Food for thought: Quality vs Quantity
|2 min read
Recommended Journals
Art Advice Issue #9 - Debunking Common Art Myths
There are many phrases here on DeviantArt that get passed around and repeated like they're The Art Law. Usually, these pieces of advice are well meant, and they may have been relevant to the person who first received them, but they are usually not universal truths - what applies to one person may not necessarily apply to everyone else. Let's take a look at some of these and see what's really behind them. MISCONCEPTION #1 - THE GREATER THE LEVEL OF DETAIL, THE BETTER THE ART That's like saying coffee with twenty sugars is better than coffee with just two. :XD: Some people might like some coffee in their sugar, but it's not for everyone. Th
Friends Feature: Volume VI
Here is some of the amazing artwork created by my Deviant friends and artists that I admire. :heart: If you see an image that you like please visit the artist's gallery and give them your support! :aww: I hope to be able to feature more beautiful works of art very soon!
Critique - 6th Edition
6th Edition. First of all, I'd like to thank the people who submitted their works and wanted to be part of this project. I appreciate all of you, and hopefully, my bits of advice will help you with improving your works. And I want all of you to understand and see what "constructive criticism" is. I'm here to help you. I'm here to help you improve. And only through practice and knowledge, we can master our craft. FIRST, ATTENTION PLEASE: I do not claim I'm perfect nor the best at Photomanipulation. Everything comes from my personal knowledge and experience. You can take my advice and blend it in your own style of work. You can also agree or
longestdistance's avatar
By longestdistance   |   Watch
38 60 719 (1 Today)
Published: February 23, 2019
Here's a great blurb from a book called Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.

His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.


Source: excellentjourney.net/2015/03/0…

I absolutely love this. Here's my two cents: I definitely think it's important to balance quality and quantity. Not every picture needs to be a masterpiece but it's also important to take your time. I wrote a small journal on the matter here. What I personally take away from this is that if a picture isn't working out, just finish it, no matter how much you hate it, and move onto a new project. Overworking something is time consuming and frustrating, especially if the mistake is on a fundamental level and can't be fixed easily. Instead of focusing on perfection, just do your best and focus on getting things done. You can't improve on an empty canvas!

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree, and how does it apply to you?

Recommended Journals
Art Advice Issue #9 - Debunking Common Art Myths
There are many phrases here on DeviantArt that get passed around and repeated like they're The Art Law. Usually, these pieces of advice are well meant, and they may have been relevant to the person who first received them, but they are usually not universal truths - what applies to one person may not necessarily apply to everyone else. Let's take a look at some of these and see what's really behind them. MISCONCEPTION #1 - THE GREATER THE LEVEL OF DETAIL, THE BETTER THE ART That's like saying coffee with twenty sugars is better than coffee with just two. :XD: Some people might like some coffee in their sugar, but it's not for everyone. Th
Friends Feature: Volume VI
Here is some of the amazing artwork created by my Deviant friends and artists that I admire. :heart: If you see an image that you like please visit the artist's gallery and give them your support! :aww: I hope to be able to feature more beautiful works of art very soon!
Critique - 6th Edition
6th Edition. First of all, I'd like to thank the people who submitted their works and wanted to be part of this project. I appreciate all of you, and hopefully, my bits of advice will help you with improving your works. And I want all of you to understand and see what "constructive criticism" is. I'm here to help you. I'm here to help you improve. And only through practice and knowledge, we can master our craft. FIRST, ATTENTION PLEASE: I do not claim I'm perfect nor the best at Photomanipulation. Everything comes from my personal knowledge and experience. You can take my advice and blend it in your own style of work. You can also agree or
Comments60
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Sign In
ForgottenDemigod's avatar
ForgottenDemigodHobbyist Traditional Artist
There's also a thing where abilities simply fluctuate. So someone going for quality, may miss out the peak performance moments, while people going for quality will have multiple items made in peak performance moments.
Yoruva-Kotenox's avatar
Practice makes the Master
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Yes!
Mystia-Katsuragi's avatar
This is very fascinating :o it kinda makes me want to write more rather than spending so much time planning lol
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Yeah. The more you write, perhaps the more ideas that might spawn from it!
Tiiria's avatar
Tiiria Digital Artist
That blurb holds an insightful perspective, I think. The actual physical practice is what makes people improve with art. You have to do the work to learn. However, I don't think that you necessarily need to completely finish a piece before moving on. Sometimes part way through, you realize the idea itself just isn't going to work (at least not at your skill level.) I often start something over with new compromises. Although I think that if you DO push through to the end of every piece, you'll end up with less work-related anxiety/procrastination issues, because you'll be more able to keep going at every step along the way, and maybe feel like you want to quit on it less often.

