Pre-warning: This post contains a bit of mild art nudity in the form of life-drawing. Don’t read it at work if that would get you into trouble!
Windsoar over at Jaded Alt recently offered some more a-“muse”-ment for interested parties – supplying a blog post idea for bloggers that asked! Here’s the task she gave me:
There’s quite a few things I’d like to ask you to write about, but I think I’ve narrowed it down! I’m sure plenty of your readers are aware of your artistic skills, but I’d like to know more! Is it a hobby or profession, how’d you get started, do you have professional training, and what are your favorite mediums?
I figured it would be only too appropriate to answer this question on Tuesday, the day I usually post art anyhow!
It’s pretty much an artist trope to say “I’ve been drawing since I was able to hold a pencil…” but for most of us it’s true, at least it is in my case! It was always what I wanted to do “when I grew up,” tied with writing. If you’d asked me when I was five what I wanted to be I’d tell you without hesitation that I wanted to write and illustrate my own children’s books. To that end, about a year before I graduated from high school I started assembling a portfolio and sent it off to art college. I was accepted and started there the following September, after moving cities.
The first year at college called for taking a variety of classes and electives before declaring a specialization in second year. I’d initially intended to enter the graphic design Visual Communication major (I think most people intend this because they’ve been told “it’s the only way to make a living.”) I ended up changing my mind, though, and specialized instead in printmaking/print media. Over the course of the next three years I learned techniques related to lithography, relief printing, silkscreen, and etching. I took drawing electives.
Here are a few images from one of the life drawing courses I took. I spent many hours doing life drawing throughout my four years! Usually we’d work for six hours a week and six hours at home for the duration of a semester.
(note: I seem to fail at slideshows, though, and this slideshow and the later one contain all the images in the entire post. I compromised by making it a gallery instead!)
At the end of this particular course, we all went to the long, concrete hallway that led to the train station and had to pin up all of our work from the semester. Every piece! There’s pastel, charcoal, brush and ink, conté, ballpoint pen, acrylic paint, and ink pen here. It’s funny because I can look at it now and see flaws but there are still some pieces where I think, “Hey, I really captured something there.” I’m not sure if the photos really show much detail, or if they just mostly show that it’s a lot of drawings.
Contrary to popular opinion, art college was long hours and hard work (I loved it, but don’t ever try and suggest I’m a slacker because I went there!) I could have gotten a degree in other things, I’ve no doubt, but I never regret my art degree.
After college I worked in a few unrelated jobs before leaving them to try and make it as a freelancer. Of course, you’ve all seen my WoW-related art.
I also draw in my sketchbook (usually with black Pigma Pens, 0.5 thankyouverymuch). Apart from character-related commissions and blog banners, I have als0 had one major project illustrating a reading program for young children. I can’t link you to the program because it has my real name all over it, but here’s an image from it. I worked on this contract for the better part of a year.
That beagle destroyed the cake his owner had so lovingly made. This, incidentally, is something that happened in real life to me – except the cake in question was baked by my friend that had brought it over, and covered in chocolate mousse that my dog lovingly cleaned off. The resulting cake looked pristine, as if it had never been iced, and oddly tempting. The dog was hyper for the rest of the night (but otherwise unharmed). But I’m digressing! I’m meant to answer the first question, here. Yes, I do illustration/art professionally, and am professionally trained! My major was pretty multi-disciplinary despite being print focused. Once I graduated I did very little actual “print” work, continuing in various mediums, which is good because it’s hard to fit a litho press in one’s basement.
When we redid our basement, though, I did set up a room especially for purposes of serving as a studio. Most of my work now is digital and done on my Cintiq and so actually doesn’t take place here. But I still HAVE here, even if it’s not this neat anymore.
The walls have been painted with magnetic paint and I use tiny, very strong magnets from Lee Valley on them! (You put one magnet behind a piece of paper and one in front, they stick together and you have a mobile gallery. There’s a lithograph pinned up here, actually, although you can’t really see it in detail. The stuff in the center is just part of my postcard collection; I didn’t actually draw or paint those.
Windsoar also asked if I have a favourite medium. Of course, I love digital painting.
When it comes to getting my hands dirty, though, I am crazy about watercolour.
I tend to do postcard-sized watercolours because I can do them most anywhere. Other than that, most of my drawing is done in sketchbooks with aforementioned ink pens (pencil is too cautious for me! No guts, no glory! If it turns out wrong, just draw over it or draw it again!)
I think that’s a decent, if disjointed history of my art career. It’s a living I love; I wouldn’t change it for the world! Thanks again to Windsoar for asking and giving me the topic to write about. Feel free to ask me any questions on this most self-indulgent post, and I’ll do my best to answer them if I’m able.