Theory Chair Theoryness

I was supposed to sit in eddie's Theory Chair while i explained, but theories take hard work! i decided to pick up my chair so it would be HARDER! (just wanted to paint a picture... you'll see my point later!)

My theory:

"To get good at drawing you have to work HARD."

is crappy advice!

It's just a generalized statement and I've seen many art students take it very literally when their teachers mention it.

When I think "work hard" I always pictured lifting heavy things up stairs, hard manual labor causing serious bodily pain, heart rates go up, you pant and sweat until you cant take the physical pain anymore.

Drawing isn't "hard work" in this sense. Many idiot students I went to school with not only took "working hard" literally, but thought that complaining about their suffering and non-enjoyment also contributed to their artistic improvement and also validated that they were talented. These people quite frankly made terrible work. Some of the things they would say would be: "my back is in so much pain from 1,000's of large brush strokes in the right hand corner, I spend so long on it, it was terrible" "I spent 19 hours on just this pencil rendering" "I should get an A because my hand hurts from making this" of course their designs were unappealing and lazy.

It is mentally difficult to achieve great drawings and improve. It's all about emotional endurance.

Marlo's Improvement Tips for students (these helped me):

1. stop being such a pussy and take big risks!

2. Post and show your work to the world, especially If it's terrible! the embarrassment will fuel your research

3. Put time into your designs! over-rendering and garish colors don't make up for a bad initial drawing! (I'd rather see an appealing sketch than a stiff boring oil painting with a million information-less strokes!)

4. Study and compete with the masters, figure out why they made their decisions through studies.

(Here's an old study I did of EDDIE's work! I didn't know him or who's work it was then!) look:

5. Passion and love: draw what excites you (all the time)

The "LAZY" artist is the one that doesn't see through until a design is right, and doesn't confront his fears. The best artists are able to actually see how bad their work is and why, and they are emotionally strong enough to deal with it and improve. That is the hardest part.


P. S. sorry I haven't posted in a while, I'm doing secret exciting stuff! more drawings I promise!


David Germain said...

I remember an episode of Duck Tales. Scrooge McDuck was remeniscing about leaving his parents in Scotland to find work in America. His father's advice to him was "work smarter, not harder." Which is basically the advice you just gave everyone I think. I hope so, because that's damn good advice. If you work without thinking, you're just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

WOW!!!! LOL! A terrific post! Funny and thoughtfull at the same time! Can I reproduce this in Theory Corner?


Gabriel said...

The best artists are able to actually see how bad their work is

I hate my work! People say it's because I got low self steem, but I like to think it's because I have great potential, haha! Or that is how I trick myself so I won't stop drawing...

Ryan G. said...

You're right on Marlo.. There are so many crappy artists at my school that just bitch and bitch. They think that the more time you put in a project determines the quality. Also, how can you be physically worn down from sitting on ones fat ass drawing a picture?

Marlo Meekins said...

Eddie, yeah please can I come to your blog and be a guest? feel free to mock.

Blogger has been down all day, i've been getting emails instead of comments, sorry about that!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Great post Marlo. What pisses me off as an artist is when everyone tells me how wonderful and great my stuff is when I know it sucks ass. I have purposely made shit and passed it around to prove this theory. My husband always tells me "you're only as good as your last drawing" which is true (don't tell him that) because unless you try to out do yourself, you'll be stuck there forever.

UrbanBarbarian said...

I never went to art school, but I can just imagine the B.S. you're subjected to with some people. It's the same in the comic book world, sadly.

I used to ink a guy and he was always upset that I could roll through a page he spent two day drawing in about an hour and a half. If I had told him it took me all day he would of been thrilled...! So sad!

Anyway, loved blog entry! Good stuff!!!

Shawn said...

HOO-RAAYYY!!! Another post by Marlo!!!


I love this post! You are very wiiiise! And the draw-rings are good too! Please draw a comic book for me and I will be your best friend!

P.S. Now I'm off to go complain about how much my cartoons kick my own ass. *pffft* no...I keed...I tell joke, no?

krilli said...

5. Passion and love: draw what excites you (all the time)

Marlo draws a lot of Marlo, doesn't she? :)

(I hope this doesn't come across as an insult, I love your stuff -- you have a nice warped style all your own, and your shapes are always *warm*. Always!)

Neato! said...

Realllllllly good advice! 'Specially the first statement. I like your blog and your art. I hope they like me. But if they don't, then as Bob Ross the Great says: "Whatever..." ;)


Marlo Meekins said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone!

