Current Announcement

Stuff always being prepped in the background.

Lots of stuff has happened in the last few years. And some of the older posts need maintenance. A buffer of entries is being developed.

In the process of updating tons of parts of my website, shops and web presence.

Tons planned for this year including splitting some topics into separate blogs.
See the Announcements page for a bit more info.

May 22, 2015

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adepts, Dabblers & Chocolaty Death

Initially, I considered calling this Random Thoughts Inspired by Death Sex. Since this has plenty to do with the blog post Death Sex by @VickiDeath. However, enough of what’s in here has long dwelt within my brainmeats being un-voiced, not to mention too much a rip of her catchy title. She’s only started using her blog regularly recently. Though more recently than I. Her blogging shows promise, I’d say.

In her post, she talked about two questions she gets repeatedly that largely pry into her techniques and methods for creating certain effects in her art. She then goes on to explain why those two questions annoy her hardcore. Once again, I was writing way too much in a comment and realized I’d started a new blog entry. As does happen when a blog poster goes being all thought provoke-y.

Thoughts largely &/or vaguely related to her post:
Thought 1 – Art Teachers & Students

There is no end to the amusement when non-artists treat all artists as teachers. Not all artists are interested, willing or even capable of being teachers. Of course, on the flipside there is always the saying - those who can’t do teach.

I wonder if the art teachers who have students come away feeling as she did, do they fall into that category? As though they learned very little or only re-hashed what the student already knew or even deciding to discontinue their art studies. Some who discontinue their formal studies do continue to be an artist and learn on their own.

Are those teachers unable to earn a living with their art, unable to make a career of it and therefore just bitter enough to quickly have their students dismiss them? I’m sure this happens, the traditional art world is very hard to break into. Notice I say traditional. Certainly some feel teaching is their place and art is simply what they are to teach. Those are the art teachers you are more likely to learn a lot from, but the population being what it is, that’s rare. Even more so as funding for art programs gets continually sliced to shreds.

Or maybe the way art needs to be taught has changed. If people are asking questions that should be posed to a teacher directly of artists who have given no real public indication that they care for being a teacher or imparting hard fought self-taught knowledge to those looking for quick easy answers, then yeah, that is a clear sign that something needs to change [a post expanding upon this will be linked here later]. Granted one cannot always tell when someone has been mostly self-taught, but self-taught or not the path of art is typically hard fought. That was fraught with rhyming…yep.

Thought 2 – Broke Artists Cringe When Brands are Mentioned

If people asked me those two questions I'd not answer and be more than irritated too. I have nothing against doing a little art teaching [a related post will be linked here later] or sharing knowledge, but those particular questions are of a maddening variety.

I pay little attention to brands & makes when knee deep in an art project & dislike writing down what I use through out the process, that & growing up poor causes disdain for discussing brands.
Besides telling somebody your tool is an f'n generic q-tip and having them be so shocked, probably not as satisfying as one might imagine.

Personally I have to work with what I have, I’m not in a position yet to buy fancy art supplies, or even new ones all that often. Luckily, from the time I started playing hard and purposefully with art around age 14, people who gave me presents went for the easy here’s some art supplies kid, and I’d randomly buy some when I had money. I’ve a decent stockpile to last while I wait for the money to stop being such a heartless prick to me.

Plus going into detail about specific techniques is time-consuming, especially repeatedly. If I was just an artist maybe that wouldn't make much difference to me but I'm also a writer. When I'm doing art, I'm thinking about the art. The writer needs to be turned off while I complete my illustration, painting or whatever if it’s not for sequential art purposes. The project, not the ins & outs of what specifically I’m doing, that stuff goes to or comes from a more subconscious place and I get lost in it. I like to work fast and hard, from deep inside where explanation is more like a stranger.

I’d love to make videos to teach with, I think it would be the only way I could do it. Film myself working on art, narrate it later and even write notes for instructional blogs and eventually books. Do I have a video camera? Of course not crazyface! However my mother has a plot to send me a webcam packed in chocolate bunnies soon. Chocolate bunnies?! Ha! Of course it will be packed in chocolate bunnies, Easter just happened and my mom is awesome like that. She has a webcam she bought for one of my sisters that never got used. I think the sister accidentally killed her laptop by drowning it with hot chocolate. This is what happens when the oldest doesn’t even get a card for graduating high school and the 3rd child gets a laptop, it’s called karma. Either that or just keep your drinks away from the electronics.

Thought 3 – the Dabblers Are Not Allowed to Eat the Adepts

A lot of my art & writing skills are largely self-taught. Naturally, I can relate to the fabulous Miss Death’s disinclination to divulge such hard-won life lessons to dabblers. One can tell they’re dabblers too.

