THE BASICS OF DRAWING - LEARNING HOW TO THINK IN LINE

Tutorial / 27 June 2020

LET’S LEARN SOME LINES.

No, this isn’t your acting class, we’re talking about art here!

Yes, the vital line. Nowhere to be found in nature, yet absolutely indispensable for drawing, painting, drafting, designing, inventing, engineering, architecture, and…you get the point. 

If you’re more of a visual learner, you can always watch my Beginner Drawing Course lesson 01 video for free below. Otherwise, let’s dig into some concepts and applications of the humble line, and how you can generate a lot of drawing potency by learning them in and out.. 


DRAWING A FINE LINE

Well, the simple fact is, lines are a natural way for us to think. From the first cave paintings to the present day masters of drawing— we’ve always had a profound and deep relationship with them. One might even say hard-wired. 

Yet, most people default to arranging their lines (as far as drawing is concerned) into stick figures, or only utilizing them in very inefficient ways, such as drawing every hair on a character’s head.

You see, lines aren’t like hammers which can only perform a pretty limited number of functions. 

They’re far more conceptual, meaning their uses are practically infinite. 

However, we’ll leave infinity to the mathematicians for now, and focus in on several ways that you can begin to hone your understanding of lines, and how to apply them to your artwork and thinking.

HOW TO THINK IN “LINE”


So, like every other creative conversion process, lines are a way for us to translate our feelings, ideas, perceptions, and observations into a drawing. 

Now, a drawing can be a few simple lines, or it can be made up of many thousands— it all depends on the style and deployment of the lines. 

Kind of like how you could express an idea in English, but it would look vastly different in Cantonese or Russian. 

Yes, they’re all languages, but each of them has their own “rules” for formatting, as well as a different visual look.
As noted above, different types of lines have different feelings, uses, and purposes— like learning the alphabet, or each tool in a toolkit. 

One might even make a comparison between learning the notes on a musical instrument, or more broadly, the musical scale. 

The thing about those two comparisons, however— is that they’re a lot more rigid…very defined, whereas lines offer more freedom, but also less structure and certainty. 

It’s why there aren’t nearly as many child drawing prodigies as there are chess, music, spelling, and other more rule-laden disciplines.
In my opinion, that’s what makes learning to draw so fun and open-ended, but also what makes it rather scary and intimidating or frustrating at points.

Here’s a bit more info about lines:



So, like how we have to form cohesive letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs, lines function similarly. 

Especially when it comes to making shapes. Shapes are also of immense usefulness to us as humans, and we should treat them with just as much curiosity and devotion in the artistic sense.

Heck, if you smash enough lines together, you get shading.

This is an example of that— it’s an exercise I designed to help warm up the hand to create various types of lines that can later be converted into shading or values. 

Don’t worry about those things for now, as we’re going to focus back in on line. The main point I wanted to make is that lines, being as conceptual and transformable as they are, are positively laden with power, potential, and possibilities. 

It’s just one more reason why learning how to wield them effectively allows us greater creative expression and artistic prowess. 

LINING YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Alright, so now that we’ve laid out many ideas in regards to lines and creating artwork, I want to leave you with  a way to apply some of this knowledge as you move forward on your artistic ascent. 

These tips will allow you to start endowing your thinking and your work with more alignment.

  1. Begin to “draw” objects you physically see with your mind using only lines.  Trace them, their details, and simplify when necessary.

  2. At night (or when you’re lying in bed in the morning) visualize yourself sketching and paying particular attention to lines. How do they feel flowing out? Are you establishing them rapidly or slowly? Can you draw characters? Faces? Animals? What about simple objects? 

  3. When you’re drawing from life (an exercise I go over in more detail in my beginner Drawing Course) Try to draw using the fewest amount of lines possible, and keep them as clean as you can. Like working with ink, and only have ONE shot to do it each mark. 

  4. When working from imagination or sketching from reference, start with very light lines, and gradually work your way to more confident and assured lines once the bigger stuff has already been laid in. 



FINAL THOUGHTS

Those exercises will ensure that internally and externally lines become more familiar to you. You will begin to conceptualize them consciously and subconsciously be devoting the rays of your attention not only to their concepts, but their actual execution. 

It’s a multi-faceted approach that yields powerful results over time if you stay consistent. 

If you want more demonstration, techniques, and other ways of applying lines, you can always feel free to acquire the Beginner Drawing Course. Or watch other artist videos on youtube to see how they do it.

All in all, don’t get frustrated if it takes a while to absorb or utilize all of this information. In fact, only take in what’s useful to you at this time, and then revisit this post later once you feel stuck or are inspired to do so.

Until next time— happy drawing.

5 TIPS TO MAKE LEARNING TO DRAW MORE FUN

Article / 06 June 2020

FUN CAN SEEM LIKE A MASSIVE FACTOR.   



“If it’s not fun, why do it?”

That’s something my acting teacher said in one of our first classes. It was then I realized I didn’t enjoy acting all that much, and dropped out in favor of drawing.

When we’re self-taught, we often build bad habits. Drawing is no different, if we’re forcing ourselves to do it, the friction will hurt the process. Not to mention the results won’t be satisfying either, and so we start putting it off. 

Let’s fix that.

In order to enjoy drawing (or anything) one must find meaning and purpose in it.  

Of course, as I mentioned above, there are barriers to meaning that you can drop. Let’s look at 5 ways you can do so, and then we’ll help you locate more meaning, thereby opening the windows of your workshop for joy to visit.

You can:  

  1. - Lower your expectations 

  2. - Allow yourself to find joy in the process, not just the idea. 

  3. - Draw things you actually enjoy 

  4. - Reverse engineer exercises to improve the results you find appealing. 

