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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?

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:iconmystia-katsuragi:
Mystia-Katsuragi Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2019
This is very fascinating :o it kinda makes me want to write more rather than spending so much time planning lol
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah. The more you write, perhaps the more ideas that might spawn from it!
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:icontiiria:
Tiiria Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2019   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.
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2019  Hobbyist 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!
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:iconlevel5pencil:
level5pencil Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2019   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. 
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah this book does look like an interesting read!
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:iconemphasis-lest:
Emphasis-Lest Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019  Student 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
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2019  Hobbyist 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:
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:iconhans-sniekers-art:
hans-sniekers-art Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019  Hobbyist 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.
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2019  Hobbyist 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.
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:iconhans-sniekers-art:
hans-sniekers-art Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2019  Hobbyist 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
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2019  Hobbyist 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:
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:iconhans-sniekers-art:
hans-sniekers-art Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2019  Hobbyist 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
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:iconkawaiistorm:
KawaiiStorm Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019
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*
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2019  Hobbyist 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.
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:iconmare-luna:
Mare-Luna Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019   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 🙂 
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2019  Hobbyist 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!
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:iconhazelrose3637:
HazelRose3637 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019  Professional General Artist
Interesting :)
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh yes!
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:iconideksam:
idekSam Featured By Owner Edited Feb 23, 2019  Student 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!
 
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2019  Hobbyist 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:
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:iconideksam:
idekSam Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2019  Student Digital Artist
I appreciate your words and reply T-T, thank youu! Same to you too, good luck on that story!! (I've always admired those who can write, I bet you're not as bad as you think pfftt!)
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:iconkim-cat3120:
Kim-cat3120 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Huh, that's really interesting! 
And I get it. If you make a lot of things, sure they won't always be perfect, but you'll be learning. You'll be figuring what things work, what looks good, etc. That's not to say that you should just focus on churning things out as quickly as possible, you should still spend time making sure what you make has quality. But if you spend your time trying to make something perfect, you won't end up with much of anything.
Thanks for sharing!
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for your comment! Yes, exactly. I think what we should focus on is finding a balance between quantity and quality. Focus on making lots of work but don't do it mindlessly! (Like I used to do, hah)
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:iconprinnia:
Prinnia Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
I definitely agree.  Another thing to consider is that something that looks like a perfect masterpiece to you now will probably seem much more flawed once you've gained more experience.  There's a lot more value in putting the work in, trying, failing, and succeeding at a variety of things than there is in trying to 'perfect' one narrow subject, especially when you probably don't have the capacity to know what perfection is.
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes! I personally believe it is important to experiment with different things, even something you might not particularly be interested in. The experience can come back to influence your work in a way you'd never expect!
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:icon3fifi8:
3fifi8 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019
oh man
I vaguely recognise some of the things you said here, but this kinda opened my eyes...
Ususally the "quality is better thing" is what I at least heard all the time and was like "yeah ok makes sense"
but I agree! It's always about balance with these things innit?
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah! It's something I wish I'd known when I was younger. Always focused on one and neglected the other.
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:iconasymptoteg:
AsymptoteG Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
This is inspiring to hear. Most of the time I stop drawing because it's not "perfect" and I don't want to go back to it unless I can fix it. Then I end up not making anything...
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's definitely a tough hurdle to overcome. I know you can do it!
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:iconjerry8448:
jerry8448 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I totally agree that practice makes perfect, but being an art teacher myself I know that the story above is utter BS. The situation described would never play out that way. None of the members from group A have a reason to strive for perfection apart from personal ambition. There is no need for them to keep working after reaching 50 pounds of pots.
I would have prefered a version in which the members of group B in their search for quality actually produced more pots than the members of group A. ;) 

 
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:iconshiranova:
Shiranova Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2019   General Artist
I thought the same. I was surprised when I saw how the story ended. Artists just valuing quantity won't improve as their mistakes don't matter. And when the mistakes don't matter there's no need to look at them and correct them.
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:iconkawaiistorm:
KawaiiStorm Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019
this! I thought the same, group B would be putting a lot more of attention and care to their work in the search of the perfect pot, they would have seen all the mistakes in their pot and made a new, better one, each time. Their last pot would be way better than the "mass produced" pots of group A.
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:iconwotawota:
wotawota Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019
Good Job! Very well commented!! I love your version!!
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That is an interesting perspective especially since you are an instructor yourself. Thank you for your comment!
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:iconkuragari1988:
Kuragari1988 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I draw kinda alot but I upload only a few. :> But it's an interesting story! And also I tend to delete stuff which I really don't like. After such I practice the difficult stuff and look at photographs and so on. And last I don't want perfection because I'll never reach it. I just wanna have fun while drawing or draw off feelings and dreams.
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I totally get where you're coming from. Everyone moves at their own pace whether it's done as a hobby or with intent of mastering the art; just have fun and enjoy the ride!
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:iconjoyfool:
Joyfool Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019
Wholesomely agree! 
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:happybounce:
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:iconjoyfool:
Joyfool Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019
//meant to elaborate but didn’t

I think its good to practice both ways because if you go by one alone you might develop bad problem solving habits (like spending too much time thinking over meaningless details if you go for quality or messy sketches if you go for quantity, or at least this is what I’m currently experiencing)
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:icontrollgirl:
TrollGirl Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Professional Traditional Artist
I very much agree :D being anal about every single piece just results in less practice, less results, and annoying the fuck out of your surroundings :D and if we make 100 pots, there's gonna be at least several very good, if not perfect, pots in there.
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yyeah. I think you need to make a lot of work, a lot of which will probably be bad, to increase the chance of producing something really great.  There was an art talk on Youtube (now blocked in my country, yay) mentioning how Picasso created thousands of works in his lifetime but is only known for a handful. Not to say most of his artwork was bad but he produced so much that we really only remember the most famous and successful ones which might have never come to fruition if not for everything else he made.
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:iconwotawota:
wotawota Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019
Oh my... YT is completely blocked? Or (probably) that "art talk"...? Both is unbelievable!! It calls for some action... CURSE YOU! 
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, just the video itself because of a copyright or trademark issue. It's this one www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM39qh… I used to be able to view it but it's been blocked here for some reason. Maybe you can view it where you live?
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:iconwotawota:
wotawota Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019
Wow! It's absolutely awesome!! Thank you my dear, you made my day!!
BTW, can you watch it here > hooktube.com/watch?v=hs2A0yiVW… ???
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Edited Feb 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Neat! Never heard of Hooktube. Thanks! I can access the video from this location. It's a really great video and I think every artist should listen to what he has to say. I've even rewatched it a few times.
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:iconwotawota:
wotawota Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2019
I am always at your serviceReiji Mitsurugi (Bow) [V2] FREE flying hearts Icon 
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:iconwotawota:
wotawota Featured By Owner Edited Feb 23, 2019
Wow! Thank you my dear friend for really amazing stuff! Frankly, I was surprised by that result!
Well, generally speaking, I agree with you - balanced quality and quantity...
Then, what's makes me really uncertain - how to define the quality? 

If I say "quality", of course, here I mean it as of the art!
If that teacher say, for example, ceramic bowl must be of perfectly round shape, no crackles... well, such a product can be "high quality" but not necessarily beautiful...

Personally I must say (again) that for me the act of creation (the way!) is more important than the result...
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:iconlongestdistance:
longestdistance Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's a good question. What do you consider your personal best? That is how I would define the metric of quality. Ask yourself: "Can I do better than this?"
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:iconwotawota:
wotawota Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2019
Nod Oh yes! That's really great definition!!
Well, every next day...  if I ask... my answer will be certainly "yes" ^^;
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