Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hello! Last year I made a $1,000 bet with my younger cousin. Normally when siblings make bets it's over something fun like doing a backflip on a motorcycle or something crazy like that. But mine was purely artistic. So the bet was: I had to get 1,000 likes on ArtStation, within six months for something that I'm terrible at which is 2D painting and drawing. And to make things more interesting, if I actually succeded, I would actually get nothing. The deal was: if I failed I would give him $1,000 and if I succeeded I would get nothing. So why would I do that, right? Why put myself through that? Basically, I've always wanted to learn painting but somehow the motivation was never there. And then I learned about "Loss Aversion". Which is that you're much more motivated to stick with something when you have something to lose. And it worked! For the next six months, almost every single day I was drawing, painting, going to drawing classes on weekends, all sorts of things. Learning to draw. And I'm pleased to say that, with just 3 days left in the challenge, I disappointed my cousin by reaching the 1,000 likes on ArtStation. Now, I don't say this to impress anyone, of course. I say it because, while I learned a lot about drawing and painting, I learned a lot more about how to be an effective artist. Because, previous to this, the way I learned Blender was the way most people learn new things. Which is: they learn it when they have time, they drift around, they watch tutorials, whatever. But when you have something to lose, like $1,000, it really throws things into question. So what I've done is: I've distilled down the 7 biggest lessons, the 7 biggest habits into this presentation. And throughout it I also talk about the habits that some of the world class professionals today use. You'll learn what, for example, Stephen King, Pixar and even Kanye West have in common. So, you guys interested? Alright, good, yay! The first habit is deceptively simple: Daily work. You need to be working on your task, your artwork, whatever creative goal you have, every single day. Now, you think of this and think "Why every single day?", "Why can't I just do it when I have time?" "If I worked 1 hour monday to friday by the weekend that's just 5 hours. Why can't I just do 5 hours on saturday or sunday?" Well, the thing is that these large blocks of time that we imagine, they very rarely ever pan out. And this is why most great artists across history achieve whatever it is that they do, writing books, music, whatever it is, by putting in time every single day. So, for example, J.K. Rowling wrote the world of Hogwarts, Harry Potter, across 5 years. And she did that whilst raising a child. And instead of waiting for these big, grand moments where she'd have free time on a weekend far away when she could block it off with the childs and the babysitter, she worked on it every spare chance she had, every single day. Jerry Seinfeld wrote the Seinfeld series by putting an X on the count of every single day that he wrote jokes. And then, after he had a couple of days in a row, his next goal was to just not break that chain. Mike Birbiglia, another comedian and a screenwriter, found that he was putting off writing his movie scripts because he had too many meetings with other people. So, instead, he did something interesting which was to make himself a meeting with his script. Everyday at the cafe. To sit down for 2 hours at a laptop and type away. He found, by doing that, he wouldn't put it off. And personally, from a first-hand experience, I can speak on daily work in that it sounds simple. Who wouldn't want to work every single day? Everybody would want to do it. Why don't people do it? And the thing is: after you've worked the whole day at the office, listening to your boss ramble about stuff, you come home, you're tired, the last thing you want to do is punish yourself by learning something new. Instead, you end up on Netflix, Reddit, videogames, whatever it is. So one thing that I found worked for me was to agree to do the smallest amount of work possible. So, in my case it was to put the pencil on a paper and draw one line. So in days when I felt like "I can't do anything, I don't wanna do anything." "I've had such a tough day I just wanna sit and relax" I'd say "Alright, can I do one line?" So I go "I can do one line." The thing is, by the time you clear the table, get the notebook out, you get all your pencils ready, you get the sharpener, the eraser, you get the chair, the lighting, you sit down. By the time you do all that, of course you don't stop at one line. Before you know it, you've done a couple of hours. And you've just lost track of time. So that "getting started" is often the hardest part about it. Once you can do that, it's always fine. That's what worked for me. Obviously it's a much bigger topic, "Motivation", there's a bunch of books on it if you're interested. Daily Work! It always trumps short sprints. The world "trump" looks funny now, doesn't it? It's like it changed its meaning. Number 2: Volume, not perfection. Honestly speaking, who here would consider himselves a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to their artwork? Show of hands. Most people, right? Most artists have this affliction. And a lot of artists would actually consider one of their strengths. To be a perfectionist. Now, while you should be striving for a high standard of excellence and for bettering the work that you did last, being a perfectionist actually undermines your growth. Because it prevents you from reaching the next epiphany the next lesson. Ira Glass, from the famous "This American Life" radio show said it best by saying that the most important thing you can do is a lot of work. It's only by going through a volume of work that you're gonna close the gap. I want to give a more well-known example. Think of Picasso. Most people can really only pinpoint sort of a handful of his work. So they go like "Yeah, that's Picasso, we know that." But actually his library of work includes 800 paintings, 1,200 sculptures, 2,800 ceramics, 12,000 drawings, and this isn't including prints, rugs or tapestries. So Picasso has a huge volume of work, and most of us can really only pinpoint the hits, the big ones that really went on to success. So he has this huge volume of work. And if you're wondering if the volume of work had anything to do with the success, researches say that it did. They did a study on 15,000 musical compositions from Beethoven, Mozart, things like that, and they found that the more compositions that a composer produced in a 5 year period, the greater