Several years ago, I looked at the ever-expanding gallery on my website and realized that I draw a lot more than I write. Which is funny, because I've got a BA in English, and I grew up thinking that I wanted to write.
A year or two after that, I looked at my art and realized, "Gee, I'm actually not bad, but I definitely see flaws that need fixing if I want to be what I'd consider *good*."
For a year or so after *that*, I worked on fixing those flaws with the amusing idea in my head that there was some sort of line I could cross where I'd go from being "okay" to being "good"--as if art were structured or formalized so that I could know I had "made it" and could now call myself an Artist.
Well, that idea got knocked out of my head pretty quick, as I fixed the flaws I'd spotted, and then spotted a few more and worked on fixing those. I discovered that getting the anatomical structure of legs right was nothing compared to getting *hands* right, and that no, I could not ignore backgrounds and scenes and whatnot forever if I wanted to continue to get better. Oh, and then I realized how infuriatingly different it is to think in terms of a color medium compared to graphite or charcoal. And then there's lighting. Argh!
Yeah. So it didn't take me too long to realize that there is no line. There's nobody who'll swan up to you and say, "Behold! You can now consider yourself a serious artist!" There's no moment in time where you can (or should) look at your art and think, "Well, that's it, then." Like most things in life, getting better at art is a continuous, never-ending process. Oh, you'll have your periods of screaming, exhilerating, and obvious progress in skill, and your times when you'll rest on your laurels, mastering what you've developed and getting comfortable in your style and/or rut.
I've been thinking about this lately because for a while I was arting all over the place, and then around January I hit what seemed to be a dead patch. Eh, this is how these cycles work for me. The artist's block happens to everyone. But for some time, I've been in that infuriating stage where I feel like drawing but I can't seem to get anything out. I'd sketch part of a face and then feel the mood leave me, or start on a scene and then just not be able to dredge up that spark that makes me want to see it through. At first I wondered if there was something wrong with what I'd been trying to do, some bit of zing! to the pictures that I was missing. If I could quantify what catches my interest, then...well, I'd be sitting pretty, wouldn't I? Who doesn't want Muse in a Bottle, after all?
But then I flipped through my sketch books and realized, no, it's not the muse. I'm just in a doodling mood. And the doodling mood is good, because I'm suddenly noticing that what catches my interest about a drawing lately is the little things--the lines in a person's face that give them character and individuality, the details of costuming that make an outfit really pop. The lighting and shadows of a picture. And right now, that's what I need to work on.
As I accept my doodling mood as merely the latest stage in my evolution as an artist, I feel at ease; enthusiastic; excited, even, for what I may reap from it, what it might lead me to create and how my work can grow and develop from it.
ShadownEssence--the best WoD site on the web!www.shadownessence.com
Look me up. I'm the girl with the plushy Cthulhu avatar.
Oi, it's a club for Changeling!
Oi, it's a club for Mage!