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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2008
    Chafing. Seriously. You need a special ointment and everything. And don't even talk to me about the papercuts. Fucking bristol board.
  1.  (522.22)
    Hum hum, very interesting topic!
    Well, when you draw, it's actually a certain and provable fact that you perceive your art as different from the way it really looks. The good old 'hold your drawing up to the mirror' can prove that to anyone. It's all down to your brain making associative links.

    As you lay lines down, your brain builds associations between the image you're drawing, and the image you imagined, or what you'd like the final image to look like. Interestingly, this means that during the drawing process, you perceive it as more accurate than it really is. Regularly holding your work up to the mirror, or just learning to break that mental process and see your work as it really is whilst you're drawing it is an important step in training.

    So, once you've finished a drawing and gained a bit of perspective, there's that initial let down as those misconceptions you build during drawing drop away, and you see the ways in which the image doesn't meet your desired result. As you then go on to scrutinize and analyse it to death, what you're doing is building new mental associations... you'll see that drawing, and your brain will fire up all the mental links you've carefully constructed during the critique to the words/concepts 'wrong', 'inadequate', 'inaccurate' etc. Since I'd say most artist's primary goal is to improve (added to the web of built-in social guilt surrounding thinking of your own creation or self as good or adequate), your critique is bound to be balanced more towards negative observations than positive ones.

    A fresh mind seeing your drawing for the first time however, will have a more balanced approach... they probably won't be aware of what you were trying to achieve, so the drawing can't be 'inadequate' in that sense. They see the drawing as it really is, with no previously formed mental associations to automatically take their brain to a specific conclusion. What they decide therefore is only based on their own criteria for 'good' or 'bad' art.

    Your body is the same. You live with it, sleep in it, look at it every day, and if you use makeup or shave, or pluck or exercise, you're always 'improving' it in the same way that you work on and live with a drawing you've done. Every moment you contemplate your body, you're building a complex and possibly tangled and contradictory web of mental associations that will always lead you astray when you next think about your body. The difference being with your body that the process lasts all your life and is more immediately cumulative than with drawing.
    • CommentAuthor3!LL
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2008
    Shite man, way to make me look like a complete slack. I get a few braincells rattling together, and Paul writes a short thesis on it.

    Interesting info man!

      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2008
    Zeebo, what you're talking about is the difference between hindsight and foresight. As a bouncer, I get into a lot of the same jams. You have to judge situation and act decisively or else Bad Things happen. When the boss comes around and asks why I acted a certain way, I have a hard time explaining how you can register someone's life story in the tilt of their shoulders in a pico second.

    The luxury of hindsight is being able to pick apart every possible action, word choice, or stray line.

    Maybe if George St. Pierre were standing next to your computer awaiting each sentence with chambered fist, we'd all write much more confidently.

    Or we'd all hide. I'd hide.
  2.  (522.25)
    Sometimes I like my stuff, sometimes I don't. I depends on the piece. And the time. And the day. And what mood I'm in. But I'm always seeing art that I admire and that always pushes me to do better because it's so inspiring. That and there's always something new to try. Keeps things interesting.

    Do I dislike my work sometimes? Yes, on days when I'm feeling low. I certainly don't think my sketchbooks are where they should be at. But I've been able to use them for my series and this is good. (But I'm wanting to something that's not self portraits. I want to draw someone that's not me, dammit.)

    Um, so this was mostly related, yeah?
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2008
    Chafing. Seriously. You need a special ointment and everything. And don't even talk to me about the papercuts. Fucking bristol board.

    Try drawing on something... silkier.
  3.  (522.27)
    -they make smooth bristol, too.
    Its papercuts go deeper though :(
    obviously this should be 'art supplies are homicidal' not 'artists are anorexic'
    • CommentTimeJan 17th 2008
    On my main forum, I used to post snippets of fiction, comic ideas, concepts, shit like that. The community's consensus was "Wow! That's really great! :)"

    This other guy posted a poorly-written modern-day sequel to The Lord of the Rings (complete with Frodo and Sam!). The community's consensus was "Wow! That's really great! :)"

    This sent me into a doomspiral.
  4.  (522.29)
    "Shite man, way to make me look like a complete slack. I get a few braincells rattling together, and Paul writes a short thesis on it."

