Friday, December 30, 2011

Black Swan

Like many families, ours gathered over Christmas to watch some films, eat, drink and be merry. Christmas eve's fare wasn't your standard Lethal Weapon/Die Hard shenanigans, but instead we ended up watching Aranofsky's Black Swan.
I'd been looking forward to seeing it for a while, so it was great to watch with an analytical eye as well as beign able to bounce it off my other family members. Lots of little choices really added to the feel of the film, and it's one I'm gonna go out and buy/deconstruct the crap out of in some point in the future.

But for now, a quick study of a pic from it I found online.

OH, and with that film in mind, anyone recommend any good films of this/Eternal Sunshine/500 days of Summer ilk? I need more good cinema :D

Merry Christmas everyone. No, it's not over. I remember hearing there were 12 days involved ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Staying Motivated

When people hear that I'm a freelancer, they usually say one of two things.

1- That's AWESOME. You get to work whenever you want. 


2- That must be HORRIBLE keeping yourself motivated.

I never really had a problem with the motivation part until recently, until last week it clicked with me why, and how I had been self-medicating up to that point. So with that in mind, I'm gonna share some ways I find useful of staying focused.



This is a great way to cut through the crap and distractions and get LOTS done. Essentially, you set a timer and

Work 25 mins
Rest 5 mins

Work 25 mins
Rest 5 mins

Work 25 mins
Rest 5 mins

Work 25 mins
Rest 30 mins

Enough of a break to pee, get a cuppa or whatever. I use a little program called pomadairo to keep track, but there's downsides to this. The downside being the stopping. I generally plug in and work for about 45 mins to an hour before my brain demands distraction, or longer if there's actual problem solving going on. The pomodorro cycle sometimes wrecks my flow. Useful for boring things though.


Music is a great way to keep yourself pumped, and you can use it in multiple ways. I try and shoot for the hour between each break, so I often use albums as milestones. If you're familiar with the album, you subconsciously KNOW how long until the break is coming so you don't keep glancing at the clock and can stay tuned in. It's also a great way to stay in tone for the piece you're working on, with soundtracks being a great choice. Gladiator, Matrix, Lord of the Rings. Battlestar Galactica is one of my favourites for this. 

If you're doing the late night deadline super mega crunch, I'd recommend grooveshark's Ambient station. keeps you mellow and constant. I swear by it.


This is a useful one, albeit tricky to find a balance. You need a show with a strong score and narrative. House is dialogue driven and enough characters to follow like a radio show. MOST of the time it doesn't depend on what's on screen (well directed though it is). Breaking Bad is VERY visual, and is a perfect example of what NOT to have on in the background. It's a great show, and deserves your full attention. Not for working to. Long series are better, as it can keep you hooked in like a long album. I use FullMetal Alchemist, Avatar and Battlestar Galactica (trying Doctor Who) for this all the time. 
Community would be perfect, except the episodes are too short. Which is a shame, I'm loving that show. 


I don't wear my headphones unless I'm working. Now when I put my headphones on it acts as a trigger to drown out everything else and stay involved with what I' m working on. Even if there's nothing playing. Incredibly useful tool. 


I find if I start work after 10am, it's like I'm constantly trying to drag the work out of me. If I begin closer to 8am, not only do I have longer to complete my work but I find I've more energy for it and results are more forthcoming. Better still is when I take the take to visualise what I'm going to do the night before as I go to sleep, that way I can be subconsciously addressing any problems I might have with the job at hand. 


I usually get 7 hours sleep a night, at least. This is non-negotiable, barring deadline days themselves. You don't sleep, you don't think, you don't perform. The same goes with getting out of the house, exercising and all that jazz. Energy begets energy. The more pumped you are, the more you can put into your work. 


I have a whiteboard behind me with a short term to-do list, and a long term one. Crossing off completed tasks is exceptionally rewarding, particularly off the long term one. Writing lists is the BEST thing you can do. It keeps you organised, it keeps you focused, and its a great way of charting progress. 

Hope those help! 


Have you any tips for staying motivated? Feel free to leave a comment

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The only thing that is required for Medieval to succeed is for Sci Fi people to do Nothing

Still trying to get the hang of some of those techniques in the Gnomon vids, as well as thinking more about lenses, focus and exposure in my paintings. I've only noticed this evening my compositions are getting a little stale- will need to work on that a little too.

