Yesterday’s post was written frantically. I did it as I do most things, by the seat of my pants, just pulling from the deepest recesses of my insane mind. I did some writing in the past for my LARP (live action roleplaying). Most notably, I wrote the background for the Great Library setting. It’s my hope that by writing every day that I’ll eventually get better at it.
I’ve been drawing since I could walk. Somewhere amongst my things (nearly all my belongs are in storage right now), I’ve got the first drawing I ever did. A smiley face that was drawn on the back of one of my mother’s checks. I’ve always enjoyed creating things and was constantly told how artistic I was as a child. Now that I’m older and having trouble creating, it’s been a huge identity crisis for me.
The rock golem pictured above was something I drew at one point for a tabletop roleplaying game called Never After. I have a slew of artwork that I created for the game, but I don’t believe it was ever published. I sadly have not kept contact with the creator and writer of the game due to my numerous moves across the country.
The difference in the two drawings is very noticeable. And I am aware that the quality of the pencil sketch could be better. At the time, I did not have a scanner. I just snapped a photograph straight from the sketchbook where I found most of my old art. In the past, I always found normal art to be challenging. Drawing too darkly and having trouble erasing to correct my mistakes. Yet now there are times when I struggle with digital art because it’s so easy to erase and start over.
I can’t help but cringe when I look at some of my older pieces. I don’t even DARE open my college portfolio. You can see the stark difference between 3 years of drawing. Can you imagine my work from 2002? I’ll be posting these “Before” and “After” drawings to my Gallery once this post goes live. I think it’s important to show how much we’ve grown as well as what we are capable of doing.
The fundamental building blocks of artwork are color, composition, value, form, linework, and perspective. When I first started drawing, I often would mimic the art styles of other artists that I admired. When you’re first learning to ‘walk’ in the art world, this makes a lot of sense. I still remember loathing life drawing class in college. I wanted to create complete pieces. Not do sketch after sketch, roughly mapping out the messy forms of our art model. I hated realism, because it was difficult and my pieces never looked correct to me. My art professors would chastise many of us for drawing in “anime” style. I used to believe they just hated cartoons, but I appreciate their sentiment now that I’ve gotten more experience under my belt. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is especially important when you’re learning, discovering, and practicing.
You take pieces from artists you consider as your role model. Eventually you learn your own style. Even then, you’re artwork can change. Some of my favorite illustrators have honed their skills and even after decades of work, you can notice slight modifications and revisions in their work. Change isn’t a bad thing. A fact of life I’m still always learning to accept.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
I’ve done ACEO (technically artist trading arts, but it stands for: art cards, editions and originals) in the past for money. And I’ve taken on illustration commissions for different mediums. Sadly, commissions more recently have given me a large amount of anxiety. Turning your passion into a job doesn’t always work out. Communication can be difficult with customers even if you attempt to use your DBT skills.
And sometimes, working on pieces for friends just doesn’t pan out. So much so that it can destroy said friendships. It’s not something I want to dwell on, but just a fact of the matter I have to make clear. I don’t do commissions anymore because of these factors. I’m struggling right now to create things that I love. I cannot even image creating things that will sell. Maybe one day in the future, this will change.
Before I took down Fish in Bowl (dot com), I had a Patreon setup with a small number of patrons donating a small sum each month. It wasn’t an impressive amount, but I took some pleasure in knowing that my artwork paid for my streaming services at the time. Since content was no longer being provided, I lost that. I’m not back in the saddle creating art yet, nevertheless, I am pleased with the progress I’ve made in constructing and establishing Atelier Whootique.
Once again, I want to express my gratitude to everyone for reading my posts. Your presence here is greatly appreciated!