Wednesday, September 26, 2012

There and Back Again: Days 70-75

Day 70: The only time so far that I have given myself a pass on doing the full hour: I had pulled an all-nighter, and as I sat down to draw I came upon hour 36 of being awake. I tried very, very hard to complete the hour anyway, but I was literally falling asleep as I drew; my head was nodding down to my chest and then snapping back up as I drifted in and out of consciousness.

So I gave up and went to sleep at 7pm and went back the next day and did the second half-hour. I'm actually very in love with it.

Day 71: And then I drew a naked dead girl with a confrontational (but gentle?) gaze, because it's funny to make the book somewhat awkward for non-artists to look through? But actually it's because I had no idea how to drape clothes on her form.

Day 72: I really enjoyed this drawing, poor anatomy and all. 

Day 73: I was having an emotional day, from a combination of it being September 11th, a heartbreakingly beautiful Fall day, and the Metropolitan Museum. I took refuge in drawing from a statue in the American Wing that really touched me, and fell into that until the light shifted too much to continue. It was very meditative.

Day 74: And then I drew a sad woman with a broken-looking wrist very, very slowly. Facetiousness aside, I like her a lot.

Day 75: This one, not as much, though her hands do please me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

There and Back Again: Days 66-69

AKA: Jenna Joins a DnD Campaign

Day 66: I have a human Storm Cleric. Her name is Corinne and I ran out of patience while working on her chain mail. In my head, she is a redhead and all her raiment is grey.

Day 67: My friend has a Human Knight. Her name is Lyra. When I asked for her description, the phrase 'douchey grin' came up more times than anything else.

Day 68: And then I tried and failed to draw my other friend's Elf Wizard, Zeke.

Day 69: This is still not good, but it's less not-good than the previous day.

Of the group, only Lyra really got the full treatment of design and character. My Corinne got designed, but is sort of a blank slate in terms of who she is, while Zeke just... got given up on. Not pictured: Benny, our Halfling Rogue, and two characters that might join but whose players haven't committed yet.

This was a fun diversion but ultimately not something I 'felt' enough to continue with. It's more important for me to feel that the art is connected to something in me than to pursue 'projects' within the project.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

SVA Life Drawing 9/17

SVA has weekly free model sessions for students and alum, and I am going to be doing my level best to attend as many as I can! This week was the first time I've drawn from a live model in, uh. Five-ish months. So of a three-hour session, only these four poses are really worth showing.

10 min poses
20 min poses

As obviously rusty as I am here, I'm really pleased... mostly because this -

- is what I did at my last model session, five months ago, for the 10 and 20 minute poses.

The change in my linework and markmaking is striking to me, and what's especially interesting to me is the fact that I have my drawing-a-day project to thank for that. The way I draw has changed and streamlined to a point where it's usually actively enjoyable, where before drawing was a needful chore on average - something I was good at but took little joy in.

As far as I can tell, it has to do with letting go, or trusting myself, or confidence, or a combination of all three. The first line doesn't have to be perfect, nor does it have to be feather-light in case it's wrong; I can take as many passes on a shape as I need, and describing form with hatching without hesitation because if I'm wrong I just erase it and try again. I also apparently figured out how to find middle steps between the blank mask-face (+/- placeholder features, like on the middle figure from the old session) and a painstakingly drawn portrait.

Anyway, all of this is just a sort of congratulatory post to myself on improvement, and some thoughts on the specifics and reasons. It's helpful to think 'out loud', and beyond that this kind of post turns out to be a really invaluable time-capsule for my artistic journey. Thanks for reading, if you did!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

There and Back Again: Days 59-65

A longer post than usual, since I've been remiss about keeping up with showing my daily pages and need to catch up. Two and a half weeks behind!

Day 59: If the Pre-Raphealites have taught me anything, it's that throwing a sweeping cloth behind a figure's head is The Right Thing To Do. Maybe it evens out the awfulness of those hands.

Day 60: I did this over the course of... a lot more than one hour, the day that I went to Allentown to see the At The Edge exhibit, which was so good it hurt. I'm really pleased by the outcome here.

Day 61: This is a character from Elizabeth Bear's Jenny Casey trilogy, which I'd just finished re-reading at the time. The proportions and anatomy of the legs is questionable, but I do like what I did with her overall.

Day 62: This came out rather better than anything I deserved, given my exhaustion and level of sobriety.The gesture is exactly what I wanted.

Day 63: And then I tried to draw Aragorn, and while I like what I did with his face (mostly), the rest sort of fell apart.

Day 64: She was a lot of fun to draw! Black eyes and pretty clothes on awesome ladies, yes.

Day 65: I tried doing a 'doodle page', where I didn't focus on drawing just one thing for my hour. It, uh. Didn't work out well. It's not a bad page, just of questionable use.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kicking and screaming

This drawing has fought me every single inch of the way and now it is time to paint. Finally!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Third time's the charm

 All three versions of the female barbarian figure from Holding the Pass. Now to just place her in the composition and design her clothes...

Monday, September 3, 2012

There and Back Again: Days 54-58

The trick with long projects like this, I've found, is finding some way to stay engaged. It's easy to fall into a routine, into taking the shortest distance between two points, into doing the thing because it must be done - but once that happens, the reason behind the project is lost. Doing a drawing a day for six months is meaningless if, less than two months in, the drawings became static and labored and easy.

It's my responsibility to notice when this is happening and figure out what to change. Last summer, I didn't do that: over the course of the second half of the project, while there were good days, it was a slow grind downhill and the last week or two were of questionable use. This summer, it took me just a week to catch on - maybe because I've experienced it before, maybe because I'm more aware of my own artmaking.

Whatever the reason, when I hit a wall in the days before this, I was able to feel it. Drawing wasn't fun, the project was a chore, and I found myself drawing just to get it over with - and then getting frustrated when the drawings weren't as good as I knew they could be.

After a page that was particularly slipshod and disappointing, I stepped back and realized I hadn't drawn out of my head hardly ever in the project so far - that, while I had been drawing 'things that I loved', I was accessing them through another's eye. And while I was selecting photos that moved me or attracted me deeply, that was really not a problem. But there are only so many photos that hit me like that, and after 53 days, I was down to picking things because they were pretty.

Turning from that to things from my head was like a breath of fresh air.

Day 54:It was so freeing to draw this page. It just... worked.

Day 55: A character of mine - old and pared down by the elements and life. I wanted to see if I could draw from my head with a specific direction in mind, instead of just putting features down.

Day 56: Not much to say on this. The face really makes me happy!

Day 57: And here's the trap I fell into on most of the previous times I drew out of my head: I just doodled. There's no engagement here, no challenge or investment. It's in no way special, or even that pretty. It's an hour of very lazy drawing.

Day 58: So the next day I did this. And while there are very, very bad proportional errors (I have a bad habit of shortening torsos and hips, and then scaling the legs to that truncated core) I did do my best to be an active participant in this drawing. Its flaws are real, but they're not related to not caring, and it's therefore a success in relation to the one that came before it.