Thanks to everybody that wrote nice comments about my last post. Great to hear from everybody! I love posting like this, and I will keep it up, but always remember: don't ever sit and wait for me to post so you can learn something. You have the power to figure all this stuff out for yourself.
For a variety of reasons, I never really worked with a great mentor that taught me a whole lot. I had some great, great teachers at CalArts that put me on the right road, but at that time I wasn't ready to hear all that they were saying. So later, when I was ready to learn, I had to go figure a lot of stuff out for myself...which any artist has to do, great mentor or not.
So the best thing I can ever tell you is this: you absolutely have the power to learn everything you want. You are surrounded - practically bombarded - by access to great art and movies like no other generation in any time in history. Cool, huh?
So here's the secret: every piece of art you see, book you read, movie you watch is full of CHOICES. The artist made choices at every step.
So next time you see a great drawing, ask yourself: what makes it great? Why did the artist draw the arm this way, why did he tilt the head that way, why did he use this shape for the foot? If it was done by a great artist, he will have a definite reason for all of those choices.
And if you see a drawing you don't like, ask yourself: why does it fail? What choices did the artist make that you think are wrong? What would you do differently?
Nobody ever told me any of this stuff I'm saying about Bill Peet's drawings. Heck, a lot of people would interpret them differently than I have. And who am I to speak for Bill Peet - how arrogant can I get anyway? But I just looked at the drawings and started writing what I saw. Writing it down is good because it forces you to come up with SOMETHING. And then the ideas just start flowing. So try it yourself! Look at a great drawing and start writing about what you see. Or look at a great drawing and copy it. You'll learn a lot, I promise. That's pretty much the way I learned all that I know, and that's how I continue to learn all the time.