Monday, April 07, 2008

Not To Bore You

I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on the process of creating an illustration--something that has helped me grow a great deal as an artist - and perhaps in posting it here I could help someone else improve.

I often use chess (a game I love) for my analogies because chess is such a good teacher of patience and perseverance, among other things. Both of which are very useful in the art world and especially when trying to be successful as a freelancer.

As I've slowly whittled down my decisions in terms of my style, I've begun to take more time to plan and create my final drawings. In chess the saying goes, "if you see a good move, look for a better one." This simple idea has made such a huge difference in the quality of my work over the past few months. It's so easy to stop at the fourth or fifth thumbnail sketch and jump at the first good idea you have. Your heart skips a beat, and you feel a rush of excitement. That's it! You think. But don't stop there. There is always a better idea waiting for you. Trust me, give it a try, and see your compositions improve in leaps and bounds. Don't touch that paintbrush (or wacom pad for you digital illustrators), until you really have something special and have pushed yourself a little. Good luck :0)

11 comments:

Sherry Rogers said...

Funny you would mention this Paige as I have recently decided that one of the reason really great illustrators are great. . .is because they can sketch. I am taking your words to heart! I think you really have to get to know your sketch. . .

Phyllis Harris said...

Great tip, Paige! I often need to take that advice! I so often go with my first sketch. I tend to be an "instant results-instant gratification" type of person. That's why I don't cross-stitch! :o) Not enough patience!

Great sketch!

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

Oh.. that is so hard to do. But you are so right... I myself know I need some pushing. I usually get stuck with an idea and is so strong that is hard to let go. I will follow your advice. You are so wonderful Paige, this is a great post.

Kate said...

Great advice Paige! I know that as I revamp my portfolio and hone my style lately, there is this desire just to get a lot of content back into my portfolio and website. But I do not want to overlook the process of creating great illustratins, either. Thanks for reminding me to let an idea simmer and not to be hasty.

Laura Zarrin said...

You are so right! I really need to push myself to do this. Thank you for the reminder.

BLUEANGLER said...

Great post!! Paige... Wow... I can not belive I have exactly the same thought in the past couple weeks. I decided not to touch any paintbrush and sketch it hard with pencil... then I found there are new thing coming out from my brush work... It remind me...when I was a photographer, if I lost some feeling in shooting film... I always goes back to the B/W print to give myself some refresh... :o)

Deb Johnson said...

Awesome tip! After weeks of grinding out assignments I hit a creative wall...hence no IF or PBWS submissions. Instead I turned to crochet & knitting (like you turned to chess). It takes me patience and a strategy of sorts to finish a project. The break has been nice and I'll probably be ready to turn out something good by the end of the week!

Lisa M Griffin said...

I often try to do the same. Sometimes just walking away to leave the sketch for the night or even a few days. Coming back to it, after some distance, can lend a new perspective or give me the confidence that it is working and move forward with the illustration.
Thank you for sharing,

Ginger*:)* said...

Very Good Advice. Another great tool is the 'critique group'. Through my membership in a small critique group we share honest thoughts about all the elements of our sketches and finished work. The group has been extremely helpful to me because, unlike some online showcases where the good comments are plentiful, the critique group looks at each persons work with fresh eyes and tells it like it is....there is always room for improvement.

It is a fact that several artists I know from this group and beyond often go back to finished work to enhance ....rearrange...change and ultimately make it better.

Moral #1: never throw away an old sketch.
Moral #2: don't take yourself to seriously...have the fun that you are entitled to as an illustrator.

Monica said...

You always have good advice to share, Paige, and it's always a pleasure to visit your blog and look through your work.
I thought I spent a good amount of time on my sketching, since I'm usually afraid to start painting, but that's not true. I don't think I push myself and try different things. Always that fear of "messing things up." Which is silly, I know, it prevents you from truly improving, and takes the fun out of what should be such a joyful experience, to create art. :-)

Jess said...

Thanks so much Paige for your good advice. I love visiting your blog and am always inspired. I must say I do rush into the painting part of the work and should spend more time getting the drawing right first. I feel really excited after reading this and can't wait to get going again after the last few days away!x