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 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...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Post 298

I'm a little late today because I celebrated the fact that I have a little bit of time off from the day job, so I get to relax a little! Finally saw Watchmen and it rocked!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Post 297

I got my new brush pen in the mail yesterday and was able to finish an installment of President Awesome for next week, a pin-up for a pin-up group my friends are starting up, and this. Not a bad use of an afternoon. More than anything I was excited about the brush!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Post 296

Morning update! I did this a little differently, no colored pencil underneath, I just used H pencil lead and it seemed to drop out fine. I haven't used a mechanical pencil in a long time, and because of using brushes and pencil-pencils, the way I approach it is much different, but I get more detail, which is nice. I'll explore this further. I'm still waiting to hear when my new brush pen is being shipped. I'm not really used to waiting this long. Plus, I'm excited to try it out, not a great combo...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Post 295

Today's sketch, Some Savage Dragon!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Post 294

Aptom Eve. Parody of Atom Eve from Invincible+Aptom from Guyver (member of the Lost Numbers). Probably obscure and unfunny if you aren't a Guyver fan, but to me it's HI-LLARIOUS!!

Anyway, back to work!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Post 293

These photos are from the Red7 After-Party from Staple by Luan, more can be seen from him here. I actually took photos myself this time with my own camera, those can be seen here.

I'd like to say, I had a TON of fun at this, and much of that thanks goes out to Paul Maybury, Kristian Donaldson, Nick Derington, and Randy Lander. I have to say thank you for making me feel like a million bucks! I had so much fun it should be illegal (though nothing illegal was committed)! Austin was it's usual self, confusing roads that led us in the wrong direction, many a U-Turn was made this weekend.

LOVED the room, great price on 2 nights that was less for a larger room than last year at the Doubletree. I got to sell some prints, sketchbooks, sketches, and even traded some art with Kristian, which made me extremely happy that he would even consider doing that. He hipped me to a new brush, and I just finished ordering it. Hopefully I will get it soon so I can start using it on pages. The bristles are natural sable hair and the length of the bristles are longer, which gives a cleaner sweep to create finer lines and larger variation.

The after party was cool too, Paul and Nick got me a chance to redeem myself for last year and my first chance at live art. I feel like I represented. I even worked next to Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), and Paul.

Dean Trippe and I shared a table. It was great getting to hang out with Dean and really talk about an insane number of topics. I feel like these opportunities are great to help strengthen the bond of friends/creators. We're in a great place right now, especially with our work on President Awesome. We got to spread the word, and even had buttons!!!

Now that this show finally happened, I guess the next show will be Heroes in Charlotte. Though I've taken care of the task of finding people to room with, so that kills the largest hurdle I was going to have.

Now I can back to work as usual for a few months!