  5. - Stop putting tons of pressure on yourself.

Okay, let’s dive a bit deeper into each of these ways you can make learning to draw more fun:

- LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS 


Often time’s we’ve got high hopes. Yeah, I’m talking those “high in the sky” hopes. The thing about having your hopes on the mountaintop while you’re actually at the foot of it, is that you’ll rarely feel any sense of gratitude or presence. Getting to draw IS the thing to be grateful for. Having even 20 minutes to do so is a joyous thing. Expecting to whip out a masterpiece when you’re at a beginner’s level is the very definition of setting yourself up for failure. Don’t get caught up wishing you’re somewhere you’re not. It’s find to have those hopes, so long as you’re not strangling them in desperation. even if you are, just relax a bit, and read on for other ways to get yourself back on track.

- ALLOW YOURSELF TO FIND JOY IN THE PROCESS, NOT JUST THE IDEA. 

Maybe you find you like the idea of learning to draw, or practicing drawing more than the act of it. Again, you’re floating around in mental abstraction. If the idea of practice gives you joy, and the reality of it is sort of mundane and banal, then you’ll have to refocus on where you’re at. Drawing spheres and boxes can seem really dry, but that’s usually only if you haven’t gotten creative with them.  the fundamentals are there to help give you a solid basis to build out your expression from, not to bore you to death. Exercises should beget application— they’re like eating your dinner before you suck down dessert. If everything’s dessert, you end up becoming spoiled and unhealthy. It also makes dessert less special. Even 15 minutes of a focused drawing exercise, followed by 15 minutes of playing with what you’re learning will inject pleasure back into the process.

- DRAW THINGS YOU ACTUALLY ENJOY 


Maybe you’re trying to be someone you’re not, or draw stuff you’re not really into. Why spend all day drawing and practicing cars if what you want to draw is people? Sure, there’s some overlap of the basics between those things, but if you’re not into it, you’re not going to get max joy, or do your best. There are some artists that draw sexy things all day, or those who prefer to focus on landscapes. Find your thing and focus. Let that thing take you for a ride in terms of your artistic journey. Whether it’s fanart, your original characters, or monsters and creatures…you’ll get a lot farther if you’re picking the right subject matter for you— just like you look your best in clothes that fit.

- REVERSE ENGINEER EXERCISES TO IMPROVE THE RESULTS YOU FIND APPEALING.

No matter what you’re striving for, you can do a little thinking up front, and find a way to ascertain the result. Every technique is learnable, every master can be studied and learned from. Spend time collecting folders of work from your favorite artists, and then break down what they’re doing. All the better if they share process. Alternatively, you can put together folders of the “feeling” you’re after in your art. Write down what those feelings are, and what invokes them, then spend time transposing those things into your work and see if you can get the same feeling. Being an artist means being able to be in tune with out logic and emotions, and then synergizing them to create the results we’re after.

 - STOP PUTTING TONS OF PRESSURE ON YOURSELF.

It’s not that serious. You may have built up many stakes in your mind, but it’s the feelings you’re cultivating that gives them truth in your bones. The feelings of fear, desperation, anxiousness, self-doubt, ennui, disappointment, and everything in between. Negative emotions are a part of life, but letting them soak into your work and process won’t do you any favors in the long run. Take the pressure off, look at things from a more free and open perspective. Again, you can cultivate gratitude in numerous instances, and that will allow you to ascend a lot faster than putting your mental and emotional gauges into the red in order to perform.

FINDING PURPOSE AND MEANING IN ART


Meaning is what you assign to your current situation. Perhaps it’s reliving your favorite video game moments, getting lost in the world you’re weaving, or getting to be the consciousness that watches your skills grow with zen-like discipline. 

At any rate, the meaning has to be there. It’s your foothold into joy and purpose, and it will carry you through when things are less than ideal. using the methods I outlined above will allow you to lower the barriers that may be keeping meaning from ringing your doorbell, but once you open that door, you’re going to decide how to parse what’s next. 

I’ll give you examples regarding how I find meaning:

  • creating and developing original characters with rich backstories

  • tempering my skills and playing with the information to express my inspiration

  • getting to sit down and take myself through a well-worn process, looking for ways to improve it

  • fixing mistakes without having any emotional attachment to them

  • paying homage to the things that inspired me as a kid, and continue to inspire me today

Notice how none of those things are dependent on other people or their reactions to my work. Sure, it’s nice when I receive kind words, likes, favs, sales, whatever— but the reason I make things always has been, and always will be for me.  If I don’t like it, it’s not worth doing. Or, more accurately, if I don’t find meaning in it, then it isn’t worth doing.  Of course, there are things like dishes and chores that must be done in order to facilitate well-being in life, but when it comes to our art, we’re making the choice to pursue it. Don’t let explicate events, accolades, insults, indifference, or anything come between you and your meaning. 

If you can practice even a few of these things, your chances of succeeding go through the roof. You’ll be able to work longer and lose track of time, to ascend and not even realize you’re nearing the summit. 

Take time to simple be grateful for the fact that you’ve discovered art, and the process of making it. Throw open your doors and windows so that the muses of joy and meaning can waltz into your abode and enrich your work and existence. 

Life isn’t about art, but art certainly helps to add a great deal of meaning.


WHY "WHAT" IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN "HOW" - A DRAWING GUIDE.

Tutorial / 15 November 2019

WHAT DO YOU DRAW IN ORDER TO SEE IMPROVEMENT?

This is the the key question. The net is littered with “how to draw” tutorials - many of which are my own. Only after many students came to me with issues that “How” won’t solve did I finally realize the issue.

