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The color of the rose

My roomies asked me this morning why I stopped doing colorist type art some years ago.

My answer was more or less "Because it takes too long. And I was killing my wrists doing it."

Which is true, in so far as it goes. I always took days to work on a single art piece. I also used a lot of pressure with the coloring pencils, to get what I considered proper coloring and blending. One of my favorite pieces was of a mostly black scene with a gypsy cat looking into a glowing crystal ball on a table. That picture ate several pencils alive. Using all that pressure would eventually make my wrists hurt, and given that I live by the keyboard, that was a bad thing.

But on reflection, I think the thing that really caused me to stop doing colorist work was frustration. I found it frustrating that I couldn't do my own art.

I can color, sure. I can envision the angles, curves and lighting and blending of shades and colors. I can even do an okay -- if slow -- job rendering them with markers and color pencils. But I can't generate the base image which I could then use to build the colors on. I can't draw the original art.

I previously have tried learning to draw, once or twice. It's hard not to when you've lived with several artists. I found I could copy images fairly well, and even emulate styles somewhat. But I'm more photocopier than originator, and that was just really frustrating. Between that and my general lack of patience, I would get annoyed at not being able to create an interesting image, and annoyed at my neophyte skills not matching up to what I wanted. Being surrounded by artists, I would look at my work, and theirs, and mildly despair.

I suspect I could draw well, if I even gave it half a chance and practiced, practiced, practiced. I've watched friends of mine go from drawing painfully mal-proportioned anime images to beautiful flowing artwork, in just a few years practice. I just lack the patience, and get frustrated easily.

So I've taken my talents to other areas instead. Programming mostly, some electronics, metalworking and woodworking. It really does feel good to make things. I suspect part of why I originally got into metalworking and such, is because I have only a few local friends to compare myself against in those areas. I could avoid being frustrated so much at my lack of skills, until I could learn some.

Meh. The mind of a bat is a byzantine place.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC)
There's more than a few fields I've wanted to play around in, but have gotten no further than raw beginner work, because I keep comparing my work against that of more seasoned people and finding it lacking. Hell, some of my attempts at just expanding to other media have run afoul of this problem.

Giving yourself permission to suck is hard. Especially for anyone who grew up smart, and got used to picking up things much, much more quickly than the other kids.
Feb. 1st, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)
Mental image of anthropomorphized personality parts talking:

PFC Artisan: "Requesting permission to suck at art, Sir!"
General Ego: "Permission denied, soldier! What were you thinking?"
PFC Artisan: "I need the practice to get better, Sir!"
General Ego: "Well then, practice without sucking at it!"
PFC Artisan: "Sir, yes Sir!"
Feb. 1st, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
Major Insecurity: "Begging the General's pardon, Sir... but... oh, nevermind."
Feb. 1st, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
That's it, exactly. Figuring out how to force General Ego to go off for some mandatory R&R. Some people might suggest drugs but that only works so long; selling ego on this sucking-to-get-better part in the long run is something I managed to do, but it's hard to describe how.

The real turning point for me, the spark that got Ego to stop sticking its grubby thumbs in all my drawings, was seeing some of the really, really old drawings of one of the grumpy old bastards of Spümcø. When Jim was twelve, his drawings were just as shitty as the stuff I was doing when I was twelve. Thirty years later, he's incredible. Some switch flipped in my head when I saw this crappy early stuff, and his skill became something I could easily see myself having someday, instead of something I'd never have - and I started seeing more and more of the stuff I was doing right, along with the stuff I knew I was doing wrong.

I should scan and post some of my old crap. Maybe I'd make that connection in someone else's head.
Jan. 31st, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
On the other hand if you don't churn out 1001 crap-in-comparison pictures, you won't get any better.
It's sups and down. There's always going to be someone who seems to effortlesslywhip out art faster and better than you tht people like oh-so-much more than your art.
Jan. 31st, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've heard the 1,000,000 crappy words/1,000 crappy pictures idea, and I believe it. Amusingly, I've found that in metalworking it's something like a couple dozen botched pieces. Then again, I'm still turning out the occasional botched item, so maybe it'll turn out to be 101 of them. :)
Jan. 31st, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
You have found hobbies you enjoy. Surely that is a good thing. :)
Jan. 31st, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)
This is true. But being able to put a touch of art into what I build, instead of having it look somewhat industrial, would be a definite plus. :)
Feb. 1st, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
There is more to art than illustration. There is art also in abstraction--in a beautiful and unnecessary curve. In making a functional design also a pleasure to touch.

Maybe you should look into industrial design? Or research the traditional embellishments on carpentry? I think you have a knack for the three-d-ness. For the tactile as well as the visual. Turn the abstractions of your mind into abstract patterns, shapes and curves that are nevertheless harmonious.

There is a hidden aesthetic inside you, waiting for revelation. If you were finding nothing but pain, jealousy and anger in 2d illustrative art, that was not your calling. That you are finding pleasure in what you do now... that is a good sign that you should extend your powers further in this field. :)
Jan. 31st, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
*purrs Revarifficscarygothicbikerbabebatbat*

What about 3D modeling? I imagine Tug has at least some toys in that line of thing...
Jan. 31st, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
Well, the main use I have for 3D modelling would be to design something to send to the CNC mill, I think. I'm currently mostly futzing around with making 2.5D (heightfield only) type parts, and software to generate proper toolpaths. Maybe later when I need to make a part that 2.5D techniques won't work for, I'll poke at the 3D stuff.

So far, the software I've run across has been either too obtuse or too expensive to distract me into the field.
Feb. 1st, 2007 08:06 am (UTC)
Kind of curious as to how more-than-heightfield milling works with the mill you guys have. The gear chuck explains part of it, but I'm going to have to take careful notes if I ever get to see your machine shop either statically or in action =o.o=.

Feb. 1st, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)
As you have discovered, there is more to art than just drawing, my friend! @;)
Feb. 2nd, 2007 07:14 am (UTC)
But I remember your coloring was excellent... You do have an artistic bent.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )