What an exciting day full of surprises!
What I did for my comic today
Is this the end of uncontrolled style fluctuation?
While I was playing around with light and shadow and then with lines some more I realized all my conflict might have been none. If I wish to paint, I would do linedrawings like I‘m used to anyway and then paint on top of them. So there was no choice to make between lines and light. They are two tools that often overlap. And it‘s good to be flexible and able to use different tools for different purposes and outcomes.
Reading “Alla Prima”
I had so many new questions and remembered that I had a book on painting. So I went on to read the first chapters of Richard Schmid‘s Alla Prima. Let‘s just say Schmid and me are opposites with regards to some sentiments, but I keep on reading and learning either way. I feel blessed that I have this book right now, as it can answer questions about the drawing and painting process that I have right now. In moments like these I am sad that I never went to art school, but on the other hand who says I would have learned that there? I‘m learning it now and that is what counts.
So Schmid explains that drawing is measuring and painting is laying masses and light and shadow on top (very simplified). This means I have done both wrong all my life and needlessly have tried to merge them. I didn‘t sulk, not even for a moment, and simply tried one of Schmid‘s suggestions. Most people would make an underdrawing (level of detail varies per artist and purpose) and then paint on top. But then there‘s a different process where you never bother with lines and simply start blocking out. That‘s what I tried out in today‘s panel. This picture saw no linedrawing, only some indications what goes where. It was quite an insightful experiment.
Revelation 1: I‘m okay. I‘m even doing better than I expected.
Revelation 2: I immediately understood why I‘m lacking and where.
Revelation 3: I now understand a lot better what the art fundamentals are for and what it means to build up mileage.
Drawing conclusions for my art
You don‘t build up mileage because drawing thousands of pages full of challenging things is so much fun. Or because „just draw“ without focus and attention would work. You need every scrap of experience you can get so the fundamentals are out of your conscious thought. Then you have a free mind to tackle advanced painting problems. Example: if my line drawings are lacking because I have no understanding of perspective and even after years of drawing no instinct for proportions, my painting on top will be wonky. And then I might even blame the quality of my lines… which doesn‘t have to do anything with anything. And nothing is won.
As you know me I have phases where I‘m rather eager to improve my fundamentals. But then the desired results didn‘t come and I took a break for a couple of months (basically the lock-down), just drawing what I felt like. You‘d think that would be terrible for me and I‘d forget a lot of hard-earned stuff. Now I feel like I‘m even rewarded for doing that. The way I was practising was wrong. I did not make the progress that I wanted because I did not improve the things I would have needed to improve and had no understanding where I was heading with them and how to use them in the end. Practising just to practise is not the way. So hitting the brake, taking some time off and then a cloooose look on what I was doing and why I was doing it, was the right thing to do.
I am a rather analytical artist. You cannot tell me to “just feel” lines or practise until I’m good when I don’t know what this “good” is.
I can‘t hope to just wing it and pretend to feel things that I don’t feel when they make no sense to me. I might have found a sustainable source of motivation now to push myself further and work hard on my art again. But don‘t get me wrong, this doesn‘t mean we are going back to full studying mode. I have a comic to make. Also all practise is for nothing, if not used to create. But now I can go back from time to time, relaxed, and improve one thing at a time.
Yesterday night I still felt the drawing itch and corrected Corvus‘s hairstyle. While I will admit that the sketch page looks quite chaotic, it already impacted today‘s panel.
I have looked into a great program named Storyboarder. Storyboarder is meant to storyboard for movies and animation. It‘s free and easy to use. I wondered whether one could storyboard comics with it, too, and did some testing. I will spare you from looking at it, it really was only practical, not pretty. I‘m not sure what I even should think about it, but I‘m excited. Even if Storyboarder doesn‘t work out for this specific project, I‘m sure the program and me will become good friends.
Try new thinks, don‘t shy back!
See you tomorrow!