Home Forums Member Forums The Water Cooler The International Student’s Guide to the Watts Atelier

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Hisham 4 weeks ago.

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  • #335747

    Hisham
    Participant

    Sup 😉

    [I’m the guy with the beanie in the new online promotional video, by the way. I sort of feel like a Watts celebrity, haha].

    To put a long story short, I had never drawn before, but decided to take the Watts Mentorship program after a knee injury basically had me stuck at home. Since then, I started mentoring with Erik Gist on the Watts Online for a couple of years, and then I decided to take this seriously and move all the way from the Middle East (from a little country called Oman, if you are interested [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oman]) to California for six months to attend the brick and mortar school.

    Best. Decision. Ever.

    I’m sure many of you on the online are thinking of doing the same thing, but have no idea where to start.

    Don’t worry, that’s why I’m here.

    I have written this guide for anyone considering a move to Encinitas to attend the brick and mortar school, particularly if you are from outside the USA. If you are an out of state student, you’ll get something from this as well. To make your life easier, here is a breakdown of the topics I’ll be covering:

    **Visa issues**

    **Expenses – 2 Semesters**

    **Finding Work**

    **Places to Live**
    Key Areas
    Looking for apartments
    Rent

    **Transportation**
    Uber
    Buying a Car
    Bicycle
    E-Bike
    The Coaster
    Walking

    **Connecting With Students/Finding Roommates**

    **Groceries/Food**

    **No Kitchen? No Problem!**

    **How Many Classes Should I Take?**

    **What are the Classes Like?**

    **The Models**

    **Instructor Reviews**
    Brian Knox
    Matt Smith
    Ben Young
    Erik Gist
    Jeff Watts

    **Does Jeff talk as much as he does in real life as he does during the online videos?**

    **Differences Between the Brick and Mortar School and the Online Program**

    **My Experience Transitioning from the Online Program to the Brick and Mortar School**

    **Things I learnt in the Brick and Mortar School That I Would Have Never Learned Online**

    Ok, let’s get right into it.

    **VISA ISSUES**
    Watts Atelier is not accredited by the US Department of Education. They are a part of, and are accredited by, Art Renewal Center. Unfortunately that does not mean anything in terms of getting a student visa. The only way to attend the school would be with a tourist visa. Applying for this can vary from country to country, so I can only give you my experience.

    The most common visa you will get will be what is called a B1/B2 Temporary Business and Visitor Visa. I applied for a tourist visa at home through the US Embassy, and got it relatively quickly. These visas can vary in duration from 2 to 5 years (10 if you are lucky). However, you are only allowed to stay for up to 6 months per year in the USA. Sometimes, you get 3 months instead of 6, but this is rare. Once you arrive in the USA, you can extend your stay by applying for a Visa extension (more on this below). I managed to get a 2 year Visa with a six-month stay allowed per year (B1/B2).

    I entered the USA through the San Diego airport, and was stopped for questioning, which was understandable, considering I was from the Middle East and wanted to stay for six months. I was completely honest when they asked why I was in the USA; I told them I wanted to attend Watts, that it is not accredited, which is why I had to get a tourist visa, etc. They did a quick checkup on the Watts website, looked through my luggage, found all the art books/supplies, and let me in. They were extremely respectful. I cannot speak for other airports, but this has been my experience with the San Diego Airport.

    After you finish the six months, you have to leave the USA. You have to clear another six months outside the USA before coming back. DO NOT OVERSTAY YOUR VISA. You may be banned from entry to the USA again for 10 years if you do.

    Technically, you may be able to border hop and come back (for example, go to Mexico or Canada for a couple of weeks then return to the USA). However, you need to have a very strong reason for coming back (medical emergency/attending a wedding/etc.). Otherwise, chances are extremely high that they will not let you in. I would not gamble with these odds.