The quirk with that type of content is that it’s only 5-10% of the answer for any given drawing problem. The real stuff is the “What” and the “Why” of drawing. Without those crucial “Q’s” You’ll end up about as frustrated as you did before consuming that content. My aim with this post is to hand you the “What” and “Why” so you’ll have a much better time playing with the “How.”

THE BEST “WHAT” STEPS TO GET BETTER AT DRAWING ARE…

  1. Using Powerful Resources

  2. habit-driven consistency

  3. Self-Critique + Community Critique

  4. Deliberate Practice. 

We’ll be taking a look at how each of these factors will allow you to improve your drawing abilities enormously over time, but first we have to establish something:

DRAWING IS A SKILL.

And like Any Skill - It can be learned.

THIS IS A NON-NEGOTIABLE IF YOU’RE GOING TO DRAW BETTER. 

Talent is a pursued interest, as Bob Ross stated.  If you’re truly interested in drawing, drop all ideas of “talent” at the door. It’s far too flighty of  a notion, and assuming you have it or not will ultimately harm your learning process either way. 

Now, let’s move onto one last thing before we get into the best steps.

WHAT IS YOUR “WHY?”

As in, why do you want to draw better? 

Is it  because you want the envy of your peers? 

Do you find that you “suck” in comparison to other artists, and want to get better so you can feel better?

Are you longing for the praise of your friends and family? 

Or is it simply a feeling inside that is trying to find expression through the medium of drawing? 

Without a good “why” your “how” will fall apart. 

What drove me for so long was drawing inspiration from masters old and new, and wanting to count myself among them. Now I’m more driven to better express images and stories that enter my head, and mastery is only a secondary “why.

Here’s the thing, if you’re constantly seeking validation and approval, you’re linking your why to an external factor, and you’ll be at the mercy of that factor on your journey.

Internal factors can be harmful too—being beholden to feelings of inferiority for example. Yes, you may be driven to practice, but there will be sour notes all throughout that symphony. You’re robbing yourself of the joy of the process, and thus are more likely to quit again.

The theme that keeps coming up is to pick a why that doesn’t die. 

A chief aim that won’t permit you to quit, even when you feel like it. 

That is the key to the kingdom, the song for the soul. Even a simple “why” that don’t die is better than a grandiose vision that fades after a month or two. It’s the decisive factor between binge-gaming or picking up your sketchbook.

Now, onto the core of this guide. 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO DRAWING - BEGINNER TO ADVANCED: 

PART 01 - USING POWERFUL RESOURCES.


When you’re going the self-taught route, the wells that you draw from will greatly dictate your growth. Deeply flawed material will stifle your ability to climb upward. 

For example, when I was on my come-up from the ages 14-20, I spent a LOT of time on newgrounds.com - wherein the bar for good art is pretty low. It’s more about humorous and raunchy flash animations. Some of the gilded content there is drawn rather poorly. Yes, there are a handful of phenomenal artists, but they aren’t as deified as the ones who can make you laugh.

And most importantly, the resources on that site were few and far between. Mostly animation or coding tutorials. 

So what makes a powerful resource?


A Plate by the great Charles Bargue.

 A powerful resource is one that calls out to you on a deep level. You’re almost learning just be observing it. Some of the most powerful resources I’ve ever chanced upon:

  • Andrew Loomis’s Books

  • George Bridgeman’s Books

  • Harold Speed - The Practice & Science of Drawing

  • The Massive Black Tutorials (no longer available)

  • Charles Bargue Drawing Course

I’ve learned more from those author/artists than any other. They took timeless principles, distilled them into practicable exercises, and gave clear examples. Everything I’ve done my best to translate into things like the Beginner Drawing Course.

Having the proper resource to draw from, like just ONE good course or book that you work through front-to-back, and then revisit in intervals, will do so much for you that words can scarcely describe it. It’s almost magical, really. 

Image each resource as a sacred artifact. One that takes discipline and devotion to draw power from. As you examine, decipher, apply, and elaborate upon. That knowledge will transfer itself into your mind and hand, allowing you to perform new drawing feats. Drawing becomes a video game— addictive and engaging.

That’s why I list a great resource as the most important item. Words to push the principles into your mind, and visual examples to allow you to transpose them into your own style. 

Hell, even the 6 free drawing lessons I offer are better than simply wallowing about in the mires of ignorance. 

Find a method for that madness, a place for that potency. Update your tactics, approaches, and strategies as often as possible. Don’t let your habits become chains that prevent exponential progress.

PART 02 - HABIT-DRIVEN CONSISTENCY
DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN.




Will power is weak. It’s a short-term strategy. Using your will to force yourself into drawing is a recipe for sporadic efforts, and scattered progress. 

Instead, you’ll want to build the drawing habit. The best way to do this, is to set an alarm for drawing 2-4 times per day.  Use your phone’s “clock” app to do so, and keep it simple. 

“At 9AM I will draw from X resource for Y Minutes.”

Then one at least one more in the PM.

“At 7PM I will practice from X Resources for Y Minutes.”

Want to make the habit even more tantalizing? Add a reward after each session. It could be something as simple as watching an episode of your favorite show, eating a healthy snack, or hanging out with your friends or pet for a bit. 

Once you’ve built the habit of drawing at least 2 times per day at regular intervals from a powerful source, you can begin to schedule “free time” in as well as a 3rd drawing slot. Even if it’s just 30 minutes playing free-form with what you’re learning, or spending 45 minutes pushing a personal project a couple yards closer to completion. 


PART 03 - SELF CRITIQUE + COMMUNITY CRITIQUE
STEEL YOURSELF. IT’S TIME TO SHARE.



This “What” frightens many artists, myself included. People can be cruel and foolish in their feedback, or downright trolls for no good reason. 

That said, there are a lot of helpful souls out there that can offer specific and moderate feedback to ensure you’re conscious of flaws and routes to improvement in your work. 