To be a true artist, once you discover your interest in making art -you spend your life organically learning all you can absorb about the process of making art and then applying and improving upon the knowledge picked up throughout your quest. It is intense hard work, dabblers haven’t the stones to live that quest. Adepts should never share too much info with dabblers. As an artist, whatever your chosen art form, you embrace the pain. I think some people call it studying.

I never really studied so much as bothered to learn as I went. I used to have people ask me, after I aced a test, if they could study with me. I don’t really know how to study. I’ve seen it on TV. It looks nothing like what I do. The looks on their faces when I would tell them sorry I don’t study for tests was …alarming. So I’m not one to advise precisely how to study art on your own, per se. Everyone has a different learning style, they just need to find theirs.

I’d say the questions that the fabulous Miss Death keeps getting ticked off by, imply “dabbler.”
What do I mean by dabbler -
  • a lack of seriousness about being an artist
  • an expectation of the world to give them quick easy neat answers and things served in silver platters
  • a habit of slurping up the hardwork of others and trying to ride it like it can take them somewhere they cannot go, a propensity to play around in someone else’s garden wreak some havoc
  • flittering away giggling or complaining at the earliest signs of real challenge
  • an utter lack of giving a crap if they dented the holy hell out of something in the process
  • Like they wouldn’t properly appreciate the gift of your knowledge if you went out of your way to articulate on your own techniques
  • nor are they the sort to genuinely appreciate any skills they gain, nor are they the sort to actually connect with their own art.
But more than that is the fact that they were asked of an artist who does not post tutorials or even links to tutorials, or in any other way publically indicate that she is the teaching sort. Yet she gets asked.
I imagine that sounded harsh to some but dabblers make me have headaches and you’ll notice I kindly left out the word lazy…oh wait there it is. I have no taste for dabblers, and I imagine I am far from alone in that.

Dabblers are not to be confused with people who:
  • aren’t sure if they want to start exploring art
  • have recently started and are looking for guidance
  • have not accepted how much of an artist they are yet.
  • The “I AM an artist” realization is a unique personal moment that comes at it’s own pace, often only after clearing away enough of the debris from the train wreck that is life.
  • are just kinda lost as to where to explore next
  • were never encouraged or permitted to explore art as a child
  • If not from dabblers, those questions would have come with an indication of some sort that they were just seeking your guidance for a bit. Non-dabblers are the kind who are far more likely to ask an artist who publically indicates an interest in teaching, whether by posting tutorials, art lesson videos, tips, &/or tweeting links to art how-to’s, tips & tutorials. 
The questions I get repeatedly asked that make me crankiest- (Usually by non-artists)
  • Wow, you drew that? Yes, yes I did draw that. That only makes crankiness because of the repetition…and well, look at the question and tell me how it would make you feel. Yeah.
  • Will you draw me a picture (for free)? Drawing pictures for other people…well if it’s not a gift I thought to make someone and they’re not paying me, then I’m going hungry and all my clothes have holes in them for no good reason. I’m not doing that so much anymore.
  • Will you design me a tattoo? That one always throws me, and more often than not they would indicate they’d not be paying me for that. I’ve thought about it. It’s not something I’m ever going to do for free. It’s something enough people have requested or suggested that I’m likely to someday offer it as a service or in packs of designs for tattooists to buy. For now I’m going to field all custom tattoo design requests over to Vicki (request from her shop or via her email that she gave in the interview when I asked her about custom tattoo designs). Even if I do start offering it as a service myself I’m likely to randomly direct people to her for that, since it’s her forte.
---- This thing is clocking in near 1900 words! I read somewhere that blog posts of that sort of length are considered very long. Yes, new concept to me, learned it a week or two ago. Either I’ll be able to do more posts at widely acceptable sizes or I’ll get even more used to writing than I already am and pour out novels, as I’ve been so often accused of. I’d like to believe I’ll wind up with a fair mix.

What questions about art, writing or crafting make you crankiest?
Do you see yourself as a professional artist, writer or crafter?
What was your “aha! I AM an artist” moment like or are you still waiting for it?
What are your experiences with dabblers?


Vicki Death said...

I must say, I found that a very interesting and fun read! I like how you explored my post in great depth. And what you said is pretty much how I feel about it all, so cheers for the response!
The 'questions' part is soemthing I should blog about, because, as with you, it also pisses me off. Who the hell do they think painted it? The Queens mother? Urgh!

Christina Nabity said...

I'm really glad you did :D

I have a tendency to explore many things in great depth especially anything that elicits a real response or thought process out of me, so it's refreshing to hear you appreciated that. Too often in life depth of any kind is criticized. I worry when people prefer only shallow waters.

You feel similar about much of it, ha hahaha, yay, proof that I AM saner than people try to paint me out to be. I really don't know who they think did the artwork, heaven knows it sounds like sheer madness that I would tell someone I did the art if I actually had.

Let me know when you do blog about that, I'd love to hear what else you have to say about it.