Way back, probably 2-3 years ago, I found a community on Reddit called /r/ArtFundamentals which I subsequently subscribed to out of interest because the lessons looked interesting and ended up following their Facebook page as well. Fast forward to around October 2017 and the Facebook page posted up a link to their Discord server, which I'd started using heavily a few months back for online gaming. I decided to join up to the Discord server, was greeted by some… odd characters… and nearly a year down the track, I'm still hanging out there. What was interesting was how long it took me to actually start the lessons, even though I was hanging out on the Discord every day. I was offering critique to those that asked because whilst I can't draw very well myself, my degree trained my eye pretty well. It wasn't until late January 2018 that I actually sat down, set aside my preconceptions of my own skill level, and attempted the first lesson on Drawabox.com. I actually struggled quite a lot with these basic mechanical skill checks and that both surprised me and kicked me in the ego somewhat. Here I was, having spent four years at university studying illustration and I couldn't even draw a straight line.
I took nearly two months to complete just the first lesson. I pledged $3USD a month to the project to be able to get critique from the creator, Uncomfortable. This turned out to be invaluable and has informed the way I've approached things since. Just these first lessons and being pushed out of my comfort zone gave me a better grasp on perspective than I'd ever had before. All I'd ever really needed to learn perspective was for people to stop treating it so rigidly, with the plotting out points with a ruler, and drawing all the lines back to the vanishing points. I mean, saying it like that kind of sounds like I was an instant expert but I was still drawing ugly boxes like this:
But still, it made me more comfortable with perspective than I'd ever been before… and I *specifically* went out of my way to avoid it in university! There are concepts in my sketchbooks from uni where I have written next to them "Too much perspective" and discarded the idea. So I guess to wrap this post up. I'd known for a while that hard work was all that was required to be an artist but I'd kind of hit a ceiling and I started to think that maybe there was only so far hard work would take you and that I had hit the limit of my natural talent. It kinda turns out that you can draw for years and years but unless you're actually practicing the right kind of things and pushing outside your comfort zone (*shakes fist at perspective*), you're not actually going to improve past a certain point. For the sake of completeness, below is the full album of my lesson 1 homework for Drawabox.