Saturday, March 14, 2009

Post 299


I went way farther with this than originally intended, but whatever, it took me less than an hour to do in total, and I like the final result.

I can't stress just how important drive is in this industry. Recently, the first words out of everyone's mouth that I hear after looking at my art is "What are you working on now?" It's tough, you want to say "Well here, check this out!" and have a stack of comp copies to point at. It just doesn't always work out that way. Even without thinking of comp copies, it's nice to have a book to point them towards, but it takes a year or so to get a project off the ground and into stores, then tons of things happen, and you end up getting bogged down with lots of time sensitive smaller projects. You're only as good as your last published work, and once you finish one it's in the hands of other people...so you either play the waiting game, or you keep working, but no matter how hard you try, it ultimately comes down to the waiting game. A backlog of finished projects piles up, and for many months at a time you can't say what you're working on.

That used to bum me out...waiting! That's why it's been nice working on President Awesome, instant artistic gratification. You see your labors put on the web for all to see. When it comes down to it, money does play it's part in any form of motivation for an artist. You can be the staunch uber-artiste and say it's purely for the work, but you know what, artists like to know that their work isn't absolutely worthless. You have to put a price tag on it, or people won't value your effort, or feel that you don't value your own work. That shows a lack of confidence. I used to really lack confidence in my own work, but you know what, I've struggled for it, so I'm proud of it. Are there things I'd change? ABSOLUTELY! But I do that on a daily basis as you can tell. I don't make excuses for my choices, because that's how I feel at the time.

But back to the original point, drive, motivation, inspiration, whatever you call it, you gotta' keep it going. For a long time resentment fueled my drive, and to some extent, it still does. I wanted my art to slap people in the face and say "LOOK AT ME!!!!" I went through many years of being overlooked, and I won't go back to it. I've learned not to place as much value in needing the approval of others, and when that happened, I got approval. When that happened, I let myself get complacent, and fell into a time of artist's block. From there I had to re-learn everything from the ground up. I decided that I would understand all of the mechanics again. Ultimately I am self-taught. Yes, I had 6 teachers in high school, and have a BFA from a major university, but there were only a handful of teachers/profs that really TAUGHT me. Even then, they only helped with advanced techniques. The basics I had to teach myself by messing up, summer after summer laying on the floor sketching, and getting frustrated as the things in my head wouldn't show up on paper. It didn't start happening until a couple years ago, so the process was not even remotely instant.

People think that you're born a good artist, and some people are, there are savants, like there are in any industry. The vast majority of us have to work for it. Most people get frustrated and give up on their dreams. Becoming a good artist requires drive, a fanatical focus on becoming the best artist you can be.

So I'm trying my best to constantly have an answer to that tricky question "What are you working on now?" by constantly working! The key to not getting artist's block is get into a groove and never stop!

Rant over...

3 comments:

Craig Zablo said...

Love the Conan... and your words were inspiring!

samax said...

Oh
My
God...
i just got done reading President Awesome.

you're the man (There's some honest, yet instant, gratification for you!)!!!

anyways, i hear you. your art is fabulous. i hope driving people to your blog helps...

Isaiah said...

Hey you have inspired me to draw and do more art ever since I saw you a Wizard World Texas. I'm the sticker guy that was next to you! Keep up the good work!!!