Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Last Ten Days in NYC Blowout

I've been silent for way too long. I just moved out of New York City. It's been a hell of a five years, and I'm happy to move on. I just don't know where to yet.

More on that later. For now, let's compile everything I've learned over the last three weeks.

You gotta let a story write itself, same way you gotta let a picture draw itself. You can't force creativity.

You can never accomplish something great without believing that you're special, or better than other people, because other people and circumstances will always lead you to believe that it can't be done, and you have to be able to ignore them. The first step to greatness is believing in yourself: "other people failed here, but I can succeed."

People who draw realistically often don't have the graphic design sensibilities of people who draw in their own style, and stylized art usually lacks the fundamentals of realism.

You have to know which parts of your painting are gonna POP with value contrast and edges. It's less about the shapes themselves, but more about the connections and relationships between them: edges.

Don't max out on saturation. Sneak up on it.

Warp a painting to get rid of tangents and make the drawing more interesting.

Frequency of detail brings objects forward.

Let accidents fill the gaps in information that exist outside the focal points. Your painting is a web.

Studies make you aware of how much information you can leave out in order to have something read. Painting from imagination is about arranging that information in a pleasing manner.

Learning new things gives me a high.

The more you iterate, the more ideas present themselves. Accidents make innovation.

Never bring in a new colour or material unless you can use it in more than one place on your piece.

Hard shadows and highlights define form more efficiently than careful shading in the light.

You can make anything you want read with just reflected and ambient light, however you should strive to do so with key light and shadow.

All ideas that you throw away should be good. The reason you're throwing them away is that they don't fit your project.

There are three crucial things to having the fire:
 - Deadlines
 - Feedback loop of achievement and satisfaction with your work
 - Truly believing that you will achieve your goal

Your "skill" as a painter never really improves. Your perception of the world, though, does.

The importance of surfaces is prioritized by the angle at which they face the light. Thus, surfaces that are more important will be brightest.

You can often raise or lower your values by changing hue. Likewise, you can change the colours of the paint on the canvas by putting down colours outside of that hue family.

You cannot create in abstraction. You need constraints. Rules are prompts. Prompts make you think.

The motivations for the actions of your characters will determine the moral of your story.

When you're young, usually you are focused on the social aspects of life, which is funny, because very few people have achieved anything of merit. Then, when you're older and meet people that have gotten somewhere, you have no time to hang out with them, because you're too busy getting somewhere yourself.

What you're doing with lines is creating the silhouettes of things. Same with brushstrokes, but less prominently.

Iterations allow you to re-formalize your ideas, kind of like defragging an HD.

The worst enemy of the creative process is the illusion of completion. That is why iterations are so hard, but so necessary.

In the same way that every painting is an opportunity to find "truth," you have to follow your drawing to whatever you start "seeing." You search for lines that make you see what you're drawing, and follow those to the end project. You can't force your drawing to become what you originally intended it to be.

Thumbnailing characters is iterating graphical patterns on your "skeleton," the body.

Evaluate what qualities make it a crab. How long does it take to read as a crab and what information are you looking at to make the judgment? Reddish pale colours, intricate symmetrical patterns. Shapes - claw + legs. Think how much information you can leave out before it is no longer a crab!

Evaluate the hierarchy of information you take in.

Kenneth Branagh meditates at the beginning and end of each day. True fact.

Anything can be accomplished at a cost. When you're low on time, you can sacrifice other things.

And now, the work.

I did some fan TF2 concepts. Hopefully you can read the text. Eric Wolfpaw is coming to NYU, but they didn't book a room large enough (or I didn't rsvp quickly enough) so I can't go. Bummer.

Latest still life. Need to stop being lazy about these and actually flesh them out.

Old man still life. Did this at Frank Stockton's meetup. Guy's got mad skills and really good advice. If you live in NYC, you should find him on and attend.

Think that's all for now. Will update more once I figure out what's going on with my life.

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