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How to Develop my Projects (Managing, Organizing) - Not Satisfied With my Art - Part 6



Part 6 - How to Generate Ideas

Wait up, "Art" activities could go from Chopin's symphonies to creating memes, so let me make it clear that this is a series focused on drawing and painting. If you missed part 1, the introduction, click here!


We all know the feeling of having an idea and instantaneously being like "oh, that's gonna take a long time" or "this is so big that I have no idea where to start", right? Our once beautiful project becomes this big messy monster that eats up all its cute parts and just looks incredibly overwhelming and scary. Thus, we keep pushing it aside, we don't know how to deal with it so we procrastinate and.. never get to actually doing it. Or, in a less dramatic way, we start the thing, only to see that there are so many more steps that we haven't taken into consideration that it just feels like it's never gonna end. What both situations have in common is that they both paralyze us, they make us feel as if the project is bigger than us, so we just don't feel like we can do it. We simply... stop.


  • BIG THINGS ARE ALWAYS MADE OF MULTIPLE SMALLER THINGS


When we think of a finished drawing, painting, when we look at a sticker sheet, a poster, video game screens, comics and zines, we see the polished, final state of a creation. That creation is, in reality, a series of steps and smaller tasks, done one by one, and one day it gets to be packaged into a big thing. I believe that's the biggest concept we tend to underestimate. Most of the time, we are not able to remember that every single big thing was made of smaller things. And that's what we have to focus on.


  • A LONG LIST


Let's see how this would actually work. Think of a video. Those really cool inspirational videos you see on youtube. Ok, we watch it, we love it, we even get inspired and think "oh, I wanna do something like that". My favorite thing to do when I get inspired like that is to try and list all the actions required to actually get to the final result. Let's suppose we really wanna make a video, so I'm gonna write down as many steps as I can. Make a Video 1. Brainstorm topics for the video - let's say I want to film my painting process. What would that painting be? Something random? It's always best if I relate it to something else and connect ideas, so let's suppose I wanna film my painting process of a scene from my favorite movie. 2. What is my favorite movie? I'm gonna re-watch it and screenshot my favorite parts 3. Now I have to choose 1 from the screenshots I saved 4. Sketch 5. Choose a color palette 6. Think of a medium (let's say I want to paint it with watercolors) 7. Grab all my watercolor paints, brushes, water, paper towel, watercolor pad, pencils, eraser and film equipment (lights, camera, battery, memory card, charger, tripod) 8. Film 9. Import footage to computer 10. Edit (image, audio, add background music) 11. Export video Of course this is just a generic example, but see how, instead of one single block of "video", we broke it down to 11 little other blocks? Now we can think through each one of them, before even starting, to make the most of each step, for example...

Questions Number 4 - Am I gonna sketch it in my style? Or am I gonna try to replicate the scene as close as I can to the original? Number 5 - Am I gonna adapt the color palette to my favorite colors? Am I gonna try the original technique or something new for me? Number 8 - What would be the best angles? Can I try and find them before the actual painting day? Can I DIY filmmaking equipment so I don't have to buy expensive gear? Number 10 - What is the best format to edit with, compatibility wise? What resolution? What software am I gonna use? What type of music do I want on the background? Should I add a voice over? Number 11 - What am I gonna do with the video? Post it on Youtube? What's the best export settings for that use? What are the benefits of this long list? First, you cut down your unpleasant surprises by thinking of your possible problems and questions before engaging on the activity. This way, you're preparing for every step beforehand, which saves an incredible amount of time when it comes to actually doing the task. You can look up solutions on google, forums, youtube and ask your friends for opinions. Second, when you consciously prepare for everything, you're making sure you're not delivering a lazy result, "just for the sake of doing it". You'll be putting effort to do the best you can, and that will definitely make you proud with the end result! Third, your head understands, by looking at the list, that this is going to take some time, so the next step is.. organizing all that in a timeline.


