Posts from the ‘How to work’ category


“The teacher learns more than the student.

The author learns more than the reader.

The speaker learns more than the attendee.

The way to learn is by doing.” – James Clear

At some point you have to stop all the training classes and start executing. With the ease of acquiring so many training courses these days, one needs to be careful of just continually learning, acquiring knowledge and not executing. Let’s not forget, the whole purpose of our journey, whatever that may be is to create.

I believe we can get addicted to the feeling of getting better than actually being better. Let me explain. Have you ever gotten obsessed with getting better at something and as result learning itself become the obsession?

It has happen to me, there was a period in which all I did was just acquire more & more online courses and all I did was learn without actually executing what I had learnt. It is very easy these days especially with the constant bombardment of courses wherever you look, be it YouTube, Udemy, SkillShare, etc. and almost impossible to avoid. You’ll need a lot of willpower, be broke at the time or be very clear about your goals to avoid them. This is easier said than done, I mean I know how many impulse purchases I’ve done in the last couple of years.

We have to stop buying all these courses & get good at applying the knowledge or skills we’ve already acquired. I’m sure like me you have tons of courses you’ve acquired over the years but never completed, then you got another one and another one. The courses give the impression that with this particular one all your problems will be solved and you’ll become a master, which rarely ever happens. The only way to become proficient is to do something consistently for a long period of time, thereby acquiring the necessary skills & experience along the way.

We all need to be aware of these continual course/training acquisitions & spend our time instead on executing, completing our uncompleted courses, experimenting with what we learnt, before moving onto the next one. I personally have a rule where I wouldn’t buy a course until I’ve finished & used the newly acquired skill(s) several times before moving on. When I do this the following happens:

  1. It compels me to finish the course I’m already learning from.
  2. Time passes & in a lot of cases the urge to buy that next course dissipates.
  3. I save money by changing my mind or it becomes clear to me that I didn’t really need the course in the first place.

Focus more on experimenting with whatever you’ve learnt because that is where the magic of proficiency happens. For if we don’t, we’ll just keep spending money on what we don’t need, not really moving forward and sadly thinking that we are.

Hope this helps someone out there.

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The Masterclass.

It’s amazing how people think that because they paid for a course/seminar or training, the trainer will spill all their secrets or they’ll become a master. I can relate because I’ve been there. I pay for one and come away thinking I’m now a master, I mean it was called a masterclass. Only to find out that the thinking part that made the work so good was missing from my thought process, and the tutor got so good through years of experience.

I think people should stop calling these classes master classes and call them workshops instead because can you really be a master of anything? But then again some of them just use it as a marketing ploy to get you to buy them. Think about it we all learn & get better till we die.

In some cases, if the trainer thought you their major secret(s) he might as well give you his bank account details & his client list, then be out of business for the sale of his or her course to the public.

I don’t know about you but I feel that they don’t tell you everything which could be intentional or they can’t because their ‘X’ factor is so ingrained in them that they are not aware of what makes them great. I mean they’ve been doing it for a really long time in most cases. I also feel that some of them just can’t share everything with the world, for whatever reason.

Be aware, paying for that really expensive seminar, will not give you what you require on platter of gold. You have a lot of work to do & the learning really starts after the course has elapsed. The best way is to go out there and make mistakes and take the so called “masterclass” as a point in the right direction. Like I always say, it important to push your limits, for that is when you start to achieve that which you value.

Finally I think you need a bit of luck, but you also need to be prepared to seize the opportunity when it arises. Hope this helps someone out there.

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3 Realistic Drawing Tips…

Want to improve your digital art? Follow these 3 tips & watch your drawings improve.   

The Mold.

One of the best, yes I said it. One of the best tip I can give you, to improve your digital painting skill is to think of painting like you’re molding clay. Think about it, all too often we think of painting, especially if you are a beginner as coloring on a flat surface. As you get better you start taking into consideration depth, lights & darks, form and so on.  While painting, think of it as molding clay. Having this thought process helps you think of form. This helps shading or painting in general.

Shading limits. 

Push your shading or painting to the limit. This varies from person to person. What I’m trying to say is, as far as you can, based on your skill level. It can be what separates a good work of art from great one. How far has the image been pushed to the limit? I look at my old images & I noticed that some of my old drawings needed to be pushed further. Most of them look incomplete to me now, as opposed  to back them, although I believe I somewhat knew at the time that something was missing & didn’t know what, let alone how to fix the problem. I think in retrospect this was all part of the growth process. 

The flip. 

