And I may indeed have to gobble up lots of words I've previously said.
You see, I'm back studying again. I'm doing a few courses for the next month or so & in the thick of making new things!
1] I'm trying to master the elusive vectorization [is that even a word?] of my hand drawings so that I can start offering clip art amongst other things. I have a fabulous teacher & I just know her teaching will give me the ingredients I've been really missing in my arty toolbox. I have loved drawing forever. I don't clain to be any good but I just love it. In the last 10 years, sketching & scribbling has been a huge part of my process. I already love using my drawings to make digital work but I'm super excited that I will be learning to make them vector. I think its a biggie if you want more opportunities & more tools when working commercially.
2] I'm doing a little personal growth course [with Brene & Oprah - yes THE Oprah!] which I'll blog more about soon.
3] And finally I'm back doing the second part of my course with the Lilla Rogers Studio School working on amazing assignments & learning more about art licensing & progressing my illustration work.
Ok so whats going on.... well I've always been so passionate about my art making. Getting messy with paint & collage & making canvases etc. Of course its still my passion. And I've been attacking myself & defending myself, to myself [yes strange inner head goings on I tell you!] about why I shouldn't 'sell out', 'cheat', 'move over to the dark side', & go completely digital. Yes, ridiculous, I know it. A whole pile of silliness. I don't know why I always have to be an all or nothing girl. Being a stubborn Taurus [the bull] star sign, may well provide some clues.
Anyway, for all of the assignments the last time I did the Lilla Rogers MATS course I worked in a hybrid way, which wasn't my preference but the only way I could make it work. I painted & collaged a huge bunch of paintings, scanned them in which is a normal part of my process to make prints etc. But because of time constraints & needing to work on & improve composition in my art work, I had to pull all the elements together digitally & create something brand new that doesn't actually exist physically. Now all of that is very familiar to me as Photoshop is my go to application & graphics is my day job. But moving things around to make a finished creative art composition somehow felt a bit like cheating.
Considering collage & painting is basically sloshing around colour, cutting up bits & sticking bits down, why on earth would doing those exact same things on a computer feel like I'm not offering up something just as creative or worthy? Maybe like those old school trained photographers that think post processing is the work of the devil. Or those fine artists who submit extraordinary work only through galleries who would possibly snub making art prints to make their art afforable to the masses. And 'boutiques' who won't go online.... you get where I'm coming from. Anyway, I can't explain my snobbery.
Maybe I felt like I had to submit perfectly composed & detailed hand painted & collaged pieces each week & if I wasn't, then I wasn't good enough. Thing is, with 5 kids, my graphics work, my own online business plus study AND MAKING ART for my assignments, there was just not the time to get it done & to get the layers dried in between. And if I did get that all done, its pretty hard to tweak, to take something away, to change composition on a painted canvas! And lets face it, times have changed. Anything method goes as long as it looks appealing right? Thats the bit to concentrate on, not some pre-conceived ideal method of making, but making it look good, so people enjoy it. Illustrations are what sell childrens books. I want to make great illustrations some day. So I needed to get over this hurdle, this odd way of thinking.
So, I've come full circle. I'm definitely still going to work traditionally. Its my favourite thing. And it also provides me with tons of fodder for anything I might want to create digitally which will help me get more opportunities for employment in the future. Fingers crossed. I always want to be able to sell paintings & make physical art for my home & for gifts. But hybrid work, to help get commercial work, well that is exciting too!
In many ways, it does actually combine the best of both worlds. And thing is, I don't have to choose one or the other. Why did I even feel like I had to make a choice? What I can bring to the art table is my skills in both areas & the quirky combination of how I make them play out in the finished product. That makes my art diverse. My style might take longer to evolve but I thats ok, I'd prefer that than think I have to be a one trick pony.
So, all of that has been playing on my mind over the last couple of months. One thing that set off a huge lightbulb for me was listening to an interview with Helen Dardik. Very successful illustrator. Commercially she works in Illustrator doing vector work. For her personal pleasure [lightbulb moment right here!!!!!], she paints with acrylics & watercolour. OMG. Doesn't that make perfect sense? The speed & efficiency & improved composition [and therefore end product] that comes with incorporating digital artwork definitely helps [in my opinion] to compete for professional jobs.
Of course there is a place in the commercial world for all sorts of of artmaking, traditional, digital, everything in between & either side BUT the thing is, I no longer feel the need to sit either side of the fence. I'm taking down that fence & standing proudly in the middle. Holding hands with all types of creatives & skipping around knowing thats my place. Somewhere in the middle of all of it dabbling in some of this & trying out some of that. I've been trying it on for size the last 2 weeks in the assignments that I've been submitting. Tipped more on the digital side which allowed me more time to really work on colour palette, composition, spending time on my drawing, playing with pattern.
I really enjoyed the entire process & ended up being really happy with my work. Because I incorporated more digital processing, I had more time to work on getting my piece right & playing with various options. I also put it out for feedback to my facebook classmates, my instagram feed & my business page in Facebook. I've never really asked for that before. All my community came back with great information. And I want to make things that they like, in the way I like, so I enjoy the process! So isn't getting my people involved a good thing? Yes it is! AND after all that, Lilla reviewed my work last week. She only pulls a small number each week to make comment on, so that was thrilling. Knowing that she noticed my work & made positive comments about it. It was very reassuring to know that I am not completely wasting my time trying to make a creative living. You may remember my 'trio of Christmas Angels' Christmas card from here? Its the one she reviewed. So anyway, lots have things have been clicking for me.
Funny thing is I now feel right back at the beginning of my art journey, not some 20/30 years down the track. I think I just jumped up a level of understanding. I won a whole fresh new world with a zillion arty expeditions to take & new things to explore. Giddy with joy!
So dotted through this post are some of the things I was working on last week. We had to submit pieces that could be printed onto fabric to be made into baby/children apparel. The theme was camping. So I sketched out my concept. I had that wrapped up pretty quickly. I then spent a couple of days drawing all my icons & getting them just right. Another evening scanning all the drawings & editing in Photoshop. Then the entire weekend pulling it all into my assignment. Some collaged bits & some digital colouring. I ended up working on it a bit more & making an extra couple of coordinates & putting together a summer pj's mockup with my 'fabric' too. Geez it was a fun week.
Ok, off to work on a new assignment! I'm in my element.