Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Daily Prompts: Part 1

"and then there were four..."

Ugh. YET AGAIN I have been absent for OVER A MONTH. No excuses, but:
I am officially making it a goal to update this blog a little more frequently than once-a-month-ish. It will tie nicely into my resolution to make more art more frequently! :)

I am still very much on a watercolor kick, and very much in my 'blue period'. Out of consideration for you folks (for being so patient and obliging!), I decided to break it up a bit and spent a few minutes tossing some quick color on the above sketch. I realize: not everyone is as in-love with Prussian Blue as I am (But. Guys. I am so. SO in love with Prussian Blue watercolor), and it might be nice to break up the monochrome.

Because I'd bet money that most of you don't watch this blog because of my monochromatic doodling- that you'd like to see some more finished looking work. Many of you may be getting a little impatient with all this scrawly sketchwork. I feel a (perhaps bizarre, perhaps unnecessary) need to make excuses for myself- this is something I need to do for me.

If you love this style of work, then please forgive me for not giving you the benefit of the doubt- you have much more broad and evolved tastes than I give you credit for! :)

I've said it often to myself and it's come up more than once in conversation: I don't much care if my color is pretty, my rendering is slick and my styling is confident- if my ideas aren't compelling/sincere/arresting, then it's all for naught. I spend all day at work doing very precise, 'rendered' drawings and sculptures- and I've found that I have been really craving to do...not-that!
I'm slowly realizing that, while technical skill has its place, in the end my joy in making art doesn't come from those things. I don't want to spend my life trying to render more precisely or paint like a renaissance master. Comparing myself to my peers in that regard is pretty dispiriting- I am by far not the best painter...and I think I don't want to spend time trying to be. And that is SO freeing :)

What gets me most excited is the dreaming- the conceiving, sketching, thinking and storytelling. I am more and more in love with work that shows the heart of the artist, and less and less in love with work that is technically excellent but empty. It's not a new thought, by any means, but it's taken on new meaning for me.

Perhaps it's more simply said this way: I am more inspired, my life is more enriched, by seeing a beautiful idea than by seeing a beautifully rendered bicep.
< / rant >

SO: to that end a friend of mine consented to give me a little homework. Each day for a few days at a time I would open a sealed envelope with a new prompt in it. Just a sentence or a word, and that day I would respond visually in some way or another.
What you'll see is pretty raw and unpolished. And I would say a lot of it is pretty boring and some of it fails completely. But I think it's probably more useful and interesting if I post them indiscriminately- I'm going to make a lot of mediocre work if I'm going to make good work. And I think there's something to be said for posting bad work as well as good.

Day 1:
"and then there were four..."

The first day is still one of my favorites, but it was a struggle from start to finish. I've found the more narrative/sentence-long prompts tend to inspire me more, but it's not a hard-and-fast rule. Day 1 I had a little idea, and I decided: "I'll make this a short little one-page comic! if it's sketchy and quick it won't take long and it'll be fun". So, I leapt right into trying to come up with characters and panels and assumed it would go quicker because of the style it was in. SO WRONG. I ended up having a mini panic attack and falling asleep early. True story.
The second image was to be the final panel in the comic, and it's the original idea, essentially. I still like it, and I thought about finishing the comic later but decided against it- I think it's more honest this way. Fact: sometimes I bite off more than I can chew, stress myself out, and become paralyzed. Comics are hard and style has nothing to do with why.

Day 2:

Day 2: chill out and breathe. Keep it simple. Something easy and, in the end, kind of 'meh'. They can't all be interesting :/

Day 3:
"the moment he knew"

lol. Hard to explain this first response- so I did a for-real one.

The final response I liked a lot, but it has little to do with the actual prompt. I had been thinking about this idea for Jellybots- herds of buildings migrating across the plains...

Day 4:
"...and that's when I stopped believing in gravity."

My first reaction to the prompt was a bit...obvious, I thought. And not particularly good. My first instinct is not often my best one (which is actually a really great lesson across all of these...often I had to do a little soul-searching and thinking to get to a result I was excited about- apparently it's not enough for me to just lash out on intuition alone), so I gave this one another quick shot...

ahhh...that's better. "...and a number of other things, for that matter."

Just because I had to think a little harder didn't mean the result would necessarily be more...intellectual. Perhaps 'thinking' is the wrong word- maybe it's that I had to stop 'thinking' about the prompt and start 'feeling' about it. That rings truer.

That pretty much wraps it up for my first session of prompts. I had a lot of fun when I wasn't panicking, so I asked her to do it again! I made a weekend trip to Seattle last week and took a few prompts with me! I'll post the results of those next (but I figure it might be less overwhelming if I break up the posts) :)

Bonus sketch! I am fond of the cut of this fellow's jib! Not to mention his Banjolele :)
If intrigued, please click.

Anyways, maybe this was an interesting look into how I think? Maybe it was a self-indulgent post full of introspection and meaningless doodling? Either way, I'm going to do it again until somebody stops me!

May the staggering beauty of what God has made give you pause and fill your heart up!



Emily said...

ahahahaha "the moment he knew"

Gueph'Ren said...

When you said that you liked beautiful ideas rather than beautifully rendered images... I knew why I liked your style and way of thinking from the very first sight. I am more a guy of earth tones, brown, red, yellow, umber, but I can agree with that love for the sketchy drawings. Doesn't it feels liberating taking a brush in hand to caress the paper, nudging it to show the world your ideas?

Please do continue with this posts!

Anna said...

I really like the idea of daily sketch prompts - I've done something similar with writing, and it's a really good exercise.

I've tried, and failed, to keep up a one-sketch-a-day habit (June, July and August were fine - I only missed a day or two - but since September, I've been failing pretty regularly), and I think it might be because I don't know what on Earth I'm supposed to draw.

Now you've given me ideas! Thanks!

And re: Prussian Blue. It's the best blue there is, and I use it all the time. :D

The Lady Nerd said...

You're back! Huzzah! While I do like your finished artwork, I actually really enjoy looking at your sketches, your thought process on how you GOT to the final piece.

It's probably odd of me to say it, but it helps to hear that I'm not the only one who gets mini panic attacks when drawing. (Though, sadly, unlike you I haven't mastered actually creating art despite of it.) Getting screwed over professionally has really taken the wind out of my drawing sails...

I love the character sketches, they have such life to them. Don't doubt your ideas, draw them all! Sometimes the viewer can be enchanted by a piece of artwork you didn't intend (I rather like the 1st drawing for #4. Makes me think of Pixar's Up. :) )

Leana said...

"The Moment He Knew".... that one, that one....

Angie said...

Personally, I prefer to look at peoples' sketches. I absolutely love and admire the work and time put into a finished piece, but I love sketches. (...I don't sketch often enough...)
I love this idea for the prompts! I've tried using prompts online, but I think I skip around until I find one I like more... having someone put them together for me might work out better!

Your sketches are just gorgeous. They make me smile! I hope you always enjoy drawing, because the drawings you enjoy are the best of your work. It really shows through. Thank you so much for sharing these.

...by the way the second "Gravity" sketch is my personal favorite.

Bethany Craig said...

I love everything you do!

Gabi Dimaranan said...

please don't stop even if someone told you to...

only you could draw floating cakes in prussian blue and still make me crave chocolate cake with caramel filling......hahahaha