Y1W16 Thoughts on Art Style and Technical Skill (and Gift Art for a friend)

Leonie’s small blog island says hullo! (:
In this post: Hello, I’m still alive. *waves slowly*
My horrible cold continues.
Ah, you want the content related to the title of this post? See the reflection section!

Let’s go ! Journal Time.

Gift art for a distant supportive friend: 
The original version is much different with more embarrassing things only for her eyes.
I just made this version so it’s more colourful.
Apologies if it looks horrible! Too weird and contrasty here.

Just a disclaimer on gifts, I don’t doodle for anyone on request. It rarely happens and if it does, most of the time, it’s done for someone I know and done out of fun (both equally important), spontaneity (I usually don’t plan to do it in the first place), out of gratitude as an impromptu gift and usually not shown online (they’re not that good because it’s so unplanned haha).
I don’t do it often as I have discovered people throwing away my doodles before so I’m more selective and only do it if it’s someone I want to appreciate, when I don’t care about the outcome and I genuinely just want to do my silly way of showing gratitude. Because of that, I don’t mind too much what those people do with my doodle after I give it to them; it’s theirs now. If you actually are one of those few, then consider yourself somewhat special enough for me to think of you + want to appreciate you + have a fun, silly idea = unplanned doodle for you. (: Just note that after some time, I will have forgotten I’ve given you anything at all though so you don’t need to do anything for me in return, as that’s not my intention at all.

Year 1, Week 16 (30th Apr to 6th May)

  • Position: Vacant: I believe we’re in 4 festivals so far. Aside from 2 more, I’m done with applying into festivals this year; really pushed my limits and funding than what I had planned and can’t afford anymore (shall have to miss out on many others though if we can manage more funds later this year, we could enter more). The first one, the Australian International Animation Festival is running right now!
  • People Drawing: train delays continue due to a fire explosion. Not joking.
People aren’t as sleepy and are more on their phones.
Makes me glad I don’t have a smart phone somehow; I simply just relax or just…do what you see here. Yes. An angry presence was looming over me. It is unfortunate that when things go wrong and out of anyone’s control, there are always people out there who must have someone to lump all the blame rather than take any responsibility for their own part or consider the very possibility that some times things are out of anyone’s control. Incredibly tiresome and stressful way to live with so much resentment.
People passing time on their phones even more on this old Maths worksheet
  • Digital Figures: more silly doodles…went from navy to black.
  • Characters for the Day Week: Am finally doing this! April didn’t work out and this month is packed with the heavy start of the Stone Project so realistically I might have to hold the uncomfortable, more time consuming digital approach off till I don’t know when. Not want to chew more than I can handle!

To be fair, I did start working on it for about 2 hours this past week – it’s just nothing I can show yet. Instead, I went back to my ball point pen and doodled some fun brain dump stuff:

Characters for the Week: It is now for the week!
Spontaneous Character Doodles from imagination for Days 1 to 3.
Not too good at muscular people, let alone a variety of male characters hands, feet and so on yet. These really are characters created from thin air, no planning or even theme to base on so I expected them to come out horribly…so brace yourself for loads of weird designs and dysfunctional anatomy!
  • Stone Project: Trying to do less bad chicken drawings and loads of research.
  • Anatomy Studies: heads heads heads…
  • Arm strain; not bothering me at all this past week!

Other Adventures: 

  • Games (watching): Dark Souls 2, Minecraft hardcore, Resident Evil 4, Persona 4 Arena, Broforce (very cool), Killer Instinct 2014, Soul Calibur 2 and 5, Garry’s Mod modes like Elevator Source, Tornado and the usual, Betrayer (indie), Final Fantasy VII summary
  • Unity 5 demo: my programming knowledge is really rusty but I got the gist of the presentation. Got reminded about arrays, memory efficiency, mistyping public as pubic haha, if and elses, accounting for all cases, best coding conventions (common sense dot points really), preloaded assets, time consuming debugging, error messages…and how I don’t want to do programming seriously as a job.
It’s something I’ll have to fight my way to learn it as best I could (that’s how it was when I did study Computer Science, I didn’t enjoy it but admittedly it was incredibly satisfying when I finally solved something). At least I still get the general idea of the process.
I handed and explained my notes over to my bro (he will develop and program some games someday)! And the new features for the new Unity engine version looks cool; hard to say with complete certainty right now though.

Reflection for the Week

My nose was running like a fountain due to my cold one day. Hey, come back nose!
Ha I’ve used this joke four years ago; it’s metaphorically true as well. Feeling physically terrible, am in recovery mode and I know even you might be feeling sick so keep the rest up!Ah to clarify, yes I still do look art on the internet, just not from social media as much. I think I confused myself too in my previous post.

My Discussion on Art Style and Technical Skill
(I am in no way an expert so my opinions right now are subject to change! I am just a Miss Type-a-lot thinking about topics she cares about)!

Where am I in terms of progress?
I’m finding myself more harsher towards myself in terms of art progress over the past few years (a good healthy mixture of fun and frustration though!) I don’t want to settle for less and I am not at the place I want to be yet so I’m going to keep going! I can be incredibly nitpicky if I want to or need to push the boundaries! Truly part of the journey.

