Hello! I have been finding it has been a little difficult for me to make art recently. I have quite a bit happening personally to keep me distracted and I have been ignoring some of my own rules for the summer- namely: work despite your mood! I have, though, had the opportunity for guided exploration of my creative energies and was recently tasked with critically thinking about interests that I enjoy that I haven’t put enough time into pursuing.
The thing that stood out to me (as something that was most within my grasp to tackle in real life) was my admiration for the artists I follow who spend a great deal of their time on their original characters. They have complex stories and even comics and storyboards sometimes to clue you into their world. I find myself week after week just logging in to see what my new favorite characters are up to and since the stories and characters are purely the making of the artists, the only way for me to keep up with them is through the artists themselves rather than a television show or a book; it feels more personal and the art impacts my work greatly. My current obsessions are the works of Allison Berg and Carl Harrison, with particular interest in the way Miss Berg presents her web-comic After Dark.
I have to admit, I have been stopping myself from really diving into a my own narratives because they felt like they were a waste of time and I never felt very good at it. As I kid, I came up with stories all the time and would waste hours of my parents time telling them about a movie that would never be made or a comic they would never be able to see. But recently I’ve tried to set that aside and put some effort into actually studying what about the characters I’m following helps me to love them and become attached. With that in mind, I have challenged myself to explore different styles and shapes. This will also set me up for better practice with my digital work (which is still the bane of my existence.) The other exercise I am engaging in with these sketches is the permission to be creative and childish, and just play and explore. With these characters I am free to make up whole worlds, with new histories and creatures!
For one of my first outings in a while, I started to sketch a character named Michal (pronounced Mikhail but spelled wrong). My first issue is learning to loosen up. I have a very tight was of sketching so I pushed myself to abstract my shapes and begin to define my illustrative style.
I also started working on another character (from a different story) who I approached a little differently. When I started liking some of the shapes I was coming up with in Michal’s sketches I worked backwards a little- instead of shooting around in the dark for shapes that seemed to fit my character, I made a list of things I knew about the character. This is my start with Hank! (I am still a little self conscious to share more of their stories until I can draw them but I am happy with my jumping off point.)
A note about the lined paper- I have found it a relaxing and helpful way to study my sketches to draw on lined paper and edit the lines out where I feel it is necessary. It feels like a good first step for me in developing my identity as a digital illustrator. I am still a little scared to work in color or with a lot of brushes yet but I can start to see some life in the pages and that puts me in a good place moving forward.
What’s Playing- With little explanation, Blister in the Sun has been stuck in my head for too long now, so here you go.