Pretty sure I mentioned this in the old blog but I will re-iterate here.
There is a specific method I use to practice and train because I’m not a professional artist, and I have limited time drawing. This is the method I developed called Kaizen.
Kaizen in Japanese means to innovate, but is also attributed a specific lean manufacturing technique invented for the sole purpose of continual improvement. I attributed this methodology from the engineering domain into my art because it has some qualities that are useful for a person who wants to improve but doesn’t have a lot of time to grind. One of the tenets of kaizen are the 5S protocols; Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, Shitsuke.
Seiri means to organise. In manufacturing it has a different meaning, but I use it in the sense of eliminating unnecessary factors and find out what I should be focusing on in practicing.
For example above, I had received comments that my works were too stiff so I set about focusing on gesture and movement.
It is actually quite hard to determine what requires practice because sometimes you cannot see what the problem is. Inexperienced artists tend to have jaded eyes concerning their work. I found that leaving a drawing for 1-2 weeks then looking back at it usually helps in determining what needs work.
Seiton means to arrange. What I do here is arrange the various problems I need to fix in terms of priority. Always try to tackle the most basic problems first because it almost always affects higher level factors.
In the example above, gesture had to be tackled in order to fix the main problem of ‘movement’ in my drawings.
Seiso means to clean. Not really an important factor but can be interpreted as maintenance. Essentially don’t let your skills degrade and keep them up to date.
Seiketsu means to standardize. Essentially because of the time constraints I schedule my weeks like a Gantt chart. Then I order the list of problems I have from the Seiton stage and stagger them in sequential weeks.
For example; Week 1 – Gesture, Week2 – Posing, Week 3 – Interaction, Week 4 – Gesture (loop starts again but I look at Week 1’s drawing here).
The first reason for doing this is so I don’t end up grinding the same thing and become frustrated.
The second reason is that it gives a buffer time so that you can look back at it when the week with the same focus comes again. Within that time frame you will be able to find out all the flaws and attempt to fix them.
The third reason is that you can improve all the problems at once, albeit at a slower overall pace.
Also if you replace the wording with the kanji for sei (living) and ketsu (ass), seiketsu will mean “ass of life”.
Shitsuke means discipline. Self-explanatory, just keep to the schedule and draw when you can. It also loosely means to self-initiate tasks and be independent. Don’t start looking into things only when someone tells you there is a problem. Actively try and find any problems yourself all the time.