Lately I've been making sure to dedicate some time every day to do sketchbook studies of things I consider challenging to draw. I started by making a list of four things I wanted to focus my faster studies on, making sure to narrow down on subjects or things that I usually try to avoid so that I can force myself to improve in these areas. For me, my list included: faces in different angles, the human figure in more dynamic poses, hands and feet. After I made this list, I decided on the time of the day I would be dedicating to my sketches. Since I am currently on Spring Break, it made sense for me to start my days with my sketchbook studies and later on in the day continue improving my painting.
Next week my sketchbook/study situation will change because I will be going back to my full time teaching job. However, I have committed to continue with these studies as frequently as I am able to. I am thinking of maybe scheduling in at least three blocks of 30 mins to an hour every week starting Monday until the end of the school year (this will be aside from painting). This will be challenging because coming back from Spring Break I will have super long days as I will be preparing my students' end-of-year art exhibit. But I will do the best that I can.
Even though it is very important to choose a subject or topic to specialize in as an artist, I am convinced that we have to make time to step out of our comfort zones and improve in other areas. We may find that we keep producing things that come easy to us. I think this is fine in situations in which we, perhaps, work full time in jobs that don't allow us time to continue with our art practice. I understand that, at times, we may have very little time left at the end of the day and simply want something fun to do. This is SO much better than not doing anything at all. However, if you REALLY want to improve, it is very important to MAKE time and put the work in. And, even if an artist is already amazing at what he/she does (not that I personally am anywhere near that point), it is important to dedicate time to stepping out of our personal comfort zones so we don't get stagnant and keep things fresh.
In my opinion, once an artist decides on the specific subject(s) or technique(s) he/she will be focusing on, about 70%-80% percent of actual producing time should be dedicated to improving on that particular field and the other 30%-20% should be spent experimenting and studying other interesting and challenging things. This way, we can make sure we are always working towards improvement.
In previous posts, I have included pictures of my studies of heads in angles and dynamic figure poses that I have drawn lately. Here are some drawings of the third point in my list, which are hands.
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