Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why We Don't Learn As Fast As Musicians




If you're enrolled in our "Illustration For Storytellers" class - FULL or LITE version please watch this video...it is designed to help all of us accept critiques easier.

In this video I discuss why many visual artists in my University classes avoid my help, critiques, suggestions, and advice. I can't blame them because they have been victimized by our public school system. I realize that I'm generalizing but most US students are never taught visual art the same way they are taught music, dance, acting, writing, and sports. We get our writing assignments handed back to us with red marks correcting our mistakes in elementary school all the way through high school. We have been conditioned to accept right and wrong ways to use the English language so when we get to college we begin at a much higher level for writing classes than do incoming freshmen in art.

It's important to understand how we have wrongly treated the visual art student so that we might help them understand that letting go of their bad habits will liberate them and accelerate their learning. I give many examples in the video - if you disagree with me please watch the video first where I make my complete argument - but I do welcome your thoughts!

12 comments:

  1. This is spot on. I think it is really hard to check ones ego at the door, but if you do - and really listen to the advice other industry professionals give, that is when you see things in a whole new light.
    Just returning from my first SCBWI conference, this could not have been more timely. I had met some amazing, wonderful people who were extremely open and generous with their time/contributions and critiques of my work. Including the fantastic Russ Cox.
    Thank you Will, and please do add me to your list in case you decide to add a class in the fall.
    Lisa
    lisa(at)lisamgriffin(dot)com

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  2. You're added! :)...and Russ is awesome!

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  3. Right on the money. Before I went to art school, I worked at a local newspaper in ad production. When I had my interview at the school, one of the questions was, "Are you able to handle criticism?" I laughed out loud. Nothing holds the ego in check like working for a newspaper.

    Students need to understand that if they think art is playtime, they will get nowhere. Once they accept that there will be hard work and pain involved, only then will their craft move forward.

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  4. Some of my first critiques I threw my ego out there and quickly learned the school of hard knocks. I've seen people hit that wall and not come back. TO survive as an illustrator you have to be open and willing to listen and reason. Bottom line!

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    1. It's funny how much you learn when you leave school and enter the real world!

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  5. Thank-you. This echos the soap box I've been on for years. If I may add how important it is to teach basic visual literacy as well as drawing as communication. I highly recommend Bruce McIntyre's essay found in his Drawing Textbook. I wish every parent and educator in the country would read it.
    Funny you equate art with music, can you imagine teaching a child to play an instrument without drills, or professionally composed music to copy?

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    1. I'm going to try to find that book - sounds like just the right resource! Thank you!

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  6. I have to say this is wonderful. I don't have a problem with critique (though with Yellapalooza and the Hammies two of my crit groups, we practiced the "sandwich" technique and I wrote an article in CWIM on how to start a crit group and lightly touched upon how to critique) What REALLY hit me is the design part. I was that prodigy drawer-er, lol with precious little art training till I got to art school. At the time Illustration was pooh-poohed So it was not a good fit. But the design didn't come into play, and at that time I also was LEARNING to take criticism. I think some of it, for me was A) I drew because no one could tell me it was wrong, via the fact of the dearth of tutelage, B) it was for attention, but also I wanted to only draw what I only wanted to draw, what I wanted to draw. In the thirty odd years since, I've grown and realized the thing that I really needed was a design class I could get my teeth into (yep had 2-D and 3-D but it was geared to graphics). Also with no illustration there was no character development (they ridiculed if it seemed like your painting was anything other than a bunch of pigment on a page, if it told a story, and that was always my natural inclination). Anyhow, having taught myself, I've found there are somethings that take a lot of repetition as the mind not only has to turn new info over and over, before assimilating it, the person also has to be receptive. Insightful as always. (And often when people take umbrage, I think it's they HEAR they are wrong, so taking the emotional out is a great way to build the reception). Love your posts!

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  7. This makes sense.

    I spent 4 years at art college (which I loved) and got a degree in illustration - but I feel I was actually taught very little.

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