100 Days of SPREY – 59

Today was a big, beautiful day. How does such a day look like for you? Is it a day where the world can’t bother you in your efforts and good mood, even if it tries? A day where everything goes right? A day where everything goes your way?

For me, it is a day on that I find a solution for a big problem. The same problem could still return to me in a different form in a different cycle of my development later, but I will not be entirely helpless about it, if my solution now has any merit.

I was a bit nervous, asking myself whether I had secretly given up on Street Prey and just couldn’t face it. What if I’m never able to continue making it? What should I do about it? How do I find back into making it like before? Or should I change up the schedule? The style maybe? Everything seems so complex, impossible to solve. But then throughout the day a cascade of beautiful insights dawned upon me. I give credit to Chris Oatley’s storytelling podcast on Youtube for the inspiration. A certain passage really stuck with me. Nobody keeps you from starting to build your giant world today, telling your epic story, you will just struggle tremenduously with…about everything. Why? You have routine in nothing. Everything will be new land and a new problem jumping at you. You are almost bound to make big mistakes and try to build upon them. And even if you force yourself to go through the hell of making the project happen with all your willpower…the result might not be that great.

I very much find myself in that sentiment that I just summarized. I struggled so much. I did everything I could with what I had, but I somehow couldn’t arrive at where I wanted to be.

And here’s what Chris Oatley and the other speakers presented as different way of doing it: Start your big or small project, it does not matter, but start really really small. Solving small problems will be hard enough in the beginning, such as designing an actually GOOD prop for your comic. It is laughable. But it is true. Looking back, Street Prey had no memorable props so far. Until a few weeks ago I didn’t even know what and how important prop design actually was. And if many props constitute an environment (at least partly) and you can’t do props…guess what, then the epic environments in your head won’t happen. Maybe your head stays empty when you think about them. At least to me that used to happen a lot. I would have wished to draw better backgrounds in my comic, but I just had no ideas and did not know how to come up with some. I guess all my works would be talking heads.

So pausing SPREY for the moment was not just a crash or failure, it was a golden opportunity to realize how I was struggling, realize that I can change that and find a more sustainable way to work. Room for self-love.

Look at this small piece of sci-fi hallway I modeled in Blender today, following a tutorial by Alex Senechal. This really doesn’t look like much, but it is an important little step towards a better future for my comic and all my works. Imagine what suddenly is achievable with more practise…

The journey stays exciting!

See you next time!

Art report 05

Interesting. It looks like I just a 1-2 days break. I had a bit of a troubled day, not particularly good for drawing, not the mood. What to do? I tricked myself into watching a couple of videos on art fundamentals, values and visual library in particular, which gave me quite some new ideas. And then I forced myself through some daily drawings – and to my surprise it first went okay and then later very well, when I suddenly was overwhelmed by a burning desire to continue sculpt January. I could say I might have developed a Blender habit by now. And it’s becoming clear that I prefer storytelling with staging over just showing off the sculpt. How is this relevant? It could deeply influence or even define all my work and my “style”. But as always, more steps need to be taken, more drawings and models have to be made! Enjoy today’s haul.

On the 2D front I struggled a lot today, but found solace in learning how pulleys work (now I have drawn all the simple machines at least one time, yayyy!) and gesture drawings.

Art report 03

Wow! Today was a very interesting day. I tend to feel lethargic on Mondays, but today I truly steamrolled through my daily drawings and assignments, at least that was my impression how it went.

For SculptJanuary – I switched over to sculpting with graphics tablet instead of mouse and was pleased to discover that it does make a difference.

Doing daily studies doesn’t seem like much, but it’s like taking medicine or exercising. The benefits of doing this regularly hopefully add up over time. We’ll hopefully track progress in this blog!

Art report 02

Update from #SculptJanuary : while I still don’t have looked into as many tutorials as I would wish I had time for, I think I’m improving in little steps. For the Nachtgiger piece I’ve created teeth, a tongue, different body parts, and a clumsy first cape (first piece of sculpted clothes, yay!) and took the time to do some preliminary work in 2D.

As for my 2D art – it saw some very interesting updates today. I’m setting up an art school discord where I’ll share all the knowledge I collected and am collecting about art from day to day as well as the courses I personally held such as storytelling 101. I also set up a new workstation for my digital art to do it on the same machine as my Blender work in the future.

Speaking of teaching, I launched Ultimate Cyborg Phase II – Machine Drawing Basics today. It’s a four week course to introduce interested artists in how to draw machines. Also this course is completely independent from the two other phases of UC (I should expand about UC, but another time). I feel like the experience from having held an 8 week storytelling course recently is really pouring into that. I think that this time around setting up a curriculum was a bit easier. Let’s see how it goes this time. As always I’m leading by example and will do all the studies I require from my students, too. We all need the experience of this course.

As final eye candy: study of a male head from my sketchbook. From time to time I need to test whether I can still do realism with all the stylized work I’m doing.

Hello, world!

Dear readers, welcome to the very first entry in this blog!

Not only is the start of a new year a great opportunity to take up something completely new like a blog, this point in time coincides with the start of #SculptJanuary 2020, a great learning and practising opportunity for an avid Blender user like me.

I could not have planned for this. Two and a half months ago I just was afraid of Blender’s complexity and had the program on my “One Day I will do this” list. But I had heard the bold fairy tales of how 3D can benefit a 2D illustrator in their work a lot, so in the end curiosity won. But what if I hadn’t it in me to handle Blender? Failure is a good friend of mine, but I know that failure is kind of inseparable from future success, so I’m always hoping to learn from his visits.

Blender turned out to be surprisingly addictive, once the simplest things about using the interface had clicked. I grew very fond of the program in a short amount of time and had the boldness to make my first piece for a competition on halloween…after two weeks of learning. I expected nothing and wanted to push myself. And I succeeded! While my piece of course was not winning material, I handed it in on time and nobody told me off or exposed me for the absolute beginner that I was. On the contrary, I received great feedback that helped me to become stronger faster, and a giant boost of self-confidence as well as becoming part of a great community.

I’m taking part in challenges and competitions regularly now. Something like sculpt January is the (almost) logical next step and another great opportunity to push my Blender skills. I have modeled so far… and not sculpted once. Here we go.

And finally, happy new year to all of you! Let’s make 2020 rock.

Sculpt January Day 01 – Spectral