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Weekly Art Dispatch, No.5 🎨

10 January 2021 - Reading time: 6 minutes

Welcome to another weekly Art Dispatch!

Fun Art

I managed just one significant art piece this week: an original character 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.

Process slideshow.

Study Art

  • I finished Lesson 2 of DrawABox and submitted it for official (paid) critique.  While I wait to receive feedback...
  • I'm continuing Brent Eviston's The Art and Science of Drawing course (I bought some modules on Udemy, but it's also available on Skillshare).  I've now reached the "Shading Fundamentals" module; since this is a topic I want to learn properly, I may put my DrawABox progress on hold to focus on shading this week.

The Art Life

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:

  1. Be creating at least one full "illustrative" work each month.  The illustrators James Gurney, Donato Giancola, and John Howe are a few of my inspirations, I want to learn how to create illustrations like theirs.  I'm just starting to discover how many moving pieces are involved in this kind of illustrative work, ie. environments, light and shadow (value), figure drawing, character/concept design, and general image composition (rule of thirds, etc).  Ultimately I want to incorporate those individual processes into my workflow and tell a story through a single image, so I'm going to practice what I already know at least once a month.
  2. Produce enough artworks to curate a "solo art show" at the end of 2021.  This is mainly an accountability measure for me to sit down and do the work, I can't hold my own art show if I don't have any art.  I'm planning to do a Quarterly Art Dispatch as progress reports (on top of the Weekly ones), where I select 4-5 best works at the end of every quarter, and make them the benchmark for art production in the next quarter.  This should give me 16-20 best works at the end of a full year.
  3. Transfer my whole traditional drawing process onto digital, and produce two complete (non-sketchy) digital drawings by the end of 2021.  Learning digital art is a significant time and energy investment, so I've always put it off.  Enough of that: this is the year to make the jump.

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!

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