Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year’s Goals…


This year, my number one goal is to draw and paint more. You might say, “but you're an illustrator. You draw for a living. Why would you possibly need to draw more?” In some ways that is true, but I draw for my clients, my viewers and sometimes even my readers and not for myself. Drawing for myself will allow me to explore more media and challenge my abilities as an artist. My first step in drawing and painting more is to get my studio organized.

Why is organization important?
Being organized in the studio allows me to find all the papers, supplies and design tools needed to create whatever I feel like drawing at that moment. Nothing is worse than trying to create something that has popped into your mind, when you have to find all your supplies. The creative spark often times simply disappears, or you get discouraged and stop the process altogether. I have found this to be true when simply doodling or even when working on the computer.

How can I create organized chaos?
I don't want to get lost in detail. I tend to be a quick artist and like to draw spontaneously. There are detail artists out there, and they are very good at what they do. I simply am not one. I tend to get bored with working on the same piece forever. This is of course different when I'm working on a client's piece—that I will work until it is perfect for both of us. But I don't want to get lost in noodling* a project.

For spontaneity, I make sure that I am up early in the morning—usually no later than 6 a.m. This time allows me for all the chores I have to complete, finish up any pressing work and e-mails that pop up and I can clear my day for drawing. I also thrive on coffee and tea. Though I drink decaf, it is a ritualistic thing I do that starts my day—find something that you enjoy that is both relaxing and invigorating. I know that's kind of a contradiction, but for me coffee both relaxes me, yet wakes me up.

Secondly, when I illustrate, I try not to look at anything for reference. I think you get a much more pure piece of artwork. Rather than trying to copy something, whether it be a photograph, object or another artists style, just put pencil to paper and draw from your mind. When I want to draw a still life, I like to draw whatever I see that is interesting. I may move objects around a little bit, but I try not to spend more than about 5-10 minutes setting up a still life. Otherwise, I'm just noodling again.

Thirdly, and for me one of the most important, is music. I listen to a wide variety of music and each musician means something different for me. You however might like silence. Shut off your cell phone, turn off your e-mail, turn off your phone ringer. Shut the door and just create.

*noodling: working on a project forever making tiny changes until you destroy the original intent.

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