In Depth Post 3 – Backgrounds in Digital Art

What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

I was blown away by my first real mentor meeting. My mentor, Sarina, had a well planned out structure for the meeting, with clear points and great pacing. I had enough time to take notes, which I did in detail. Sarina shared a lot of information that made sense and used visual examples to tie it together. She asked me questions, such as what a drawing created with a certain texture of brush reminded me of. This helped make the meeting engaging.

Another great element of our last meeting is that I got to draw my own texture study, something I learned about during that meeting. It is a method used by artists to practice replicating certain textures. I replicated tree bark, and I did so while screen sharing so Sarina could watch and give me pointers.

Here is the image of my texture study:

What relationship challenges did you face?  Address some of the sub- questions below

Were you communicating effectively with one another?

Sarina and I have been communicating very well. We have a group chat on discord and often ask questions and send each other art, such as my background practices. We are also able to respond to each other rather quickly, which lets us resolve any problems or questions without much delay.

Were you candid and open in your communication?

During my last In-Depth meeting, my mentor and I were quite open in our communication. We spoke a lot about elements of art, such as solid and soft brushes, textures, blocking out colour, and much more. However, we also talked about our pets and a few other topics. This was really nice because though Sarina is my mentor, we were also really good friends when we were younger and it was great to talk to her again. Overall, we were open and sincere while communicating and it made for an enjoyable meeting.

Were you actually listening to each other?

I listened attentively during our last meeting and took detailed notes so I wouldn’t forget anything. My mentor also listened to me when I asked questions and made comments. If our audio cut out, we asked for the other person to repeat what they said.

What did you do to hold yourself accountable for your learning?

I learned a lot during my last meeting, and I put it to use by drawing my own background using some of the principles taught by my mentor. However, I would have liked to practice drawing more than one background, as I was not able to incorporate all the principles into my last one. Additionally, more practice would always be good. I was busy these past few weeks, so I did not get many chances to draw, but during the next few weeks I will make more time. I will hold myself accountable during the next few weeks by drawing at least two backgrounds and/or other art practices.

Here is my first background practice. To start, I blocked out the colour, then added some texture. I used both solid and soft brushes. I learned about all this in detail last meeting.

What logical challenges affected your communication?

Sarina is much more knowledgeable about art than I am, so she knew more terms than I do. Sometimes I had to ask her to clarify what a term meant. However, Sarina did an overall amazing job at making sure everything was understandable for me, while still diving deep into the content.

What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?

Sarina and I have been meeting online, but this comes with its own set of challenges. Though we didn’t have many issues with Wi-Fi or bad quality calls, I ran into a problem while trying to share my screen. It was my first time doing so, and I couldn’t figure it out because I had accidentally set the settings to not allow me to share my screen. I tried many strategies to fix this, and eventually succeeded, but it probably took me a good ten minutes. Luckily, Sarina was able to continue teaching while I fiddled with settings on my iPad. Technology affected my interaction abilities, but I was able to solve the problem and get back to interacting properly.

The other factor is me being nervous about the meeting. I was quiet at the start, but by the end I was much more comfortable and was able to communicate happily.

What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions?

One is to have everything I need ready for my meeting so I don’t have to interrupt the meeting to get it. This applies to the screen sharing incident because if I had made sure I could do it beforehand, I could have saved a lot of time for my mentor. However, I didn’t know that I needed to screen share beforehand. It would be good to find a solution to this. I also need to get paper and a pencil ready so I can take notes.

Another is to find a way to be less nervous before a meeting. I wasn’t sure what strategies I could use to do so, but I found a great website about conference call anxiety that gave some great pointers.

The two pointers I want to use are about preparing for the meeting. This is similar to my first strategy, but it goes a bit deeper. I need to prepare my environment and myself. By preparing my environment I can eliminate distractions. By preparing myself, I can manage my nerves so I can start the meeting comfortable and ready to interact.

What is the action plan for implementing each of the three strategies?

Before the meeting, I will ask my mentor what extra supplies I might need. If any extra supplies are required, I will get them ready for the meeting. I will also put paper and a pencil on the desk where I have my meeting.

To prepare my environment, I will clean off my desk and shut the door to my room so it is quiet. I will also ask my family members to keep their voices down during the meeting.

To prepare myself, I will do some of the following:

  • Take a walk
  • Do some breathing
  • Eat something nice
  • Watch some motivational videos, such as that of a dog named Tofu Chan