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About Deviant Artist Premium Member Betsy LuntaoUnited States Group :icon21dayshabit: 21DaysHabit
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Deviant for 11 Years
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Print vs Digital art & comic books 

9 deviants said Print most of the time, but I can't always afford it, so digital's cool too.
6 deviants said Both, I like print at home with a free digital copy for when I'm on the go.
4 deviants said About half and half, whatever I can afford at the time.
2 deviants said Digital mostly, print sometimes when I find space on the bookshelf.
1 deviant said Print all the way! I like real stuff!
No deviants said Digital always! Save the trees!
  • Mood: Glad
  • Listening to: EXO Exodus
  • Reading: Steal Like an Artist
  • Watching: 2 Days 1 Night S3,EXO Next Door
  • Playing: Pikmin 3
  • Eating: cereal
  • Drinking: water
A small update-- There will definitely be a drawing event based on process, not product, and the goal of building the habit to draw every day, rain or shine, happy or depressed, busy or lazy.

It'll begin some time in June, and will last for 3 weeks (21 days). I've gone ahead and started a group for it so that it'll be easier for me to organize and easier to share experiences and support others trying to get a routine just like you.

If you want to participate, or just watch  to see how it all plays out, go ahead and join:
The 21 Days Habit

//End of Update//

In my Personality Poll, :iconzombieceli: brought up the subject of motivation. I've been contemplating, investigating and experimenting with this topic a lot the last few months and being an INFJ, I have to write it out! LOL 

There's this really interesting (and terrifying) transition for a lot of artists. When we first started drawing, writing, painting or whatever it was, it was because the process itself was fun and rewarding. Even if we colored outside the lines, or the dog had 5 legs or the birds looked like "m"s in the sky at the end, it didn't matter because it was fun to make. As some of us get older, and want to make art our career, or even just want to get better at a skill, there's this pressure that whatever is created has to be "good" and we need other people to acknowledge that it's good.

When the drawing/product of art process stops looking "good", the process itself is less rewarding. There's a feeling of "I don't want to draw because it won't come out as good as I want it to look." or "No one will like it." Suddenly there's this lack of motivation and lack of desire to draw.

Many professional artists know this. First hand I've seen Bobby Chiu, Stephen Silver, Armand Serrano, and Ryan Woodward all have talks about it at CTN. They pretty much all have this 2-punch system of placing great trust into their routine process to carry them though the days that are lacking motivation, and all have side projects or time set aside to just draw for the heck of it to stop themselves from becoming mindless, heartless drawing machines.

However, a routine is something easily said and not easily done or maintained. I know because I've struggled with getting a routine in place a LOT. These are just some written accounts of my personal routine building experiences, so take it for what you will.

Why can't I stick to a routine?

For months, I've been trying to figure out why everyone around me seemed to be making progress in their goals and projects and I wasn't. It was getting so bad, that I was beginning to avoid seeing my friends and relatives because I didn't want to have to answer that evil question: "So what are you doing these days?" because the answer was basically "Nothing." and that's really embarrassing and made me feel really ashamed of myself that I had spent so much money going to Art School and then haven't been doing anything since graduation. I had this really oppressive feeling of never having enough time. As I drew less and less, it became even harder to make the effort to sit down and draw. When I finally did sit for 8 hours in a day to draw, I had numerous health problems from poor posture and sitting for too long. It was discouraging to say the least.

I had tried a couple of things to get a drawing routine in place, like raw willpower (failed), punishing myself with extra household chores for not drawing (failed), rewarding myself with sweets (failed), declaring publicly of my intentions to hold me accountable (failed), making my room more like a studio (failed), and joining drawing events like "30 Characters in 30 Days" or the "100 Themes Challenge" (failed, failed). It wasn't even restricted to art related stuff, I tried to do weekly cleaning, daily outfit journal to help clear my stuffed closet, and daily good eating habits (failed, failed, failed.)

At some point, I decided to look at it from the other direction.

Instead of trying to install the "new" activity of drawing everyday, I needed to know what I was actually doing during the day.