This reminds me of a Dali quote, "Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." I think that it summarizes the sentiment of the blurb nicely.

Thanks for sharing.
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Exactly! If the mistake is something minor then by all means push through to the end. Fix the mistake, or leave it alone, but either way finish it. There's always next time to do it better. It's so important not to focus on perfection but to focus on getting things done.  On the other hand I agree with your first thought- there is no shame in abandoning a work if it's botched on a fundamental level especially if you already know how to do better job next time. Art is all about experimentation. Love the Dali quote by the way. Thank you for commenting!
level5pencil's avatar
level5pencil Digital Artist
Wish I had a class like that. I feel like the people in the quality group would end up doing some bits of quantity regardless to get the best end product but i can imagine people relying on just the one because it's all they'd ask from them. 

I really wanted to read this book! But havent gotten around to it. 
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Yeah this book does look like an interesting read!
Emphasis-Lest's avatar
Emphasis-LestStudent Digital Artist
omg I was literally thinking about all this quantity vs quality stuff the other day, because for me, I've always believed that quality won hands down. But that only ever got me stressing over single ideas, and sometimes not even daring to begin projects because I knew I would worry too much over how imperfect it was gonna be. I still don't think that quantity is better than quality, because quality is the aim, and I'm not even sure about what's changed in my perspective. I guess I just don't HATE the idea of quantity>quality now bc I trust that, at some point, quality will arrive and be more sustainable bc of the repeated process? haha i'm not making any sense, but i was so happy to see this! Really came at the right time <3
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Yes! I think once we have established quality it's easier to produce a greater quantity of work. Like, when you're starting to learn how to draw X it's important to take more time on it, and as you improve you can shave off time for future drawings but still get the same high quality result to some degree. On the other hand, producing a lot of work without any thought behind it, the quality will suffer and you won't learn anything. As I learned first hand... D:
hans-sniekers-art's avatar
hans-sniekers-artHobbyist Traditional Artist
That sure is an amazing blurb! I think for quality you first need a quantity of failures to learn from! I think this applies to me in that I should increase my rate of working on stuff. This way I produce quantity now but it should improve my quality in the long Run! :D

I think this is important for any artist, especially those found on social media, as they are more likely to focus on perfection for that one picture but in the end this is less beneficial to one as person.
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks for your comment! Yes, it's all about practice practice practice! That reminds me of the very pretty sketchbook pages you see on Twitter and Instagram. The sketchbook is the perfect breeding ground for experimenting, testing, and failure. So unlike what we see on social media the sketchbook doesn't have to be used to create a perfect masterpiece on every page. I think when you allow yourself to fail that's when the magic starts to happen because you stumble across new ideas and concepts through trial and error.
hans-sniekers-art's avatar
hans-sniekers-artHobbyist Traditional Artist

Yes, you are very much right!

