Thursday, November 24, 2011

Objectivity & Thanks

My thanks on this day: I'm thankful that I still have an arm to draw with, a heart to dream with, and a mind to believe with.

These tools will be necessary when I finally pull myself together again. I'm in the down cycle of art study/creation that everyone seems to go through.

I've lost objectivity about my work. I can't tell how much I suck, and I fail to appreciate apparent greatness at the same time. It may be Dunning-Kruger; it may be apathy. I haven't drawn a thing in almost two weeks.

There's nothing like master studies to re-adjust one's suck-o-meter. Maybe that's the key. I'm feeling kind of distant from my dreams. Once I've found the spark, I'll return and write my understandings about it.

Peace and happy holidays.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The "WHY" of Art

Here's a copy of something I posed to an instructor on a private workshop over at CGHub... it's how I've been feeling about art recently. I think I have a way forward now... cautiously optimistic...


It seems the "workout/regimen" paradigm is alive and well among people learning art all over the internet. Recently, there's been something called a Deathline Challenge issued by a couple of members of three very difficult and challenging one-year goals that you set for yourself.

I set some really high one year goals.... and broke them down by month, and then by week. I have several types of studies listed... and I have a weekly quota of "studies" to complete to take me where I want to go.

I started on this, but found that though I was really enjoying the work, I was taking too long and the quotas weren't getting filled.

So I decided to take a step back from all of this and think harder about the "why" of art. Why do it?

Studies are hard. Often, they're a mixture of hard and boring. Getting better is a nice feeling. But if you step back from art (like I have) and see what you've done in the past few months, will you like what you see?

I've been doing serious studies again since June of this year... and looking at my work, you see a mountain of studies yet very little work that I'm too proud of.

Why do I do art? Why do I care?

It's the love, like we've decided, right?

So why am I not drawing things I love--all the time?

This is the realization I've made--the cart is before the horse. Instead of thinking about study first, drawing  second... it should be the other way around. This means that my studies work for my imagination drawings, not the other way around.

An analogy would be working out in a gym versus playing your favorite sport. If you love soccer, and you go to the gym every day for 6 hours breaking every single muscle tissue down to try and get "huge"... when are you playing soccer?

Besides, do you really need to build huge biceps to play soccer? Do I need to know the intricacies of drawing eyelashes if all I'm ever going to do is paint impressionist paintings? (Maybe at some point the study would help..)

But maybe you can see my point of view here.

I can definitely see the logic in busting my backside becoming as "huge" as possible like some Arnold Schwarzenegger of art skills; but it wouldn't help my "soccer" skills.

I'm not aiming for a job as a concept artist. I think I'd like to do some humor-based graphic novels, and I would love to animate on a future 2D Disney movie. That's where I want to be.

Learning the figure is key; but if I don't draw figures from imagination, I'm not making mistakes... I'm not doing the "love" part, I'm not playing the sport. I'm sitting in a sweaty gym, smelling all of the dank air and not playing "soccer".

I do think studies (at least for me) have a very important role; but they should be specific to the problems manifested in the art that I'm doing in the moment... training an art skill in something I'm not working on is like getting huge biceps when training for soccer.

I'm not totally settled on this idea; but I think it provides me a way forward from here. It doesn't mean I'll be lazy; in fact, it means I'll get excited about drawing again and I'll do a lot more of it... like playing soccer, I'll fail a lot more, I'll lose the game a lot more, I'll fall on my face in the mud. But I'll take criticisms and work on my game when I'm not in there playing it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Brain? Brain brain brain.

Do I have ideas? Has the brain lost the battle? Have I lost all coherency?

Have a think about this; in the "quest" to get a grasp on drawing, do we forget why? Why am I drawing? Why am I desperate to get better? To what end? Millions of dollars? Adoring fans? Sex by the mile? (A mile being a unit of length or distance, a distance of travel, I'm male, figure out the rest yourself... it's naughty)

Seriously. Why art? Why draw? Why broken ass, splintered fingers, spent money, wasted days, leaked fluids, dropped appointments, lost wages, feelings trampled, family ignored, people unconsidered, tasks undone, laundry unattended, trash unemptied?

Why? Why all of this effort and attention? Am I trying to fit a profile? Am I trying to be in a scene? Does the socialization have anything to do with it? If I couldn't post a thing, would I ever draw anything ever again?

Ultimately, I think the answer lies in that direction. Drawing is a communication. It's a form of communication meant to be used by those who have trouble communicating. There must be unspoken thoughts, undreamt demons, unexpressed heart-truths. These things have a way of itching through your skin from the inside, demanding a way out. And when they come out, they're often unrefined and rarely understood by anyone other than the source... than the one with all the trouble communicating.

I can't write well; and when I do, people don't care (as mentioned in my first blog post). They shouldn't have to.

I can't speak too well, and prefer not to. When speaking, I generally speak too much of myself... losing people's interest. I can keep their interest speaking only about them, but then the inner itchings continue unscratched.

Maybe it would be all the better if at the end of life I fade to dust, the clouds roll on for eons, the earth freezes, all sorts of atmospheric effects buffet and thoroughly bury any speck of remembrance of my essence. Maybe.

These things that want out of me aren't self concerned; they're loving, they want to embrace other people. Otherwise I might agree that I could just disappear and save the world my labored efforts at communication.

Drawing has always seemed like the best way to get to where I might have a chance at redeeming myself, and giving back to humanity. Something inside me urges me that way. My own shortcomings and brain brain brain are at odds with this, very often.

I have to find the path away from the malaise, and toward this eventual ability to give voice to the itchies.... because they're meant for the world--they love the world--they're not meant for my insides.