As part of my self-improvement journey, I decided I would take up a challenge for the month of August. Improving by Drawing.

Floral Elf Series

For the challenge, I gave myself three criteria.

  1. Must be floral themed
  2. Must be elf themed
  3. Complete at least 15 pieces within the month

(If you’d like to join me on this continuous journey use the hashtag #lookherejune on Twitter or Instagram. I’d love to see your works.)

As far as I’ve come finishing two pieces, I can confidently say, I won’t finish 15 pieces BUT it’s been a really fun challenge for me. I’m thinking of simply continuing the series because I love it so much.

That said, check out my new video for my more candid thoughts on the subject.

Talking a bit about Art School

I truly enjoyed this very piece which is why I ended up taking my time with it. I was able to focus on Haley and go all out.

Like I say in the video, I haven’t done digital painting before. About four years ago, I received the crudest introduction to digital painting in art school by being told I could find videos online. Great! I was essentially paying my personal fortune to a company who told me they’d teach me but instead wanted me to teach myself. (That was only really true for that one or two classes.)

I’m about to drop an opinion about the #1 thing I hated about art school.

Though networking was a big bonus, there seemed to lack connectivity- for me at least.

I’m a typical introverted person who has difficulty approaching people first. It’s a character flaw that I’ve come to accept and eager to grow from. But growth does not come in one fell swoop. It takes time which my school was not generous with. School progressed in quarters and within the quarters, you usually mingled with new people. That meant the bubble I’d bearly burst near the end of the quarter was firmly round again. Although it is a personal complaint, I believe most artists have a tendency to be reclused. We like to do a lot of things on our own. Yes? Feel free to rebuttal.

I haven’t found an artist who was completely extroverted, so that’s where my basis comes from.

Friendships and connections could only be formed through a few ways:

  1. you were slightly less introverted than the rest of the class
  2. you were either more hardworking or extremely more talented
  3. you’ve repeated the class

If you couldn’t check off from any of those, you were probably someone forgettable… like me (except to the people you befriended around you which wasn’t much considering the set up). You either had two people, one on your right and the other on the left or just one. That was your niche, for the class at least.

The worst part for me was that I didn’t like conversing about art after class because well, I spend 8hours doing school art, another 4 hours on homework/projects. 12 hours of the day of only art was enough for me. I’m awake 16 hours in the day, I’d like 2 hours to NOT be about art especially when the school makes you out to be a drone/machine producing art constantly. I needed rest time which took away time from forming bonds outside of classes.

AND I was expected to teach myself too?

I obviously couldn’t deal with all that stress in the end but that’s the basic gist of it.

Improving and Growing

If I could take a few things with me from my experience at school, these would be my main takeaways (which I learned later after dropping out).

  1. Improving and growth is a personal goal that no one else can force upon you. Take advantage of the technological advances in this day and age and find your own motivation to keep moving forward.
  2. Artist friends are precious commodities you’ll only ever have if you’re willing to show vulnerabilities and shortcomings or insecurities you have as an artist because, at the end of the day, we are all trying to be a better artist in our own ways.
  3. Lastly, art professors and teachers are just artists with the luxury of having lived before you. Their experiences can be yours as well if you’re willing to listen to their tangents and pieces of advice.

The professor of that unfortunate digital painting class was also the same professor who gave me one of my life mottos.

A page a day paves the way.

In its simplest form, it tells an artist to make art to get better.

Ever since hearing that, I have found ways to give myself motivation whether it’s creating projects, finding time for myself, or listening to people who have found their motivation. It’s always inspiring to see others pursue their dreams, their passions, and seeing their success.

As part of my personal journey, feeling happy for other people’s success was something I wanted to always feel instead of the more constant or immediate jealousy. When you feel happier for someone else, you have more time to see and analyze what’s working for them, what could work for you, and it puts in a humble place that lets you ask for help or advice.

People’s experiences, like my third takeaway, can be a gold mine to you. Learn from them, experience it for yourself, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

With the Floral Elf Series, I’m definitely taking all of this into consideration and determined to grow in my digital painting skills before the year ends.

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