Monthly Archives: December 2015

Overcoming Self-Criticism

Overcoming Self-Criticism

Self-criticism, doubt-imgBeing new to concept artwork, and working outside of a reference photo has been quite a challenge for me. All too often I’ve found it frustrating.

I have been battling with doubt and rhetorical questions of doom, such as: How am I supposed to make this look? Am I on the right track? Does this look right?

Note the condescending, scary words I use in my own mind: “supposed” and “right”. Those words, my friends, are creativity killers.

Paired with judgmental, stern remarks, such as: This looks ugly. This looks like nothing at all.  I’ve wasted precious time.

Insecurities and self-doubt have been plaguing me, but I have just kept on working, trying to get into the flow of it. It’s hard to get immersed and have fun with all that pressure. Fortunately, I am in full control of that pressure, because I am the only one making demands on myself!

I’m not the first or the last artist to struggle with this. Surely, this isn’t the end of struggling for me, either. But seeing the problem and identifying it is more than half the battle. I must remember to keep my positivity up — being kind to myself is important, but positivity also has the added benefit of keeping the work flowing. By being happy and meditative while doing my art, and enjoying my time, I gain momentum for future works and future progress — which is what I’m after.

Here are some things I’ve been saying to myself, maybe they can be of use to you, too:

1. The process is the process. You can’t skip it.

2. Stuff takes as long as it takes, and that’s okay.

3. Frustration is a wasteful emotion; try “I’m being challenged” instead.

4. The more you work, and figure stuff out, the more reward.

5. Time spent doing art is time spent well.

6. It makes me happy, and the progression is really inspiring.

7. Self-growth is amazing; and it happens when I invest time and thought.

8. I want to make art, and enjoy it.

9. I would rather be here, now, doing this, than anywhere else.

10. This is a healing space and time for me, and is precious and loving.

 


 

Articles that inspired this post which you might find interesting: 

“Life of a Project” (info-diagram) by Austin Kleon:
http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/102479069106

Unnatural Light (blog) commentary about Kleon’s diagram and creativity:
http://unnaturallight.com/2013/01/13/dark-night-of-the-soul/

Six Succulents (digital art, version 1)

Six Succulents (digital art, version 1)

SIX Succulents

This is my first real attempt at coloring digitally. I’m using Sketchbook Pro to draw and to color. Getting used to this program has been a real pleasure. I’m learning a lot about using layers to my advantage in order to build up colors, as I would be with painting using physical paints. Merging layers and making layers transparent really helped me get a feel for color integration. I hope to do many more of these works — with succulents in particular, as they are so full of color and interesting line shapes. They are also just plain adorable and I think they’re fascinating.

Here’s my process as I went along, starting with the original picture I took with the beginning lines.

I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of the process. I know it’s been educational for me to see the progress, and very encouraging.

 

The original reference image with digital drawn-in-lines visible.
The original reference image with digital drawn-in-lines visible.

 

Cleaned digital lines, minus the reference image. I used black because it was easy to see over the reference image, but also because I wanted this image to have a simple line art style. Now it's time to starting coloring digitally.
Cleaned digital lines, minus the reference image. I used black because it was easy to see over the reference image, but also because I wanted this image to have a simple line art style. Now it’s time to starting coloring digitally! Yay!

 

Using a large paint brush, I'm painting in the base colors, starting with the darkest colors, and adding fringe highlights.
Using a large paint brush, I’m painting in the base colors, starting with the darkest colors, and adding fringe highlights.

 

Adding in the major colors, mostly greens, grays, and some yellow.
Adding in some more major colors, mostly greens, grays, and some yellow.

 

Continuing with the coloring, and toning down some of the accent colors. Coloring is very back-and-forth work. I bet I spent 80% of my time removing color and then reincluding it over and over again. I wanted to keep the darkest greens in particular. I'm not very good at this yet, but I will get better with more practice.
Continuing with the coloring, and toning down some of the accent colors. Coloring is very back-and-forth work. I bet I spent 80% of my time removing color and then reincluding it over and over again. I wanted to keep the darkest greens in particular. I’m not very good at this yet, but I will get better with more practice.

 

Finalizing the colors and getting closer to the finished work. This is about hour 6 into the process.
Finalizing the colors and getting closer to the finished work. This is about hour 6 into the process.

 

Brightening up the highlights and making those darks even darker -- this is the finished coloring of this version.
Brightening up the highlights and making those darks even darker — this is the finished coloring of this version.

 

A cropped picture of the finished work, horizontally placed, with a pink background for fun.
The finished work, horizontally placed, with a pink background for fun.

 

Filed Under: Art
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