    Ehe... the drawing thing just happened to be a topic I've written about before. I'm also facinated by the mechanics of self-image, mental "illnesses", hallucinations, anything where percieved reality becomes significantly different from objective reality... so I kinda leapt on this thread like a dog in heat with a particularly scrumptious trouser-leg in sight.
  5.  (522.30)
    @Paul Duffield, have you ever read Dr Oliver Sach's book The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat? it's an amazing collection of case studies from patients with mostly left sided brain damage or other abnormalities where it affects their perception of reality. it's amazing.

    he's also the guy who wrote Awakenings, about the sleeping sicnkess patients and their revival on L-DOPA. made into a wonderful film staring robin williams and robert deniro. yes yes.
    • CommentTimeJan 17th 2008
    This other guy posted a poorly-written modern-day sequel to The Lord of the Rings (complete with Frodo and Sam!). The community's consensus was "Wow! That's really great! :)"

    Yes. Non-artistic people, or casual hobbyists like virtually anything they see so long as it's competent. I've heard intelligent people prattle on about the beauty of a series of photographs of a sad clown. Hearing a friend, relative, or internet stalker tell you your work is wonderful is meaningless. Of course, hearing that your work is crap from a cynic or bitter artist is also meaningless. I personally think it's best to take all critique in stride and not think on it too much.
  6.  (522.32)
    so I kinda leapt on this thread like a dog in heat with a particularly scrumptious trouser-leg in sight.

    Paul Duffield: you can't take him fucking anywhere.
  7.  (522.33)
    It's true, my opinions give people rabies sometimes.

    No, that sounds awesome! I've read a few pyschology books, and tended to find the case studies the most facinating parts, so I'll definitely pick that up :D
    • CommentAuthorgrenacia
    • CommentTimeJan 17th 2008
    I think anorexia and body dsysmorphia are being confused with perfectionism here. The person with the eating disorder is never skinny enough for themself, even when they get to the point where they are perceived as too skinny by everyone else in the world (aside from other anorexics). They are out of touch with reality. Whereas the perfectionist can be entirely in touch with reality, but simply be hypersensitive of flaws in their work too minor for anyone else to spot.

    When the anorexic succeeds in getting skinnier, past a certain point, the response of others ranges from concern to disgust. However, when the perfectionist artist improves the minor flaws in their work, (If they do it without wrecking other aspects of their work in the progress), the response of others is generally positive, or at worst neutral.

    Sometimes artists will get obsessed with their work in an unhealthy way similar to anorexia, wrecking it trying to fix perceiveed flaws, but I don't think its the norm. Also sometimes people will obsess about their bodies trying to perfect them without descending into anorexia.
  8.  (522.35)
    @Warren - Now that you checked out this thread maybe you can answer this, do you like your work, or do you look back on something you wrote and dissect it until you think it is shite?
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJan 17th 2008
    Perfectionism always kinda scares me a little. There's something anti-creative about it, which is odd because all the perfectionists I know are artists.

    Harsh critiques, as long as they don't get personal, actually really improve my attitude about my work - it has a freeing quality, when you can get a second set of eyes on your stuff. It's when everyone's too nice and very vague that I get nervous.
  9.  (522.37)
    @ Paul Duffield, Sachs is a brilliant read then, his writting is amazing too considering it's medical case notes and not stories written for the public.

    one of my favorite cases was a man who lost his sense of balance, but wasn't aware of it, so they rigged up a spirit level to his glasses so he could see if he was walking upright or not.
      CommentAuthorSalgood Sam
    • CommentTimeJan 17th 2008 edited
    Very interesting topic

    Classic problem, and that is an interesting metaphor for it. For sure I’ve know a lot of neurotic artists, and a few anorexics, and there is a common feeling to the sort of perceptual head-trip they go through.

    I’ve never really had a huge problem with it, not that I don’t experience the doubts or get a kind of working blindness from being too close to the work. But it’s never handicapped me or been what I’d call a huge problem.

    I don’t know if it would help, but here’s how I perceive the issue.

    In order to continue to improve, you need to be able to see where you can. But it’s easy to take the awareness of your ‘flaws’, and over blow their significance.

    In doing that you are misjudging, seeing only the inadequacies and not the strengths, it is exactly the same root physiological/ perceptual issue as any other perceptual disorder.

    Note to remember; Consciousness is an editing process, we see what we expect as much if not more than what is actually there. That’s not just new age thinking; it’s very nearly quantifiable fact at this point, though certainty escapes the lab coats still.

    But for sure, happiness in anything, being satisfied or even accepting is in the mind not the environment. How does it apply to making art?

    Be aware of your art, as a whole as much as you can, don’t blind yourself to the good or the bad, see it all. Also see how others respond to it and put that in the equation too. You don’t have to make them happy, but they will have a different bias than you do, they will see things you don’t that really are either there, or suggested by what is. Show it to as many people as you can so you get the broadest sample base, and apply the same critical thinking to their responses as you do to your own [not to them, thank them and go think about it on your own or talk with others].

    Don’t judge your own work, analyze and understand it. See the mechanics, tune and craft, and learn to put it down when it’s not working, or recognize when it’s done.

    Perfection is impossible, and illusion, a myth, forget it.

    Refine, be honest, be truthful. Nothing more, never less.

    I’ve been doing this for 30 years, 20 professionally. you cant totally be free of anxieties, it’s risky game and your putting survival on it when you do it for a living. but this approach has saved me from EVER being neurotic about it, and pardon my preemptive thought, but no it’s not because I was good, I wasn’t at the start –it is how I got to where i am though. It's a good way to get out of your own way.