Monday, March 26, 2007

What goes up must come down ...

Making art is always a thrill and a letdown. It's absolutely thrilling to create. There's nothing quite like it. But being as flawed as I am it is such a letdown. It's never as cool as I imagine it will be. I can never get it absolutely right. What am I to do? Try again I suppose, think a little bit harder and put my hand through the rigors of practice.

Someone asked me on my last post what words of advice I'd have for someone who wanted to do what I do. It feels a bit silly answering such questions at this young point in my life but when I think about it, despite my youth I do have some strong feelings about what an artist can do to better succeed at this craft. You really must learn to draw. To draw right and to draw expressively. Study how to depict accurate forms in perspective in a 2D space. That alone is a huge piece of this puzzle and one that I struggle with daily. Of equal importance is learning how to paint. To compose light and color like a symphony. I had an eye opening experience about 2 years back when I realized that I was shrugging off mistakes in my artwork. I'd see it but brush it aside thinking, "well I'll fix that in the next piece." It hit me one day that that mistake was only going to be repeated unless I fixed it now. Fix everything you can see that's wrong in a piece. You're the only one who can fix it and nothing is stopping you. Even with this attitude you'll still hit brick walls but it's a start. How do you fix something though? You find out how to do it right. Find some reference. Find how another artist solves the problem. Do some studies of that solution then come back and fix it. If you want to get better you are going to have to open your eyes wide to your mistakes. Really look for them. The other thing I can think of is that as a concept artist you are equally an illustrator and designer. Design is just as important as the illustrative execution. I don't know. You shouldn't ask me these questions until I know what I'm talking about. Oh ya, one more thing that I heard from Ian McCaig at the last Gnomon Workshop. You know how we look through tons of reference before we start drawing something we're unfamiliar with? He said that to not only get it in your brain but also in your hand, quickly sketch that reference as you go through it. That way you actually learn and retain it. This has helped me immensely. I repeat, immensely.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Floating geisha ghosts are creepy. I find the biggest challenge with art is my own perfectionism which shines an ugly light on all my artistic shortcomings. But hey, what you can see you can fix so thank God for the ugly light, otherwise I'd sit in the dark lost forever and nothing sounds more like a nightmare than being lost forever. I've been studying a lot lately. Working hard on problem solving the fundamentals of art. I recently acquired Glenn Vilppu's notes on figure drawing from your imagination and he starts off the lecture saying that in his experience most artists struggling with something are deficient in the fundamentals. The problem he states is that many artists fancy themselves as better than they actually are. They move on past these basics and wonder why they struggle. I came across this same realization in my own work only a few months back and reading this reinforced what I had stumbled upon.