Be Prepared!

Whether it was reciting the Girl Guides motto or singing along to The Lion King soundtrack, as a child I quickly picked up that it pays to Be Prepared!

Now that I’m undertaking my own self-directed education, those two words couldn’t be more valid.

Studying art can be overwhelming. There’s so much to learn, to master—and with limited time and resources it can be hard to know where to begin.

The remedy? Be prepared – make a study plan.

A study plan is a guide to what you need to learn and keeps you on track to achieving your goals. When developing my own study plan, I found it was best to start with the end goal in mind and research what it takes to get there.

TIP: Research relevant job descriptions and course information – they will provide you with valuable insight towards the skills you need to focus on developing.

After some research into visual development art, I was able to summarise everything I need to learn into four key categories or “study threads”:

  • Character Design
  • Environment Design
  • Visual Storytelling
  • General Skills

Grouping subjects into a study thread establishes a clear link to your end goal – and removes the intimidation of a never-ending “to-study” list.

For instance, the subjects human anatomy, animal anatomy, gesture & expression, costume, and design principles work together to achieve the larger goal of Character Design. On their own, it’s unclear what end point is trying to be achieved, which can lead to confusion in your studies.

When working through the subjects in a study thread, I find it helps to divide them into “study blocks” (eg. Study Block 1 – Human Anatomy, Study Block 2 – Animal Anatomy, and so on). Each study block can then be used to build and easily access a list of the resources and exercises relevant to mastering that particular subject. 

TIP: Flesh out just one study thread and 1-2 study blocks at a time. It’s very easy to get caught up in building a comprehensive study plan and forget you should make a start on your studies!

Building a study plan is an ongoing process. I’m confident mine will need revisions with the more I learn and discover, but even a rough study plan is beneficial. I’m not wasting time on irrelevant work and can see a clear connection between my studies and the end goal. Overall, a study plan makes the journey ahead much less daunting.

If you haven’t already, consider creating your own study plan, it’s worth it!

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On a side note;
I will be undertaking the Character Design thread of my study plan first, starting with Human Anatomy. A bunch of studies are on their way and will be posted soon!

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