Why the 365 Project Improved My Art:

First of all, this was a huge accomplishment that I could even complete this project, nevertheless be able to make better art from it. All the same, it's hard to not get better when you tirelessly practice something every day. 

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The 365 Sketch Project for 2017.

My Art in Review.

 

In The Beginning:

Let us remember why I started this project. I was stuck in my head as an artist. I wanted to only make high quality work and to have everything already achieved with none of the practice it takes to get there... or so I realized after the fact. I started this project just so I got something accomplished in a day, and could move on to what I really wanted to work on.

Fueled with Energy.

It turns out that this project is the thing that I want to work on. It wasn't just challenging my motivation to draw everyday, but it was challenging my knowledge on what I was drawing and art itself. 

Filled with Despair.

Then came my downfall. Midway through, I was completely downtrodden with my progress. I was inconsistent. I had several good moments, but they were few and far between these amateur bad moments. What was my problem? Why was I so inconsistent?

How I Turned My Art Around.

I made good work... but it was inconsistent. I wanted to improve on my consistency as well as the amount of time it took for me to make it. So what did I do? I stripped myself of all my crutches: color and texture. So, I limited myself to a single circle brush and grayscale. How did this help? Well, it made me focus on the depth I was creating via the tonal values, as well as the composition. If it didn't make sense in the base, then it wouldn't make sense with the flourishes.

Reintroduced Texture.

After eliminating all the flourishes, I allowed one more into the mix: different brushes. This helped me get better control / a better handle on my communication. Before, the texture was a crutch rather than an enhancement. Before, I didn't understand how the tonal values communicated the depth of a piece... I was merely trying to draw a 3D scene in a 2D way, while now I can communicate it in a 3D way.

Reintroduced Color.

Understanding how to use texture in the grayscale took much less time to grasp than understand how to only use a simple brush and no color to make a dimensional piece of work. So, it didn't take long before I could start adding color into the mix.

Now, I can sketch and communicate in color and texture much more consistently than I could before. My work before was not wasted because it taught me to understand colors within skin and palettes, but I didn't know how to use those appropriately until I studied in black and white. Rather ironic that grayscales teach you how to use color, huh?

Traditional Sketches.

I did these when I was traveling away from my computer... these taught me linework, line weights, perspectives, and efficiency. 

In Conclusion:

I needed this project. I never knew it, but I desperately needed the tools that it gave me in order to make decent work in general. I plan on doing personal studies next year, too. You are never a developed enough artist to not study the basics.

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That's all, folks!

Why Does Progress Feel Like Failure?

My current mood:

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I am super disappointed with my talent as an artist right now. This transition from using references to making my own stuff is kicking my once self-confident buttocks. I am challenging myself, so why does progress feel like failure?!

Oh.

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Yup. The more I know, the more I know I don't know. Insert other cliches here, too. Also, surround yourself with knowledgeable people that can help you analyze your hiccups, and give you targets to accomplish. It is the difference between becoming downtrodden and having goals to accomplish.

Onward and downward then upward!

A Quick Guideline for Landscapes.

Summation: work from the big picture to the little details, not the other way around. Technically, this is a strategy that's applied to every art subject ever... but I'm writing it down, in steps, for my own memory. 

 

  1. Step 1: Block in the colors. 
    I have a major issue with skipping this step. I usually try to get right into the details too quickly. I think that if I don't make it a leaf right away, how else will I know it's a leaf? I'll tell you how: trust this process. Work from the bigger picture to the details, not the other way around.
  2. Step 2: Add smaller forms.
    This is where you form shapes within the big picture - while still making it large and generic. Then little by little, you narrow down and sculpt the color/shapes into an image.
  3. Step 3: Add the details. 
    Now is time to refine. Add the texture, add the grass, add the leaves. A useful tip: use a leaf brush as a negative... so you end up forming a leaf by stamping the brush with the surrounding colors instead of using it as the leaf itself. It creates the form without losing the underlying colors and texture. (y)

The Making Of: Classic Dallas & Milo.

What a cool commission idea requested by Dallas of him and his cat, Milo.

t's fun to see these things come to life. I kept the background on this one a little more "unfinished" looking. I thought it added a great texture and atmosphere. The tail change was a last minute request by the client.

Artist Signature.

Here I go, getting all bold by adding my real identity with my artist handle:
 


I used to hide behind an ambiguous logo.
It started out as a symbol. It was a watermark that I used to stamp on photo manips I made in Instagram... then it morphed into something I tried to make into a "brand." After a while, I still felt like it was ambiguous and wasn't 'me'. 
Since I've gotten more confident in my digital illustrations, I've started to want to sign them, rather than merely watermark them. I'm sure this won't be the last signature style I'll ever use, but this is a mark of a transition. I'm dropping the random swoosh. It is a new dawn, a new day, a new life. 

And I'm feeling good.

The Making of The Fool.

This illustration is of a character in Robin Hobb's "Realms of the Elderlings" series. This character is mysterious, pale, quick of tongue, and been known to be mistaken as a woman. This character has orchestrated several events in the series, and we are all left to wonder who really pulls the strings.

Featured in Subrosa Magazine's "Restoration" Issue.

This is Subrosa Magazine 's "Restoration" issue published for July, 2016. The whole magazine is available for print and purchase.

I am very honored and excited to announce that my work has been featured in a magazine. Subrosa Magazine features local Columbus Ohio artists or artisan businesses along with art of all kinds from all around. 

I never really realized that my artistic journey is probably not unlike any other artist's. Whether you're holding yourself back from taking the step, or simply haven't recognized you're talent yet, take the plunge.

It probably goes without saying that I am humbled and uplifted to have such a large feature in their publication. There is nothing quite like the affirmation of a group of people publishing your artwork by their own selection and esteem. I hope to continue to create works that awe and inspire everyone... and myself.