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10 habits to improve your art


By André Castro & Gabriel Bona

Web: https://www.artstation.com/synthesis (will open in new window)
Web: https://www.artstation.com/gbona (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 16th May 2018

3D character artists André Castro & Gabriel Bona take an in-depth look at 10 habits to implement in your life to improve your art...


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1. Exercise (mental and physical)

When we talk about exercise you almost instantly imagine someone doing something physical, right? But physical exercise means nothing if you have a weak mind; having a strong mind is the foundation for having a stronger body. Physical activities will help you forget about daily problems, it reduces muscle tension and stimulates the production of endorphin. It will improve your life quality overall, giving more energy and resistance for doing daily tasks, but only working on your body can be tough and it might be not as efficient as it should be if you are not constantly exercising the most important part of yourself, the mind.

Just like the body, the mind suffers from problems and it has its limits. The more you train it the more this limit increases. If you observe your peers, friends, and family, it is not uncommon to see people with psychological problems – why is that? It is because we are born in a modern age where there is so much information and pressure around us all the time from many different things like society and family, but this is not a physical pressure, the pressure is mental. If you don't get your mind strong, it will collapse.

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© Gabriel Bona

What would happen to you if at your first day at the gym you had to lift 100kg on the bench press? Impossible, right? But with physical activities you can control how much "pressure” you want so you can start small to get big. With psychological pressure you can't choose this, you can only accept what life gave you and do your best to get stronger so you can endure it. Sometimes a harder life can make you stronger than everyone, but often it will keep you down because you can't rise above it. Same thing happens with an easy life; it can make you complacent and never actually get strong and you eventually crumble when the pressure appears, because it will, eventually, if not from life itself, than from within you. So why don't people exercise their mind just like their body? Well because most people don't see their mind like their body, they don't even acknowledge the potential for growth their mind has.

Self Affirmation

Like Will Smith once said, "He who says he can and he who says he can't are both usually right.” If you tell yourself 1,000 times that you are weak, guess what? You become weak. Now you are thinking, "Oh my, here comes the dude about positive thoughts.” If you thought that, keep reading, because this is especially for you. It is easy to become weak when you tell that to yourself, why? Because to be weak you just have to do nothing, and doing nothing is the easiest thing on earth, so you are at the same time doing and believing, mind and body working together to achieve what your mind started.

Now try doing that again but do it positively; say to yourself 1,000 times in front of a mirror "I'm strong.” Sounds stupid, right? Just like it is stupid to believe that by doing 1,000 reps on a biceps exercise will get you as big as a bodybuilder. But what if you PERSIST and keep doing that for months? Years? Every day you go to that mirror and you repeat "I'm strong” before you go to bed, you repeat it, and that gets into your mind, your mind starts to believe it, and that is the time to take your body into action, you believe you are strong!


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© Gabriel Bona

Just remember, never use negative words, only positive ones. For example, if you are lazy, don't tell yourself "I'm not lazy,” instead tell yourself "I'm productive and active.” The same concept works for getting that job you want. For example don't say "I want to work for…” instead, be assertive about it "I will work for…”

Flip the switch

One skill you can develop that will slowly make you unstoppable is the ability to take all the bad stuff that happens to you and turn to your advantage. You can see that in sports in a very clear form. Just like when Michael Jordan used to trash talk all his teammates in practice, he was the greatest player to ever set foot on court throwing a truck load of pressure on you, what do you do? You cry? Many have crumbled because of Michael; they couldn't take it, but what about those who could? And answered back to Michael giving their 100% every time? Those are the ones who became all star players and really thrived under pressure. They saw the insults and provocations as a challenge and had the mindset to prove Michael wrong by improving themselves, not by finding excuses or even talking back in an angered manner; he was testing everyone all the time to see who had the strength to overcome it.

Having a strong mind will allow you to see life barriers and problems only as what they really are, opportunities to make you stronger, it will be hard and it will be painful, but giving up will be much worse, because the wound of regret will never close until you take action. Take all that anger, sadness, and suffering and make them worth it; work harder, give it all you got.

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© Andre Castro

The final obstacle, the voices inside your head

There will always be that voice in your head telling you, "Hey man, good job, let's take a few days off, we deserve it.” "You are so tired, let's not work out today.” "Oh, it is just one hamburger, it is fine.” Don't think that strong minded people don't have them, they all have, it is just a matter of telling those voices to shut the hell up and ignore them. Those voices are the worst thing to overcome because when you "hear” them inside your head you think that is you thinking, but it is not. It is your brain stopping you from doing what you have to do, because our brain has this tendency to make us avoid pain, suffering, and resilience. Guess what? Greatness resides beyond all these things, if you don't ignore those voices you won't be able to achieve your true potential.

Self affirmation is very important for shutting down the negative voices. Instead of ignoring them you can create a new voice with the self affirmation method that will act as a counterpoint, creating a balance and giving you the option, "What voice should I listen?” Having multiple voices in your head is great. If you are arrogant, create a voice telling you that you need to improve because you are not good enough. If you lack confidence, create a voice telling you that you have the potential to become great. This process takes time and the more you do it the faster you'll be able to implement beliefs and voices. Everything that is worth it takes time.

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© Andre Castro

2. Plan Ahead

As a 3D artist it is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of topics you need to study; setting your focus, and planning which topics are you going to take head on, are essential for optimizing your study schedule. If your focus is on games you should plan your projects accordingly, set learning goals, and the quality standards you want to achieve. Planning will prevent you wasting time on unnecessary tasks and help you to keep track of what should be done and in which order. Many apps can help with planning, Trello is a very good example of that. It is a useful website where you can create folders for your projects with goals, descriptions, track progress, and it is super easy to use and can be shared between groups of people.

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© Andre Castro

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