Sunday, May 27, 2012

Illustration Challenges

With the endless things there are to be drawn, I sometimes find it hard to find a starting point to push my illustration boundaries. Maybe it's because for near 20 years I was sitting in a classroom with assignments, but I always seem to be more motivated when I have some sort of challenge before me.

That said I have three groups/pages I want to suggest that I always run to when I need some inspiration and motivation.

The first is the Design-A-Character group on DeviantART. It was started by the wonderfully talented Luigi Lucarelli and features a character design challenge every month, and has a whole gallery of challenges to look through. This page is a great way to get the creative muscles flexing and strengthen/develop those character drawing skills!
The second is a variation of the first in that it's another character challenge. Character Driven on Blogger is a great place for a quick challenge. It supplies you with a new challenge daily by providing three describing words and one optional fantasy addition challenge (For example: A hairy, bashful, knight who may or may not be a demon) Unfortunately the Randomizing page seems to be temporarily down, hopefully it will be back up soon.

The last is Critter Jam over on DeviantArt. Every month (or so) a little known, or under-represented REAL animal is chosen for the group project, and it's up to the artist how, and in what medium, they would like to represent that creature. I enjoy this challenge as it pushes me to consider creatures that I may not have even realized exist. This month it's the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko, my own interpretation is posted above.

So there you have it. There are plenty more challenges like these out there (I find DeviantArt is a great place to find them, as well as blogger) So feel free to search out the ones that appeal most to you! Have fun and keep drawing!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

No Fear.

I have come to the (rather shameful and embarrassing) conclusion that fear plays a large part in my art. That's not good. For some reason, my affected, crazy, creative brain has convinced me that the very next sketch I put to paper will dictate the credibility of my ENTIRE WORTH as an illustrator. Somewhere in my self-conscious mind, I feel that if the sketch I have started isn't looking right, and GOD FORBID someone looks at it, instantly my creative talent as a whole will be held in judgement. Unfortunately this results in ripped up sketches, scribbled out pages, and ultimately a very frustrated, and sometimes discouraged, artist. So I've reached what I believe is a deeply insightful conclusion.
Who knew right?! Fear has kept me from making the mistakes that I'm supposed to be learning from. How can we climb a ladder when we refuse to step on the first rung? I've heard it mentioned that you have to let the 'bad' ideas free to give them the potential to become, inspire, or simply clear the way for the better to come along.
Now, this is SO much easier said than done. In fact, when I first attempted to create something and not worry if it was 'good' or not, I ended up balling it up and throwing it away while my mind was yelling, "no! Stop! It wasn't that bad!" So I'm forcing myself into a personal challenge, and I urge any other artists (musicians, writers, whatever!) out there to do the same. I'm going to force myself to face my fears by keeping and respecting every sketch I work on, no matter how horrendous I deem it to be. In fact I'm going to post them here even, and force myself to show them off.
Won't lie. . . it's still terrifying. But I'm hoping in forcing myself to accept my fear and face it, will help me to open myself up to 'failure' and in turn, a bigger range of experimentation within my work.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon