Monday, April 2, 2012

Going through some old stuff

Above piece is dated @ September 22nd of 2008, just after midnight.

You know you're on the right path when the foundational philosophy for your Art and artistry remains unchanged.

Just getting a bit sentimental looking through some old works. :)

While we're on the subject of foundational philosophy...

Let's see if I can organize and expand on the old artist's commandments I made for myself to follow, kinda as a testament to how my thought process holds up. If reading long-ass stuff on Art and Art philosophy is your thing, click below to continue.

Artist's New 20 Commandments
Things I try to remind myself every time I draw and paint.

1. Always try new things
Explore new concepts, different angles and perspectives. Even styles.

2. Draw broadly
Never start your art with details. Get the basic shape down solidly first, and then add details to it.

3. Stay focused
If you're not thinking, you're not drawing. Never have your mind wander off mid-drawing.

4. Have an idea
Know what you try to paint, right down to the final image. Come up with an image in your head first and draw based on it.

5. Perfect your rough
Make sure your rough sketch looks good before you color it. No amount of paints will save a crappy rough.

6. Feel the dimension
For every objects and characters you draw, try to have a good feel for how it is shaped.

7. Keep your strokes economical
Making multiple strokes to create an effect isn't always the best way. Sometimes it can be done in one stroke or two, and it'll look better that way too.

8. Always study
Where ever you go, try to analyze and process what you see in your head. Be it subway train, or crowded park. Look for particular cues, highlights and shapes. Use that knowledge to improve your art.

9. Never copy
Never copy other works to produce your own work. If you really like something, try to study how the artist was able to create the effect and attempt to replicate it from your head.

10. Trust your eyes
Your eyes are always correct even if your brain wants to deny it. Don't trust what your brain says - if it looks funny, it probably is.

11. If it doesn't work, try again.
Sometimes you just can't get stuff to work the way you imagined it. Scrap it and do it anew. Second, third or even fourth time's a charm.

12. Love your work
If you're having fun with the piece you're drawing, you'll be more involved and motivated. Even if it means drawing naked chicks all the time.

13. Frustration will ruin you. Avoid it.
If you face difficulty, or just lack of motivation, leave it until you feel differently. Trying to push through work process will harm your relationship with Art. If you feel the frustration building up inside you, it's time for you to take a walk, go meet your friends or do something to refresh yourself.

14. Your work environment matters.
The tools you use, the chair you sit on, the way you work will all influence the outcome of your work and work capability. Perfect your workplace so the environment works for you. Use hotkeys, get a comfortable chair and desk, adjust the screen brightness and so forth.

15. Stability is the key
Your health, your emotional state, your current standing with people you care about, they will all have a big impact on your ability to create. Stabilize those factors at all cost. If you feel unhealthy, eat and exercise better. If you or people you know are going through a crisis, try to find a way to mend the problem. Your artwork will only be as dedicated as you are able to. Something niggling in the back of your mind will not help.

16. There's no such thing as a bad style
Just bad art.

17. Take as long as you need
Your art is never done until it is.

18.You already have everything
You have all the tools and talent you'll ever need. The only thing you need to change to improve yourself is to change the way you think.

19. It'll take a long time. 
Be patient. Be it your current drawing, or your career, art is something you do for your life. Patience is indeed a virtue. Keep a calm and steady pace and you'll be fine.

20. Ask the question: What does Art mean to you?
You have only one life. You won't get a second chance to live another one. Deciding to do something as your career will define your life to the shape of it. You must ask yourself the significance of what you wish to do.

Do you wish to master the beauty and the aesthetics of human physique and the nature? Do you wish to convey an important message of your generation to your fellow beings? Do you wish to follow in the footsteps of your heroes, or possibly become one yourself?

Or is this something you decided on a whim either because you couldn't find something you were good at, and thought this seemed easy enough to do, or because you enjoyed the end product of many hours of work and suffering, and thought this would be a fun career choice?

Nothing in life that brings back home the bread will be easy or fun. There may be few isolated episodes of joy and relative ease, but as whole, to quote Buddha, 'Life is suffering.'

For any of this to be a sufficient justification for your inevitable hardship, difficulty and suffering, you must have right motivation, right intention and right goal in mind. You must have greater intent for Art than just 'fun' or 'easy'.

If Art in your life is only an entertaining distraction, your life may be better spent on something else. If you don't find yourself drawing at the cost of other things that are important in your life, your life may be better spent on something else.

But if you wake up each and every morning and your first thought is 'what should I draw today?'

Then welcome to Art. :)