But yeah, this was interesting to do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My own worst enemy

Did this from memory really quickly and just glanced at my reflection after finishing...yeah, I need to hit the gym. But anyways, was watching Jeremy Vickery's masterclass and discussing depth of field and thought 'man I NEVER to blurry background stuff' so threw this out.
Yeah, for the next ten minutes, I'm happy with it.

One of the things I've gleaned from the gnomon classes and my watercolour dabblings is not to worry about nailing the hue on the first stroke. Subtle build ups are better than hasty corrections. That, and take a moment to  pick or make the right brush. I find it's making a big difference.

Anyway, back to this video!


Day 1

I started on this Gnomon Masterclass malarky today, and the first lecture I watched took some inkblots and turned them into a finished painting, going through it step by step and explaining the methods and methodology behind it. 

I tried putting it into action earlier, but I was frazzled and ended up sitting down in front of the TV in a huff. I DID do some inkblots to try and do it as close to EXACTLY as Mr Limorick did, and left them to dry.

On my way to bed, I figured I'd scan them, and be ready for a fresh start as a morning warmup. 

Then this happened. 

This isn't finished, not by a long means. Usually at this point I'd struggle with where to go, but I'm confident (with a larrrrrrrrrge stack of notes to back me up) that I can see this one through. But now it's 1.30, and I'm up early for work. 

The first one is my inkblot, and the second is where I'm at so far. Looking at these in TINY I'm gonna set some of that yummy negative space back under the turret. But yeah, its interesting how after such a frustrating attempt earlier, this could even be called 'FUN'

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Seeing Life in Watercolour

Watercolours have always bothered me. Coming from a lighting-first approach the idea of rendering light-to-dark has never sat well with me. Wet media overall have never been a strength of mine- at least not until I took deliberate steps to learn inking/washes through a month of trial-and-error-no-photoshop-for-you.
Now I use inkwashes as my go-to medium.
I was at a con recently, and was asked to draw Rainbow Dash. Which I did, on model, grayscale. I was kicking myself- I had forgotten my brushpen so it was as much setup as having a set of watercolours. So I thought 'enough is enough' and before I start those wonderful Gnomon masterclasses next week I'm gonna get some watercolour work done.

These are early efforts, and much as I dislike them there are a load of things that make me go OH THAT'S HOW YOU DO THAT with each picture. Blacksad was the first one- Panda on the realisation that lines aren't necessarily a good thing and this evening's girl is up top. She's from a stock image on Deviantart.

ANYWAY, this is actually a lot of fun. Why wasn't I doing this years ago?

Eagle Scout

I was thinking 'I'm playing too much Skyrim' and need to focus on getting more painting done in my downtime, but in retrospect there's definitely a strong Dwemer influence here. Ah well, tis just a warmup sketch.
Made by doodling a random shape and clone/warping it a bunch of times and picking out shapes from the garbled mess.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Backgrounds Reel

Background Reel from Ciaran Lucas on Vimeo.

So I did up a backgrounds reel, which was suprisingly fun/challenging. I'd really done a lot more with my branding since the last time I did a reel, so I wanted to make sure it matched. Been studying after effects animation in games like Infamous for different approaches, as well as DVD menus, and I think some of it has shown up. For now, I'm happy :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Small Press is another name for Big Fun.

Yeah, so I've been doing little 3 panel comics for the craic. Didn't wanna fill up THIS blog with em, so I gave them their own- have a look :D

You wanted pandas? Fine, you've got pandas XD

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

disclaimer- Trying not to make this sound preachy. Probable failure shall ensue in 3...2...1...

THIS SHOW. It seems a divisive topic.

The term 'Brony' has now come into usage to mean male Pony-fan, much akin to avatards but with a sprinkle of furry attached. MLP's essentially a show for girls, so chock in a healthy bunch of homophobia, and you have a general public reacting in harsh disdain for the suprisingly large number of male twentysomethings who enjoy it. 

If MCM was anything to go by, some people really do enjoy it WAY TOO MUCH, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

People have been CRYING OUT for gender balance in TV and film, for solid female characters who don't fall into the Lara Croft/Lesbian binary choice. Here you have it on a plate. Well written, well animated, well presented. 