    Another option is to apply for an extension for your current stay. This way you will not need to leave after 6 months – you may be able to extend for another semester and stay for 9 months. If you will go for this, I advise that you apply for the extension as soon as you arrive. The processing times are slow, and it can take up to 4-5 months for someone to finally see your application. I found this out the hard way as I applied for the extension 2 months before leaving, which was not enough time.

    All the information for extension can be found here:
    https://www.uscis.gov/i-539

    The process is simple: You fill the necessary forms, attach a short essay/paragraph explaining your reasons for extending, send the application with a money order payment (around $300) and wait. When I filled my reasons for extending, again I was honest and wrote about wanting to continue studying at Watts. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the process was complete, so I cannot say whether or not this is effective. It’s definitely worth trying out though; just avoid my mistake and apply immediately.

    As far as Mr. Donald Trump confusing the process, don’t worry, its San Diego. Everybody hates him 😉

    **EXPENSES – 2 SEMESTERS**
    The total amount of money I spent during my stay in Encinitas for 2 semesters was approximately $26,000. This includes everything (air tickets, rent, food, cost of materials, tuition, etc.) Also, keep in mind that I stayed in Encinitas during the break between semesters 1 and 2.

    Yes, it’s expensive. Encinitas is an expensive place; there is no way to get around this. The school is located in an upscale rich town; the views on the beach are absolutely breath taking. The living costs will also take your breath away, but not in a good way.

    **FINDING WORK**
    If you are in the USA and want to move here from another state, there are several good places for artists to work like Legoland, and sometimes Balboa Park. You cannot work (legally, at least ;)), if you are on a tourist visa, which is the visa you will have to get if you are from abroad.

    **PLACES TO LIVE**
    Honestly, I do not recommend any of the travel and lodging suggestions on the website or on the “Travel & Lodging in Encinitas” forum post (Sorry Ivan!) unless you are going for a quick boot camp. Here are my suggestions if you are staying for a longer period.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YwFlZfxYoN0U4H0lCHEnCq5yPg7VJGJf/view?usp=sharing

    Anything you see in the area above is within a 2-mile (a little over 3km) radius from the school. This is about a 10 to 15 minute drive depending on the traffic, or 45 minutes walking distance from the school. I recommend finding a place anywhere within this area, maybe slightly outside this map if you have a car and don’t mind a drive that is longer than 10 minutes. Good areas to live if you have a car and don’t mind a longer drive include Carlsbad and Oceanside (North of Map), which are slightly cheaper areas. South of the map is an area called Cardiff, which has beautiful apartments, but is expensive.

    I lived close to the intersection between Leucadia Blvd and Saxony road.

    Key Areas:

    El Camino Real
    Restaurants, banks, grocery shopping, gyms, clothes. Everything you need is here. This is quite the busy street with a lot going on. If I had a car and had to pick a place to live on a budget, it would be close to this road. Further from the beach, which makes apartments cheaper to rent as well.

    Encinitas Blvd:
    Some shops/restaurants here as well, but its more of a main street that connects the town together rather than a street you want to walk around and shop in. Essex Heights apartments are located here. I mention this because they have been recommended to me before, and I think they are also recommended on the Watts website – someone correct me if I am wrong about this. But there is a two-year waitlist and the place does have some complicated rules before you can rent. Don’t even bother, unless you know someone who already lives there. There are a couple of hotels and inns closer to the beach on this road as well, but the prices are ridiculous if you are going to be staying for anything longer than a boot camp.

    North Coast Highway 101
    More coffee shops here. Some yoga places, surf shops, and apartments too. The apartments here are expensive since they are right on the beach.

    South Coast Highway 101
    This is the main street in Encinitas. By far the best area. Lots of bars, coffee shops, boutique stores. They hold a few street fairs from time to time with music, food, drinks, and shopping kiosks. The apartments here have gorgeous views of the beach. Be ready to spend. This is the street I would live in if I was a little more relaxed with my budget and wanted to have a good time.

