100 Days of SPREY – Days 03, 04, 05, 06

It‘d like to think about the past days as an almagamation, where the days do not even have a distinct border between each other. I remember sleeping Friday and basically just spending one and a fourth days awake on Saturday. Also, I didn‘t exactly leave this blog alone in that time, but released another restructuring blog entry. I am very productive, maybe more than I should. Maybe I‘m becoming a lich.

I have to tackle my sleep problems and I‘m confident that I can get a grip on them. I had built up a large pressure inside of me that sometimes keeps me from falling asleep at all. But the factors that lead to this are slowly wearing off again. I‘m changing. My surroundings are changing, too. That might have been a short and intense phase I‘m ready to leave behind me again. Maybe I needed that to learn to appreciate good and reliable sleep and why you must bring your life into enough order so that the anxiety doesn‘t keep you from sleeping.

Also you can try too hard, you can be too tense. I know that first hand now. Today is my first Sunday that I took off as a rest day and I‘m so exhausted that I feel like I will never wake up again when I fall asleep at 6 PM. Maybe this is why I was avoiding breaks in the past – I was avoiding a day and time like now where I have to pay for how relentlessly I have been working.

Have this first week of the challenge as a report card. Green means quota met, yellow means I worked on it but got less done than I wanted to, and red would mean having unfortunately skipped a session at all.

It seems to run smooth so far. I even tried to work some panels up as a puffer to use the puffer time to try doing extra tasks for SPREY like design sheets or more thumbnails for future events. Unfortunately at least for this week that failed. But at least I‘m failing at something other than doing the panels at all. But I have the goal of phase I of the challenge on my mind. Creating the environment for more PREY related work to happen than just drawing a panel a day. Keeping up with that is a struggle sometimes, too, but when I have time to worry about other things that probably is a good sign.

And have the blank here for your personal use – for me that card works out so far. Let me know how it works for you!

See you at the next entry!

100 Days of SPREY – Days 01, 02

Above: recent panel from my webcomic Street Prey, great as illustration for the rather abstract themes of the following blogpost.

This was not the beginning of the challenge that I expected! Absolutely not! And it is another piece of evidence why your daily form does not matter in the long run.

I slept the whole first day and had five hours to compress the whole day into, then the following night I did not sleep at all and had more hours and freedoms than nature would let me have if I had slept. So I worked through two extremes following one after another and it barely made a difference for my comic or other projects. Everything hit it‘s daily goal. What is my secret?

I have a simple schedule.

I do not have my best self on my best days in mind when I plan my work. Most of my days tend to be average in mood, productivity and external factors that could keep me from drawing. I still plan with my worst days in mind, so that even me at my worst can complete the most important goal of the day. That is working on and releasing at least one panel of my webcomic every day. So if all goes wrong, I am still moving forward. If I have more time, energy and other ressources to spend the day in question I will of course invest in other projects of mine, but never more than 2 or in dire times like right now 3 at the same time. I am already looking forward to putting most of my energy into SPREY instead, maybe just to see how that is. We‘ll get there.

Also, some tasks never get less tedious, boring or annoying. An example – for whatever reason I can‘t stand working on zines, but I never regret it when I finish one and I always do my best to create them with love and care. It can just be very tedious to compile and edit the art and create additional text pages such as the imprint and so on. But it‘s part of creating a zine, too, so I can‘t have only the sugary sweet fruit parts like making the actual art for it and dismiss all other parts of the plant that made it possible to get to the fruit. What makes daily sessions on something you dislike bearable is never doing too much of it in my opinion. Better come again for hundred days and do a little bit every day than using your willpower and then throwing the thing after 14 days because you are fed up or bored beyond any limit without any visible result.

I would do you a disservice if I didn‘t mention one other unsung ingredient to beating resistance and creating your thing: experience. I talk of experience as the sum of things that you did, didn‘t and that happened to you on your journey through life. As an artist I probably have made so many mistakes already throughout the years that some of the simpler to fix mistakes just don‘t occur that often anymore

So: one bad day won‘t throw you off a cliff, one great day won‘t make you grow wings so that you never have to do tedious tasks again. A positive tendency over time is a great result. Think long term and build yourself up, one step at a time. A journey is a sequence of steps. How many steps are you willing to go? And steps back or off the road are also just little steps. It is surprising what effects our small daily decisions can have.

Good luck creating and see you next time!

100 Days – 10

More Explorations

Hello, you all! The past time intervall was WILD. I am having massive sleep problems this week, so you‘ll see good and weak art in this post. The art naturally got weaker the longer I am awake.

I started off with making a first exploration into the world of candlelight to add this to my repertoire. These works are part study part free exploration. Magister Grimm, the antagonist of my comic, makes a first appearance on the piece to the left. I really like how evil he looks. Asmund on the right is always a pleasure to draw.

Lines VS shapes reloaded

I had problems with my linework not fitting the rather impressionistic coloration and tried to reduce it. Then I learned that impressionism hardly works on faces, at least if you want them precise. What I went with was this sort of bastardized way. And then of course I had an understandable fit of panic whether all gains from yesterday were undone as I suddenly struggled again with the lines or no lines question.

I should be happy. This whole thing challenged me well and made me think. Yes, outlines can absolutely get into the way of coloration. That is, when you try to mix styles that don‘t like mixing. Impressionist painting has no outlines for a reason. Traditional comic and manga art has outlines for different, practical reasons. Both ways of working have different goals and strengths. Yesterday I noticed how fast I could work if I relied on black lines and threw a quick coloration on them. Today I revelled in the beauty of colors and mood while playing with brushtrokes. But I would probably go crazy or need forever to draw a whole comic in this style, especially with the faces. So in the end, exploring to paint helps not only my drawings but in comicmaking.

And here have some of the better weak pieces. I made several attempts to get a panel done with Corvus and Asmund holding a candle, but each failed, even a wholly different alternative version. This is also when I realized that I probably should go and do something different (or better: find sleep) instead of obsessing over it.

Color shift VS value change

The Asmund to the right is a fascinating first experiment to use color shift instead of value change. I read that for angles up to 40° it may be enough to shift colors to indicate a shifting plane. And only when drawing I understood what this means and what potential that has. Also this Asmund is a goodbye to my classical color schemes from my time when I drew with copics. This…doesn‘t work. Hello to a future with using more references until I have a feeling for coloring skin.

Measurement

What else happened: I got fed up with how Corvus and Asmund look different every day that I‘m drawing them. I‘m actually terrible at measuring angles and proportions, therefore I‘m terrible at likeness and had no clue that this was what laughed in my face every day since forever.

To do

Tomorrow I‘ll tackle this, as well as some tonal value exercises from my notes on Alla Prima over the next days.

Also again, sleep deprivation is really really bad for you. Your body is stressed out by it and you cannot rely on your focus and performance, which might stress you out even more. Be nice to your body, sleep well, eat well, make breaks, exercise. Art is very very important to me, but it may not consume me.

See you tomorrow!