Ultimately, I know there’s really no end to this journey but I don’t care; it’s too fun and I don’t want to waste time and tolerate doing anything else (especially since my career change as it is so, so easy for the “back up plan” to end up consuming your energy, you tend to only focus on the short term and then you fall complacent). I’m not exactly proud of my situation but I shall keep working and I trust that I will get somewhere, whenever that may be.

What’s the art landscape in terms of technique and art styles at the moment…?
I can’t speak for everyone but for myself: When you’re exposed to so much highly technically skilled art, all the current popular art styles and approaches tend to look the same to you within their respective categories over time (or maybe they are too similar and marketable) and it’s so easy to assume and quickly judge and dismiss something as “such and such category from CompanyName” within the first few seconds.

Or perhaps I’m kind of “desensitised” as a lot out there is at such high skill levels regardless of whether it’s effective, interesting and unique design or not. I don’t know how to pinpoint this for sure. Food for thought!

Many are incredibly technically well made which certainly involves many years of hard experience, taking in all kinds of challenges, late nights, sacrifices and persistence to reach so I’m not saying that the highly skilled artists are “bad” (they’re amazing!)

I mean to get anywhere in the industry, you absolutely need at least a reasonable amount of technical skill dependent on role in order to tackle on whatever challenges thrown at your face on a late, long night. This is what a majority of admirable artists are focused on, constantly proving through thick and thin that they can perform at marketable levels of skill and working well with people year after year. (Hey! Keep going if this applies to you! Let’s do this!)

What I am saying is that it is increasingly difficult to stand out from the rest so I hope even more artists get their own exciting personal projects out there to break from the mold and create heaps of things they can call their own. I’m sure that’s what excites artists and everyone around them the most! There’s countless many doing so but I am encouraging for more! (:

This is not new to the experienced and hard working artists out there: 
Ultimately it’s not about art technique (as much as I keep striving to improve my art skills) or art style first-most. But it is how both aspects and everything else has to revolve around how effectively you visually communicate your story, mood or idea. So increasingly, I look at how artists communicate their idea first and admittedly whether I engage with that idea/message or not before looking at how they technically create it and whether the art style suits.

What does this all mean to me…
Personally I do not have a “I must be able to do ____ art style” mindset but I’m happy to try and play with existing art styles and see where that and real life sources take me. Part of the fun and scariness is in the “not knowing where you’re going with it” feeling. Art style usually has to be loosely predefined to control the scope of the experimentation and we all have our art style biases anyway. Don’t discount what you enjoy! The usual cliche of “you only do your best work when you enjoy it” applies here. You’re evolving too; you’re going to keep changing what styles you enjoy! Either way, I need to keep trying things out!

Certainly I am rambling here to ascertain what I think art style and standards means to me at the moment. One might see this as all talk right now rather than demonstrating it through my own artwork but I’m always self-aware and making sure I have clarity and purpose in whatever I’m doing and working towards. It is terribly easy to forget what the big picture is and then fall into the trap of following what’s popular and amazing at the moment.

My concise conclusion (as of current):
What am I communicating?” should be the core focus rather than art style or technical skill first-most.
But what do I know? The more I look at the big picture, the more I find out that there’s countless things I don’t know. Learning is amazing, isn’t it?

Will I keep blogging weekly like this indefinitely?
Immediate YES.
I’m crazy dedicated. Even if it’s not weekly, it’ll be biweekly or maximum monthly. But weekly is ideal. This is because so much happens in a week and I usually don’t want look too far back; I keep moving forward, live the moment and think about the upcoming week or month instead. And I forget heaps as well.
So I am stubborn with this “yes”.

I have been questioning this stubbornness and perhaps blind optimism lately though. I realise that many established artists have stopped blogging/forum posting once they get overwhelmed with jobs coming in and will usually just show polished illustration and sketches due to their understandably busy schedules.
‘Would I ever become one of them?’, I’d wonder. I’d hope so in terms of getting better and better jobs! But in terms of blogging, I am still going to see how far I can take it! The blog posts might get shorter and shorter though; time will tell.

I have taken online hiatuses before where needed but this is my safe bubble home to ramble on, reflect and refocus my art progress, failures, honest thoughts and new fun adventuuures to myself (and you, my invisible friend; I can’t actually see you!) I enjoy this too much (it’s part of my life already!) I welcome you to keep coming along with me for the ride as always. Of course there’s room for you on this little island!

Journey so Far

I feel like a bumper car randomly driving somewhere and seeing what happens when I try to bump into something. Just playing, with breaks in between despite getting knocked around more than knocking obstacles. Got my seat belt in locked tight and freedom to try and learn whatever I want though.Gosh most creatives relate: this art making thing both drives us to take control of the wheel with vigour, hope and passion and drives us crazy and to frustrating, scary obstacles, gambling scenarios, self loathing and dead ends! It shows that we are crazy too for doing this at all, especially with all the negativity some of us get for choosing the path (I know a lot of us do, including myself).
We don’t really know for sure what’s around the corner.

That is how I would describe my journey so far at least. The sad thing though is that I’ve never actually driven a bumper car so I don’t know how accurate my metaphor is! Safe car crash simulation? haha

Shall halt the rambling here! I am slowly healing from this horrible cold!
I’m still looking out for freelancing opportunities as usual.

Until next time you! Keep fighting!Leonie