Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Work Plan

I kept my promise, although a bit later than expected (better late than never comes to mind).

So in one of my latest blog posts i said i feel like i'm slightly lagging behind with work. So i decided to make a plan.

This plan gives me enough time to focus on my projects (3D, VD and critical studies), as well as a bit for personal development. I've made Friday a buffer day as i always find i need more time for work, so ill dedicate that do to catch up on any outstanding work. But if by some miracle i don't need to do any work on Friday than ill use it as a rest/personal development day. Buts its not all work and no play, I've left my weekends free, as this is usually when i visit my girlfriend. I see my weekends as a reward - work hard throughout the week and i get to see my girlfriend.

Anyway, here's the plan, crudely put together, but it works:

Ill keep you guys posted on how well its working. 

Thought process of a professional artist

After reading an article on the process of creating a concept, and then discussing it with my fellow peers I have come up with 5 rules of an ideal thought process when creating art.

I have prioritised these from most important to least (but is still important in the grand scheme of things)

  •        The 5 p’s

That’s proper planning prevents poor performance.

This is one of only a few sayings I actually like and try (especially lately) try to live too. The whole idea of planning is to set yourself targets and deadlines  so you achieve you end goal as efficiently as possible.
If this crucial stage isn't done you spend the first few days of your project doing nothing as you think ‘ah 4 weeks is ages, I can easily so it in 2, so I’ll leave it a few days then start’. Then you start and notice the project is a lot bigger/time consuming then you first thought, and you run into problems you never saw happening but they always crop up, so now something which you wanted done in 1 will now take 2 days, which pushes the whole project  back. And if you have a non-negotiable deadline you’re going to start taking shortcuts and your work will suffer for it.

From the little experience I already have I have notice this always happens to me. So now when I plan I make buffer days to combat this.

Planning is a major skill in anything anyone does, without it, the world would be a mess. All the following points can be loosely based in the planning stage. That is why its number 1 for me.

This poster should be in every workplace

  •        References

As fantastic and mysterious as the brain is, it can only think up so much, you’re gonna need references to help you out.

Actually scrap that, don’t do anything without reference. Reference is key! No matter how much you think you might know your brain doesn't exactly know how the folds on a silk cloth is going to deform while its covering a body, or how high polished metal reflects the environment.

This is why we gather references. Also don’t use your lack of references as an excuse because you’re creating something non-realistic i.e. anime.  Even that still follows basic proportion, form and confirms to physics.

Realistic or not, you need reference. Be it from taking pictures yourself, setting up lighting rigs or draping clothes over objects, heck Google images is better than nothing.  

  •        Rip yourself a new one

People need to learn to be more self-critical and not get emotionally attached to their work. If they’re too attached to their work all they’ll do is look passed all the flaws in what they've produced, thus not really learning much from it. You need to stand back at the end of your project and analysis everything about it – What could have I done better? Why didn't I spend more time on that? That looks wrong, but why?
Being critical on other person or your own work will help improve your artistic eye.

Hmmmm don't be too harsh on yourself or other though

  •        Gimme a brief!

A Brief will set out a line of objectives or goals to do by a certain time.

Without briefs we would be pretty lost in what to create , or what constraints we have to work too. And to a certain extent it would make the whole project very difficult to plan.

If no brief  existed between you and your client it will make things very difficult. If they don’t write a brief but just give you a general idea of what they want then you’d go off creating what you want to an extent, which might not be exactly what the client wants, so you then have to rework it. So everything you did before was wasted time, and as we all know (especially in this industry) time is money. So you need that brief.
Even if it’s just a personal  project, write a brief for yourself.

  •        Work it at the thumbnails/keep it simple

As easy as it is to jump into Max/Photoshop to create your idea you must fight your lust to do that and start of by creating quick sketches/ideas, aka thumbnails. This is so you can experiment with designs in a very quick way. You’ll find that very rarely your first idea will look good, or even work, you need to flesh out these ideas. There’s a saying: If it doesn't work at postage stamp size, then it won’t work at any size. This is very true, you can tell when something  just works, and its better to the reach that stage with only ~30 minutes of work, rather than 30 hours.

