I’m a big believer in goal-setting. Last year I set some very ambitious goals in different areas of my life, like fitness, personal finance and self-development, with measureable and clear goals for each category. Unfortunately this didn’t accomplish much other than generating an impressive list of things I didn’t do!
I think the problem was that I set too many goals I didn’t really care much about. Regarding fitness, for example, if I’m strong enough to lifty my hands to keyboard level that’s plenty.
So, for this year I decided to be a bit more realistic and double down on something I really care about: Improving my art skills. As such, here is my list of personal art goals for 2018:
I would really like to learn caricature drawing! I’ve always liked drawing faces, and playing with proportions and exaggeration seems really fun. Hopefully it will also help me get better at capturing likenesses in more realistic portraits as well. Also, if I want to make money doing art, there always seems to be a market for caricatures!
Before learning how to exaggerate, it would makes sense to learn how to draw “normal” portraits (right?), so I also want to do a course in “regular” portrait painting, e.g. Realistic Portraits with Jason Seiler.
Another thing I’d like to improve in 2018 is my figure drawing. I’ve actually read a few books on figure drawing in the past, but it wasn’t until I picked up Figure Drawing—Design and Invention by Michael Hampton that things really “clicked”.
The other figure drawing books I’ve read always felt like a sort of showcase for different body parts—“The leg! This is what it looks like! Now the arm! It looks like this!”—without much explanation of why things look the way they do or how they fit into the bigger picture.
Hampton’s approach feels way more structured—he starts with gesture and landmarks and then builds on that with the skeleton, the muscles and so on. I don’t know if it’s my engineering background, but I really like going from big picture ideas to specifics. For me, understanding why something looks the way it does is as important as how it looks.
One thing I’m worried about is if my construction drawing fundamentals are up to par. If not, I might try to complete something like drawabox.com first and then get back to the Michael Hampton book.
Don’t be a donkey
My track record of finishing books or courses is not great, to be honest—past a certain point I often get the idea that I should quit and do something else instead.
While the switch might seem perfectly reasonable at the time—“I can learn much more effectively from this other book!”—looking back I don’t have much to show for it but a bunch of false starts. You could liken it to a donkey that can’t decide whether it should first eat or drink and then dies of thirst and starvation simultaneously. So, another of my resolutions for 2018 is to not be a donkey!
I’ve set some non-art goals for 2018 (like finally getting my driver’s license!) but this isn’t my LiveJournal so I won’t bore you with those.
However, one goal that is actually relevant is that I’d like to breathe some life into this blog. Hopefully, dear reader, I’ll have time amidst all my other commitments to update you on my progress!
Have you set any art goals for 2018? If so I’d like to hear them—feel free to post about them in the comments section below!
(If you’d like some inspiration Josh Kaufman has written a great post about creating a personal masterplan.)