To study or not to study…unfortunately there is no choice for the professional artist, if you don’t study, you don’t play the game. Professional choices, or making choices towards improvement in a piece only comes with knowledge and experience, most of that experience well founded, and most of that knowledge with intent. Mayyyybe there is some chance that we might fix the errors without any training, but likely, there is no chance to fix them because with that naivety there is a lack of vision, good or bad. Errors will likely be unseen, and maybe they are seen, but the lack of understanding prevents us from finding the answers, and knowing how to fix them.
Regardless, the flip side to this naivety is TOO MUCH ACADAMIA CLOUDING THE IMAGINATION! If you have studied composition over and over again, then likely you too suffer from Rule of Thirds-itis, or the only words that seem to be shared over and over and over again on the internet. It is almost like a virus, the rule of thirds has consumed every last bit of originality out there.
Couple this with Figures that start off too detailed, stiff, and uninteresting, half as good as a hieroglyph, colors that suffer from elementary complementary color schemes, or borrowing from that favorite Frazetta composition yet again. And, to keep it all correct and over-usage of the vanishing point and vanishing arrays for picture perfect perspective.
How do we escape these traps? How do we escape the trappings of our mind? Exploration is the path towards discovery, and to do this, we have to leave the rules behind and allow ourselves to play like a child. This might not go over well with some, but the reality is that we are far too organized, far too orderly, and process driven to be open to “play” of any kind. My take is, the more you know about what you do, the less you have to stress, and the more chances you can take. Rules will always fix the broken spaces, but to find something new takes a lot of work, or a whole lotta play.
Here is a video from the old Muddy Colors archives on some ways you might try to exercise “loosening up” in your sketches and ideation process. It’s okay to get “a little dirty”, and please do. Without so, a great design might be missed. Thank you for taking 15 minutes out of your day to watch scribbling in the name of exploration; part 1.