I’ve started participating in Colour Collective again, one of the loveliest artist communities out there, organized on twitter. Each week a new color is given, and a wide variety of illustrators create works of art using that color.
I’m creating some original artwork for a card game I’m developing, with the help of my creative boys, that is a bit of a role-playing, storytelling adventure, that’s easy for anyone to participate in. More on that soon. Here are a couple pieces I created recently.
The last two years we have enjoyed store-bought costumes, as John & James have chosen superheros or transformers. I have to say, the break was good. But this year, I opted out of the October Game, which left a bit of creative free time, and we did a family Star Wars theme.
Once I had the boys talked out of being Jedis, it was fun to make some of the minor characters from the Star Wars universe.
The Tuskan Raider was a last-minute addition for Daddy, and it turned out to be my favorite – probably because I made it from scraps and trash.
Painted Super Sculpey, a stuffing box, an old hat and scraps of fabric from the boys’ costumes.
This year we went with Tumblr for the Bill Counts October Game. As always, it was a terrific experience to challenge myself and get to know some great people. I went digital this year and specifically tried to work on light using some Magic Box techniques I am practicing.
Just to show I am still working on something, here’s an animated gif I made today in-between visiting the doctor and grocery shopping (and hacking and coughing.)
James is now three, and has something called a Y-Bike, a bike that uses only his balance to keep him up. James has found that starting at the very top of the hill, kicking off hard, pinning his legs back and using only gravity and wit, he can reach speeds previously unimaginable for a preschooler.
I did most of this in flash, thanks to a tutorial here. While I’ve been familiar with the Flash interface for some time, I’ve been wanting to wade into the process for animating in flash. I figured this was a good start even if it isn’t a wildly impressive animation.
So October has come and gone, and the Bill Counts October Game is done. I only missed one day because of the stomach bug, and only because I completely forgot there was such a thing as an October painting challenge and went to bed at 8:30. We had fewer active participants this year, but there was some truly beautiful artwork created, and it was again a wonderful experience to play the game with other artists. As with last year, I came out of the challenge with some new friendships and a feeling of real accomplishment.
This year my goal was to do all physical art (as opposed to digital as I did last year), so I did 30 paintings. I did mostly watercolor, and found it much easier and enjoyable than I remembered. I even worked in a few oil paintings which were slightly less frustrating than my experience last year.
For me, however, the challenge is less in the actual art development – my skills grew a little bit, possibly- but more in sorting out priorities. This is a ridiculous challenge. Start and finish a complete work of art every day for a month. At least, it seems like it should be ridiculous. Like my whole life should be turned on end. But this is the third year I’ve done it – and really it wasn’t. My house wasn’t any messier or dirtier than normal. My kids were still fed. We still managed the usual home school activities. I got a typical amount of sleep. Challenges like this just show you how easy it really is to shift things around to make room for what is important.
Tomorrow, the comic is back on it’s usual schedule (updates Tuesday and Thursday). Wednesday I’ll be announcing my NEXT challenge. Stay tuned.
In yet another iteration of my website philosophy I am condensing the October Game art into a single gallery. Here ya go:
I just checked the mail and found my original ink drawing from one of my favorite artists, Jeff Gill. I love his style – a little bizarre and a lot charming. He’s doing the drawings as part of a £10 challenge for charity – you can read more on his website. I think this was a bargain at £2 – don’t tell him I would have paid more.
For the last two years I have played Bill Counts October Game – this year I’m doing it again! The first year I tried oil painting and pastels and pencils and such. I had high hopes for the same last year, but ended up doing digital art instead because it was easier to manage with the kids – and less frustrating for me to make the art look good. This year, I’ve thought way ahead and I’ve been practicing with oils. Not spectacular – but hey, I wouldn’t be doing a challenge like this if I didn’t need the help. If you missed the Game last year – it’s a personal challenge of 31 completed original pieces in the 31 days of October. Head over to the FaceBook Page to sign up! (brown smears on the above painting added by 3-year-old James, in case you were wondering.)
I’m currently focusing on gesture drawing (in that magic few hours between the time the kids go to bed and I finally crash…) Here’s an example of my starting point:
Gesture drawing is challenging in that it focuses on movement rather than contour, and if you have many years of bad art technique behind you, it is not easy to make the mental adjustments. I’m following Stan Prokopenko’s Figure Drawing Fundamentals. I haven’t upgraded to the premium content yet, but he’s releasing short excerpts for free that give you something to practice. I spent a couple of hours last night drawing the bean. I did purchase both his model packages, at $10 each, they are well worth the cost.
I don’t know when I’m allowed to call myself an artist.
I remember a moment when I was probably six or seven when a nice woman at church asked me if I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I remember a moment of confusion, followed by the realization that she just didn’t understand. “I already am an artist,” I said.
I lost the guileless confidence of youth and now I’m not sure I know what it means to be a “real” artist. I have this pervasive idea that in order to be able to claim the title I have to work as an artist (and actually earn money.) But that’s not right. Even some extraordinary artists lived out their lives in obscurity or poverty, their achievements being scorned or ignored in their lifetime.
I’m not looking for work, I’m looking for growth. I’m looking to take the ideas in my head and turn them into something tangible to share. I want what I imagine and what I create to be the same – and I have far to go to get there. I’m getting more used to the idea of thinking of myself as an artist again, but it’s going to take some time.
Did this sketch yesterday while the boys were splashing in the pool. I intended to draw the beautiful blooms on my pitiful (stomped on by the dogs) clematis, but got distracted by an idea I had several years ago but didn’t have the skills to accomplish.
Painted in Photoshop. Took a few hours. Still not sure I accomplished what’s in my head, but close enough.