    Moonlight State Beach
    Enjoy, relax, surf. The beach is absolutely breathtaking, and the waves are great if you are a beginner and want to learn surfing. The students organize weekly bonfires every Sunday – gather around for some good vibes, jump in the (freezing) water, and bond with your new family. Some student’s surf too, and you might want to tag along for your first surfing lesson. Its brutal, but its fun.

    The Forum (Not on Map)
    Slightly northeast, this is a cool shopping center. Lots of yoga and places to dine in as well.

    Looking For Apartments:
    The best way to find apartments is through Craigslist or Airbnb. Airbnb is usually more expensive. I found my place through craigslist. If you want to avoid horror stories, look for postings by older couples and/or families. You can also network with the students to find a roommate or someone who would be happy to host you (more on this in the networking with students section below).

    Rent:
    Expect to pay $1,500 per month or more if you are living alone. That may just get you a room in a shared space. If you can find a roommate, get a roommate. GET A ROOMMATE. There are 4 students who managed to get a beautiful 3-bedroom house close to El Camino Real; Each student pays about $700 per month. I lived alone, and cried myself to sleep at the end of every month as I watched my savings drain. You always have the option of living alone for semester one, and then networking with the students to find a roommate for semester 2.

    **TRANSPORTATION**

    The city is not walking friendly. The public transportation is pathetic. Here are your options:

    Uber
    I recommend using this option if you are staying for 1 semester only. If you live within a two-mile radius and keep your trips within the area, expect to spend between $1,200 to $1,500 per semester if you use Uber everyday. Obviously, if you make friends, which you should, and you will, because everyone in the school is AWESOME, then you can get rides from the students, who are super helpful. This will cut your costs dramatically. Don’t be shy to ask for rides.

    Buying a Car
    This is absolutely the best option if you can afford it. You can buy a decent used car at $3K or less. But keep in mind that you are gambling here: there is a large chance that cars that are that cheap will break down and you will incur extra costs from maintenance, not to mention gas and insurance. I have heard quite a few horror stories. On the other hand, a Watts student I met bought a used car for around $2.5K if I remember correctly, and had no issues whatsoever. It’s a gamble. One advantage is that you can sell the car before you leave and recover some portion of the money.

    Good areas to live if you have a car and don’t mind a longer drive include Carlsbad and Oceanside (North of Map), which are slightly cheaper. South of the map is an area called Cardiff. Beautiful apartments, but expensive.

    Bicycle
    The town is bicycle friendly, with bicycle lanes almost on every road. But honestly, I do not recommend buying a bicycle unless you have calves made out of steel or are an Olympic cyclist. You will end up walking, because the hills are insane. I bought a bicycle when I first moved to Encinitas, and ended up getting rid of it within 2 days. There was a Watts student who would ride her bicycle for about 45 minutes to/from the school, so it IS doable, but she did have a car that she used on occasion. A bicycle on its own will not be enough as a mode of transportation. You might want to mix this option with Uber, and rides from friends.

    E-Bike:

    I bought one of these and fell in love with it – it was my main mode of transportation. So what follows may be super biased.

    Since the city is bicycle friendly, an electric bike shines here. With an E-bike, everything around the school can be reached within a twenty-minute ride as a maximum. A 20-minute ride on an electric bike does not tire you at all; the cardio you get on this is more like a brisk walk.

    An electric bike basically has a battery and a motor that helps you as you pedal; and this makes a huge difference. You can overtake Olympic bicycle champions without breaking a sweat. They cost anywhere from $2,800 and up for new ones, cheaper if used – you can find many on craigslist. If you attach a bicycle trailer to it (about $150), you basically can carry ANYTHING with this. I used to carry workout equipment, A LOT of groceries, my drawing board, sometimes all of that stuff at the same time, and I had no problems with the weight going up hills.

    The big advantage over a car is that you save on gas, maintenance is cheap, and you get a free and easy cardio workout. You can also sell it on craigslist before you leave and recover some cash.

