I managed just one significant art piece this week: an original character (OC) that’s been with me for most of my life. Every few years I make an attempt to render him as I’ve imagined him, and every year he gets closer to that vision – until I look at the picture again after a few months and find mistakes everywhere. I’m quite pleased with this rendition, but how long will that last?
Vega (original character) in 2021.
And all the “supporting documents”. I’m now incorporating thumbnailing a lot more into my drawing process.
Initial thumbnails for the character pose and hand studies (upper left); concept art for outfit and weapons (upper right); thumbnailing ideas for the image background (bottom).
Originally, I had fully finished drawing my OC, but I felt the picture was still incomplete and it needed a background. Enter the DrawABox Discord community who looked at my picture and gave me advice on how to proceed. The main learning point was: was my goal to create an illustration, or just a sketch? If it’s the former, I have to think of the story I want to tell – and start thumbnailing ideas. If the latter, I can leave it as is, or put an abstract shape in the background.
I wanted to turn the picture into a story. It took time to look for visual inspiration (building up “visual library”), revisit this OC’s themes, and thumbnail ideas. But I think that extra time investment was worth it: the picture looks more like a complete illustration, there’s more visual interest, the background fits my character – and I learned a lot from the process. I’ll continue to practice this aspect of image composition.
I was inspired by this blog post. Amongst many helpful things, the blogger talked about setting “big personal goals” that are always in the background, and won’t be eclipsed by smaller successes. So in lieu of new year’s resolutions, these are Vega’s Big Personal Goals for Art in 2021:
I suppose there is a fourth goal: to keep posting these Weekly Art Dispatches and reach issue #57 by the end of 2021! So far, I’m encouraged at how consistent I’ve been with these.
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next Dispatch!