The artist ego is fragile. It will crumble like dry dirt, and ladle itself in self-pity— especially if the eyes of negative feedback so much as looks at it wrong. I get that. However, if you want to do this, you’ll have to build your sense of detachment, and your internal assurance. 

Some of the best places to receive feedback are listed below. Join a subreddit or a poignant FB group and hop into the fray. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/ArtFundamentals/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Beginner_Art/

Loish’s Digital art Group

The Art Mobs

One more thing— don’t just seek pats on the buttocks or validation. They don’t do much in the way of improving your art, only cement the need for further approval. To improve, you must kindly express gratitude for such compliments, but remain unfettered in your quest for ongoing growth and expression. 

SELF CRITIQUE




Self critique is among the most important skills to develop as an artist, or a creator of any sort. It’s the ability to see yourself and your work with greater objectivity, and the slider of that work toward greater brilliance.

Self critique isn’t tearing yourself up, beating yourself, or mistreating or denigrating the work. This happens from time to time because we’re humans, and when you first unleash the inner critic their methods can be cutthroat. If you’re feeling drained as a result of a persistent inner monologue that makes you want to devolve into a pile of tears, you’re doing it wrong. 

Instead, imagine that there is a kind master within you. You can create an avatar of them if you’d like in your mind. They can even be the future version of yourself as a highly-proficient creator. 

That person will be direct, but always constructive. They will use the depths of their knowledge to throw you a rope when you’ve painted yourself into a pit. 

And when your shoulders slump in a disappointed manner, they will pat your back, offer a few kind words of what you’re doing well or how far you’ve come. 

PART 04 - DELIBERATE PRACTICE

PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS. DELIBERATE PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.



Well, closer to perfect, anyway. 

We all know the person who seemingly spends ages of their time doing something, but barely improves. The issue in this case isn’t consistency, it’s consciousness. 

If you’re just “going through the motions” when your drawing alarm goes off - do you think you’ll be reaping the full benefits of the exercises? 

No. No you won’t. 

It’s about zoning in on what needs improvement. External and Internal Critique will point these things out.

After that, it’s up to you to deliberately apply that feedback. Drawing wonky noses? Better focus on whipping those babies into shape for the next few sessions. A mistake can carry through your work like a chronic condition - dragging down the vibe for ages if left unchecked. 

Create a light sense of urgency will help to ensure you’re not being too lax with mistakes—especially recurring ones. 

CONCLUSION


Clearing aside the weeds, we can now see the garden of improvement is a place with infinite potential. I invite you to tend to it daily, and seek to use each of these steps to great effect. Here they are once more:

  1. Using Powerful Resources

  2. habit-driven consistency

  3. Self-Critique + Community Critique

  4. Deliberate Practice. 

Armed with these veritable “Whats” the “How” Will be much more resounding. 

If you’re interested in more posts like this that help you master your drawing potential, and offer real guidance in a sea of confusion, I invite you to sign up for the free drawing lessons list. After It sends you all of them, I’ll be sure to keep you posted on future writings. Just toss in your email below and hit “Sign Up!”

Until next time, Happy drawing.

-T

Anatomy Course Released!

Making Of / 11 November 2019

Check it out, family:

https://www.artstation.com/taylor-payton/store/mMY0/simple-anatomy-for-artists


I'm really pleased with how it all came together. I don't often get the chance to do fuller courses (freelance and stuff, y'know?) But this was one I really want to wrap up. 


Most of it is just how I go about simplifying shapes and enunciating certain anatomical features. 

I break down things from a bone & muscle perspective, and do my best to simplify the drawings to just lines and process.

Legs can be tricky, but they're curvy cylinders that have fused, ultimately-- some bone-to-skin protrusions of course.

Here's another image from the course:

Lemme know if you decide to level up your anatomy :D.

It does have 6 weeks worth of assignments too. I'm big on making sure there's action at the end of the lesson. You're only going to get better if you practice.

And yeah, I don't claim to be a master or enlightened phD or anything, I've just learned a cool bag of tricks and mental models, and that's ultimately what I'm sharing.

Happy drawing,


-T


Are Artists Afraid to Sell?

General / 17 July 2019

Are Artists Afraid to Sell?

If you look at the fact that the Artstation Marketplace has just passed $500,000.00 in payouts (some of which I happily received!) Then the answer is probably not. 



However, this is ONE big issue, and that is PROMOTION. 

Promotional Perils


Promotion, and more specifically, SELF PROMOTION is one of the hardest things to master. 

  1. You have to be confident, but not cocky.
  2. You have to take a stand, but not be too polarizing. 
  3. You have to do it without any shame.

It's like committing to a line you're drawing rather than sheepishly drawing it. One comes out clean and crisp, and the other, well, it's crinkly and ill-placed.

Here's the thing, unless you get comfortable promoting your art, your exposure is limited. 

Limited exposure means limited opportunities. 

In which case, you'd better be REALLY kind to your Current ADs (which you should do anyway) in hopes that they keep sending you work. 

In fact a nice, warm studio seat is much better than going hungry because you're not comfortable putting yourself and/or your artwork in the limelight. At least then you have a measure of security.

Now, many artists are humble by nature. No one wants to be seen as a braggart with a big mouth and artwork full of gaping flaws. But many of us work HARD. We've studied this craft for years, and we've put the work in time and time again. 

We should be proud of our work, and if not, we need to go back to the drawing board (or the 3D interface) until we are. 

Now, not all promotion has to be self promotion, there are many ways in which artists can get featured, interviewed, or win a contest of sorts.

Like it or not, it opens doors. 