A few months ago, I wrote down and used an activity tracking app to record everything that I naturally did in a week. The results weren't that surprising. I was online a LOT, watching Korean TV shows a LOT, looking up tutorials and tips, I was collecting references for that 'someday' project. No structure to my day aside from my part time jobs and sculpting every Monday the entire day. I went to bed later and later and woke up later and later which wouldn't be a problem if I were a working night owl, but I stop working around 8pm generally, so staying up till 2am doesn't really do anything other than make me sleep in late the next morning. I also wrote down my excuses for not drawing such as "Have to leave for work in 30 minutes, not enough time to draw". Soon, my average potential "drawing hours" per day totaled 2 on free days and 1 on part-time job days.

One very interesting thing was how much time I dedicated to winning medals on the Mission mode of Pikmin 3. I'm not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, I feel like my gaming skills ended with the Nintendo 64 era. Pikmin though, we're still buddies. (This is important later.)

Then I observed what I do, and what I feel, when I fail.

One experiment was to see how I went about drawing every day with the mindset of pure willpower. Day 1, I sat down to draw, had no ideas, looked online for inspirational references which sometimes side tracked into articles related to images or just completely veered off into the time-sucking void of Youtube. 2 hours later I started to draw digitally and was hitting "undo" every few seconds and "New canvas" every 20 minutes, switching between drawing programs as I went, trying to get that perfect look. About 8 hours from when I started I managed to ink and color 1 simple drawing. A process that used to only take me 3 hours at the max, which in itself left me depressed. The underlying reason for the amount of undos, new canvases and program changes was "I don't like this" or "It's not good enough". I also had this panicky feeling of "If I don't finish it now, I'll never finish it and I'll fail again!" It was exactly the problem of placing so much value on the product that I wasn't allowing the process of drawing to be fun. The whole thing was so emotionally exhausting that I didn't even want to draw on the 2nd day. A new personal speed record for failing!

Trigger. Routine. Reward.

At some point I came across some TED talks about habits and change: 
"The Power of Habit" 

The basic idea is that you have a cue or trigger (such as a morning alarm clock) an action or routine that follows (get out of bed) and a reward (watching TV while/going online). You can set up this cycle to basically train yourself to do anything you want to do on a daily basis.
I tried this. 
Trigger - after I eat breakfast
Routine - draw anything, ink and color it
Reward - play a Pikimin mission

And I still failed.

I just wasn't happy with my drawing attempt, I knew it was going to take like 8 hours again, and I was really upset with myself, and fed up with everything, so naturally I went to straight to the reward to escape my misery in Pikmin 3. I nailed 2 missions in less than an hour, got gold medals, and felt amazingly gratified. Interestingly, Pikmin had the perfect cue/routine/reward cycle with the added bonus of being timed: 

Cue - I feel bad
Routine - Gather as much fruit and treasure as I can in 5-13 minutes
Reward - Gold medal=Visual signal of progress being made=Good feeling

Not only that, but it showed all the current medals I had earned, and how many more I had left to go as well as gave me a restricted amount of time to complete the task which made it easy to choose if I wanted to try to do a 7 or 13 minute mission before I had to leave somewhere in 30 minutes.

This kind of thinking was backed up by another TED talk on habit building:
called "Forget Big Change Start with a Tiny Habit"

Basically, make your goal so low-effort and easy that you can't possibly fail, and then praise yourself for the victory. 
Seriously, it's so ridiculous that it's brilliant.
I kept thinking that I would only succeed if I spent 8 hours drawing. Notice the first time I said I would "draw anything, ink and color". A product oriented goal. I had to set the time to a smaller amount or make the goal simpler. Like, draw a face, or, not even a whole face, just draw an eye. (Process!) Yes! Yes, I could do that!! 

Cue. Timed Tiny Mission. Reward. Progress Tracker.

Based on Tiny habits and Pikmin's model, I changed my cycle a little bit. 

Cue = Sit down at my desk.
Timed Tiny Mission = In traditional media, draw a face without references in 10 minutes. (*Note: I have a 10-ish minute playlist that ends with the reward song*)
Reward = When the reward song plays, get up and victory dance to that jam to celebrate that you completed the mission. (This was also because of the prolonged sitting causing me health problems, and moving around periodically is another good habit to have, so yay for double rewards!)
Progress Tracker = Because I draw on the same paper each time, I get to see the face drawings accumulate and I also note on my calendar that I succeeded.