I see some people being ASHAMED to like the show, calling it a guilty pleasure. I was raised catholic, trust me- I know about the guilt thing. MLP doesn't make me feel guilty in the slightest. Gummi Bears is my guilty pleasure, because thats a totally self indulgent nostalgia trip- I rarely to never partake, but it's a great unicorn chaser.

I'm proud to say I'm a fan of MLP, although I hesitate to use the term Brony. Lauren Faust successfully took one of my most disinterested franchises, and craft it into something that I'd hold alongside Foster's, Ben 10 and Fairly Odd Parents and Kim Possible in a list of damn-good-cartoons.

So I think we should be grateful to have QUALITY shows coming out, particularly those catering non-exclusively to a girl audience. Enjoy it for what it is, don't dismiss it for the behaviour of the fandom, and most of all, don't knock it til you've tried it. 


On a seperate note, I'm REALLY enjoying the backgrounds in this, with an eager 'ooh let me try' anticipation that I can't wait to try my hand at. Hopefully I'll get around to something like that. For now, I'm up to my gills though. Stay classy everyone

Oh, by the way, feel free to comment, would love to hear if you have any thoughts on the show or it's public reaction. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

So today I've been experimenting with my inkling. It's had mixed results so far, but rule of thumb being don't move the sensor. If you do, start a new layer. The lines of these were done with the inkling's pen, but scanned using a scanner (the inkling scan didn't turn out great on any of them.)

But yeah, I'll be at the MCM expo in London this weekend, where each of these (among others) will be up for grabs. Come along and say hi :D

Might as well upload the comparison for the Imp-

I'll get the hang of it. Early days yet.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bon Iver and the Unexpected Surge of Emotion

Anyone who follows my twitter feed will know I'm a big fan of Bon Iver, and after a gruelling battle against the vicissitudes of fate managed to go see them last night.

 I don't get to go to enough gigs, and the ones I do manage to get to are always life changing affairs. Well, maybe not life CHANGING, but definitely life affirming.

 For those of you that don't know the music, the first album is heavily reliant on an old creaky acoustic guitar, and one man's lament for loves lived and lost, and the fallout therein.

 The second is much more grandiose, with more brass, strings and percussion than the previous offering, layed tastefully down over the tracks in a way that adds to each song without overpowering it. For Emma (,Forever Ago- the first album) was incredibly poignant and tugged at the heart strings. Bon Iver (the second album) is much bolder, and louder, and challenges us musically in a way that could either be a sign of musical growth on Justin's part, or a voicing that actually 'yes, I am much more than the album I wrote on my guitar'. Personally, I'd like to think that it's a little of both.
 Hearing live recordings of the earlier tours, he seemed slightly embarrassed by the songs. That embarrassment and almost apologetic humility were gone, and instead we found an air of 'this is us as we are meant to be, we're grateful you're along for the ride'

 In terms of setup, they are an amazingly diverse group of musicians, nine in total, with TWO drum kits played the whole night through. This added a gravitas that I haven't heard live before, and redefined for me what was confined to studio recording. There was a full brass section, violins, guitars (both acoustic and electric), tastefully used effects on vox and guitars, miscellaneous extra percussion, keyboard and vocals (at one point with seven singers). I think I saw a glockenspiel too. Anyway, oodles of instruments all performed perfectly, with a coordination that again, I wouldn't have thought would be feasible outside a studio. It felt more like an orchestra than a band.

 The one thing that gripped me was that it was one of the quietest gigs I've ever been too. We all remained seated bar the encore, and NOBODY sang along.

 This was contrasted with sections that teetered on the edge of Dave Matthews Band-esque freeform jams by everyone at once, leaving the overall impression of strength and subtlety like that of a master pianist. Justin Vernon seems to have mastered the build up and release of tension in his set, and it was nothing short of an experience.

 After taking a minute out to talk to the crowd he waded into re:Stacks, and after seeming a little bored with performing it the same old way decided to mix his vocals up a little. After all, it was just him and his guitar. Nobody to keep time with or stick to script with. In that moment, I could see a change in him- he was actually having fun.
 There's playing a tight set, and there's kicking out the jams, and in his own way this was the latter, and it was all the better for it.