    However, Encinitas does get cold during the winter. If you have morning classes, you will be fine. If you have any night classes and are heading home at 10pm, be prepared to put on thicker clothes, or ask for a ride.

    You can buy an electric bicycle from a store called Ride Cyclery, which is slightly south of Encinitas blvd on the South Coast Highway 101. As I mentioned earlier, you can also find used ones on craigslist at a cheaper price.

    The Coaster:
    There is a train that runs through Encinitas. The station is a twenty-minute walk from the school (located on Vulcan Ave, just south of Encinitas Blvd), and the train passes through Oceanside, Carlsbad, Cardiff, and goes all the way to downtown San Diego. I wouldn’t depend on this for your day-to-day commute – the timings are not convenient, and the train skips the Encinitas station at night. I only used it a twice to get to downtown San Diego on the Weekends. Otherwise, it’s pretty useless.

    Walking:
    Don’t. Just don’t.

    **CONNECTING WITH STUDENTS/FINDING ROOMMATES**
    The best way to connect to students is through the Watts Atelier Community Page on Facebook (Most of the Brick and Mortar students are members, including some online students).
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1566067723675831/?ref=bookmarks

    Some people have had luck finding roommates from there. Another option is to explore the Watts Online Facebook group:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/154237011775547/

    Ivan is moderating a forum post where online students are trying to connect with each other. This a good option too:

    Travel & Lodging in Enicitas

    There is no guarantee that you will find a roommate from these options, but chances are pretty good. Keep in mind that a lot of this can happen last minute, so try to stay calm and keep and open mind.

    Another option to connect with the students if you plan to stay for more than one semester is to find a place on your own through craigslist/airbnb for the first semester, and then see if you can work something out with one of the students for the 2nd semester. There are a lot of students moving to and leaving the school every semester, so you will have plenty of options.

    **GROCERIES**
    Most of the grocery stores are on El Camino Real. The cheaper options include Vons and Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart is slightly north of the map). There are A LOT of health food stores here, the town is very health conscious. Kale Juice, Kombucha, grass fed beef, you get the gist. Even their grass is probably grass fed. Stores like these include Sprouts and Trader Joes.

    Another health food store is Lazy Acres, which is just west of the school, just before the intersection between Encinitas Blvd and Vulcan Ave. This is a good option to have a quick and healthy meal between classes as well – they have a cool salad bar and buffet going on. But this is probably the most expensive place in terms of grocery shopping.

    **NO KITCHEN? NO PROBLEM**
    Most probably, you will end up living with a family either through craigslist’s or airbnb. Some families will NOT allow you to use their kitchen all the time. But with a little creativity, you’d be surprised what you can whip up. I never used the kitchen once, and had decent, healthy meals. All you need is the following:

    Ninja Blender: $20
    Blending. Smoothies. A banana, an avocado, some whey protein and coconut water, and you’ve got breakfast for champions. Super easy to clean as well. They have a wide variety if you want something a little more fancy than the basic option.

    Toaster oven: $30-45
    Pizza, toast, heat up leftover food, cook a quick meal. I avoided microwaves. Something about them just freaks me out. But that’s an option as well if you are so inclined.

    George Forman Grill $20:
    This may be the greatest invention of all time. You can pretty much cook anything with this guy. Meat, veggies, eggs, and everything in between

    Hotpot: $20
    Heat up water, boil some eggs, cook rice, prepare some soup. A lot of options with this.

    I survived by basically buying all the stuff above and then using this YouTube link for food:

    Once you get a hand of the cooking ideas there, you will be creating food of your own in no time.

    You’re welcome.