Sure, you can plateau for a while until someone finds you, or you can recede into your studio until you have a plethora of masterpieces that you unleash upon the world...But the bottom line is that in order to win, promotion is a non-negotiable.

In the future, I'll be creating more content regarding this subject, and documenting my journey when it comes to such endeavors. 

Even if I get snatched up by a studio in the near future, I'll still be honing my promotional prowess, ready to create new opportunities down the line. I suggest you sincerely think about doing the same.

Also, check out my courses and tutorials. They're incredibly affordable and value-packed.

& Don't forget to follow me on YouTube for free content.

Until next time - happy creating.

Endurance - What Most Artists Lack.

General / 22 April 2019

Endurance: the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. 

Giving way - that part, that's the part right there. 

Avoid that at all costs.

Agreeing to bear the burden of creation and creativity doesn't mean turning it into a struggle.

You can be stoic in the face of the unpleasantness or difficulty. 

However, once you give yourself an out before the process has completed, you're cutting away all of those future benefits that lie in wait on the other side. 

The gilded pieces you never finish. The soulful stories you never write. The character-building situations that you go out of your way to avoid.

These are all signs that you lack endurance. 

You bemoan the lows, and fight the highs. You procrastinate, justify, whine, and cry...but you don't work on your endurance. 

Endurance Enunciated

This POWER, this asset, this iron-hearted force can be yours if you so choose. 

Some are born with endurance, and some are galvanized by their environment to have it. 

But all of us can cultivate MORE of it. 

How? That's simple - 

By getting to the end of your current capacity.

By learning how much you have, and how to manage it in accordance with your aimed achievements.

I'm not going to pretend I know your degree of endurance, but I can bet there are times in your life wherein you can recall having to use all of it- and then some. 

A time that perhaps broke you for a bit. A time that took you a while to come back from it.

Those times are a part of all of our lives to some degree. The greater the endurance we have, the stronger we'll be in the face of those times.

The more endurance you have across the board, the better off you'll be. Your tenacious adaptability and steeled-nerves sharpen you daily. You don't lie in bed waiting for the self-defeating and lackluster thoughts to stop - you plant your feet on the floor and you seize every opportunity the day presents.

One of my favorite things about having a potent wellspring of endurance is the ability to click into a flow state during unpleasant periods. 

This effectively allows you to usurp victory from the clasping claws of defeat. It allows you to derive unique and silver-lined pleasures from otherwise cloudy or sullen circumstances.

How to Endow Endurance

To gain this power, and the presence of it will yield rewards of every kind to you in multitudes.

Use your current endurance. Tap into your reserves. You have it in you, after all, you're still here. Gain more of it gradually, and do the things that replenish it.

Endurance is your ally all you need to do is focus on it, and watch it's power grow. 

That feeling in your solar plexus, right below your rib cage - that's what I'm talking about. Feed that fire. Fuel that diesel. You're a cutting-edge organism with latent potential you can't even fully explore in this lifetime. 

It's almost as though you can see the "stat" of endurance on your personal character. Every time you feel that surge of excitement, that electric undercurrent, you're pumping more power into it. 

Your job every day is to take that sacred reserve and USE IT. It atrophies very quickly from leisure, fear, and procrastination. You will have to rebuild it the longer it stays dormant.

If it's asleep, you can wake it by breathing into it and holding space in your physical body. If you're ever feeling drained or depleted, it's because it's running low. 

Look for a way to practice it in the face of every task. This will fully-orb your indomitable endurance. Lift weights? Hold it up instead of just repping it. Have to sit through a boring lecture? See how long you can listen attentively by pushing yourself to.

You needn't look far for an opportunity to cultivate endurance, these optional fortitude-quests are in every single task or situation life could ever offer.

Where's your attention?

I know, it's a bit like a video game, but our perspectives are so personal that it's hard to see and solve these matters when they arise.

None the less, it's up to you to raise your awareness and ability. How else do you expect to succeed in the capacities you've defined?

In the face of it all, endure. 

See the process through, reach the next milestone, and strive to unlock the hidden powers you've sealed from yourself. 

Endurance is the channel through which they will manifest, so you'd better get to building it.

Happy Enduring.


If this hit home with you, consider enrolling in one of my courses/lists or working with me - Links below:


Beginner Drawing Course:  http://bit.ly/Beginner_DrawingCourse_... 

Beginner Painting Course: http://bit.ly/BEGINNER_PAINTING_COURS... 

Art Commission Specialist: http://bit.ly/GET_WORK_AS_AN_ARTIST 

Full 2D Art School Curriculum: http://bit.ly/PowerPainters2dartschool 

Personal Site: www.taypayart.com 

Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

Commission Requests: (Page Coming Soon) - Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

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5 Secret Ways You Can Draw Better TODAY (Revealed)

General / 21 April 2019

Look, it’s no secret that we all want to enjoy the art we make. But all too often artists are mired with thoughts of inadequacy, fear, self-doubt, destructive criticism, and just plain lack of inspiration and low energy.

I could go on and on. There are literally thousands of ways that we as creatives sabotage our efforts to create the work we want to create.

How do we defeat these “creativity killers” and actually let our work shine like it’s meant to?

I believe that all we need to do is shift the way we think, and thus the way we feel, act, and draw.

Leonardo Da Vinci said it best “There can be no smaller or greater mastery than the mastery of oneself.”

And with that, I want to share with you 5 ways that I’ve discovered that have been positively pivotal for me in my artistic development.

I’ve made a living through my art and freelancing for over 2.5 years now, and I continue to grow my income and abilities year after year. I say this not to impress you, but you impress upon you that what I’m about to give you works.

I’ve taken these techniques from books, other artists, videos, articles, deep meditation, and a bevvy of other sources. I’ve found them to be so effective that I feel obliged to do my part and share them with artists like yourself.

