Friday, 22 January 2010

17 things Yoda taught me about Art

EP 1: The Phantom Menace

1. "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."

-- Fear of rejection. Fear that you're not as good as others. Fear of making mistakes. All these negatives can suck the joy from your creative process. Don't listen to them. Don't get angry at yourself. look at the positives. Believe in your abilities and go for it!

EP 2: The Clone Wars

2. "Meditate on this, I will."

-- Take a 10min break. Take a step back and look at your work from a different perspective. If you're working digitally, zoom right out form your work or flip your canvas. This will help you see shape, contrast & composition with "new eyes". In Photoshop you can set-up a second window and have it set to small. Paint in the small window to work on shapes and form before working on the details.

Here's How: Go to "Window" > "Arrange" > "New Window for [Doc Name]". resize as appropriate.

3. "Much to learn, you still have."
-- Art is a journey of life long learning. Accept this. Don't believe me? Start using a new medium or go to an art gallery and look at the masters. Feel like you're starting from the beginning again? Now see quote 1.

EP 3: Revenge of the Sith

4. "Careful you must be when sensing the future. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side."
-- Don 't let you're imagination get the better of you. Especially when presenting artwork to clients or peers for critique. Accept what happens as it happens.

5. "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose."
-- Try not to be so afraid of losing that you never try at all. Curb those perfectionist tendencies.

6. "Go, I will. Good relations with the Wookiees, I have."
-- Take time to down tools and meet some new people. Escape from illustration Island is a great resource for beating artistic isolation. Join a sketch group. Use twitter; Create a username and connect to other artists. Mine's @mattbacondesign. Follow me and say g'day.

EP 5: The Empire Strikes Back

7. "Help you I can! Yes! Mm!"
-- Time to give back. Help others develop. There will always be others who are less experienced that you. you are further along you're journey than they are. Lend a hand.

8. "How you get so big, eating food of this kind?"
-- I'll tell you how I got so big. Too much time sitting down, and eating too many snacks while doing it! Food = Fuel. excessive fuel which isn't burnt up goes you-know-where. You're body and mind will operate more efficiently and effectively if they aren't trying to keep you awake after a huge lunch (been there done that). Watch the late night sugar & keep the H2O up. All this means is that your artwork should get better. 'nuff said.

9. "Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is!"
-- Clean up. This is one of my personal "growth areas":) Keep good digital file structures and tidy your work area. Not only will it help you find equipment and materials quickly it will free you from visual distractions.

10. "No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
--Commit to your artwork. both holistically and for each piece. Make "glourious mistakes". Don't be tentative. "Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the committed".

11. "Wars not make one great."
-- "Be creative not competitive" - Stephen Silver.

12. "All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph."
-- Stick with it. Focus on what's in front of you. Pin-point, prioritize and avoid distractions.

13. "So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?"
-- Believe in yourself. Look at the positives and see the oppurtinities. The glass can't always be half empty:)

14. "You must unlearn what you have learned."
-- Don't be afraid of change. We all build up bad habits. It's never too late to work on doing things better.

15. "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size do you?"
-- Passion matters. Not how well you're known. If you want it, go for it. "Persistence trumps Talent". - Daniel Pink

16. "Hmm. Control, control. You must learn control."
-- It's not about stifling creativity but about channeling it where and when you want it. Don't become a tortured artist waiting for inspiration. Work at being creative.

EP 6: Return of the Jedi

17. "Strong am I with the Force, but not that strong. Twilight is upon me, and soon night must fall. That is the way of things... the way of the Force."
--Letting go can be hard. We've all experienced it. That constant noodling around with an image. Add a tiny bit here, tweak a colour there, push just one more pixel and it will be perfect. But at some point you have to finish your artwork. Let it go. Don't overwork it. Overworking will always muffle the freshness of the original idea. So trust in your creative process and move on to your next piece.

--Thanks Master Yoda.


  1. What a great post Matt! The Yoda School of art. Who'd a thunk it? :o)
    Nice to meet you matt!
    thanks for sharing on EFII

  2. Thanks Sam. Glad you liked it. Nothing like some Jedi wisdom! EFII is great isn't it!

    - matt