Saturday, October 4, 2014

And Now it's Back to the Drawing Board for Gesture and Concept

I'm still flabbergasted by the sudden onset of my painting skills all in one big burst on the Mouser portrait. I guess it's Punctuated Equilibrium, the idea from Evolutionary Theory that things don't progress in a steady fashion but tend toward stasis punctuated by sudden leaps. I definitely think the studies have paid off, but it didn't show much in the studies themselves - and I'm sure that's because I really wanted this one to kick ass, so I was willing to put in massive amounts of time and do whatever was required.

In a sense I think of this as my second real illustration attempt. The 2 original Fafhrd/Mouser illos were actually reworkings of older paintings I had done in oil years ago, though I did draw the Mouser from scratch on both and create the backgrounds. So the first time I really designed an illustration entirely from fresh ideas was the Warrior Woman, which I now think of as a trial run for this Mouser portrait. I learned a lot from it about painting a figure bristling with weapons and layered with clothing. But I was still afraid of the darks (ironic ain't it, for a guy going by the name Darkstrider and/or Darkmatters?)

I'm ALMOST finished with the Mouser now. I've sat back with a huge sigh of relief about a dozen times and SAID I was finished, and I meant it every time. But within seconds I was usually scribbling away again. See, this is the kind of dedication that's needed to push beyond the noob zone and really reach critical mass - that's why it absolutely HAS to be something you care deeply about. These are the pieces where you punctuate the hell out of that equilibrium and leap ahead giggling like a maniac.

And it's clear now that I have the painting aspect of this well in hand. That wasn't at all clear until now. But now I know I got this. 

And now it's time to concentrate on the other end of the spectrum once again - the beginning of the process. Gesture and anatomy, thumbnailing and concept development. 

I just ordered the first 2 Michael Mattesi books from his Force series for animators, which cover creating characters and poses from life drawing/gesture. The writing seems largely to be dancing about architecture - often when I read his captions and really look at the drawings they're saying very different things, but then it's the drawings that really speak volumes here. As always be very suspicions of what anyone has to say about art - especially the artist himself who often fails to understand what he's really done or why it works. 

I'm extremely glad I've done as much gesture/ figure drawing as I have and reached a decent point with it, so I know that's another attainable goal just with enough steady work and practice. I need for my figures to not only be well painted, but to live and breathe too! 

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