SPREY Log #21 – A change in perspective

Hello, everyone!

It has been some tumultuous past weeks. I finished my mentorship, am knee-deep into grinding light, shadow and related art fundies and also dared to take up a course on 3D animation and programming. This time around I wouldn’t even say that I’m scattered. I need this in my toolbox for reasons present me cannot comprehend. But it feels like ultimately I will use everything for my webcomic SPREY, in one way or the other. Yeah, and for the future videogames I’ll be making. Too much sticks as for it to be scattered.

Recently, I feel the longing to return to and continue SPREY. I’m still owing you a finale for chapter 3. I haven’t designed what happens at the junkyard for it going to waste. I’m just not moving at the pace that I would like to move at right now. But it is alright, sometimes it is like this.

Only yesterday did I understand more about mastering art. It does take a lifetime and never stops, but not for the reasons that you think.

I’m still heavily inspired by a video about Russian academic drawing training that I watched recently. Russian art schools are tough and the training to even get in starts early. Russian children willing to go that path probably have stronger developed art fundamentals than some Western art school graduates. And yet, pure skill isn’t everything if it’s about having an art career, so the Western pros are fine. But classical art and classical art training is far from dead either. How can this be?

From an outsider perspective of someone who hasn’t been taught in any art institution, my suggestion is this. Classical training follows tested and proven paths towards an artist skillset, that would make you on par with an „old master“ and enable you to create complex paintings like the ones you see in museums. The big disadavantage is that you have to go through years of mundane things such as drawing Roman pillars until you are „allowed“ to express yourself.

Modern Western art training has broken free and shaken off that rigid corset of rules and conventions and sets the self expression and messaging part of art ahead of everything else. You can skip Roman architecture at all if it doesn’t serve your art goals. The big disadvantage here is that with so much freedom you alone are also responsible for building up the skillset you need for your art. You are not only the artist, you are also your own art instructor. It can work out for you just fine, but it can also send you ina spiral of despair, when you have a taste for complex and stunning paintings but can’t draw and render a cube…and do not know this, that you are stuck on that cube level. And then just nothing works.

A self-taught artist like me must be the most extreme example of an artist who puts together their own toolkit. I’d even add another layer of complexity as I’m responsible for what I’m creating and whether anything I do serves my art goals…yeah, and I need to know myself and my goals. That might actually be one of the hardest parts.

So, creating art, improve your tools, understanding and finally knowing yourself, finding the right outlet for your creativity, …that indeed takes a lifetime. Also you and your tastes will change through the years, so you’re in for some loops and repetitions.

But I appreciate the now broadened perspective a lot. When I’m lost, I can always look at academic art and what they would consider fundamentals I should learn before what I’m trying to do. But I’m not caught in a rigid grid where I have to learn everything like an ant, whether I like and need it or not. Also I have a suspicion that an academic painter in larva stage has no idea what they are and what they want to express either, but over the years of creating art they might find it. What if I’m so confused, because I just have to create more before I know? Lately, I feel I learn something about myself with every piece I do. Those old curriculums are up to something. They do not deliberately „hide“ the self-expression part from newbies. They accomodate for newbies who have nothing to say yet. But not everyone is like that, so that path is not for everyone.

I cannot undo my life until now, so I’m continuing on my own free path. I’m so ready to fill the gaps in my fundamentals so that I’m an unstoppable force of art. I just wish I was faster.

See you next blogpost!

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