Andrew Pierce made a $1,000 bet with his younger cousin in 2015. Normally when cousins make bets it’s over something fun. But Andrew’s was purely artistic. So, the bet was that he had to get a thousand likes within six months for something he is terrible at which is 2D painting and drawing. Six months later, Andrew succeeded and made a speech at Blender Conference 2016 titled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists”. He said, “I did not just win this challenge, I also learned a lot about how to be an effective artist”. Here are some highlights from this speech.
You need to be working on your task, your artwork, whatever creative goal you have; every single day. You maybe think “Why every single day? Why can’t just do it when I have time?” The thing is that these large blocks of time we imagine, they very rarely ever pan out. Most of the greatest artists across history achieve whatever they do because they work every day.
“A small daily task, if it is really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”
Anthony Trollope, Novelist
Getting started is often the hardest part. I started to work daily, I told myself “You just have to draw one line.” This relaxed me a lot. And after every one line, I couldn’t stop.
Volume, not perfection
Most artists have this affliction and a lot of artists would actually consider it as one of their strengths, being a perfectionist. But being a perfectionist actually undermines your growth because it prevents you from reaching the next lesson.
“The most important thing you can possibly do is a lot of work. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to close the gap.”
Ira Glass on storytelling, This American Life Producer
Get on with your next work!
It is common to look at the art of our idols and assume that they were born to do whatever it is. But that’s not how the human brain works, it is always built upon the ideas before it. Our idols built upon stuff of their idols, stuff that they loved. If you look across history, you’ll find the greatest artists recommend inspiration from other great artists that came before them.
“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.”
“Good artists copy, great artists steal. We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
So, find your idols, find things that you truly love right now. And steal from them! But in a good way 🙂
We’ve all heard the phrase “Practice makes perfect.” I used to think this was the case and this was the advice that I gave to people. But that’s not all there is because the human brain is wired to avoid pain. So we tend to think of practice like this:
But it sort of becomes a little bit like this:
“The biggest waste of time is not being conscious of what you’re doing. Or in other words “doodling around.”
When I was drawing, I looked through my previous works, I flipped through the pages and I noticed that there wasn’t any difference between them. I wasn’t getting better over time. And I was saying “I am putting in more and more hours here but I’m not learning.” And I went all the way back and started to learn, really this time. I noticed that I was escaping this “boring” learning process.
So with the conscious learning, our graph will look like this:
Practice is important, don’t get it wrong. But practice alone makes perfect, that I don’t agree with.
It is not always fun, but it is the fastest way to improve!
Will be continued…