If you are drawing digitally always flip you image horizontally on a regular basis. I found out that it helps to juggle your vision after working on an image for hours. This is because over time one gets used to “seeing” the image in a particular way. It never ceases to surprise me when I flip an image the amount of adjustments I need to make to improve the drawing. Of course if you’re drawing in a traditional medium you don’t have this luxury.  

Hope these tips will help someone out there, just dedicate yourself to constant progress & development & I’m sure you’ll get better.  

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Studio close….

I’m closing my studio, why? I’m starting a new chapter. It is a bit sad, having to get rid of my studio equipment. The packing up of my stuff was a bit emotional. I remember the fun had & the images created in there. The people, the arguments, the collaboration, the jokes, you name it. But all good things must come to an end.  

A new chapter begins; I want to try shooting on the move. See how that pans out. I’m dreading the experience, I won’t lie. I’m used to having my own space & being in control of things. Now I guess I’ll be left to the elements.  

I however see it as an adventure, not being too predictable; at least I’ll have a varied background every time I shoot. It’s a bit sad though seeing my studio empty, it feels weird. But that’s life I guess, it is what happens when you’re busy making plans.  I mean Covid did a number on us, that’s one of the reasons why I have been focusing more on drawings lately.  I have to say it has gotten better though, over the last couple of months. I hope our fans liked them, I know not everyone will but what can I say, variety is the spice of life.  

I’d like to use this opportunity to ask our fans and implore them to please bear with us during this transition period. We’ll continue to produce more photographs & art, although it may not be as frequent as it used to be. Until we eventually settle down.

Pace Yourself.

It been just over ten days into the New Year & what a difference a week makes. Depending on where you are, you’ve probably experienced lockdowns, COVID has taken more lives & the infection rates have skyrocketed, the Capitol building was invaded in the United States and all this occurred within the first 7 days of 2021.

My advice, pace yourself. It may or may not be a worse year than 2020, who knows but know that it is a marathon not a sprint. You want to be in it for the long haul. It’s too early to start feeling sorry for yourself, it’s too early to start complaining, it’s too early to start the emotional rollercoaster, it is too early. Take each incident as it comes be it lockdown, be it whatever is affecting or afflicting you. It is imperative you stay strong, easier said than done, I know but what are the alternatives?

I was told by an elder that the only people that know peace are in their graves, for if you don’t want to be there be ok with trials & tribulations. Life is all about dealing problems on a regular basis, we should however enjoy & cherish the breaks in between the chaos. Remember not a lot of people saw the New Year especially those that COVID took from us, be grateful that you are still here. You have come this far and survived what 2020 had so don’t give up now, keep fighting & I’m sure things will get better. In the meantime pace yourself, we all have a long way to go, the year has hardly started.

The dry periods and the break.

There comes a time when you’ll not know what to do. It hits us all at different times in our lives. You could be bored with your routine, whatever that may be, you could be tired of your work, you could be tired of your environment. You may not even know what it is. Yes it does happen.It’s ok to take a break during these dry periods. You may need to find a new way to jump start things. You may need to be inspired; you may need a change of environment, easier said than done during these lockdown periods depending on where in the world you’re.

Let me go against the grain & say do nothing. People & I myself have recommended bombarding yourself with things that inspire but, things don’t always work 100% of the time especially with art. Trust me sometimes you need a day off, if not several but with caution & with the objective of jump starting things. Let’s call it a lazy day or several. Do nothing.

We’re so used to being busy these days we find it difficult to do nothing. Ask people trying to meditate for the first to time. It is hard, I know, I’ve tried it. I’ve however found that that these dry periods can be a good time to look back & take stock of things that are important to you & to learn to appreciate them. We all move to the next project when one is complete. As a result we tend under appreciate where we’ve come from. We take things for granted. Take a moment to stop creating & look through your work from the very beginning & take time to appreciate how you’ve grown. I’m sure you will smile. I know I do. Dry periods are important to recharge, reflect & value how far we’ve come.

When do you do this? I can’t tell you because we’re all different people chasing different dreams. But make sure you add it to your tool box. How frequently? It depends on what works for you, but please do not over do this. Generally I’ve found that life dictates this period for you, your job is to recognize it when the time comes & when it does, embrace it & try & use it as best you can & not to reject it or see it as a crisis.

Take a break it is not the end of the world.
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The Fundamentals…..

