Finding my goal as an artist

Lately I’ve been thumbing through all of  my artwork on hand. I have noticed so many changes and more importantly growth over the years. I haven’t always made or posted a new artwork for social media on a set schedule or even every month, but I have kept up with working on my art. But there’s one thing that has really stood out and it really bothered me.

I have not kept up with a certain style art.

I have used so many different mediums and learned so much about them. I always used them in ways that other artists used them. And instead of using those techniques and that knowledge to my own advantage, I would just use it the way others did. And from what I can tell, it held me back.

I can recall saying to myself or close friends and family ‘I want to be a graphic novelist’. I love telling stories and I have a vivid imagination. I can draw out scenes and characters based on words and produce a captivating picture. And while I’ve known this and wanted to accomplish that goal, nothing was ever done about it.

Over time, I noticed I would produce cool sketches, fantasy art or fan art (which is an art I love). I would always take on commission portraits that would stress me out and take too long for the little pay. My previous art never followed anything specific and always  appeared scattered.

I noticed that I keep coming back to a particular style. With my characters outlined and the background of a picture in watercolor, Its a style I associate with comics and graphic novels, story teller artists. I draw in this way without thinking and it feels like I’ve been telling myself for years to draw in this way.

So what am I going to do with this newfound knowledge?

Embrace the style that I can natural go with and see where it takes me. I can use it to my advantage by furthering a new aspect in my artwork that isn’t just style, such as, technique, color blending, proportion, perspective etc. I fully expect, and hope, that my art will evolve in this style into something more than I can achieve now.

This will also give me a bigger platform to relate to fans of my work. They can count on me being consistent and will expect to see a style that speaks to them the same way it speaks to me. This is not only good from an artist to viewer perspective but in a business sense also. Showing my style in different subjects greatly opens up doors for opportunities that ‘just being someone who can drawn’ can do. Being artistic in your own sense has a better uplifting power and freedom for your work.

Find your style of creativity and run with it.

Until next time….

Dear Aspiring Artist

I wish there were an easier way to tell you this, but there isn’t. So here goes.

You need to work on your art more.

Is that something that you’ve told yourself before? Have you done anything about it? Well, you should, better yet, you need to. If you don’t, you’re only going to get worse. I am telling you this with sincerity and encouragement and hope. I do have hope for you and all of us artists to one day be satisfied with our level of artwork, to stop comparing ourselves to other artists, to finally master that medium that has always intimidated us, to see which path of art we are supposed to take and conquer the struggles that are part of being an artist.

I don’t think it matters how long you have worked at it, you will always want to be better. You chose art or maybe it chose you, depends on how you look at it. Never the less you are with this ability in your mind and in your heart. So now its time to do something about it.

I am an advocate for practicing everyday at art. You have to. It’s vital to exercise your brain and hand to work together to turn a piece of blank paper or canvas, into something that literally expresses emotion. You can not get better without practice. Everyday does not need to be a masterpiece. No. Way. If that is in your mind, throw it out now. I am telling you that you need to draw everyday. Even if it’s a simple circle.

You think that’s crazy but let me ask you this-how perfect can you draw a free handed circle within the first 5 tries? What about 15 tries? See where I am going with this? Something as simple as being able to freehand an even circle, sets you up higher than you were before.

Next point, you know those artists that you envy and adore their work and kind of want to go that path they took, follow them (on social media only, please do not stalk a person) and practice what they draw. You can not steal their work in any way and get a way with it. You may think, ‘oh they probably won’t notice and it’ll be fine’, and you may be right. THEY won’t notice, but their thousands of followers will and out of those thousands of people, I guarantee, 10% of them do nothing but look at other artists artwork and will definitely  wave that red flag when they see plagiarism in any way. I have seen it so many times. So what I am telling you is to practice the way they do, not to copy their exact work.

If the artist you admire draws a lot of botanical pictures, you start drawing that. Do they draw people a certain way that stands out? Figure out why it stands out and then find a way to make yours stand out too. Can they shade a car drawing so well that it leaves a metallic finish even though it was done in pen or pencil? Well get out that blending stump and start practicing that too.

It’s a challenge to really devote yourself to one thing everyday. Internally you may feel that you really want to and physically it just doesn’t happen. That is the time to find a way to get the discipline you need for yourself to pick up that pencil or paintbrush and start getting to work. Easier said than done, believe me I know and I have personally been there.

I took so long off of my artwork a few years ago that when I came back, I felt that every artist in the world just showed up on the internet to tell me I had gotten worse. Everything I drew felt amateur. How could that be? Haven’t I drawn detailed pictures since I was young? Wasn’t I in the gifted art class? Wasn’t I accepted for an art scholarship? So why, all of a sudden am I so terrible and ‘uninspired’?

It wasn’t all of sudden and it was all my fault. Being good at a skill takes work. Real hard work. I expected to put out the works of a genius after I had put in the effort of a sloth. I was discouraged and embarrassed. It took a long time of me telling myself, yes you are still good and yes you will keep moving forward. I also had (still have) the support of my husband, family, and friends. For that, I am grateful and hopeful that you, also, have the support you need. If you don’t, then you have it from me.

If you really want this then go practice. If the first picture isn’t what you want, call it a sketch, figure out where it went wrong and fix it. Make your shading better, make your color palette beautiful and perfect that free handed circle.

None of us really know why we chose this path, but we did and we are loving every step of it. So good luck to you and always move forward.

Sincerely

Madelyn

 

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Saturday Sketchbook

I would like to say that Saturday Sketchbook is going to be a regular addition to my schedule now. But I would hate to promise something and then take it back. So for now, let’s just say that I will strive to make Saturdays a day of show and tell in my sketchbook.

This drawing has no reference or real meaning. It’s a way for me to practice my watercolor and ink. I would like to really establish a certain style for my illustrations. I have a tendency to mix a lot of styles up which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I would like to have a solid foundation for my illustrations.

So that’s really it for today. Nothing too much, just felt like sharing. Now I must go to sleep so I am not late for church in the morning.

 

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