So give these an earnest attempt, and tweak them to your liking. Over time you’ll likely develop your own, but please allow me the honor of giving you a basis to work with:

1. Breathe deeply, calmly, and slowly before and during the creative process.

Take a minute to gather yourself before beginning. Stop any irrelevant thoughts that may have been floating about in your consciousness prior. Shift your attention toward your breathing and calm yourself with each deep breath.

Allow tension to release in your jaw, chest, stomach, neck, or wherever you’re holding it. You can use your mind to ease this tension with every breath.

Finally, simply smile — You’re about to embark on yet another creative journey, and whether it’s a quick doodle or the beginning of a 40-hour painting, you’re now in a state that will permit you to access more of your creative faculties.

2. Take frequent breaks, step backwards from the monitor/easel/sketchbook and assess the “impact” of the work from afar.

Taking breaks every 25–35 minutes will prevent you from cultivating Repetitive stress injuries, which will detract from your joy when it comes to drawing.

I like to use breaks as an opportunity to stand up and zoom out. In today’s day and age people see thumbnail-sized images before they ever take a look at the work in detail. It’s up to you to make sure that the thumbnail version of the work is interesting and well-designed enough to merit a longer look.

If it isn’t, then worry not, because these frequent breaks allow you to correct your course before investing too much time in the details.

3. Direct your thoughts into positive (or at least neutral) territory

As you’re working, keep your mind on things that are relevant to the piece by asking yourself questions regarding where you want to take it. Don’t allow the inner-critic to berate you or your creation whatsoever.

Shove such thoughts aside, as they are mostly destructive in nature. Destruction is diametrically opposed to creation, so we want to immerse ourselves in as much positivity as possible.

This is especially helpful when it comes to spotting and correcting mistakes, which brings me to the next point.

4. Profit from Failure

Part of being human is failure. From the greatest artists you’ve ever heard of down to the humble child learning to walk. Each has failed innumerable times in their endeavors.

We largely have a stigma when it comes to failure. We think that it means we’re inadequate or broken in some way, when really the opposite is true.

We are perfect in our failures, because they’re leading us to where the next success is.

Life is a series of cycles, ebbs and flows. Success cannot exist without failure.

So befriend failure, profit from it. Even if you make the same mistake a couple of times, there’s not need to fret. Clear your mind and probe the dirt of failure until your find the seed of success within.

I always recommend planting that seed as soon as possible.

5. Use every tool at your disposal

We are fortunate to have a plethora of tools in our ever-growing artistic arsenals.

These are things like process, references, programs, tutorials, and the like. Everything you need to improve your work rests both within you and outside of you, and they exist in the present.

It’s comforting knowing that the wells of your potential are as deep as the ocean, so long as you acknowledge them as such.

Many artists treat themselves and their work like they’re hardly more than a pothole filled with debris and muddy water. Shallow, unwanted, and inhabited with less than desirable materials.

But this is only true as the fulfillment of one’s own perceptions.

No one outside of you can dictate the way you feel about your art, that administration is yours and your alone. Remember that you can always tap more of your potential and find the solutions to every problem you face.

Conclusion:
And there you have the 5 key steps.

I can guarantee that these techniques will be of great use to you if you’re willing to implement them with earnest effort.

It also bears reminding that your journey is purely unique, and it does you no good to compare your life or development with that of another.

Keep digging deeper into the wells of your potential — breathing deeply and letting creativity and joy flow forth from your works. It’s never-ending and ever-expanding development with you as the centerpiece.

To master your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, means that mastery cascades into your works as well.

I recommend that you re-read this post daily and practice at least 1–3 of these techniques every time you find yourself gifted with the opportunity to do so, as they all unfold deeper and work better with persistent application.

If you want a more solid grasp on basic drawing concepts so that you can express yourself even further and expand your artistic arsenal, I have several courses and tutorials on the matter at the bottom of t his article.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck and fortune in all of your endeavors, creative or otherwise.

Sincerely,

-Taylor

www.powerpainters.org


˚˚˚˚˚˚ Full Courses ˚˚˚˚˚˚ 

Beginner Drawing Course:  http://bit.ly/Beginner_DrawingCourse_... 

Beginner Painting Course: http://bit.ly/BEGINNER_PAINTING_COURS... 

Art Commission Specialist: http://bit.ly/GET_WORK_AS_AN_ARTIST 

Full 2D Art School Curriculum: http://bit.ly/PowerPainters2dartschool 

Personal Site: www.taypayart.com 

Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

Commission Requests: (Page Coming Soon) - Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

Groups: FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/14441... Discord Server: https://discord.gg/hNZyukp

Struggling with your Art? Try this.

Article / 21 April 2019

Despite what you’ve been taught, Struggle is NOT a natural part of the process.


There are literally hundreds of quotes out there that cater to glorifying the idea of struggling. Most of them deem it a valiant and unavoidable part of the process of progress– like a swift prick in the arm before you get your lollipop from the doctor.

But what if you could get the lollipop without having to endure any pricks? Even if you did have to get your shot it wouldn’t feel like one, it’d just be a mere stepping stone to get your hands on the true prize.

Let’s take a look at how we can make this happen for you artistically and creatively.

First, let’s define struggle– Stewart Wilde gave the best definition I’ve ever personally come across, and he defines it as “Effort laced with emotion.”

So it goes to reason, that when you’re feeling poorly about a given endeavor, it can easily fit into the ‘struggle’ category.

Now what you may not yet be aware of is that you don’t have to give way to those emotions when you’re making an effort. Even if they begin to arise, the fact that you recognize them is enough to combat them back to whence they came.

Second, begin to accept the notion that struggle is not a natural part of the process. Effort is very natural– for it’s how you translate your thoughts and ideas into action, but struggle is the sour byproduct of debilitating beliefs about you and your art.

