Just playing around with some old Patch doodles.
A friend of mine over on Bat Cookies just posted an article about her writing fears and desires. It struck a special chord with me in the current state of my drawing life. I was going to post a response there, but I realized quickly that I was going to be a bit wordy, and that my readers might appreciate the perspective, so here we are.
“In 2004 I had won Nanowrimo and my love of writing was greater than my fear of it.”
She wrote a lot more when she was younger. She felt passionate about it and didn’t let fears or concerns get in her way. I feel the same way about my illustrations.
I can remember years of my life spent in a diner in the wee hours of the morning drinking coffee and just drawing with everything I had. Like her journals, I filled sketchbook after sketchbook with thousands of images filling page after page. It was like an addiction. The more I did, the more I wanted to do.
Like her, somewhere along the way, I became that cliché - my own worst critic. With that, you could watch as my volume of drawing just dropped away to virtually nothing.
I miss that addiction.
I’ve heard it said many times that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. While that may or may not be true, the concept gave me a bit of a new vantage on my current battle with the fear of doing bad illustrations.
It occurred to me that you have to pay your dues. You have to do those bad drawings before you can get to the good ones.
The key here, I think, is to focus on the positive. With each individual sketch, I draw many lines and then select those that I think are the best and focus on them. Why wouldn’t I take the same approach to my art career? What’s more, people tend to respond better to a positive outlook. Yeah, I know that this sounds like another ‘duh’ point, but the simple truth is that I’m likely to stay more motivated by the positive responses that I’m likely to get by being positive. Positively.
These thoughts have been swirling around in my head for a while now, and the conclusion that I’ve come to can be referred to as ABC: Always Be Creating or CC: Create Constantly. I’m making this a thing for me. I’m focusing on burning through (another?) 10,000 hours. Bad drawing? No problem – I’m just paying my dues. Good drawing? Excellent – let’s get some feedback on this. Another bad drawing? What can I learn from it.
What’s more, I’m going to be more inclusive in my art life. I’ll do some sculpture work. I’ll get out the paints and cover some canvasses.
More on all of this as I go forward, but for now:
Which do you like more? Always Be Creating or Create Constantly? Which has a better ring to you?
I know that one of my own artistic weaknesses is my habit of doing the same characters over and over in the same poses and with the same facial expressions. I get comfortable with something and I stay in that comfort zone. So what better way to improve than create a simple exercise to stretch that comfort zone a little.
And so I present the Head Shapes Template:
The idea was pretty basic. Use a variety of head shapes exclusively to create different characters. I say exclusively, because I wanted to use the same features. The point here was just to see how varied the character can be based solely on how the head is shaped.
I made the shapes in the template above fairly light so that you can use it as an illustration exercise if you would like. If you don’t have the tools to work digitally, the lines should be light enough that a printed page would work with pencil/pen over top.
Below are the progressive shots that I produced. All work done on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.
And lastly: the final image.
(This is just an exercise, so it’s still obviously rough, but I hope you enjoy!)
Now try your own. Take the template an design your own faces based on the head shapes. Post the results (or links) in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with!
I admit – I’ve been terrible about posting NaNoDrawMo pics, but at least I’ve been drawing pretty regularly…
I may do a modified version of NaNoWriMo, but I am definitely going to do NaNoDrawMo. Seems a bit more appropriate for me anyway right?
Anyway, here’s my 2 posts for tonight. As long as I continue to do more than 1 image per day I should be able to easily make the 50 required in 1 month.
While I’m at it, here’s the image I drew yesterday during my lunch break as a Halloween e-card.