Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Setting goals

Many people who list manga as their prime, perhaps even only influence are quite young when they start drawing and do it mostly for fun. Speaking from personal experience, when I started out all I wanted to draw was "manga-people". My parents, once they noticed my new hobby, sensibly suggested that I should try studying real people but I would turn my nose up at the thought - real people weren't pretty!

For a few years I learnt by copying and studying other manga artists and in the beginning the improvement was quite rapid. Learning the box & ball anatomy took some effort... folds quite a while, and don't get me started on the hands, but eventually things started to shape up.
Now, the first few years were great, every other new drawing I was drawing something for the first time and I had fun improving. But after that, things plateaued. When I started my goal was to learn how to draw pretty manga pictures. So what do you do when your pictures start looking pretty? Personally, I stopped improving.

That being said, not everyone aims for constant improvement. Drawing for fun is fine, more than fine, terrific! It beats shopping or drinking your allowance away if you ask me.
My point is, if you are looking to improve your art, whether it's for fun or dead serious - being aware of where your goals lie is a very good idea. At that time I thought I had reached my goals, and for the time being I had.
A few years later I found new goals and started bashing myself for having stopped improving but looking back now I'm realising that it was a matter of maturity. Your frame of mind grows just as you do so there's no point in regretting lack of insight from those early days. The best thing to do to avoid stagnation is to make sure that you keep on developing your art as well as your mind.


aqws said...

hmmm, I dunno about specific goals nowadays.. Obviously it's good to have targets for improving academically, but otherwise you have to ask yourself what exactly "improving" is anyway. Striving to tell your own personal feelings better than before is a good goal, but these days I feel improvement goals can sideline the self-indulgent ramblings that actually make us focus on what makes our art "better". I wonder what's more important, the fact that our art is "ours", or academic mastery? I dunno, I think I tend to over-think these things!

nana said...

I was more referring to improving technical skills, but having goals careerwise is pretty important as well I think. A clear idea of what you want to achieve will take you there so much faster.
Sadly I've always been bad at setting goals for myself. I think once you truly know what you want, your halfway there already.

This post was mostly reflecting on a big change in my attitude towards art - from treating it as just a hobby on the side to taking responsibility and committing to it. How can you become pro if you don't take your art seriously? :)

dannielo said...
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