What do you want to get good at? coding, photography, art, sports, etc you name it, the best way is to master the fundamentals. Note the word “master”. I believe a lot of people don’t do this, most are adequate not masters. For example you want to be good at art, there is no getting round it, you have to understand & master these core fundamentals:

  • Color
  • Composition 
  • Value
  • Form & Structure
  • Brush work
  • Perspective 
  • Values

The truth of the matter however, is that it can take you years to master each one, let alone how they combine in your work. Just being good at them is not just going to cut it in the long run. You have to dedicate your existence to becoming a master & understand that you’ll never be perfect at any but continually strive to be. From experience I think you’ll have things you’re great at & others you are good enough. My advice focus on your weaknesses.

Focus on the fundamentals, become a master & then you can start to bend & break the rules in whatever you are doing. Your images in drawing for example will work because there is a core basis from which your art is grounded. 

It shouldn’t feel like work though, I think if it feels like work something is off. For all intents & purposes you should enjoy the challenge, the experiments & realizations as you forge ahead. 

Realize however that from time to time you need to go back & relearn the basics. Even if it’s  just a reminder, there is always something good about looking at things from the eyes of a novice.

How can you do this you may ask? become a teacher. You not only help the student but yourself because the act of teaching takes you back to the beginning that you may find difficult to do on your own. Hope this is helpful to someone, don’t take the fundamentals for granted, don’t. 

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My Confessions……

I’m not a writer, not by a long shot, so bear with me when reading my blog. The whole purpose is to communicate with my readers. I try to convey what I know to those who care and hopefully they can learn from me, or even teach me something in the comments section. 

I really tried avoiding writing a blog on my website when I first started I have to admit, but I think it’s imperative. Surprisingly it hasn’t been that bad. I’ve been doing my best and so far so good. I hope it’s helped those who have taken time to read it. Thanks a million, you know who you’re. 

I have made a lot of mistakes in my blog posts but I guess it is essential for growth, as Denzel Washington said in one of his speeches; it is ok to fail but make sure you “fail forward”. I definitely think I have done that looking back. There is still much to do but I think I’m getting a hang of it. I think the quality has gotten better and readers have been able to benefit from it from time to time.

It hasn’t been easy I must admit. I think it is just natural to want to spend time doing the things you really enjoy. In my case the artistic stuff. I think however that the blog allows me to connect on a different level that is also essential. I won’t lie I don’t enjoy it as much but we all have things we don’t enjoy but we have to get good at for our own benefit for example finance. Don’t get me started on that it is critical and the moment you make a conscious decision to get good at it the better for you and those around you.

So not to take too much of your time because I understand that there is so much online that competes for our most valuable resource, time. I want to say a big thank you. Thanks for bearing with us while we grow and get better.

Sorry it won’t save you

I think we’ve all tried it at some point, especially if you are a Photoshop user, you think if you purchase those brushes, actions or gradient maps your work will get better. Sorry to burst to your bubble it won’t.

We all want short cuts in achieving desired results, be it art or anything we do. It’s just human nature and it seldom works. 

The most important recommendation I can suggest is to get the basics right. It’s the foundation everything is built on. If you get the basics right these “extras” will add a bit of panache to your work. Conversely if the basics are off, no amount of custom brushes in Photoshop or unique photography technique(s) will make the work any better. 

Focus on the fundamentals, I can’t stress this enough. Use what you already have to get better. Talking from experience you’ll just waste money on things that you don’t need & wonder why your work isn’t any better, especially in this day and age where all your favourite artists are selling brushes, actions and so on. You just don’t need it, at least not yet.

So how will you know when you need it? When your work is good enough and you don’t really need it; that is the time. A bit contradictory, I know, but it is.

So have you wasted money on such? if so share, like & comment below. 

Remember art is subjective.

You need to get comfortable with people not liking or connecting with your work. It’s difficult I know, remember you ultimately do it for yourself. At least I do. You do it because it brings you joy to share something you are good at or at least want to be good at. There is something inside you that needs to be shared with the world. 

In an ideal world, everyone likes or appreciate what we do but the reverse is the reality. We need to be comfortable with this, it’s imperative. When we’re not, we alter our work for others appreciation or acknowledgment. I think this is dangerous having done it in the past. Eventually you look at your work and you just don’t like where it ended up. Trust me it’s a place you don’t want to be. In no man’s land, you’re not happy and neither is your audience. A better scenario, they are happy and you aren’t. 

Get comfortable with the fact that some people will not like your work, no matter how hard you try they just won’t. You just can’t please everyone and embarking on that journey is just futile. Focus more on your fans, they are the fuel you need to go further. I’d say that you should ignore the haters but I think they can also help. How? You may ask, well they can keep you grounded and can be a source of constructive criticisms which can also be helpful. You however want to avoid the toxic ones for obvious reasons. Hope this helps.

So what has been your experiences in the past with fans & haters, please comment below, like & share.