Let’s say you’re trying to draw for the first time in a day– a “warm-up” if you will…but for whatever reason every mark you make looks like a toddler going wayward with a crayon. It feels as if all of your skills and knowledge have made a quick getaway when you weren’t looking.

So naturally you feel an upset begin to stir, and then the negative thoughts come flooding in. Now you’re officially in “struggle” mode.

“I hate this, why can’t I draw today?”

“What’s wrong with me? I’m done with this.”

“I’m going to suck at art forever.”

Anything along those lines sound familiar? Read on.

The worst part about struggling is that once you shift into that mentality, even decent drawings seem terrible to you. It’s like there’s no winning until you do so on an emotional and mental level.

Sometimes it can get so bad that we don’t draw again for the rest of the day! And we both know that’s not how progress is made– that only ends up with one feeling worse.

So next time you’re feeling stuck, upset, or self-deprecating about your art (or plagued by emotional pain in ANY endeavor) I urge you to give this simple procedure a shot:

1. Recognize when your actions are starting to cause frustration and negative feelings. A deep and calming breath really helps.

2. Say to yourself (mentally or aloud) struggle is NOT a ‘natural’ part of the process. Make a conscious effort to return the fun to your endeavor.

3. Dispel the negative feelings and thoughts, it may take 5–15 minutes depending on the severity of the struggle.

4. Return to the task at hand. Even if you have to draw 25 heads before one comes out right, you’re still making progress! And what’s even better is that it no longer feels painful. Laugh at the ones that come out poorly, assess what you’ve done wrong and attempt to right it with the next iteration.

Once you’ve pulled the negativity out of your struggles, they simply become efforts. There is an great freedom about this. One can work all day, failing left and right, yet making progress all along. It’s not the result of your work that matters, but rather the spirit of diligence you’re cultivating to keep it evolving, and the strength of character you show to overcome the infamous ‘struggle.’

Many artists give way to their emotional responses to struggle– there are some who simply power through the pain, even though it causes them a great deal of distress. distress does not make you better at art, it only serves to bitter your workflow.

This technique may take some time, but I assure you the results are more than worth it. parrying the stress and riposting with a keen blast of positivity will take you farther than you can imagine.

Remember not to lose sight of the path on the way to your goals!

˚˚˚˚˚˚ Full Courses ˚˚˚˚˚˚ 

Beginner Drawing Course:  http://bit.ly/Beginner_DrawingCourse_... 

Beginner Painting Course: http://bit.ly/BEGINNER_PAINTING_COURS... 

Art Commission Specialist: http://bit.ly/GET_WORK_AS_AN_ARTIST 

Full 2D Art School Curriculum: http://bit.ly/PowerPainters2dartschool 

Personal Site: www.taypayart.com 

Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

Commission Requests: (Page Coming Soon) - Mail: taylor(at)taypayart(dot)com 

Groups: FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/14441... Discord Server: https://discord.gg/hNZyukp

STRATAEGIS - The Tactical RPG-inspired World building Project

General / 21 March 2019

I’ll Start at the Beginning.

Growing up, I remember my first PSX Console. It was a humble thing - a mere solid gray rectangle with a circular top that popped open.


My dad got it for me when I was 6 years old. He bought it used from a Pawnshop (we used to frequent pawnshops with my pop, as it was one of his hobbies.)

He then told me to pick out a few games from behind the glass.

There I stood, mesmerized by the case art and the titles I could barely read. I picked based on feeling, as most children do, and out we went with a used PSX and a gaggle of games.

When I sat down and plugged everything in, I was overjoyed. I don’t much remember the first 5 titles or so I played, but one of them stood out to me above all else, and that was Final Fantasy Tactics.

North American Box Art

This game captivated me immediately. The wonderful art of Akihiko Yoshida was quite memorable and appealing:

Art by A. Yoshida - Copyright SquareEnix

and the captivating scores of Hitoshi Sakimoto rang my little soul like a bell.

Never mind that I could barely read, I sat there sounding out the words as the story unfolded, and before long I found myself in the tutorial battle.

Controlling only Ramza, the protagonist, I played all my turns until the allied AI destroyed the opposition.

Then it was time for the real battle, the first one wherein you fight with your entire party. You had to be smart, as the units were under your control this time, and not at the whim of the game’s surprisingly smart AI.

I lost that battle countless times. Then I figured out I could add more units to my party prior to starting. From there the game really kicked off, and I was hooked.

I spent hours customizing my units, changing their abilities and equipment, and playing through the story while synergizing the group I was growing.

All of these memories are some of the most dear to me. I sought these types of games thereafter, and have played and thoroughly enjoyed many an SRPG since.

In fact, it’s what lead me to generate the world of Strataegis: Rhapsody of Battle.

And overview on some of the completed pieces I’ve done thus far.

My highest ambition is to realize the project as a game for a major console or directly on Steam, but for now it’s an excellent exercise in world building and visual development.

Here’s a bit of backstory

Strataegis is the fabled shield of the creator, wielded by a long lineage of heroes in times of great need – the likes of which occur every 888 years.

A chaotic populace of malevolent forces are always aiming to besiege the world Valon. This populace is ever-scheming with various occulted denizens of Valon; some of whom hold great power and influence.

Sanquisition is a secret organization that seeks to recruit promising soldiers, warriors, arcanists, agents, and everything in between in order to carry out a gamut of missions. The aim is to thwart the malevolent takeovers and onslaughts while seeking the fragments of Strataegis.

It is the 880th year in the grand cycle, and as the two moons begin to seek their celestial alignment (growing closer to the planet Valon on which this story occurs) the attacks from the Morivolum are growing more frequent, and require greater cost to fend off.

