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Maybe I'm done studying and I want to "do something". When I got back into drawing in recent years I noticed that a lot of people I admired had these grandiose illustration galleries, I admired how they had worked so hard and built up their portfolios, and I wanted the same for myself.  Now, I am happy that I filled up my gallery and made a lot of full scene, color illustrations - which I am very proud of - but I keep looking back and wanting to improve upon the detail. Or... something just seems off. Something is missing in my work. It needs more magic, more passion.

Recently I am playing Dark Souls a lot. Currently, it's definitely my all-time favorite game. This includes the original Dark Souls, and so far, Dark Souls III. Something that really grabs me about these games is the level of detail put into everything. I want to learn more about the team which made these games and figure out how they achieved all of this. It's like a universe inside a universe. It seems you can take a random snapshot of any given scene and just marvel at how much detail has been put into both the characters and the environment. Sometimes I just sit there and admire the armor on the character or the design of the weapons. Every piece of armor and clothing are all so well thought out, designed with great detail, and realistic. I imagine some legendary tradesmen must have toiled away at making every piece of steel, and iron, and leather - with detailed etchings, engravings, embroidery, and all of that - all made with elegance and down to the finest detail.

It's hard for me to even set a standard to encapsulate all of this. I have to imagine myself sketching out the details for each and every item for weeks before even starting on a composition, and then slowly moving on to filling in all the details. And that would only be for one illustration! Dark Souls is full of such things and in full motion!

So I've been taking a break from recreational drawing recently, and maybe this is why. I am planning out my next big thing, and I think the next big thing is going to be to slow down even more and do a lot more drafting and planning, and then instead of spending "hours" or "days" on an illustration, maybe it's time to spend "weeks" or "months" on a single illustration and let's see what comes of it.

Why should I expect something great to come with little work and no planning anyway?

That's pretty obvious, isn't it!? So why didn't I think of this before? Well, to my own credit, I did! But I always found it to be tedious to focus on one illustration for so long. After a few days the inspiration and motivation start to wear off and it's just a lot of tedious work. So I was always trying to find a way to cheat reality, I would plan everything in a way that it could be finished with minimal time per my attention span. But now I am sensing that this must have been the root of a problem I've been dealing with, and with my experience in recent years, I suddenly feel motivated to be a lot more patient. This also causes me to realize this: "I wasn't drawing something interesting enough to keep me excited throughout the process." So that is part of the planning too. The processes of dreaming up something awesome enough that I can feel confident that it won't bore me a few weeks down the line.

This gives a new meaning to the word "inspiration". Sometimes we just want to have "any inspiration" but now I am starting to think that there can be "good inspiration" and "bad inspiration" :D So we have to nitpick on the inspiration process in order to work towards a better result. I'm sure there are some expressions to encompass this meaning? Such as "Slow and steady wins the race." or "Pave the way for success."

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Submitted on
November 5, 2018
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