When it finished, I found myself really sad and dejected, despite experiencing this great performance. It didn't fade instantly either, which took me by suprise.
 We kicked back into high gear with Blood Bank (which I don't think the vast majority of the crowd knew) Having been dropped to the floor by Stacks this lifted me up dramatically, aided by an amazing light show to match.. It was like riding a wave of sound, like my soul was screaming. I needed to move, dance, explode. Something. I like that song, but I wasn't prepared for THAT. So, mission accomplished there guys.

 Wolves ended the first part of the show, and even if the dry shites beside me weren't singing along I was screaming my head off. It's alright, we were ASKED to. How could you not?
 Beautiful, beautiful song, and a perfect example of how to use silence in music.

 For the encore they treated us with Skinny Love and finally For Emma, Forever Ago. Skinny love had the ensemble around Justin (bar one of the drummers- the one who provides the main vocal harmonies oddly enough) clapping and singing the accompanying parts. By the time Emma was on, we didn't want it to end, and I think the band may have kept it on for an extra 12 bars for that very reason. For that I'm grateful.

 The only downside was that I was there on my own. This was DEFINITELY not helped by the guy on the other side of me who was all over his girlfriend for the whole night. I don't blame him at all though, no better time for it. But anyone who goes to a BON IVER gig alone and doesn't think they'll leave feeling lonely probably hasn't thought things through. I don't regret a second of it though; it was in a word, amazing.

 OH and the warmup act Kathleen Edwards was pretty damn cool. The warmup sketches above are from memory of her lads playing away.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Give hate a hug

I've been listening to Chris Oatley's podcast , as well as the Paper Wings podcast  What he's been saying about understanding forms meaning you can draw anything has really backed up a lot of my ideas, and probably phrased them better than I have in the past.

I've always said 'play to your weaknesses', and that was met with a lot of hostility. I think people misunderstood what I meant. I meant to find things you're weak at and improve on them, so that you have a varied and versatile understanding of a subject matter. The more routes you know, the more options to solving a problem you have.

I'd sort of abandoned this philosophy, and thought 'you're good at colour. Stick to colour' But even with that, I never stopped drawing.

Not completely, anyway.

I'd find myself doing the usual coffee shop sketching, and some days taking time out to study plants, or even CARS. I hate drawing plants and cars.
Or should I say, I hated drawing plants and cars.  The park where I run has what I like to call a fairy fort of trees in the middle of it.
I've done a number of studies of it, and a lot of the time the pictures have turned out rubbish. But I kept trying, using different media and techniques to try and capture the forms, and understand what's doing what to what.
I wouldn't say I came to a conclusion I was happy with, but each one taught me a little bit about it, and I left it at that.

Roll on the start of this week, and I get an email asking me to do some backgrounds for an animated film. There's a lot of forest in it, and suprisingly I didn't even hesitate.
I've noticed bits in it where I'm specifically re-using knowledged I've gleaned from my observational work in a more acute way than I've noticed before with figure drawing or other work. This is PROBABLY because I shied away from plants before and the knowledge has made a vast difference to my approach.

With this revelation, I was on my way to Dublin yesterday, and was sitting on the top floor of the bus at the front hoping to get some quick figure studies done as the bus went past. Then I thought 'you're in traffic numbnuts' and proceeded to draw some of the cars. And you know what? IT. WAS. FUN. I never realised how much personality there is to vehicle design before. Chris mentioned 'losing the mystery' to objects, and that sort of broke a dam in my brain.

Research drawing ACTIVELY levels you up, FACT.


I tend to air on the side of ridiculously optimistic. I set wild and lofty goals and a lot of them have come to pass, but occasionaly like everyone else I see the void between where I am and where I want to be. Or better yet, a big gigantic wave of real-world hits me. Either way, lots of panic, little sleeping. And I really like my sleep. So hearing someone say that my scribblings are a good idea, and seeing first hand a situation where they have actively improved my work has been an amazing boost not of ego, but of confidence. Put in the work, and progress is inevitable, not possible.

Last night I slept like a baby. The quiet sleeping kind, not the waking up at three in the morning crying kind. Some phrases are strange.

Anyway, faith restored.

In a world where anything can happen, everything can happen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ahead of the game

Here's a thing. I'm after buying a bunch of painting techniques books, this is me beginning to go through them ;)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Totoro Warmup

Wanted to do both some observational work and some fanart for warmup this morning. Luckily I have this Totoro moneybox that's totally earned it's place as a paper weight/bookend and now still life model. Would have quite happily poured another hour into this to get the textures and materials just right, but I'd set myself a cap of 40 minutes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

North, North by East, Northeast by North, Northeast.

So it's HOWLING wind outside this morning, and it reminded me of some of my time in the Sea Scouts. We did a lot of rowing, and I loved it. Both with a bit of swell, as you had to try and navigate the waves and find a stroke that didn't have you catching crabs or air, and in perfect calm, when the movements of the oars in the spurs were perfectly in unison to the beat of 'We Will Rock You' I always found sailing to be 'sit there and hold a rope/stick' Gimme an oar any day. So this happened as a bit of a warmup.
This goes a long way to explain my ability to recite 32 points on the compass, all those sea shanties and an allround disapproval of paintings of boats with the tide out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

House Call

I love colouring Adam's stuff, and I love Doctor Who. That makes for a high index of fun when it came to this. Adam colours his own stuff all the time, so his work is set up in a FAR more organised manner than I would normally trend. So yay. This happened SILLY quick, and was a lot of fun to play the RGB against each other. Hope you all like it. Lines by Adam Law Colours by Ciaran Lucas

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ratchet in the Works.

I've a funny feeling this is gonna be one of those pictures I'm gonna look at in the morning and see a million things wrong with, but here's this for now. My annual Ratchet and Clank fanart. These are the games that really got me into gaming, and I still mightily enjoy bludgeoning hundreds of aliens and robots with my trusty Omniwrench. This is like the 8th year I've done this, and I'm trying to outdo myself from the previous year. Links to the older ones can be found at which I find hilariously awful. Sort of. The...2008 one I'm still kinda fond of. But onwards and upwards. Hope y'all like it. Ratchet's property of Insomniac Games, I just play the things they make.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This morning's warmup. Getting used to Magic Picker's colour wheel, I find so far that it's forcing me to be a lot bolder with my colour choices. Trying to work with opacity less, to force myself to commit quicker and work like oils more. Hope you guys like it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Noticed I didn't have much cutout style stuff in my gallery, particularly in terms of backgrounds, so I knocked this out.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


As Mr Law was so kind as to draw my Goblins, I drew Magpie for him. Well, I did, and I thought the drawing was a bit rubbish, so here's another one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I do panel teases now. Panel teases are cool.

Here's a little tease of what I'm working on when I'm not working. Unfortunately, I'm supposed to be working at the moment, so this'll have to wait a bit more. OH, and Adam Law drew my Goblins for me and did a wonderful job

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Birds of Prey

This morning's warmup. No idea who the characters are, but ideas were bouncing back and forth in my head like a film trailer while this was being drawn
'You hear what they're calling em? DOGfights. I don't see a goddam dog up there in that sky. Too busy chasing their tails. We're birds. We're hunters. We win'

If THAT's the case, then that gun is way out of timeframe, but screw it, it's just a doodle.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Goblin Treehouse

Concept drawing for the Goblin's sitting room. Trying to stick to the rules of anything they've had for centuries or found in the dump, adding to their insular lifestyle.

Ended up doing the pencils for this at two in the morning last night, and then woke at 7.30 eager to do more. Obvious different techniques used this time- no inking, lots more textures, one brightness/contrast adjustment layer for lighting.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Nilbog is Goblin backwards

Today, barring a quick stop to pitch a marquee (as you do) was time for me to get a bit more work done on my pet project, Goblins. I've a tendency to rush headlong into making a comic without hammering out the characters visually as much as I'd like, so I'm taking this one at a time.
Ug and Fez are today's subjects, following on from the last time. Two more stars of the show to go, maybe three. This is all building towards something. I have a plan.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Sinister 6

TLDR- This was fun. Painty painty sinister 6, with lines by the awesome Grant Perkins.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Haven't done one of these up in a while, figured I'd start with Ug. His head is essentially covered with a hoodie, with holes poked out for his eyes and ears. Possibly the worst disguise ever.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Some more work from this little pet project of mine. Some of the little family of Goblins that occupy that dump I posted over at my DevArt page

Trying out some new colouring methods I saw on a livestream the other day

Enjoy :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sample Pages

Hey, here's some sample pages I did recently for Marvel. Woot.

Lines by Terry Dodson, unless I'm very much mistaken!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Liquifier, sure I barely know her

So I've been working on this pet project of mine in the evenings, which I'm going to keep MORE OR LESS under wraps until MCM in October when I should have something solid to show for it. I will show this, because it's a match to the technique I used in this and for the same project. So yeah, it's different. Especially if you see the raw pencils/inks. The tool in question is of course the liquify tool, which lets you warp in a much more intuitive and flexible manner than the aul' warp transform. Yes, I'm a bit of a slowpoke to this thing, but LEARNING.

It's doing things I'd never draw, but I love nonetheless. I'm on cs3- are there any wonderfeatures in the later versions I'm missing out on? Or even in this version.
This is still a work in progress. I'm gonan digipaint over it, but it was nice to get a bit more bushwork done.

On second thought, I may be posting more of this as it occurs. The character designs are all done, now onto props and then onto the main event.

Let me know what you guys think ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Another warmup. This is a great show- one of the few that stays dark and keeps me hooked in. I also like to think of it as a sequel to Malcolm in the Middle, thus making reruns of Malcolm infinitely more enjoyable. Walter White, Breaking Bad.

Monday, August 8, 2011


This morning's warmup. Why a cave? They're easy. Well, not so much that, but I'm trying to tinker with drawing scale, so caves seemed like a good starting point. Inspired by going to see Super 8 last night- some great visuals in that film.

As luck would have it, I'm going to be doing a lot more painty work over the next few weeks, so expect more updates ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Alarmingly neglected

I don't update here nearly enough. Usually my first post of call is deviantart, where I recently got a Daily Deviation for this:

But yes, things have been very busy in the world of Ciaran.

Finished up work on DANGER ACADEMY last week, and you're all in for a treat. Great characters, great story, and more colours than you could shake a technicolor stick at. I'll have more info when that's coming out etc later on.

But first, the biggest secret I've never kept is that I'm going to be working on MACGYVER with Tony Lee, Lee David Zlotoff (the show's creator) and Becky Cloonan. There's a powerful combination right there. That's out next year, so keep your eyes peeled.

I've a game coming out closer to halloween, that should be fairly cool too. All my art, allll the timmmeee. Can't wait to get my hands on the final product.

Starting work on SOMETHING ELSE I can't talk about yet, but I'm going to have a blast working on it.

ALSO, in my spare time I've started working on a new pet project of mine, which will be presented as an art book about a world with comic strips about the world as well as production art-esque stuff- essentially like an annual. If you've been following my tweets ( @ciaranlucas) you've probably seen some of the stuff for it already.
Keeping it lighthearted and all ages accessible, really enjoying it so far.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I've been playing a fair amount of infamous as part of the welcome back pack on the PSN, which is probably what inspired this. That and probably some avatar related something in my head. Anyways, GESTURE drawing. Fun and quick, and I never do enough of it. I think I really like these tone combinations- I've had no glasses for the past few days and this gave me a break from the screen's normal glare.

Plus, 90% of the work I've been doing lately has been procedural so I've been itching to do more actual drawing.

I'll be back again tomorrow to talk about Tommie Kelly's new Irish Comic News site, The Spirit of Hope anthology, and flexing different muscles. TIL THEN, STAY CLASSY.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


-copypasta from Deviantart:

I've been drafting several versions of a journal on mental health, motivations and attitudes towards work. I think I just came across a journal that solidified my stance on the matter

It was basically a moan that nobody turned up for a livestream, and that there was no point to being on DA yadda yadda yadda. Typoes, caps lock, the whole shebang.
I've a good mind to unfollow that person, as that's pretty much the exact wrong attitude to have.

The big question is WHY does everyone do what they do? Get out of bed, eat healthy food, draw pretty pictures, live in general. What is it that makes you tick. There might be some horrible answer to that like 'out of habit' or 'well that's all there is to do', so spin is absolutely vital. Perspective has a profound effect on how life treats you. How you treat life affects how life treats you, I guess.

On motivations-
The obvious tack to take here is analysing drawing, painting and the whole art element. Most of us have this in common. I used to think that I drew as an emotional crutch and as a means of escapism, and in a way that's still true, but mostly I do it to stop myself getting bored. Painting, designing characters, writing stories all challenge me to take what I've experienced, wrestle to understand them and churn them back out in a way that is understandable useful and creative. Like origami with your memories.

Anyone who's spent time with me in a city may have noticed I can be like a curious puppy looking at everything, from lamposts to underneath shop signage to light arrangements and stall construction in clothes shops. Everything is interesting , from design, form, colour, decay, how people interact with it, it's something I never get tired of studying- sketchbook in hand or no.

I find things interesting, I enjoy doing it, I want to improve, I want my artwork to affect people, I want to tell stories, somewhere in there I gotta make a living too.

Seamless tangent into mental health- well, almost seamless.

I realise these are very selfish reasons, and for a while this had me quite depressed. I came to the conclusion that I've put all this time into learning these skills, the best course of action would be to do something good with it, so I could have my cake and make the world a better place. I'm still working that part out. Figuring out what is good for the world is tricky.

I've hit a broad range of ideas, some very positive, and some requiring leaving the internet and never returning. But these are just ideas, and chime in my head like the infantryman in War of the Worlds. We'll see what happens. If it goes the most drastic way, it may end up being me incentivising myself to interact more in reality than I have to date.

So yeah, my motivations for a large part have been self serving, and I think that's a bad thing. Knowing that and wanting change, I think that's important. I find it curious that my desire for self improvement has extended beyond my pen and paper, which is a welcome change in theory. In practice it makes me a mopey sod, but again, knowing I need to press through this and come out on top gives me drive.

That being said, I have no idea where I get this from. Actually, no, I have ideas but some of them are in of themselves discouraging and others are downright terrifying. One battle at a time.

I get incredibly depressed from time to time, other times I'm an unstoppable force of wow. I'm not diagnosed as bipolar, but I'd say I'm well on my way there. Stephen Fry did a talk on something similar, really need to look it up. Understanding these things make them easier to deal with. Here's where I've been using art as an emotional crutch, and one I'm learning to walk without. Now, I go for a run. Eat more healthily, socialise more. Not sure if it's the effects of a better lifestyle or giving myself less reasons to hate myself, but it helps a little. I choose to think the former, focusing on positives is always better. (other times I eat junk food, wail on my guitar and drown myself in TV shows, but that is part of the problem not part of me dealing with it)

I said earlier I wanted my artwork to affect people, and I want to draw more attention to that. Not me, but my artwork. Yes, I'm a total attention whore, but that's not where I want the focus to be. I get a kick out of it when people think I've done my job well, but I don't expect them to bend over backwards or take any special action on my behalf. That's just silly, they're only pictures. Sometimes they're stupid, sometimes they're funny, and sometimes they're awful.

Which brings me to livestreaming.
Some of my friends, mainly *kitten-chan *TWULF and ~wanwan do regular streams from time to time. It's a great marketing tool, networking opportunity and in many cases learning experience. It's probably not bad for the aul ego, but it's not of itself an ego trip. I've seen other people walk the wrong side of the fence, and use it as an emotional crutch...which of course didn't work. Making a livestream as a means of egoboosting is dangerous. It shifts the onus of how important your work is from yourself onto other people. Motivational crowd surfing. I don't think I've found anyone who cares about my work as much as me. If I did, it'd probably be really creepy. If I do stream, I'll make sure it's for the right reasons.
People may like your work, but they don't owe YOU anything, and probably don't give a crap about you. It sounds cold, but how many of you worry about the dairy farmer who provides your shop with milk? Unless you've met them, interacted and formed a bond, they won't mean much to you on a personal level.

That's not to say I've not made good friends on here, but most of them I talk to on other platforms besides dA.

I've tried to show both sides to my attitudes towards work here to show that I' m not 100% super creepy optimist guy, but that the important part is actively seeking to improve things and find the right way of looking at things. Comments are most certainly welcome, challenge any or all things I say. I love a good debate

Friday, April 8, 2011


Pics from a recent trip to the zoo. Would love to take more time in future and break out some watercolours in future.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Everything in Black and White

So for the past few months the vast majority of my work has been colouring. Which means my actual drawing had taken a bit of a backseat, particularly in light of the move. I resolved once more to get back on the wagon and have begun drawing daily, trusty moleskine in hand and a selection of ink pens ready to go.
Suprisingly, I've been most happy with the results I've been getting from bog standard sharpies. Anyway, here's some of my 'homework' drawings, done of friends and unfortunate strangers dining near me.