

When I started working on these graphite drawings a few weeks ago, I hadn’t made any artwork for 2 years.  For this reason, I knew the most important thing was for me to just get my feet wet again, and to get a grip on my drawing approach and materials. Usually, I’m probably the world’s greatest advocate for doing thumbnail sketches, and if you’ve been my student, you’re likely wondering why I haven’t done any thumbnails in this project so far. When I started, I felt so out of touch from drawing that I decided that I simply wasn’t ready to be thinking yet.  I needed to get my hands on the materials, get myself back into the physical movements of drawing before I could even begin to compose anything.

IMG_2448

It was liberating to draw so spontaneously, with no plan in mind. I told myself I could keep doing this until I felt like I had “gotten back into shape.”  I knew eventually, my drawing process would lead me back to doing thumbnail sketches. Sure enough, after about 2 weeks of drawing spontaneously, I’m now feeling the need to create thumbnail sketches.

The last drawing experiment really suffered because I didn’t think through how I was going to compose the piece. I started out with 2 separate drawings,  (see above and below) deliberately making one portrait very dark and heavy, and another extremely light and ethereal. That visual imbalance was important to create so that the two drawings didn’t fight for attention the way they did in my last drawing.

IMG_2562

I tore into the first drawing (see below), but this ultimately was a poor choice because I ended up tearing the paper so that the piece stood on it’s own. Consequently, when I went to attach the second drawing to this torn one, I kept feeling like the second drawing was an intruder that was disrupting the first drawing. I could see myself trying to preserve specific areas of the first drawing, which then hindered my ability to merge the two drawings together effectively.

IMG_2530

IMG_2620

This drawing taught me that I can’t do the “sculpting” of the paper in a linear manner; I have to plan in advance how the two drawings are going to interact in terms of the tearing. I had failed to consider how the two drawings would merge as three-dimensional pieces. Consequently, I ended up practically obliterating the second drawing so that I could preserve areas in the first drawing.

IMG_2597

One development that I was excited about in this drawing was my tearing technique.  At first, I was tearing and crunching up the paper in a random fashion.  For me, the choice of the tissue paper was to replicate in some way the transparency and thinness of human skin. I started looking at images of peeling skin (if you’re squeamish, I don’t recommend this!)  and examining the specific shapes and patterns that skin peels in. On many parts of the body, skin starts peeling when a small section becomes loose, and then the skin peels outwards.  I started poking holes into the drawing (see above, on the bottom left of the lip) and curling the tissue paper outwards to refer to the way human skin peels.

IMG_2606

Another positive development is that my enthusiasm for these drawings has only increased the more I work on them.  I have so many ideas and experiments I want to try out that my hands can’t keep up with my brain-a good problem for an artist to have.


Related Articles
My Poisonous Checklist
One Simple Purpose
A Burst of Artistic Inspiration for the First Time in 2 Years
Anticipating a New Drawing Project
Drawing Again After a Two Year Drought
Drawing Experiments
Teaching Through My Artwork
Drawing Experiments:  Layered Drawings


Related Videos
Drawing Process for these Elderly Drawings
How to Draw Thumbnail Sketches:  Line
How to Draw Thumbnail Sketches:  Tone


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

FB    Youtube    Pinterest     Instagram    Twitter    email    etsy


PORTFOLIO VIDEO CRITIQUES
Prof Lieu offers video critiques on portfolios for students applying to art school and working artists. More info.


ART DARES
Every month, we assign a topic for you to respond to with an artwork. We give out prizes in several categories!  More info.


ASK THE ART PROF was a written column in the Huffington Post from about art related topics. Visit our Pro Development page.

ART PROF T-Shirt Contest! Voting ends Monday, June 27, 11:59pm EST

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

17 T-shirt design sketches from the ART PROF staff


One of the advantages when your staff is all art students and emerging artists is that when you want to offer a new T-shirt reward for your Kickstarter campaign, you’ve got tons of in house talent.

Now we want YOU to vote and choose our T-shirt design!
Shirts will be $10 each, in many sizes, and we may even offer a tote bag reward!


Our designs are not set in stone, so if you have a suggestion, comment!

You can vote in two ways:
1) Go to our Instagram, find the T-shirt designs, and vote by liking the post.

TSHIRT VOTING

2) Go to our Facebook page and find the most recent post.  Each design has been assigned a reaction.  (reactions are randomly assigned-they do not represent our opinions, they are just there for voting purposes) To vote, hover your cursor over the “like” button, select the reaction that is assigned to the design you want to vote for, and then click.

333


Here are our 3 finalists!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

02 - Copy

03 - Copy

The guidelines were that the design had to be black and white, and had to include the text “Art Prof” somewhere in the design. So five of our staff worked on the sketches you see above and we voted internally to select 4 finalists.  We didn’t do a full out critique on each design, but we definitely discussed a few concerns about legibility of the text, or awkward associations in some of the designs. After much discussion, we all eventually agreed that black T-shirts would be better. Black T-shirts are the quintessential artsy clothing, and some of us were traumatized by years of wearing school uniforms that were white, and just a little bit too transparent.

Below is a super quick preview-not by any means the final design!

Clipboard01


Snippets from our staff discussion of the designs:

“It’s hard to choose, because I like so many of the designs as drawings but realistically, I would only wear maybe two of them on a T-shirt.”

“I’m having issues with the gloop flying off the back of Prof Lieu’s head-it reminds me of wax, or blood.”

“I like the design with the paint tube, but I don’t get why the paint tube is cut in half.”

“The paint tube cut in half makes me think of a piece of sliced meat-not exactly the best association to have!”

“Some design have interesting lettering but they aren’t easy to read.”


ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages to learn visual arts in a vibrant art community. Imagine all of the resources here on our blog, except exponentially bigger, in greater quantity, and in more detail. Help us make ART PROF free and accessible for all! Donate to our Kickstarter campaign before July 19!