    **HOW MANY CLASSES SHOULD I TAKE?**
    These recommendations are based on my experience. I would advise you to talk to one of the Watts instructors first by setting a Skype session. You can do this through the Mentorship Program (maybe sign up for a month only to get the Skype call) or send an email to the Watts team and see if they can help you out. I did 12 classes during semester 1, and 7 during semester 2. Here is the breakdown:

    10-12 Classes – Good if you are starting out:
    Even if you have been an online student for a while, I think this is the best option to start with. Your first semester at Watts will be about dexterity. Even though I had been mentoring for almost 2 years, I discovered that my dexterity was actually quite terrible. You will not be able to learn quickly if you are slow and are fighting with the your hands. If you take 12 classes, your dexterity will JUMP. It will be frustrating; you may see little to no progress during the semester, and you might be repeating the same mistakes over and over – there is no time for the information to sink in. You will not have time to do homework or work from the handouts they give you when you go home (save these for later). Your brain will be fried. You might even go insane. But after the break, when the second semester starts, you WILL notice a HUGE jump. Its like going to the gym: when you rest, you grow. Think of 12 classes as the Watts Military Bootcamp. Is this the most efficient way of studying? No. Is it the best if you are going to be there for a short period of time? Yes.

    Drawing at this pace will also teach you a valuable lesson for when you leave the school: You will **learn how to train on your own**. If this is the only thing you learn out of attending the school, it would be worth the investment. If you are going to do one semester only, take this option.

    7-9 Classes – If You Want to Keep Your Sanity:
    This option allows you to work on handouts, go to the Friday and Sunday workshops to practice, and gives your more freedom to work on specific problems. It’s less overwhelming, and you will notice progress every week.

    3-6 Classes – Long Term:
    I do not recommended doing this if you are staying for 1-2 semesters. If you are studying long term, this may actually be the best option, because this gives you time for master studies and studying from other resources, such as other artists you want to emulate, or from the books recommended by the Watts instructors.

    **WHAT ARE THE CLASSES LIKE?**
    Intense. This is serious stuff. Everyone is motivated and working hard. Be prepared.

    Most of the drawing classes are structured as follows
    – Warm-up with 4 five-minute poses, model break.
    – 25 Minute demo by the Instructor, model break.
    – The students then draw in 20-minute sessions, with model breaks in between, until the end of class. During these sessions, you can ask for help by getting a tracing from the instructor, having him fix the work on your pad, or having him draw something on your pad – This is up to you.

    Not all of the classes follow this format; the specialty and painting classes will have their own formats.

    **THE MODELS**
    Some models are better than others in terms of professionalism and character, but my experience with them is mostly positive. There have been incidents of models sleeping. You’ll just have to suck it up sometimes and draw or invent from memory. Most of the models are professional and fun to draw.

    **INSTRUCTOR REVIEWS**
    I have not had the chance to train with all the instructors, but below you will find reviews on the ones I trained with – these are just my honest opinions:

    Brian Knox:
    Brian teaches most of the fundamentals at Watts. In these classes, you will work more from handouts and less from models. Usually the first half or 2/3 of the semester will be working from handouts. This is mostly core, pick and shovel work. It can feel like a grind, but it must be done. Brian is an excellent teacher: patient, easygoing, and extremely helpful. I learned a lot from him. His “structured figure drawing class” is excellent. If you want fundamentals, he’s your guy.

    Matt Smith:
    Matt teaches concepts that are a step above fundamentals. He is an excellent teacher if you want to see the process at work, broken down step by step. It was also refreshing to see him make mistakes a couple of times, talk about them, and correct them during the demo; as a student you will be making many mistakes and seeing how a professional like him handles this situation is really valuable. Like all the teachers I have worked with, he is patient and extremely helpful. His voice can be low and he tends to mumble his words sometimes, so make sure you sit right next to him during the demo.

    Ben Young:
    This man is a genius. A ninja with art tricks, and rumor has it, real martial art skills as well. No matter what level you are at, you will learn from him. He is an excellent teacher in terms of breaking things down, and he has the ability to give you exactly what you need at your current level. In fact, he is the best teacher at Watts in my opinion. Like Matt, his voice can be low when he talks. Fight over that magic seat and make sure you get it.

