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  • 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.