This post is my elaborate explaination as to why me and other artists are lazy asses. I may have an inferiority complex about it! who knows. ha!

Yeah i draw myself a lot. for vanity reasons maybe and becasue i haven't come close to perfecting it so i need to keep trying!!!

next post might have boys in it. i've been lonely.....

Marlo Meekins said...

SHawn- i'd love to write a comic book. I'm currently studying bodies and hands, so I can get better at carrying out poses and expression. then i'll make a comic.

If anyone would want a "marlo's comic" for your very self please tell me, so i can get on that sheeet. what should it be about?


bob ross had a great hippy manner. real calm and stuff. i loved his philosophies actually! I think he believed that he wasn't going to be a slave to his emotions, he didn;t let stupid crap bother him. He made an extra effort to enjoy life and so he painted happy little deer doing it.

Kevin Langley said...

Great post. Tip number one had me rolling, quite unexpected. I love your drawings by the way.

Alan MacEachern said...

ta very much the comment Marlo.your work is the dogs spuds , has spurred me into maybe updating my blog once in a while...

the wee bike you're riding is quite majestic.

ta ta

Cutu said...

Wow! I wish I coul be so loose and free and so "screwbally" great strong work grat lines an dynamics.

Danne8a said...

Love your drawrings, Marlo!
They move without the aid of animation!!!

william wray said...

John and Eddie are training you well. Soon that soapbox will reach to the sky. I kid, I do the same thing.

cableclair said...

Marlo's comic is a fantastic idea!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Marlo, I need more drawings for your theory post, even if they're stick drawings. A lot of what you're saying isn't illustrated yet! Yasedro!


donnachada said...

Hey Marlo, you have one deadly looking blog here. I love how much life you have in your sketches. So much energy. Love the sketches.

lee said...

i think too many art students draw for their teachers and fellow students which is a mistake.By the way did they manage to get that bike off you Marlo ?

bodidarma said...

thanks for the advice marlo, i'll try not to be a pussy but its hard. check me out at jerk-life,its not justa blog its a lifestyle

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

No, wait! No more drawings! I'll import as it is. Sorry for the confusion!


lee said...

I noticed you said HIS fears, is that a kind of sexist thingy going on there Marlo!

S.G.A said...

You have a great funny blog!
Your drawings are incredible too!

Marlo Meekins said...

Thanks for all the nice compliments. Thanks for saying my drawings are screwbally! I wish i could reply to them all but i dont know what to say, so i'll just reply to questions from now on:

Yes i ride little bike.

Eddie: sorry some of my drawings didn;t load for a day or so. Glad you were able to see them ...eventually. cant wait to see your marlo mockery.

I accidentally deleted some comments???? i'm sorry ! i clicked the wrong button when i went to accept them. wah wah wahhhhh

david gemmill said...


last 2 are great

great work PAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

this is just what i needed to hear, thanks.
you are great

Marc Deckter said...

Awesome theory!

Hey, what's that Eddie drawing from? (The cowboy with the gun)

Jenny said...

..."yasedro"? wft?

Okay, onto Theories! I'm working backwards through your posts...this is pure gold. Perfectly stated.

How the hell did you find Eddie's work a-way back in Philly-vicinity? No matter--I must say I learned a lifetime's worth just cleaning up Eddie's board poses as what we called "character layouts" back in Tiny Toon days...that was my 1st job. I loved his rough drawings better than anything else; they are so gestural, so lively and alive. You got good taste, kiddo.

RÃ¥nny said...

yes...YES, YES, YES, YES, YES! Orgasm complete -- LOLOLERZ. Yes, I agree with you Mz. Meekz, your theories rip other theories' asses.

Robert Hume said...

sniff, sniff...I want to be do secret exciting stuff too!:(

Great Post!! I'll be showing this to a lot of large ego artists I know who need to keep there crappy art earth bound!

Trevour said...

I don't know if you'll read this one this late, but I want a big gigantic print of that last drawing so I can hang it on the wall!!!

The pose, the hand, the blah blah blah, if I'm seeing what you meant to draw here, for some reason it's one of the funniest drawings I've seen in a long while!

potato farm girl said...

Well said! :D Very phunny drawings by the way.

Anonymous said...

Now this is a great post.

These tips are really helpful. "Work smarter, not harder", damned straight.


(Nananananananana BATMAN!)

Hobo Divine said...

You are my hero Marlo!