Why Art Hacking is the most fundamental skill

When it comes to art fundamentals, there're a lot of various schools of thinking.

 

But overall, many teachers advocates you to work hard on drawing and painting, studying from life, copying from photography and old masters, working on your human anatomy, then animal anatomy, practice one, two and 3 points perspectives and then get back to drawing and painting again.

This is a loop that has educated generations of ultra talented artists and has proved how effective it is. So, why not stick with it?

 

Well, if this fails for you, there're several reasons that I'll cover later, why you might want to consider another approach. All the artists I know of and who are incredibly successful in the art industry have one thing in common: Art Hacking.

 

During all my childhood, I've been desperate to draw like a hero. Unfortunately, despite of my passionate daily drawing sessions, I stayed mediocre, though I can assure you it wasn't a question of perseverance: I really invested a lot of hours in drawing from 4 to 17. I eventually met some friends with incredible drawing skills who motivated me and pushed me forward, but no matter how hard I was trying, I was incapable of keeping up with them.

 

At 17, music, another important part of my life, took over. Drawing was so hard on me that I gave up altogether and never looked back for almost 20 years.

Decades later, at 36 I took on the crazy challenge to become a professional artist in the entertainment industry. And despite my terrible initial drawing skills, it took me 3 years.

But I didn't follow the academic way. At first, I had exactly 15 months of cash in front of me and with a family and a house I couldn't afford to spend even one week without incomes. Failure wasn't an option. So by the end of these 15 months, I needed to be skillful enough to at least do some art related freelancing.

The "draw harder and know your anatomy" way of learning wasn't a satisfying solution: People were going for 3 years in expensive art schools and still some couldn't find a job after! How could I do it in 15 months?

 

You're right, it's impossible, following the academic way. Maybe It can work for a few people, but thanks to the years of experiencing failures with anything academic, I knew better and committed to do it my own way.

 

So I decided to cut each and every possible corners and use all the shortcuts at my disposal.

Still, in my head was a nasty little voice whispering: You are cheating, dude! For a while I felt miserable: I was nothing but a failed artist, just like my father (a piece of story I'll share with you later).

Months after months of hard training, an intuition raised. Until it became a clear thought: I needed to embrace and push the cheat so far that cheating would become an art in itself: hacking.

It did miracles. One morning, instead of struggling with my drawing I was solving problems:

Identify a problem, split it into smaller ones. If one of them can't be solved, split it into smaller chunks. Then find the fastest and easiest solution, apply, done. Repeat.

Soon, I started to realize it wasn't cheating at all, but instead art hacking. By applying the same thinking to my learning, I've been able to achieve in 3 years what could have take 7 or even a decade.

I was soon to discover that every industry legend I was learning from online, whatever his learning path (academic, self taught, industrial design, no pain no gain, digital or traditional), was art hacking one way or another.

When I listen to Syd Mead, Ryan Church, Raphael Lacoste, Sparth, James Clyne, Alex Alvarez, Scott Robertson or Dylan Cole, just to name a few, talking about their process and thinking, I am mind blown by their unexpected and yet methodical way of solving creative problems.

 

They are Art Hackers. Whatever works.

 

I'll let you know more about that subject in my next blog post, but today I'd like to ask you another question:

 

What are the biggest challenges you're facing in your art education?

You can join the Facebook group and share your thoughts or answer in the comment section below!