    Erik Gist:
    Erik has been my mentor since the start, and I cannot say enough about how good this guy is as a teacher and a person. His main strength in my opinion is figure quick sketch and anatomy, but he is amazing in all the other disciples and you will learn a lot from him. You will learn more big picture ideas – you may not benefit at *that* specific moment from what he says or shows you, but later as you are banging your head against the wall due to frustration something will click and you will have an “Aha!” moment. His demos are extremely helpful and process based. He is an excellent person to emulate in terms of hard work, work ethic, and being a professional.

    Jeff Watts:
    Again, more of big picture guy – you will learn a lot about the philosophy of living a life of an artist and how to train. If you are completely new, his demos will probably confuse you since he skips a lot of the process and draws from intuition – his demos from the online school are more broken down. If it goes over your head, just view it as inspiration. You will definitely be inspired. The main learning will happen when Jeff gives you a critique/trace-over/or draws on your pad – which he always does. He will make sure he gets to as much students as possible to draw on their pad and address there concerns. I was a little more familiar with his way of approaching things because of the online school, and that helped me learn A LOT from him. Sometimes his teaching can be rambling and cryptic; other times its ON POINT and will blow your mind. He will help you loosen up and find your intuitive side.

    **DOES JEFF TALK AS MUCH AS HE DOES IN REAL LIFE AS HE DOES DURING THE ONLINE DEMOS?**
    Yes. Yes he does.

    **DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE BRICK AND MORTAR SCHOOL AND THE ONLINE PROGRAM**
    – You will be working at an intense pace.
    – Working from the model is much harder than working from pictures. If you have worked from pictures only, you will experience an instant dip. Just stick to it.
    – You will be forced to invent. The model moves. You move. The model falls asleep (yes, this actually happened – its rare, but it happens). You can complain or adapt and get creative.
    – The 20-minute timer is brutal. If you haven’t done timed exercises like this, I suggest adding them to your regimen of study.
    – Instructor trace overs – these are incredibly valuable. This is something the online was lacking – the live/streaming classes address this to a large extent.
    – What the online is missing is the absorption you get from being surrounded by the environment – not just the instructors. The students, the artwork on the walls, the work ethic, the inspiration, the friends you will make – all of this will affect your art and your life. I know it affected me on a very deep level. The people you will meet as you go through this journey will be some of the most wonderful and loving people you will ever meet. There is always an edge of friendly competition to add to the fun. The Brink and Mortar School is unquestionably the better option of study because of this. The online students have gotten creative with Google-hangouts, so keep it up guys (http://www.wattsatelier.com/allforums/topic/google-group/page/34/).

    **My Experience Transitioning from the Online Program to the Brick and Mortar School**

    I took 12 classes during the 1st semester, 7 classes on the 2nd.

    When I started, I noticed an instant dip in my drawing skills; drawing from model is much harder. I was repeating mistakes that I had gotten over in the online. The time limit of quick-sketch and 20-minute lay-ins added pressure as well.

    This 1st semester was mainly about learning how to train. If you are thinking of doing one semester only, DO IT. You will know how to utilize what you have learned about training when you continue studying from the online. Your dexterity will also build up rapidly, and you will face a new challenge as you get used to inventing a figure from the model rather than copying what you see.

    The online helped in that it provided a shock absorber – I was familiar with the basics of the Watts Method, which smoothened the transition in a big way. During the 2nd semester, the information that I learned from both the online and what I had learned in class started coming out. I felt myself improving every week.

    **THINGS I LEARNT IN THE BRICK AND MORTAR SCHOOL THAT I WOULD HAVE NEVER LEARNED ONLINE**

    “Man with knife, dangerous. Naked man with knife, just another day in art class.” – Erik Gist.

    Trashcans are where artists gather to bond with each other. That, and bonfires. Sometimes bonfires. Mostly trashcans.

    If your food is not glazed with charcoal dust, its not real food.

