(Originally Published on 10/01/2014)
When studying the old and modern masters, it is wonderful to learn how to do a stroke to achieve that grass or that lighting, however, the really interesting aspect for me is always to learn what led to which decisions.
|Feeling evoked through pose and colors.|
Like the Ishioka Benchmark, I suppose many artists have a set of rules they work with, the common known is the golden cut or spiral. My personal set of rules has with facts/feelings a new register and I thought I share what I know about it.
“This post is about how to skip halfhearted approaches to art and why it is better to have a set of rules instead of a facebook group to help you with critique.”
It does not work like a drawer where you put something in order to categorize art, this is simply not possible.
What I often observe is that there is actually no need for realism aka facts in artworks. Most successful artists make up with feelings what they can´t back up with facts.
And if you think about it, this holds truth; realism is all about technique. But technique is nothing you will be paid for as an artist, neither in fine arts nor in illustration.
I practice this by watching artworks this way:” does this look like fact or is it feeling?” You´ll be surprised how many artworks you will find in your favorite art books that skip the facts!
It is nothing against realism, before photography was evolved it was the only way to depict reality. From what I have learned, it is the best to put feelings first in an artwork and then back it up with facts as much as possible. They both can work well together.
An example; an appearance of a character is per se shallow, adding details that are personal and authentic make them come alive, regardless of how strong the rendering is.
That is the reason so many cyborg renditions are *pardon* dispensable, as they can´t reflect reality but also lack emotion and that is why these works don´t resonate.
For a Photoshop workshop this might be still considered OK you think, but people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Simon Sinek
Which leads me to the conclusion that if you do it because of the technique, they buy it because of the technique and that reduces you as an artist to a technician, which is a waste in my opinion.
That pushes me to the viewer side, the other end of the art and this part is so often overlooked it makes me cringe.
A viewer does not need a benchmark, they view a work and in a split second they decide if they like it or not. As artists, I believe it is our serious mission to be clear about what we do and how others perceive it. There should not be room for a tiny misinterpretation.
Feedback for this is essential and in the process of getting constructive feedback I have seen so many people fail, it is hilarious – at the head my own humble attempts of course.
One thing beforehand: The place you pick for feedback will shape your body of work.
In the following I explain why a set of rules and benchmarks is better than your “inner circle”, facebook group, client or spouse.
When I mean facebook group I mean those places like Level-Up or the likes, it is ridiculous to think you can reach someone there and if you do, you get so many different pointers that you wish you had never asked. Or you are already good enough that you actually level-up on your own set of rules. And of course, there are groups where you get overpaintings and critique you have never asked for, true story.
An inner circle is fine, you work with your buddies in a collective studio, even better. But they will not replace a benchmark or your own set of rules once you go solo. You will always be dependent on peers.
A client knows (most of the time) none of your business, he or she loves your work and don´t care about technique as long as the result is authentically yours. He/she has a few spots for requests in every commission and has the generous seat in the front row. You can ask what a client thinks but only put it in consideration, the more you grant every wish, the less authentic the artwork will be.
Real friends, spouse, wife and family, they all have something to say and are eager to know what you are working on. Sometimes they see little things you don´t even notice and that is good, but if your wife is also an artist, then you need to decide if you rather like to discuss or if you want the work to get done.