I think those pages are alright but shouldn't be marketed as 'Sketchbook tours' or 'Sketchbook pages', they should be marketed with a new term like Painting Book or Painting practice books :3

It's just off-putting to beginners but they are certainly beautiful pages <3

Also, the thing is that we only post our best pages when I think we should also be posting our improvement. I'm doing that right now and it might ruin my 'beautiful aesthetic' but this is better to show to people, that we are people with just as beautiful tops as well as many just as beautiful fails :3

longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Definitely. It needs to be clear we're being shown the highlight reel so we don't compare it with our own behind-the-scenes. Because it will never be good enough by that comparison!  I agree we should post our behind-the-scenes as well. If you only post the best stuff eventually you build up a standard that can feel difficult to live up to. As I've found from personal experience D:
hans-sniekers-art's avatar
hans-sniekers-artHobbyist Traditional Artist

Yeah, you're actually very much right! ;D When we compare to those best works notihng is enough

But then again, all sketchbooks are kind of .... tricky as the people making them could put in 5x the time and effort in improving then you are doing so comparing is useless in any case :)

But yeah, posting all sorts of stuff is better, it creates a personality on rthe internet that's close to your own so living it is just more honest and better in general :3 <3

KawaiiStorm's avatar
I think quantity means nothing if you can't see your mistakes, if you mindlessly keep producing the same thing, with the same mistakes and keep thinking it looks fine because you never stop to study your work (and others work too) then progress will be really slow. But it also depends on the medium, crafters will get better with practice because they are fighting with materials, climate, ovens, etc there's no book that talks about your especific oven or the humidity of your city *shrugs*
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Definitely; I struggled with this for years because I prioritized quantity without giving any thought to what I was doing. Didn't improve for years. Really all about finding that balance.
Mare-Luna's avatar
Mare-Luna Digital Artist
I agree 100% with you! I try to finish every picture, despite imperfections! It’s not always easy but I try my very best 🙂 
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Same here! Just focus on getting things done while doing the absolute best you can. It's easy to get hung up on certain things but just power through!
HazelRose3637's avatar
HazelRose3637Professional General Artist
Interesting :)
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Oh yes!
idekSam's avatar
idekSamStudent Digital Artist
Wow... that really is food for thought... I think I just sat for two minutes thinking it out in my head... I love these sorts of things!!

The way it appears to me, it's about both groups are trying to reach that "A" (a.k.a great art!) but I still thought about how the clay works! What I take from that is that it really leads to frustration if you take so long to improve...and your clay will be dying out OTL. One of my major goals is to get that A+ score faster and more efficiently because YOLO and time goes by too fast !!

I really need to work on that myself, it makes perfect sensible advice that trying to perfect that ONE thing will definitely appear as it took less effort than a display of drawings that get better each time... I realize that simply theorizing on perfection (albeit an amazing idea, holy cow i just noticed that's literally exactly what the quote said there-) is totally unrealistic most times, cause you probably won't always get there! Or at least, stay there... 

I find that whenever I draw something I thought was GREAT (or heck PERFECT), I give it an hour, or a day or two (and some eyeballing different high-level work) and I'm already noticing my mistakes what I could do better to fix for the next time...! It's already too late to fix those things on a finished piece of work! So I really got an epiphany just now from this- it's probably better in the long run if i just... play it smart... and do my best focusing on getting things done ! because who wants to try the same thing over and over again?? it's not too fun!! as long as I STAY improved, it's okay! i'm still closer to that "A" (a.k.a more pounds on that scale)!

ahha lots of rambling, thanks for your time typing this out and sharing, I just wanted to let you know it really helped/inspired me!
 
longestdistance's avatar
longestdistanceProfessional Digital Artist
Glad you liked it also! It really makes you think doesn't it. Obsessing over the theory of perfection is definitely a struggle even when we acknowledge it as a problem (e.g. I've been trying to write a story for like 15 years and it's still getting nowhere because I suck at writing //sob)

It's great that you notice your mistakes so quickly after finishing them. It may seem a little frustrating but at the same time it shows great mental growth since you've already learned about what you can do better next time, as you mentioned. Good luck with your artistic journey. Keep drawing no matter what! :w00t:
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Sign In
©2019 DeviantArt
All Rights reserved