Deliberate Practice in Comics

The old saw about the best way to learn something is teach it is so true, grumpy old farts like me say every time we start classes as I make my students do the week in review. In part because it makes you do "Deliberate Practice" on the skills you are learning.

  1. Set goals
  2. Work Backwards from this goal
  3. Expend hard focus (not multi-tasking)
  4. Evaluate and modify

As artists we once we make a living give up on setting creative goals, other then making big bucks. Hence most cartoonists do the same thing over and over again creating a set of formulas and using them once they settle into an adult style. Oftent he only change is in the story or the ideas the artist is drawing, either self written or with a writer.

Fine artists often invent ideas to explore and play with as they try and figure out what te heck the next painting should be. What’s interesting is even there the audience always wants more of the same. I’ll never forget the shock of the new when I went to see my first Frank Stella gallery show. I had been enchanted with his minimalist painting flat ribbons of color in shaped canvases based on a couple of arcs and was excited to see mre minimalism, in bright coloors. When we turned the corner to see large shapes fifteen to 20 feet french curvers flying off the walls. It was an artists tackling a new idea.

Deliberate practice is the study of taking an idea, working with it developing it and aquiring new skillsby using the tools. I want my work here to focus on deliberate practice, here’s the first page of an abstract comic. I’m working on incorporating the prcess of drawing into the final image in comics. By nt doing narrative I make it a lot easier on myself to let the process show thru.

Teaching and deliberate practice

Comments

  1. Very wise words, the pained semantics of it all.

    (but don’t underestimate the skill of your narrative though!)

    • It’s a hard balance to publicly think about your own work, between “please tell me I’m wonderful because I’m an insecure artist” to “It’s really valuable to pull my work apart and think about what I’m doing as I try to figure out what to do”. What works best I dunno, but I find thinking about my work keeps it alive in a way just doing it doesn’t.

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