Right, I think I’m done here.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Things aren’t quite going to plan

So since my last blog update I said I was hoping to do work pretty much all the time so I can develop my skills faster. Well I have been keeping to it more or less things aren't  going as well as expected, here’s the problem – I seem to be lagging behind with work already, which is an awful start to this year. And it’s not to do with not putting the effort in.

 As  proof I've not been procrastinating (well not proof, but I guess you’ll have to take my word for it) I just got up, showered, had breakfast and I’m typing this before I go off to my morning lecture in 20 minutes, I would usually use this time to browse something stupid on the interwebs or something. But that’s the old me, this is the new me.

 I think one of the main culprits of this ‘lack of work’ is that I’m starting to try out different techniques for digital painting -  researching it then putting it into practice, which takes time. I could never get to grips with it last year so I’m determined to this year, and to also find my painting style. Maybe this is the lull I have to work through before I see the benefits of the work to pay off. I just have to make sure I don’t loss my momentum and get demotivated, which could happen easily.

I think I might have deluded myself :/. I’m telling myself I’m keeping to a plan, but actually I’m not, I’ll work for 10 minutes then procrastinate for 15. The work plan I have is just in my head not on paper, so maybe I don’t feel it’s real, so I don’t follow it? I don’t know. But what I’m  going to do is knock up a plan on paper in a couple of days. Hopefully because its real I’ll keep to it….well that’s the idea.

Expect an update with a plan in the next few days, until then I got some work to do.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Attitude change for year 2, and for life.

So I've had a whole 5 months of summer to change my attitude towards work, relax and get my motivation back. Even though its my first week back i'm buzzing, I just want to do work, and do it well. Just scraping through into the second year has really put everything into perspective, and how lucky I am. I'm not wasting this opportunity.

As I type this I just got back from a lecture, the first thing I did when I got back home was grab a drink and fire up Microsoft Word and start brain farting/ babbling everywhere, and you are reading the results of it. Go back 365 days ago, as soon as I was given a task, like this one, which the deadline is week away, I would start it the night before it was to be handed in, frantically typing whatever comes to my mind just to get something down, just to say 'i've done it' which results in pretty poor quality work.

Even though it's early days so far with all my projects/work I have been set I have started on the day it has been giving. Usually with the first day planning how and when I’m going to do certain bits of it, setting myself personal deadlines. So far its working well, I just need to stick at it for the rest of the year. This is going to be a hard habit to break, I've never been that good/caring when it comes to planning but I know it is a habit I have to break, no question.

One of my changes I want to make this year is to make better use of my time, going back home is around an 8 hour round trip, that’s 8 hours I could be doing something productive instead of staring out the window on the train. I plan to use this time to read drawing/art related books. – i'm going to start here. Even the little things are going to make a difference, such as I plan to have a small sketchbook in the kitchen, so while I’m waiting for my food to cook I can doodle in the sketchbook. It’ll be just a quick 5-10 minute sketch but over the academic year that’ll add up to 25 hours (yes I did the maths....) that’s 2.5 credits right there! I spend a long time speaking to my girlfriend everyday on the phone, so i'm using this time to doodle/ do some drawings, although i am finding that she's getting mad at me for not listening :/. Its little things like this which will get me a decent job after I graduate.

I've also had the summer to change my mindset, I wasted too much time last year playing games and watching stuff on tv, while this is not a bad thing as these mediums can be another source of inspiration, the quantity I watched/played ate into work time too often. This will really be put to the test this month and next as many games I have been waiting for come out. Ill keep you posting about my progress.

To symbolise and motivate me to keep me on this new path I have ordered this poster:

This now hangs proudly on my wall above my computer

Thanks for reading!