Rembrandt did not have a PlayStation. Think about what that meant for his productivity!Dear friend,
Sometimes I think we’re making things too hard on ourselves. Deadlines and schedules take all the fun out of it, don’t they?
I’m having fun creating finished pieces for the moment. This newsletter kind of doubles as a sketchbook now as I experiment with different approaches to inking and coloring. You probably don’t notice, but the drawings in this letter were done with different pens and by using them differently. I noticed long ago that artists I admired, who I thought had “a style” actually experimented quite a lot! Especially if they worked for decades, you can see them try many different things. You might not notice that at first glance, but they did, quite a lot.
It makes sense, if you think about it. Why would they be any happier about their output than you and I are? So you try thing, you try to improve your output, you try to make it better. And you try different tools, and you try different approaches.
When looking at a painting, I love it when I can tell that it was one in a long list of paintings where the painter was experimenting like crazy. The painting was just an experiment. Some things worked, some didn’t, and on to the next one.
I am finding this a particularly rewarding way to practice at the moment: making finished pieces, one after the other. Maybe I’ve been in my sketchbook too long, practicing, practicing, practicing.
When you finish a drawing, it gives a feeling of satisfaction. You finished something. You see things wrong with it. It’s useful to note them and to try to try different approaches in the next things you make.
With the illustrations for this letter, I started with line-only art. It did look nice, but color and tone... just adds something, it just adds magic. I considered cross-hatching, and may do so in the future, but that is a lot more work! So I decided to try color. I like some of these illustrations and I am learning a lot from actually trying to finish drawings. I’ve been practicing in sketchbooks too much.
The week after this week, the newsletter will contain illustrations with more black in them.
We experiment along!
Are you trying finished pieces one after the other? Try to note what you think works and what doesn’t, and try changing tools and processes to see what happens!
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