Well - this was a most interesting and not too comfortable week, where I had to contend with more mind games threatening to derail my quest for an art life. Or is this just part and parcel of the quest itself?
But first, this week’s art.
I only finished one full illustration this week - more fan-art for the Anthem videogame that I play (official website here).
In Anthem, Freelancers are human adventurers and mercenaries who wear exo-suits called “javelins” (like Iron Man suits, or mecha) while exploring a perilous science-fantasy world. The Scars are an enemy faction: they may look humanoid but are actually a mysterious species of swarming insect that form intelligent, mobile hiveminds when they swarm together.
The human Freelancer in this javelin (known as an “Interceptor”) may have destroyed the body of this Scar sniper, but the hivemind is escaping…
I’m happy with how I rendered the two figures and the insect swarm; not so happy with how I managed values in this illustration. Everything looks busy without a clear focal point to look at. I tried to make the Interceptor stand out but it’s still lost in the mess of details. I’m still figuring out how to use my pencils to express values, but I’m reaching a point where I have to purposefully study image composition, maybe do some value paintings/sketches of photos. More things to learn!
Miscellaneous sketches/doodles for the rest of the week. The pen doodles were done in a single stroke without lifting off the paper. I’d wanted to do it for a while: loosen up, get out of my usual constructional drawing, and draw things in a more freeform style. It was fun.
More Freelancer javelins: Ranger (top), Interceptor (middle), and an incomplete Colossus (bottom).
Not too much this week. I finished the “Introduction to Shading” module in Brent Eviston‘s The Art and Science of Drawing, just in time to resume Draw A Box: I’m submitting my completed Lesson 3 soon, so I will be starting Lesson 4.
In last week’s Art Dispatch (issue #7), I hinted at “an interesting drawing opportunity that crossed my radar”. I decided to take up this opportunity for the sake of upping my art game, and for the rest of this week, it consumed most of my attention – and it was not so much the art project itself as mind games.
I’m keeping the art project under wraps at this stage, but suffice to say, I’ve never done art of this magnitude before. Apart from a few exceptions such as gifts to family/friends, all my art I have drawn for myself. That’s typically the case for a hobbyist. But this art project is no longer just for me but for others; and instead of just myself, other fellow artists and creative people are involved too. And the themes I’m drawing to are much bigger than mere fanart or character design.
After I submitted my proposal and committed to this art project, well, the rest of this week was spent contending with a big case of impostor syndrome. I had an theme I wanted to explore in this project, but it seemed less great now – even not good at all. As I did initial brainstorming and research for ideas, I had to completely rework one idea, which caused me to question all the others. I’ve done brainstorming and research for art before, but not at this magnitude, and not with an old perfectionist mindset shouting, “Your ideas are trash! You’re not going to this project or yourself ANY justice!”
I’ve experienced this impostor syndrome in the past – to the point where it’s completely derailed my creativity, in art and elsewhere, for months and years at a time. I don’t want that to happen again, and definitely not for this project.
I think the key is to keep pressing on and just execute my ideas for the art project, with the mindset that it’s better to try and fail in the process, than give up even before I’ve produced any art (which happened in the past). I also had to go back to my personal “art mission statement” and remind myself why I was in the game in the first place. I’m sure that the more I do these things – just draw a bit every day, work on this art project every day, and keep remembering why I’m drawing – the easier it’ll get to overcome impostor syndrome and negative perfectionist mindset to finish this project, and indeed, carry on with my Art Life and drawing every day.
I didn’t draw at all on Friday – which broke my “draw every day” streak that had been going since November last year. But I resumed some doodling on Saturday, and I’m feeling a lot better about everything.
The art project’s deadline is the end of February, so I think most of my fun art will take a back seat to the big art project for the next few weeks. I’m both apprehensive and excited about it. This was the experience I signed up for.
Next week’s topics: I’m diving into this big art project in earnest, so I’ll report on my progress next issue.
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