It's time for the highlights from 2018!
Click read more to see the full write-up!
I'll tell you a little secret: I hate the concept of New Year's resolutions. It seems like we are pretty much forced by society to come up with some goal that we already know from the start that we aren't going to keep. It's just accepted that people don't stick to New Year's resolutions! However, I love the idea of setting goals for yourself and striving to improve. With that in mind, this year I actually made a resolution for myself. Rather than choose some abstract goal like "get better at art", I am going with something that I can keep track of: Draw every day in 2018. No matter what. Even if I'm sick or traveling.
Drawing every day is heavily suggested by many, many successful artists as one of the best ways to improve your art game, so it's a bit embarrassing that it has taken me this long to force myself to do it. Obviously drawing with intent, meaning drawing things that you know will help you improve, is better than just drawing willy-nilly, but anything is better than nothing. While I definitely want to do more studies, especially of human and animal anatomy, I don't want to make these my specific goals because I know I won't stick to it. I know, however, that I will do some studies throughout the year, so just drawing every day will increase my chances of doing them! I've already done one study, so I'd say I'm off to a good start!
Like I mentioned initially, being able to keep track of my goal is one of the main reasons I decided to make my resolution "draw every day." To do this, I got out a fresh sketchbook and put a calendar in the front of it. If you are familiar with bullet journals, that is sort of what I took my inspiration from. I want to make my "resolution" sketchbook something I look at every day, so I also marked special days on this calendar, like birthdays and conventions. I'm already pretty obsessed with keeping track of my upcoming events, so adding the calendar should really help make this sketchbook important to me. In addition, I am marking off each day on the calendar when I do my sketch for the day. This way if I don't draw on a day, I have a constant visual reminder of my shame. It should keep me pretty accountable!
Other things you might note on my front page are "ideas" and "monthly starts." "Ideas" is pretty self-explanatory: I just wanted to have some space to write down drawing ideas. Most of what I have written down currently are popular monthly drawing challenges, but I could include anything that pops in my mind in the future! The "monthly starts" section is just where I will put the page number for the first sketch of each month. (Did I mention I numbered all of the pages in my sketchbook?) I like to be organized, but I didn't want my sketchbook to be too rigid, so i figured this was the best solution to allow me freedom to use as many pages per month as I wanted, but to also satisfy my need for organization!
I may or may not share the sketches publicly in the future. I don't want to feel any sort of pressure as to what I draw, or the end quality of the drawings, so I don't want to make that promise! I suggest that if you make a similar resolution (and don't feel like you can't since it is a few weeks into the year! No time like the present!), don't feel obligated to share your sketches. I've noticed that trying to share something on social media every day is a resolution in itself! But if this will help you feel more accountable to draw every day, then do it! What works for me might not work for you; we're all different in how we stick to our goals. Have you made an art-related resolution this year?
It's that time again! Here is my summary of art for 2017!
Read more to see the highlights of my year's progress in art!
Just like last year, I was unable to complete Inktober. This year I made it all the way to day 18 though! That's 5 more days than last year! I'll take pride in that I suppose! I am a bit disappointed in myself, but I also know how Fangcon knocked it out of me. I had planned on using some of the inks from my Fangcon badges for those days, and then starting back with actual Inktober pieces after the con. But I was so wiped, and so excited about getting started on my take home commissions that I just couldn't focus on Inktober pieces. Oh well!
Rather than beat myself up about it, I think I should focus on the positives that 18 days of Inktober gave me! In just that small number of drawings, I felt like my ability to digitally ink improved rapidly. Beforehand, inking digitally took me AGES. While I always loved how it looked in the end, it was so tedious and time consuming that it was my least favorite part of doing a piece. I was always so focused on trying to get my lines absolutely perfect, as if I was using vectors to do them. But Inktober made me realize that I'm not a computer, I'm not doing vectors, so why am I trying to emulate one? I have always love the idea of the hand of the artist and the little touches that only traditional media can bring to a piece of art, so it made absolutely no sense for me to continue trying to be so perfect with digital. Inktober gave me an opportunity to live a little and try out some new techniques that I hadn't been able to do before. It breathed a new life into my art, or at least my opinions of it.
After Inktober, I have no longer been dreading the inking stage. My process has sped up considerably, and since I am no longer concerned with looking like vectors, I feel like my art has more movement and life in it than before. The hand of the artist has returned!
Want to see my journey? You can see all of my completed Inktober pieces in this blog posts:
I am hoping that what I learned from Inktober will pass on to other aspects of my art: mainly my coloring and my fears of trying new things. I know I have already begun speeding up my coloring process, but I hope that the this whole "hand of the artist" trend will continue to grow. I have always wanted my digital work to look more like my traditional media pieces, but I unfortunately allowed myself to stagnate once I figured out one method of drawing digitally. I never really realized how stagnant I had become until I did a digital Inktober this year! I am incredibly pleased with my decision to do it digitally and with the new knowledge, personal reflection, and growth I have been able to accomplish in such a short time. Even though I "failed" at completing Inktober, I still feel like I won.
Did you manage to complete the Inktober challenge? Or did you still come out a winner by learning something new during the experience?
It's been a long journey, but it's been so worth it! I stumbled upon this "Improvement Meme" over on Deviant Art and thought it might be a fun thing to whip up. I've put my filled-out meme under the cut because it is so big!
Many artists get so focused on their current abilities (Does this look good? This composition is terrible but I can't seem to get it right. My art sucks!) that they never pause to look back at how far they have come. I believe that if we do take time to look back, we won't be so hatefully critical of our current work. Of course, it is always important to be critical of your work, that's how you improve, but we all know how artists can take it to harmful levels of self-deprecation. In this improvement meme, I reflected on who I was at each age, how my interests and perceived flaws affected my art, and what kind of strides I was taking to improve. Not everything is covered due to the small space the meme provides, but this does show an overview. One major thing I left out was how strongly my colorblindness made me limit myself to greyscale at a young age. I didn't (and to some extent still don't) feel comfortable working in color because I had the mindset that it had to be "correct", and since I obviously couldn't see colors very well compared to most people, my colors wouldn't be correct. Although I didn't really learn color theory until much later, only working in greyscale at a young age turned out to be a blessing in disguise when I started my art degree. Thanks to my fears, I had already overcome what many artists struggle with: making the shadows actually dark. And, even more thankfully, my many years of practicing shading gave me a wonderful basis for using colors properly and even experimenting with them (even if I still couldn't see them!)
Like always, let this be a reminder that everyone can improve, and practice is the key to drastic improvement. Just look at the difference between the years before and after I started my art degree (2011). The only thing different between 2010 and 2012 is that I was forced to draw every day! If only I had been motivated enough to do that myself before my professors made me!
The full meme under the cut! (beware, it's HUGE)