How board games can make you a better artist.

Updated: Jun 11, 2019

As artists we see a lot of inspiring stuff around us. And these can be pretty different from one another. Which leads us to make such diverse things, that we end up with a ratatouille portfolio.

There are so many great artists out there with their own specific style, it’s mind boggling.

If we see a work like this - so many colours! I want to be able to make something like this as-well.

But hey, this portrait is quite awesome. Let’s try something like this.

These gesture drawings are so dynamic, let’s do that!.

We end up like a dog chasing it’s own tail but how does this happen?

Focus on rules instead of the result

We’re so focused on achieving the end result (this artwork has to look like X) that if we don’t achieve that expectation, we’re kind of disappointed. And since there are so many other ways we can make an artwork, we move on and try something else. Before you know this goes on, and on, and on, and on.. And we never achieve our goal and throw that fucking sketchbook through the room and never touch it again.

Instead of focussing on a (desired) result we should focus on the process. I hear you think, what the hell do you mean with that? The process can be seen as a (board) game. Just like a board game this process requires rules, otherwise we end up in a fight (with ourselves). A game of checkers is whole lot simpeler then chess. Start with checkers.

Let give it a try. Imagine you want to draw a portrait of someone with a pen. The rules could be like this:


  • 5x10cm

  • Medium: pen

  • Level of detail: small

This is a pretty simple portrait drawing which doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. Totally the opposite of what most beginners do (including me). You see this awesome watercolour portrait painting and jump right into it. But without us consciously knowing it, we’re five years old trying to play chess and use rules like:


  • 30x40cm

  • Medium: watercolour

  • Level of detail: medium

So do I mean we can never play chess? Ofcourse not. But play a checkers of couple of 10 times and then you’ll understand it. Then replace one of the pieces for a bishop and make another 10 works. Now add a tower and eventually add a horse, that fucker is strange. Before you know it you’ll be making stuff you never imagine you could make.

And you know what, it’s fun. Because you’re achieving your goals.

So why does my audience like this?

Without us being conscious aware of it we are creatures that unintentional imitation each other’s postures, gestures, mannerisms, moods, and emotions. That means that when someone is very friendly to you, you're most like to be friendly back. Also know as mimicry. We don’t like to watch a tense person, just like we don’t like to watch a drawing that’s been made by a tense person. Better show stuff you’ve made while you felt relaxed, then you’ll convey that feeling to others, which is a whole lot more enjoyable to watch.

Next to this, your audience will see you evolve. The first simple portrait drawing might have some flaws here and there but the last one will definitely be better than the first one. And that’s just plain awesome!

People might even find it so cool, that they’ll buy the whole serie (but you didn’t have that from me).

#draw #learn #psychology #series #serie #human #proces #result #chess #checkers


Adress: Willem de Zwijgerlaan 351-2, Amsterdam 

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