    Jeff Watts is more proud of his puns than his paintings.

    #336062

    Cheryl
    Participant

    I want to go…..love your post.

    #336064

    Bob Greene
    Participant

    EPIC post!!! Thank you so much for taking the time and putting the effort into making this survival guide. Very useful information!!

    #336231

    Hisham
    Participant

    Thanks guys! It looks like a wall of text unfortunately, couldn’t figure out how to organize this, it doesn’t seem there are much options to edit posts on the forums (make things bold/italic/font size, etc).

    #337157

    Erik
    Participant

    Crazy post, man! Love that you took the time to give this information and let us see some of your experience with the brick and mortal school. Big props for taking the time and effort with this!

    I’m also curious, of course, if you would care to elaborate on some of the things you learned while you where there. Me beeing in the same boat as you where before you went there, (minus the online mentoring…) I’m very curious to hear more about what helped your dexterity, and how? Was it the feedback, the intensity of the study, the tracings, just beeing in the environment? Other than that, I’m just stoked to hear about your experience, man! And I’m glad you had such a good enough time you felt a need to tell us all about it!

    -Peace

    #338111

    Hisham
    Participant

    My dexterity mainly improved because of the intensity of the study – I took 12 classes the first semester. Thats about 36 hours of class per week (30 hours of drawing if you do not count watching demos). You draw for that many hours per week, your dexterity will get better! Its all about repetition. In addition to that, watching how the different instructors and students draw and applying some of their techniques helped. All the other things helped for sure (the tracings, being surrounded by an environment where everyone is fanatical about art, etc), but I’d say its mainly about the hours put in.

    #338145

    Erik
    Participant

    @his85 Yea, that makes complete sense. Thats a crazy schedule to keep up for 6 months. I’m impressed you had the stamina for it! I guess beeing around dedicated and interesting people helps you keep at it.

    But I guess what I was really wondering was something else, though. I might be wording myself sort of fumblingly, so you will have to forgive me, I am doing this in my second language, but probably you are too. When you watch many of jeffs videos he keeps talking about getting good dexterity, and of course when you see him draw he is an excellent example of it. The way he moves his pencil, the way every stroke has meaning and very real information. I just watched some of his 2 min quick scketch-videos. And it’s just seriously impressive.

    So, while you are more on the beginning, or at the start of your middle, part of your journey, I thought maby you might have made some experiences with improvements that was shareable. In that sense, my question would be more like…what would good – or better – dexterity fell like, or manifest itself as? I guess it has something to do with the connection between the hand and the pencil, and the way you manipulate them together, but how do you see it, from your point of view? Is it the confidence of the strokes, the feel of the hand when your working, or something else entirely?

    Don’t worry if you kind of dont know where I’m going with this. I’m sort of just thinking out loud here. ‘Cause while I’m sitting in my living room and strugling with managing the pencil, getting cleal lines, putting down clean tone,etc the question inevitebly hits you: what is good dexterity supposed to feel like? And since this is our small substitute for the brick and mortar schools, I don’t know where else to put the question 😉

    P.S: And sorry if I derailed your intitial post, I’m writing this mainly because I was so impressed with your effort.

    #338146

    Hisham
    Participant

    “Is it the confidence of the strokes, the feel of the hand when your working…?”

    Thats exactly it. Your hand will also be faster, more nimble. If you want to improve your dexterity in that way, quick-sketch in particular is a very good exercise. Do a lot of timed efforts. Class structure would be 4 five-minute warmups, 7 three-minute drawings, 10 two’s, then back to threes and fives. Five minute break in between each session. I changed the way I train online now because of my experience in class. For every 30 mins of online study, I doing 2 hrs 30 mins of drawings from pictures (or models on the rare occasion that I do have access). Another good way to get your hand nimble is the 20 minute lay-ins.

    By the way, I only did 12 classes during semester 1. I slowed down in semester 2 :).

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