SPREY Log#17 – From now on you only paint

Welcome back! My break took a week longer than expected. After I filled my head up with new storytelling knowledge I knew I would need time to digest that in silence. Also, I had to go back to drawing. I felt homesick for it and for SPREY already. But I didn’t want to just jump back and do what I always do, not this time.

I can be on my own, sit and draw forever, but I ultimately cannot know where I actually stand with my art that way. What I think about myself and my art does not matter, as I am not the person hiring myself for future art jobs, so it would be great to know what potential employers would think if they were confronted with me right now. Following that logic I decided to invest in myself and ask a more experienced artist for guidance. Also I was a bit tired of being out there in the void by myself. So I booked a mentorship with concept artist and illustrator Nik Hagialas. He delivered that needed guidance from the first assessment already and so much more.

Apparently I’m not far away from the level I would need to be competitive in the concept art pro scene, but I’m not entirely there yet. That is a great thing to know. And that is also a great moment to go into a mentorship as it possibly could cut short a last, long episode of searching from further years to months. At this point I have one week of doing study and design homework behind me that was tailored to me and my specific needs. The feedback session for it is up tomorrow, so I can’t tell how it objectively went yet. But subjectively, I took so so much from it already, I feel like a new artist.

Nik has found a brilliant way of teaching. He helps you discover yourself by confronting you with a training IP brief, that means he gives you a document that describes a story, it’s setting and characters. You can choose what you want to design, environments, characters, props, vehicles, there is a need for everything in that training project. But in your four week mentorship you realistically only have time to do one thing, so you have to choose. For people like me that are interested and capable of doing many of these things, that is brilliant. I always had such a hard time to understand myself and what I should specialize in as I know that if forced, I CAN do anything. And see what happened. When I read the document I at first went for the props, of course I did. I was told you shouldn’t even try it as a character designer as too many people want to be one and clog that field. Nik told me to delete that from my memory, everyone is needed. So without that restriction I immediately, and I say immediately, went for elite android AXEL and started designing with such a fire and passion that I didn’t even recognize myself at times. Even now, if I think that there is more work to do on AXEL, I can’t help but be happy because I’m burning to continue. And other people seem to enjoy my work on AXEL as well, the spark is strong enough to ignite their interest as well. I’m grateful for the great people in my life every day. Thanks for all the critiques, feedback and suggestion this week and just thanks for being on that journey with me.

And I have no idea how Nik did this, but he also “fixed” my art further with a simple instruction. He just looked at my stuff, listened to me and my symptoms and just said “From now on you only paint and you will paint until you can paint.” I don’t know what he saw but his instinct was absolutely right. I wouldn’t say I am good at painting right now, but even when trying a bit, my art quality instantly shot up, also noticeable and mentioned by others. Also, painting skills feed from drawing skills, so I’m banking on what I kept building up over the years anyways. It was just that I shouldn’t stop at drawing, I should go further. No “being sensible” limitations. So I will paint on and see what happens down the line.

See you next blogpost!

100 Days – 07

Looking back

Sundays are always a bit tricky. For me it‘s the day of the week where I have least time to create.

So maybe this is the best day to reflect on the past week.

I have prepared this „best of“ including another practise piece from yesterday night:

This week was definitely very good for me and my art!

I have dissected my own artmaking process and started redefining what I‘m doing and why.

Even if I stay with a typical line emphasizing style for Corvus I might be able to do it better from now on. And I might not get discouraged working on my fundamentals anytime soon.

I created more art than i thought I would and feel a bit of momentum building up again.

And I have looked into a new program.

Next week I‘ll try to focus more. I had a choice to make whether to bounce over into a environment design and strengthening my perspective game or finish working with the Alla Prima book. I think I should finish things that I start in order to keep things clean, so I‘ll stay with Alla Prima for now. That doesn‘t mean I don‘t have to develop the environments, Alla Prima gives a lot of opportunities for that, but the focus is one of defining my art goals more. I feel the urge to review all my fundies and to learn more, but one field after another and never more of that than actually doing things for Corvus. It‘s a balancing game.

The adventure continues tomorrow. See you!

100 Days – 05

Getting ahead

Another day, a new chance to shine!

What I did for the comic today

Redefining the drawing process

After picking apart what happened (and did not happen) yesterday with passion I was so eager to do better that I started the same evening. I did my best to resolve my „style confusion“ and I‘m happy to declare that a winner quickly was found. The piece on the bottom left encompasses the best that I can give in the shortest amount of time…and while looking like line graphics was constructed from blobs and shapes rather than minding lines.

I guess I should try doing some art before going to bed on a regular basis, as I dreamt of art afterwards. I then woke up doing things a little bit differently.

Today I did some more sketches, just to make sure, and found that suddenly rendering wasn‘t such a riddle anymore. Not saying I‘m good at it, but my mindset shift away from lines towards showing light made all the difference. I have no clue whether I could hold up a style like this for a whole comic, but whatever this is, it is a step ahead.

To Do List

I then took a closer look at my ever growing to do list. It‘s good that I started writing it down in the blog as a first step. I don‘t know about you, but in the next step my to do lists tend to be forgotten or lost if I can‘t finish all the tasks immediately. I also cannot rely on myself tracking times for activities by myself. This doesn‘t come naturally, such as a trellis to a plant, yet the trellis is a good thing!

The solution? I set up a private git. I did my best to turn my to do list into tasks, assigned deadlines and tracking time costs two clicks now, one to start and one to finish. If you wonder what a git is – it is a piece of magic used by software developers to keep track of what they are doing, but you can misuse it as a planner, too. I will now have to teach myself to religiously open my git in the morning and keep using it throughout the day.

New habits

Speaking about it – instead of trying to become a new human and throwing everything over, forgetting most new resolutions after 2 days, I decided to stick with my habits. I saw potential and my dream tonight inspired me. I dreamt I was doing almost the same I was doing now, not really using new knowledge, but still doing so so much better. So I‘m going into the right direction already. But how can I do better and close that gap?

I just flipped my day. I am really not a morning person, but unfortunately that is the time where I have most energy, just like everyone else. I am teaching myself to start my day with a workout and then working on the comic immediately. This isn‘t revolutionary as a concept, but actually hard to do. I am really a nightowl and have living like that a substantial amount of my life. Change is hard. And it‘s also about keeping sources of procrastination such as household chores (I love those. Seriously.) and falling into a crochet frenzy away from me as long as I can. Can‘t destroy so much with them, when a good piece of comic work has been done for the day already.

Now I‘m curious whether I‘ll have a second wind in the evening sometimes for my creative work. We‘ll see!


While setting up my planner I took a closer look at act I of my comic again. I was surprised – again – that it wasn‘t as good as I remembered. But that is absolutely normal and exactly the reason why you write a first draft and then let it rest. Your memory will undergo some change and entrophy, in best case you will even learn something new for your storytelling in the meantime, and then you are confronted with your piece again as if you were just reading it as a stranger.

I promptly padded my storyboard overview out with 2-3 scenes to show the reader what is happening instead of having the characters talk to each other about it. Removing some exposition dumpm awkwardness if you will (what was I thinking?). I have 8 scenes to play with now and I‘m actually looking forward to every single one.

See you tomorrow!