spike in the odds that they actually created a hit. So, volume is very important. Speaking from a personal standpoint, I found that when I was creating these 2D works, the perfectionism stage - that last little bit where you've done most of the work, but is tweaking it, zooming in really closelly, and getting the fine details in the shadows and the lightning, all that kind of stuff - it eats up a lot of time. An interesting thing is that you don't actually learn a lot in that last bit. The majority of the learning comes in the stuff before it. When you're putting down the big shapes, getting the anatomy of the face... All that stuff. That's the stuff that you learn the most from. The stuff at the end, that's easy. It's putting reference next to the thing, zooming in closely, and just painting over it. And that's the stuff that eats up a lot of time. My point is that if you're a perfectionist, you're not able to get to the next lesson, to get to the next big epiphany. Volume, not perfection. Get on with your next work. That's number two. Number three: Steal. Right. It's common to look at the work of our idols and just assume that they were born to do whatever it is they do. That Rembrandt, first time he started painting, he just had this idea for how to paint light and shadow. Or that Quentin Tarantino was born to make these fun, interesting stories. But that's not how the human brain works. It's always built upon the ideas before it. Our idols, the stuff that we look at and go like "They're such an original! how do they do this thing?" They built upon stuff from their idols, stuff that they loved. And this is why, if you look across history, you'll find that most great artists recommend stealing. David Bowie says "The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from." Steve Jobs openly admitted in an interview that they are shameless about stealing their great ideas." And you've got Banksy stealing the stealing quote from Pablo Picasso. Quote: "The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal." Love that one. So if you're curious, "Why are all those people suggesting stealing?" Stealing is immoral. That's what we grew up with. That's wrong. Well, there's a difference between good theft and bad theft. And this is outlined in the book "Steal like an artist". There's a list there, but the one that really stands out to me, the most important one is third from the top: Stealing from many versus stealing from one person. Steal from one person and that's called plagiarism. Steal from many, people can't tell. Or, as Gary Panter put it best, "If you have one person you're influenced by, everyone will say you're the next whoever. But if you rip off a hundred people, everyone will say you're so original!" So one thing I would recommend is: find your idols. Find things that you truly love right now. And this is very easy to do with the internet world today. You can just go on ArtStation and find stuff you love. So this is what I did: at the start of my challenge, I started an evernote file I and just went to ArtStation and I just copy-pasted the stuff that I love and put it into one file. Don't overthink it, don't over discriminate. I didn't even quote the authors. I don't know who some of those people even are. I just copied and pasted it. And this worked as both reference and inspiration in the future. So when I was making a face and something wasn't right about the eyes, I just opened this up, went to all these different ones, and I'm like "Oh, that's how they did that, that's how they did that." And then on really dark days, when I really wasn't motivated to work, this also works as inspiration. Because opening it up reminds you why you got started. Stuff that you love, truly. Not thinking about traditional painters or anything like that. Stuff that you truly love. That's "Steal". Find your idols and steal from them. #4 Conscious Learning. So, show of hands, who has heard that "practice makes perfect." Most people! The other one of course is "if you want to get good at something, if you want to master something, you need 10,000 hours of practice", right? Well, I used to think this was the case. And this was the advice that I gave to people in my podcast or my tutorials. If someone emails and says: "I want to get good at Blender", I say "You gotta practice!" "Practice, practice, practice..." But that's not all that is. Because the human brain is wired to avoid pain. So practice can actually, if you're not carefull about it, it can become a source of procrastination. We tend to think of practice like this: The more time I put in, The greater the results will be and it'll be a linear graph. But really it sort of becomes a little bit like this: You get a little bit of growth at the start, but after that you can sort of stagnate, with just pure practice. Before I started my challenge I just e-mailed some people that I liked and I was like "Hey, can I ask you a couple of questions about painting?" And one of them was the artist Efflam Mercier. I love his work. And he said something I never heard of before, which was that One of the biggest wastes of time is not being conscious of what you're doing. Or, in other words, "doodling around". And it really didn't ocurr to me, until later on, what he actually meant. One thing I like to do, by myself when I'm working at home. Just on the computer. It's very lonely work what I do. I don't talk with a lot of people. And so, at the end of the day, sometimes what I like to do is I just like to hear people talk. So I put on my headphones and I listen to podcasts. Bill Burr or Your Mom's House Podcast... A lot of comedian talk. And it's relaxing to me. So what I do is: I open up a notepad, I put on the earbuds, and I listen to podcasts and I would just... sketch. Not really a goal in mind, but I would just sketch. And what I was doing was not good. It was really quite horrible actually. Some of them don't even look like people. But I thought, you know, the age old mantra: "Practice makes perfect." If I just keep at it, I'll get better. But I look through the previous work, I flip through the pages, and I notice that from a couple of weeks ago there wasn't any difference between them. I wasn't getting better over time. They were sort of about the same. And I thought "I'm putting in more and more hours here, but I'm not learning." So I thought "Okay, I've got to go back and I gotta learn something." I actually hate watching some tutorials. Some tutorials, especially drawing theory videos can be incredibly dry stuff. My wife took this photo of me when I was watching a facial anatomy course. One of the most boring courses I ever sat through.