Saturday, March 21, 2009

Retrospective

I've just realised that it's probably a good idea to post an example after raving about the crow-quill pen I reviewed in my last post.

Well, here's the thing, I'm going to use this opportunity to give out a piece of advice:

Don't judge your artwork by comparing it to the professionals. You're a student and chances are your favorite artist has been drawing or painting professionally for decades. Instead, judge your artwork by comparing it to your own, earlier work. Learning to draw is a journey and it's far more encouraging to see how far you've come rather than how much further you have to go (and the truth is, there is no 'destination', you never stop learning).

I realized this shortly after I finished this piece:



You see, I know that it's not very good. I look at this drawing and can see no less than fifteen mistakes and about thirty things I'm not 100% happy with. I know that I'm still light-years behind my favorite artists...but this is a sketch I rattled off in less than ten minutes in order to have something to ink with my new pen...and inking with a quill pen in itself is a brand new skill that I'd never tried before...and it's a notoriously tricky thing to do.

Long story short, this is a very quick sketch I put very little time or thought into. I don't particularly like it, but it's light years ahead of this:

Not good, right?

Two years ago this was an example of my absolute best work, and if I'm completely honest with myself a lot of this drawing was a fluke. This drawing was one of those 'happy accidents' where the talent monkey was feeling particularly generous and let me draw something that was beyond my normal talent range.

The point I'm trying to make is that when I hold my artwork up against the professional artists that I admire, I'm only going to get discouraged because next to Adam Hughes or Mark Bagley my work looks like the scribblings of a five year olds...however, I can look at my own stuff from even six months ago and see a significant improvement.