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Pushing into the further reaches

I’m still chugging away turning out small practice paintings, getting a feel for the oils, medium and just the general nuts and bolts, I’m 5 away from the midpopint so I’m  a little behind my planned schedule, but I’m about to be a bit futher behind, because I’m going to Fantasy Art Workshops 2018 Illustration Intensive!!!!!

Yes, I’m excited (and a teensy bit terrified) 

But with it comes pre-class homework, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

The goal of the workshop is to help you make the best portfolio piece you can and provide assistance along the way, which is super cool.  But before you even come, you need to have your basic idea down and to that end we were given a choice from 12 assignments (all pretty vague but just some basic guidelines)

All Right! I immediately set down and started on the idea that popped in my head knocked out a thumbnail and started getting things ready for a more complete ‘rough sketch’ (that’s the actual assignment, bring a good rough sketch for feedback and alterations).

But…. a little voice in my head started yelling… “I don’t Love Love Love this anymore, is this really the best idea?’

And I thought about it… really thought about it.. because I was still excited to do this piece, the image had been bubbling in my head for a very long time, I’ve got the figures in my mind, the setting, lighting, I can still see it perfectly, hell I can practically smell it.. but now that it was time to commit to it, some part of me wasn’t sure it was the best I can do.

So I made myself a deal, why not do 10 thumbnails, just teeny tiny 5 minute thumbs, that’s easy, right?  And if I still love the original, then I’ll just have spent an hour or so drawing, no real loss.

So I did 5.. and they weren’t as good, they turned out to be just variations of the first one, no matter what I tried they just weren’t as interesting as the first thumbnail.  But #6…  something happened with #6.. I’d exhausted all the easy variations and my imagination woke up and realized.. “hey I’m going to have to do some real work here…” 

And it blew me away with an image so unrelated to everything else.  Then 7, 8, 9 , 10 all came fast and furious, each a different idea, not necessarily better.. but Different.

By that time my brain was on a roll and just had one more so I immediately decided I had to take it to 20.

11 was terrible, I think part of me was still sad about not stopping at #6 and just wanted to be over

12 was terrible too , but played off 11 improving it slightly.

but looking at them, they were variations on an earlier idea.. my brain had shut off again damnit.

13 .. still yet another variation on the same thing, but.. something clicked,  I’d changed the angle, and a sense of story had crept in.

13.5  I did a teeny tiny scribble on top of 13 indicating a second figure and changed everything

14 came out of the ones before and is unlike everything else at the same time and blew them away.  I want to paint this.. NOW..

But I promised myself 20 and kept working.  It was hard, I was out of ideas, ‘can’t I just go back and give myself an easy out’ kept ringin through my head?!   But all the time.. that little voice “You weren’t expecting those… what if there’s something even better just ahead?”

I took a night’s rest and just slept on it, the next morning I immediatly recognized that for most of the first page, I’d seen almost all those images elsewhere, scenes from movies, games, books..

I think that’s the takeaway here:   The brain is incredibly lazy, and wants to jump to the low hanging fruit, and forcing yourself to reach higher is hard, but it’s also where the new ideas come from.  Push yourself further than you think you can, gives your imagination a chance to amaze you.  It’s in there, but with the amount of easy access to imagery these days, it is incredibly easy to just wind up making something that’s been done a hundred times before.  Pusht through all the known ideas and discover the things that have never been seen before.. sure a lot of them will suck.. that’s ok.. there’s gems buried in there, you just have to find them.

So now, I’m working on #24 now.. not stopping until 30  … at least..