Illustrating realistically though is a unique thing to learn. It involves seeing things for what they are and transferring that knowledge to a piece of paper, or canvas, or computer screen. It is at its core, overriding the tendency for our brain to take shortcuts: a face is not an emoji, nor is a bunny head a circle and two ovals. It is important that our neural circuits are designed to make shortcuts. These are useful. It isn’t efficient for me to have to conceptualize every pore on your face in order for me to recognize you as friend, or self, or enemy. These symbolic representations are also though extremely limited and terribly inaccurate, and explain our tendency for bias and assumption. Drawing realistically then is a process of seeing for the first time. And when you miss the mark, well - the results are on the page clear as day. This process has reminded me over and over again how I might be mistaking things in my day-to-day life, as I fail to render them accurately on the page. In effect, in addition to learning to draw, paint, digitally create images, and animate, I am also learning how to see things, people, and interactions mindfully. If only there were a similar read out for when I fell short!
There’s more to say here, in that your goal may not be to be the very best accurate illustrator. Nor ought it to be. And, that sometimes more repetition, while leading to more mastery, may also deplete other areas of your life that are important, like loving your friends and family, going to the gym, walking your dog, and being a good human. But that’s for another post.
In summary, learning is messy and it’s supposed to be. Social media doesn’t always illustrate that (pun intended) so I wanted to here. Our brain is designed to accumulate new information, and we need to be patient with it and ourselves as we integrate that. We can’t ever expect to be perfect, but we can hope for an upward arc and surround ourselves with giraffe friends who care enough to say: hey, I think you can do it; you’re on the right track. I’m certainly grateful for mine.