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Improvement and the brain

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, June 11, 2021

It’s easy to fall prey to impatience when it comes to progress, even more so when we begin comparing ourselves to other people. However, so long as you continue to practice, you will see improvements in your work and speed. It takes time to make noticeable improvements but they are being made.

As you continue to practice, neural pathways are being formed in your brain, making it easier to retrieve skills and work faster as time goes on. To ensure these connections are being formed you need to work at it, like you would a muscle. Each time you sit down to draw, you’re building upon your foundation of knowledge, reinforcing the pathways as you do.

However, as like building muscles, it takes time for your efforts to really show dividends whether that be in quality, speed or both. It’s easy to feel inferior when there are comparisons all around us, yet, know that as you continue to put pen to paper you are making progress and improving your skills. Don’t be too hard on yourself, especially at first, as these pathways take time to build. There is no deadline on improvement.

Remember that your brain is an amazingly flexible organ, with a great capacity for learning. Take your time to build those neural pathways in your brain. Trust in the process and soon enough you’ll have something to be proud of.

How long did it take you to feel good at doing comics? What did you struggle with the most at the beginning? And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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PaulEberhardt at 3:19AM, June 13, 2021

This is also what makes teaching a somewhat ungratifying job, sometimes: rationally, you know your students improve all the time - you put a $#&%load of work into it, after all - but it can take an effort of willpower to notice, simply because you're involved in their progress all the time. Anyone who is planning on writing tutorials should keep that in mind, too.

PaulEberhardt at 3:10AM, June 13, 2021

@Corruption: That's the first thing I thought of, too! That's why we need outside opinions. Progress always comes gradually, so you'll never notice it from page to page, and as a creator you're basically the least likely person to read through your old archives.

hushicho at 3:07PM, June 11, 2021

I think we're all learning, all the time. That's what artists do. We keep experimenting and trying new things, or learning new things, or even re-learning old things. Sometimes a skill that is not useful now may be useful later, or an approach, or a technique. Just don't be tempted to say "I'm better now -- time to go back and redo everything to my style now!" because that will only lead to you redoing the same thing, again and again. Try something new and fun! It may take a while for you to settle into a consistent approach for new characters and situations, but you will, given time.

Corruption at 3:40AM, June 11, 2021

Often I will read a comic and not notice improvements in the art as I go through the archives, yet when I look back a year, the difference is massive. Keep practising. So, if you ever feel there is no progress, just look back. Also remember, no matter how bad you are, there is probably someone else who is proving a worse drawn comic can keep going with followers. Trust me, I've seen badly drawn stickmen last a over decade with no plot.

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