Worthy recruits of Sanquisition are being scouted and indoctrinated faster than ever in an effort to reunite the fragments of the Strataegis before it's too late.

Pictured in the center is Arcus - a sword-wielding Taroteer who plays a crucial part in the events of Strataegis.

If that wasn't enough, a triumvirate alliance of kingdoms and surrounding principalities have banded under the kingship of a possessed Ruler, Khard Trummeldane IV. Khard  will stop at nothing to ensure that Sanquisition gets wiped off the face of the planet.

Villains serving Khard T IV.

It's up to small collectives of Sanquisition agents (Sanquisitors) to do everything in their power to fell all of these opposing forces within 8 years, lest the veil break and the Morivolum infect the world.

Caeli - one of the higher-ranking Sanquisitors.

Thus far I’ve focused primarily on illustrations, but there have been some classes or job concepts completed as well:

Generating worlds visually, textually, contextually, and otherwise is one of the greatest joys of expression. After a certain point you begin to feel more like a faithful teller, rather than the creator of said world.

None the less, I’ll continue to put work into Strataegis whenever time permits - if you’re interested in direct updates you can sign up for news here: http://eepurl.com/cLDqrn

If you’d like to talk about contributing to the project, you can reach me here.

Here’s to further developments! Until next time.

Value-Based Pricing: Why I don't have "rates" as a freelance artist.

General / 19 March 2019

Set rates our hourly rates don’t make sense in many cases.

Ah, rates. The classic tyrant to many-an-artist.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a screenshot from the “Services” subforum on Deviantart.com

The sad thing is, is that many of these poor artists will never be able to make it out of this very forum with that mentality, and a vast majority can barely get ONE commission.


It’s a bummer, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve secured my fair share of commissions from this job board.

In my lowest of lows, I was selling commissions for a mere $50 a pop. Art-slaving away for hours just to eat. It was the worst - even if the clients came back with no revisions…I spent the better part of the process mentally flagellating myself for stooping so low.

That’s no way to live, and whether you’re an artist or you’re interested in making a career out of your creativity. I’ll explain how I ascended beyond this dead-end, pale-green scene, and instead began to prosper from my hard-earned skills.

In short, I had to earnestly seek answers to these dollar-based dilemmas.

For me it was all about education and implementation. Following the advice and practices of high-earners in other industries, and translating them to what it is I do (more on that later.)

I studied business acumen, marketing prowess, principled actions.

Let’s go into more detail.

The turning point - when I began pricing based on value


I had finally reached my breaking point after barely being able to save money month and month. I was working full-time, but my income did not reflect that.

The breaking point hurt, but it was also a seemingly magical event, a sudden willingness to challenge old beliefs. I did so until my efforts became the sword of sovereignty, deftly slicing that old mentality to ribbons.

here’s how I shifted my approach:

  • I went from charging for time, to charging for the event, to charging for the process and it’s effects.

  • Instead of hungrily taking every job where the client seemed halfway sane, I started being far more selective.

  • I began to look at myself as a peer, rather than a for-hire commodity.

  • The focus shifted from “make them the art they want” to “get them the objective results they’re after.”

  • I raised my prices. A lot.

  • I became less of a pair of hands, and more of a brain.

  • New thoughts about business practices and paradigms had to be programmed into my operations.

  • Specialization became the focus, rather than generalizing.

And those are just a few ways I had to pivot from my once poor mindset. You see, life is too full of riches to stay under the providence of our limited scope. You have to be willing to reinvent yourself and your work for the results you’re after.

The world will try to melt you down. It will want to standardize, unify, and program you. It’s your job to reject what everyone else in your field or your community is doing, and do the opposite.

Let’s talk Clients - an integral key to value-based pricing



The client is best served by having their issues resolved quickly and effectively.

And here’s the thing - hourly billing isn’t moral in that regard. This is something I learned from Alan Weiss and Nathan Stark.

The longer you stay, the more your client pays - that’s not quite right, is it? After a project drags on and on, and your clients are over-budget, you get the “client from hell” scenario - even if circumstances were beyond your control.

No - it’s better to go in lean and mean, and price yourself based on the big difference you can make for your client’s business. Then deliver as quickly and effectively as possible.

For example - if you pay me $100,000.00 up front to knock out a project and it makes you 1,000,000.00 over the next 12 months, you’re happy.

Whereas if things aren’t coming together right, and the scope keeps changing, and over the course of a year you’ve spent $1,200,000.00 trying to get the thing to fly, no one’s happy.

That’s why having a bid where you don’t pay a dime more than the agreed upon price is ideal for the client.

Again, it took a while to pivot into these new paradigms, but now that I have a more solid foundation, years of experience, and the income to triple down on my skills and ongoing education, the effects are multiplicative.

I strongly urge artists who are freelance to consider value-based pricing, and to reap healthier profits, and happier clients.

For the clients out there, make sure that going to a particular freelancer is what you’re in definite need for at whatever project stage you’re in.

I can’t tell you the number of gigs wherein I took the job to fast, only to find out that my clients weren’t every 100% WHY they needed the artwork created. Some had asset lists wherein 80% of the items were superfluous to their project goal.

If you’re gathering another round of funding, that needs specific strategy - if you’re trying to engage your player base more, that needs a specific type of work as well.

And if you’re unsure about what will move the needle, then don’t be afraid to ask. Part of having integrity on my part is to let you know if what I can do for you is something that you actually need.

It requires a good deal of forethought and transparency to conduct business at this level, but ultimately it yields more desirable results for all parties involved.

Value is the key to creative collaboration, and when both sides can mutually prosper as a result of a near-alchemical value fusion, the resultant projects are more readily bound for success.