Draw A Box - 25 Wheel Challenge

Draw A Box - 25 Wheel Challenge - Time Taken: 18 Days.

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This challenge was kind of a weird one for me. I struggled with it a lot but ultimately didn't feel like I nailed down any of the concepts by the end. I once again had to struggle with my gloopy Bic Round Stic and constant smudging. 

Basically the challenge asks you to draw 25 wheels in various rotations and designs. I picked a lot of non-car wheels because I couldn't for the life of me get them to look symmetrical and my ellipse guide is quite small, so I was limited in my ability to actually apply detail to them. That said, I did my best with what I had and freehanded a great deal of them - luckily my ellipses are reasonably tight and accurate these days, though I still struggle with my freehand minor axis alignment.

Draw A Box - Lesson 6

Draw A Box - Lesson 6 - Everyday Objects - Time Taken: 27 Days.

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I kind of feel like I'm killing it lately. That's a weird way to start a post about my Drawabox journey, but it's how I'm feeling lately. Despite some initial feelings of anxiety, the lockdown has honestly seen me thriving. I no longer have an hour long commute, which allows me to jump straight to drawing or other hobbies when I'm finished working, which has in turn really helped my work/life balance. 

Following completion of the cylinder challenge in 19 days, I moved onwards to lesson 6 which I completed in 27 days. For me, this is really quick, especially since I'm spending 50% of my time just drawing for the sake of it and I'm just generally drawing a lot at the moment. At the time of writing, I have filled 109 pages in the month of May, which is an average of about 4.5 pages per day. 

Draw A Box - 250 Cylinder Challenge

Draw A Box - 250 Cylinder Challenge - Time Taken: 19 Days.

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Following my longest lesson ever, my shortest lesson ever! 

The task: Draw 250 cylinders - 150 of those on an arbitrary minor axis, 100 constructed within a box. This was another one of those lessons where I wasn't really sure if I was learning till I got to the very end. A bit like the 250 box challenge. It also exposed some serious flaws in my ability to draw boxes.

Surprisingly, both the 150 arbitrary and 100 box cylinders took me roughly the same amount of time - 9 and 10 days respectively. 

Draw A Box - Lesson 5

Draw A Box - Lesson 5 - Animals - Time Taken: 56 Days.

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For a lesson I was looking forward to, it's a bit unfortunate that it took me nearly 18 months to complete lesson 5. I started around the end of December and I was pushing forward fairly well, but by mid-January I had confirmation that my partner and I would be moving 1500km across the country for a big life change and honestly everything kind of went on the backburner.

After the move, I tried to pick up again where I left off but I was still struggling with my mental health and ended up just grinding on things, drawing without confidence, and just generally not having a great time of anything. I desperately wanted to push on but it felt like the more I pushed on, the less satisfied I was. It all came to a head around August when I had a breakdown about my anxieties in other situations. I ended up seeing a therapist who wasn't particularly useful for my social anxiety, did help me move past my art block by letting me talk myself into a resolution.

Anyway, I ended up redoing Lesson 3 in September through to November 2019, which rebuilt some of my confidence with a pen. I tried to move onto Lesson 4 as suggested but ended up with a number of false starts till February 2020 when I decided to say screw it and tackle Lesson 5 head on.

Warning: Image Heavy Post Ahead

A while ago, I put together an Imgur album showcasing my work from the age of 13/14 (2004/2005) to present. I stupidly uploaded this in anonymous mode and came to realise that I couldn't actually update this, so I'm moving it to its new home here on my blog so that I can update it as I go and keep the link handy.

Naturally, this post showcases the best of whatever I drew at the time. I'm slowly going through the process of digitising my sketchbooks which can be found here: Digitised Sketchbooks

2004 - 2009 (Age 13-18)
2010 - 2015 (Age 19-24)
2015 - 2017 (Age 24-26)
2018 - 2020 (Age 27-29)

Formal Art Education and Self-Directed Learning

My thoughts on formal art education and self-directed learning.

A few days ago, I came across an article espousing the benefits of auto-didacticism (the art of self-directed teaching and learning). I found myself nodding in agreement with some of their points but they were hidden behind a much longer rant about the evils of formal education. I've seen a lot of hate on the topic of formal education lately and while I kind of understand it, particularly with the current state of US education, I don't think it's a very fair assessment in most cases.

I'll preface this by saying I'm an Australian, whose university (college) education was paid for by the government, with no expectation to pay it back until earning a reasonable living wage. I'm aware of the financial burden that people in other countries experience in trying to gain an education and have tried to be mindful of this, however as always, your situation and mileage may vary.

I studied illustration design at university, digital painting at a concept design school, and have self-directed my own learning using online resources (such as Drawabox). Each of these offered something different and had its own pros and cons to contend with.

Draw A Box - Lesson 4

Draw A Box - Lesson 4 - Insects and Arachnids - Time Taken: 26 Days.

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Lesson 4 is the lesson I was dreading the most and I think that's true of the majority of people that do the Drawabox course. That is, lesson 4 is insects and arachnids. This lesson was kind of an interesting combination of hard surfaces and organic animals. It was interesting from a technical standpoint, unfortunately it was incredibly difficult for me to look at the references for any significant amount of time. I live in Australia, so most of these bugs have the potential to pop out from nowhere and murder me. This is the first lesson with no exercises at the start, which is unfortunate, because I could've used some in drawing insect legs. Uncomfortable recommends an approach using sausagelike forms connected by balls which I found very hit and miss, particularly as my accuracy with my shoulder on the smaller sections left much to be desired. That said, if for some ungodly reason, I decided to draw insects again, I'd definitely be trying to incorporate the sausage forms a lot more.

Draw A Box - Lesson 3

Draw A Box - Lesson 3 - Plants - Time Taken: 41 Days.

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From Lesson 2, I moved onto the next logical step… Lesson 3. Finally, I have escaped mechanical skills hell and am onto drawing real things! It was not without its challenges even though it was a territory much more familiar to me. The lesson opens with a couple of exercises much like Lesson 1 and 2 except that they're specific to the business of drawing plants. The first is to draw a page of leaves and the second is to draw a page of stems. I struggled somewhat with the leaves as flat objects existing in 3D space. I did quite a few pages of this but didn't go overboard like I did with my Lesson 2 sausages with contour ellipses (I did about 50 pages of that because I wasn't getting it). I don't feel like I nailed it down in the end so it'll be something I need to practice. Similarly, I had trouble with the stems in the same way I had trouble with the ellipse sausages - I have trouble seeing the ellipses turning in 3D. I did about 10 double sided pages of this one morning before breakfast… yeah, you shouldn't do that. It's a bit hard to control a pen when your hands are shaking from hunger. Anyway, I moved on from it and thought I'd just wing it with the plants, which turned out to be the right thing to do because I got the hang of them when drawing my plants.