Almost every time the reward song came on, I didn't want to stop. It was so easy to win, why not win it again? I would draw an additional 10 minutes and catch the reward song on the second, or third time around. Pretty soon I got up close to an hour. I made a new music playlist so that I wouldn't go crazy with songs repeating and chose 3 more reward songs. However! I still have the reward song every 10 minutes or so to end on a high note and I only celebrate when that song comes on to keep the routine in place. Otherwise, I would start taking breaks whenever I felt like it and the system would fall apart.

So far, it's working!

Sure, I miss a day here and there, it's not going to be perfect from the start, but more importantly than perfection is that I'm motivated to keep going.

Work. Learn. Play. 

Many of Napoleon Hill's books mention this. There's a balance of doing things because we have to (work), doing things to grow and expand/improve our abilities (learn) and doing things to relax, rejuvenate ourselves and release stress (play). While I was rehabilitating myself to draw regularly with my routine, I decided I would take on a personal project. Something that I didn't owe to anyone and wanted to make because I wanted to see it. I could make it as cheesy and overly dramatic as I wanted, I could have ninja vampires vs dinosaur cowboys if I wanted, seriously, nothing is too insane or stupid for a personal side project, plus, there's no pressure to ever finish it either. I'd tell you more about my personal project, but, well, that would spoil the whole point of it being personal.

I've only been working on my personal project for about a week now, and I had no idea it would affect my motivation and emotional happiness this much. As long as I know I can have at least 30 minutes to work on my project, I can face the trials of the day head on. Sometimes I don't even draw or write for my project, and just spend time collecting images, or songs that resonate with my vision for it. I'm never disappointed, even when I do really ugly drawings for it, because it's the process of working on something that makes me happy that is rewarding in itself. Part of me wants to start sharing it really badly, but I want to protect its healing function of being something that is stress free and free from public opinions that could pull me back into worrying if it's "good enough".

It's mine. My own. My precious. (Sorry, it was just so perfect to pass up...)

"Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time. ... 
When you get out of the groove you start to dread the work because you know it will [be of low quality]
for quite a while until you get back into the groove."

--Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist


Print vs Digital art & comic books
9 deviants said Print most of the time, but I can't always afford it, so digital's cool too.
6 deviants said Both, I like print at home with a free digital copy for when I'm on the go.
4 deviants said About half and half, whatever I can afford at the time.
2 deviants said Digital mostly, print sometimes when I find space on the bookshelf.
1 deviant said Print all the way! I like real stuff!
No deviants said Digital always! Save the trees!
Most difficult part of creating an original character is
23 deviants said making it look original / making it not look like a licensed character
20 deviants said the name
16 deviants said the backstory
12 deviants said the clothes and hair
11 deviants said killing them off later
7 deviants said the manner of speech
3 deviants said the fighting style


Add a Comment:
Jinsky Featured By Owner Edited May 3, 2015
Since you graduated from the Academy of Art--did you by any chance ever take a figure/life drawing class from a Professor Jason Bowen? :> 
I think he left a bit ago (and came to my university to teach, haha), so not sure if you did.
(1 Reply)
YAMATA12 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015  Student General Artist
your tutorials are amaizing, oh hi XD, i really need to improve my work and i think than your tutorial could help me
(1 Reply)
lashialee Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  New member Hobbyist General Artist
I found your tutorials helpful. So I;m gonna add you to my watch list but under my "concepts" list lol.
Are you an art teacher?
(1 Reply)
pijuuu Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey, your tutorials are great! :D
(1 Reply)
ZachSatherArt Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
thanks for doing these tutorials, very much appreciated.  Wish there were more resources like yours on here.
DeadSlug Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Really thanks for your watch =D
CoreyPledger Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Your info on perspective has been invaluable. :)
(1 Reply)
guhruuu Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
thx for all the tutorials! and for the effort u put into them, very much appreciated.
take my watch and good job!
(1 Reply)
QuickStarBlossom Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Lover your tutorials
Thank you for the time you take to make them
(1 Reply)
sevenluck Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thanks so much for the watch! I really appreciate it. :)
Add a Comment: