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.
NOW I MUST DRAW ALL THE THINGS.
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.