  • BACKWARDS IS ONWARDS


You have probably heard that many people don't work without a deadline, that they "like" the pressure constraint and that they organize themselves better around that date, right? Well, it's kinda true, our brains are naturally drawn to push things away, so if we just let it be.. it probably won't be started anytime soon. When we have an exact date we want something done, we can better visualize that we have to get things going in a definite pace in order to do it well and in time. If it's too loose of a schedule, you might feel like "you can do it anytime" and then never actually start. Too much freedom can cause fuzzy actions. It takes a lot of self-discipline and mental effort to start something AND to get it going without a clear sense of when to finish it or without a goal. So let's go back to our example and suppose we want to have our video finished in one week. If you've never done a video before, it gets a bit tricky; firstly because you have no idea how long it's gonna take you; and secondly because you're gonna take some time to deal with the learning curve in most steps. You'll probably be watching tutorials, figuring out workarounds and troubleshooting. It's gonna be a bit harder, but it's also part of it all. But for the sake of this example, let's suppose we already have an idea of how long things are gonna take. 1. Brainstorm - 40min 2. Rewatch + Screenshot movie - 2h 3. Choose screenshot - 5min 4. Sketch - 3h 5. Color palette - 20min 6. Choose medium - 5min 7. Prepare to film - 30min 8. Film - 4h 9. Import footage to computer - 30min 10. Edit - 8h 11. Export video (30min) It gets very clear why we get stuck when we think of "video". Looking at this list now.. it adds up to pretty much 20 hours of work! Remembering that there are always things that take longer, problems that might occur, of course the infamous bugs and glitches from technology and.. well, we can also mess up the actual painting as well, so more hours added to the amount! Also, when we see "20 hours", we might think "that's easy, that's barely a full day". The thing is... it's pretty crazy to want to do that nonstop, just because we have 20 hours of work and 24 hours in a day doesn't mean we should go crazy and do it all in one shot. We will end up overworking and stressing too much, taking away all the fun. You might have some other things you need to deal with, and let's never forget our brain cannot take work all the time. We have a focusing limit, we can only work so much before we feel mentally exhausted. So next step is.. scheduling our week! This is kind of a "chronological project", where we cannot do various steps in parallel to each other. We have to be done with one task so we can continue to the next one. This scheduling step is super personal, you're gonna try to fit in blocks of work to your week depending on what else you have to do in your day. I'll give you an example: Monday: Brainstorm + Rewatch movie + Screenshot (2,5h) Tuesday: Sketch + Color palette + Choose medium (3h 25 min) Wednesday: Prepare to Film + Film (4,5h) Thursday: Import footage + Edit (3h) Friday: Edit (3h) Saturday: Edit + Export video (3h 30 min) Sunday: Troubleshoot + Review + Catch up on anything that needs more hours Now we magically have a mild work day for each step, all divided throughout the whole week, so we make sure to get other life-stuff done and still make time for our project. The first few times might take longer because, well.. you're learning how to go about it.. but every time you're done you can write down a few adjustments for the next time, then rinse and repeat!


  • MAKE SURE TO FINISH YOUR PROJECT


Ok so maybe you've already tried this method but didn't really follow through the schedule you created - it's ok! Pretend like you're your own cool boss, brush off the week that just passed and plan again for next week. You're doing this amazing thing of learning, pushing your brain to do more things, so you should feel really proud of yourself and have lots of self compassion. Don't insult your poor brain telling him he didn't perform well enough. Remember, you're the cool boss. Wouldn't you love to have a boss that would acknowledge how hard you tried and give you one more week to work on your things? Be the cool boss and try again! It's only a matter of time until you get better and better, both with the tasks and knowing your time. But why finish the project and not just throw it away and go find a new one? Well, one of the most important things you can do to your brain is to finish something. To get the feeling of "ok, I've done it once, I can do it again" plus "hmm, I didn't really like it, but at least I learned a bit from all parts of the process". Do you see how important these two are? I just understood it once I actually started finishing things! It makes all the difference!



This is how I made a 50 page zine, how I constantly make videos for youtube, how I plan my instagram feed, run my shop, create new products, embroider and even get to make freebies for you all :-) It basically changed my life, and I hope it can help you out somehow as well to do more amazing things and impress yourself!


Thank you so so much for reading!


As always, some cool links:

You Don’t Have A Time Management Problem — You Just Think You Do

Maker's Schedule x Manager's Schedule

Maker x Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You


Not Satisfied With my Art:

Part 1 - Why Can't I Draw (intro)

Part 2 - How to Study Art

Part 3 - Understanding Motivation

Part 4 - How to Practice (and Find a Style)

Part 5 - How to Generate Ideas

Part 6 - How to Develop my Projects (Managing, Organizing)

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