SPREY Log #19

With the first half of my mentorship with concept artist Nik Hagialas over and having started to attend Dorian Iten’s The Shading Course as a supplement, I have new insights to share whether mentorships and courses are worth it for us self-taught artists.

The short answer: yes.

The long answer: My mentorship turns out to be a great catalyst for personal and creative growth and moving towards a better art quality. I’d say the two biggest achievements of the mentorship so far are not even teaching me more routine in the design process or doing homework.

Firstly, the mentorship showed me where I really stand, what my current and true skill level is. You could say I crashed and burned in week 2 with studies, that went over my head in complexity and art fundamental knowledge, but I didn’t take damage from this at all. On the contrary. Now I know where I am and what is still missing. That’s also where the Shading Course comes in. I can’t work around missing knowledge in the field of light and shading. And as there’s no time to learn all of this in the mentorship itself, I went out there and was lucky to find Mr Iten’s course. Would recommend to everyone, as it starts at zero knowledge or a completely intuitive person like me. I don’t know how, but I survived on pure intuition on this point. I have tried to read Scott Robertson’s “How to Render” in the past, but it feels like reading a telephone book. I’m asleep after two pages. I recognize there is a lot to be learned from Robertson, but I can’t do it with closed eyes.

As for the second, even bigger benefit of the mentorship, I don’t know how Nik saw it, but he somehow knew a lot of my problems stem from a lack of confidence. And he did not “fix” me or anything, he just gave me a push into the right direction. One of the weirder homeworks was to post on Instagram both in story and the timeline. I don’t see myself as a very beautiful or interesting person, but I complied. And after a couple times of showing my face, I started taking an interest in videocalls, now I will make a videocall whenever I can, with a proper webcam. And I started streaming again just yesterday, now with showing my face and talking to the audience. I am surprised with how many conversations with great people I’m having lately. And I feel well integrated into many groups and some friend circles. Nik did not fix this. I am almost becoming someone else from within myself, much more outgoing and probably better balanced. I also started working on my looks in a modest way. Now that I see myself too all the time I am better motivated to see a more polished version of myself. A lack of confidence is a silent killer. My Manul Zine that I am about to finish right now had a delay of more than six months…and I couldn’t explain why, I just couldn’t finish it. I was just lacking confidence. I wasn’t confident enough to pull that off or believe in it, when the Manul illustrations really are one of my most successful projects. Just so you wait until my mentorship and the Shading Course is over, SPREY should sweat nervously already. I feel like I’m better equipped for it right now already, and in a couple of weeks that will be even better. On the other hand I don’t know whether I will return to SPREY as is or rather tackle something more downscaled.

See you next blog post!

100 Days of SPREY – 51-54

It went so quick- everything! I died and was reborn on digital canvas over the past days. I discovered that I can live and work at my own pace. Like with all things like these – it sounds obvious but is actually hard to live by.

My next blog entry is about why the new comic script for the next chapter of SPREY broke me and why it lead to what you see below.

Enjoy!

100 Days of SPREY – 31-37

The past days were very tumultuous. I am very exhausted, just like before my winter break, but restless at the same time. My comic work keeps coming. It is not very fun to create at the moment, but I’m doing my best. And my friends tell me they see an improvement in my art, which is great!

I’m a bit sad I cannot express myself that well today. There would be many little things that pile up from day to day work. Exploring the aesthetics of a great old game, reading a good book, having a little insight on a topic while drawing. These small things are what leads to bigger developments “suddenly” taking place later like a new, overall higher level in the quality of one’s art. But the only thing you can do in times like these is trying to keep up and look forward. If ideas that you didn’t write down get lost after a couple of days, they probably weren’t that great.

sidenote: I originally wanted one of my slashers in scene 2 of Street Prey to carry this weapon but realized kusarigama would not be exactly the most practical weapon for a narrow alley where you can’t swing the chain well.
above: an express page of boots when I designed my first two slashers yesterday night against all odds, paying special attention to the boots to present them in detail shots.

Suddenly I find myself interested in values again. I used to despise them as color’s boring and humorless cousin. Scott Robertson’s “How to Render” bored me to tears as well as value exercises tend to do. But now I like to think of values as means to structure my picture. They do not have to be “right” as in realistic, as long as they add to the readability of my shot or deliberately take away from it to evoke a feeling in the viewer.

Art report 10

Hello, you all! I am back after a little break. A couple of days were needed off for health reasons, the last two or so I took off to research. Although consistency as in showing up every day and doing the work is very very important to us artists, breaks are as important. You need them to process what you learned. And sometimes you need to process even more. I had not only one but a couple of moments where something that I didn’t directly read or otherwise consume *clicked* with me for my art. The next task is to rekindle a sweet balance where I put out enough practise pieces a day while also working on finished pieces and Blendering. It works, it worked before. I am just really more relaxed about it when some days are slower. I finished an illustration today which I cannot share here right now, hopefully the next days then. Everything is fine, sometimes things just take some time. Also it’s still weird to think of the process somewhat disconnected from results, but it works so far!