Since the Avalanche Software blog appears to have died, I've turned to jumping on to other themes and challenges where I can find them. Fellow Avalanche artist Mathew Armstrong started drawing fan art from Willow, and I couldn't resist a General Kael.
I wouldn't mind some more stories from that world. -please no remakes. Give me something original. ;)
That there is 100 pages of sketchbook! -All done during the month of January.
Going hand in hand with my Inktober goal last year, this was another exercise I gave myself to improve my art skills.
a post about my experience and hopefully it will inspire and give you some
helpful advice if you haven't done anything like this before.
Greater ability to retain in memory the things I am drawing. Whether
studying from another artist or sketching something from life, the daily
practice of drawing (and really studying things when I draw them)
improves my ability to retain what I've seen when I start sketching.
a bonus, I also found this improved my ability to retain what I've conjured up in my imagination when drawing purely from imagination as well.
familiarity and sense of ease with my drawing tools and the surface I am
drawing on. The tools I use start to feel more like an extension of
myself rather than a separate thing. I become more comfortable and
familiar with how they move across a piece of paper, what kinds of marks
they make depending on what angle I hold them, and at what pressure I
need to use them to achieve the richness I desire. My lines become
looser, my gestures become more fluid, and drawing starts to feel more
like a graceful dance rather than trying to pull a heavy wagon with
square wheels up a hill.
3.) Greater fascination and
appreciation of the things around me as I study and draw them. Do you
have artwork you've really admired, but really want to dig deep and find
out why? Sketch away!
I studied several artist's drawings during this
exercise, and while I knew I really liked them before, sketching and
studying them really opened up a whole new level of appreciate for
them. It wasn't until I took the time to sketch them that I was really
able to dissect and see what was really going on in those images which I
found so appealing in the first place. Highly recommended!!
the end of my 100 pages, I found myself in an art presentation by
another artist. The presentation lasted 7 hours -and was fantastic. I
filled up 7 pages in my sketchbook too. Several of those pages were
filled by drawing ordinary things like everyone's water bottles, cell
phones, the electrical outlets, light switches, dry erase markers, all
the little fixtures and the projector on the ceiling, and the spring
hinges on the doors to the room.
Each little drawing presented me with a
little challenge. Could I pull it off? To the casual observer, even
drawing an electrical outlet might seem juvenile, but I squashed every
challenge and laid them out in my sketchbook like a collection of rare
and valuable beetles. (Cough. . . Ahem . . . I'm . .uh . . . getting a
little excited here.)
4.) Greater hand/eye co-ordination.
5.) More drawing equals better drawing skills period.
See my post on Inktober for more explanation on those last two.
Start with a sketchbook size you believe you can easily handle. Are you paying attention? I'll say it again: Start with a sketchbook size you
believe you can EASILY handle.
The sketchbook I used for this
was 8.5x5.5in. I have a larger sketchbook twice this size, but
wanted to make sure I started with something smaller first. This seemed
like a good size for me by the time I finished the last page. For you,
you may want to go even smaller. Draw on Post-it notes if that's all
you think you'll be able to handle!! There's no shame in that. Start
smaller than you believe you can. If you find yourself saying to
yourself, "Oh, that's too easy, I can do that," then you're on the right
track. Remember, you haven't done this before, so start much easier
than you think you can. Plus, accomplishing goals, even really 'super
easy' ones, does wonders for your confidence.
Making a goal easier
than you think also will benefit you when you hit
snags and other life setbacks such as illness, fluctuating work hours,
or other family events which might take precedence. I encountered two
of these: A cold which knocked me out for several days, and a week of
long hours at work. Trying to stay on top of this goal during those
times made me grateful of the 'easy' goal I'd set myself at the start.
2.) Your daily allotment of pages are much easier to fill if you spread them out through the day
rather than trying to do them all in one sitting.
Towards the end, it
becomes easier to do multiple pages at once, but at the beginning,
spread them out or you may start to feel a little overwhelmed at the end
of each day trying to fill three pages at once.
Do one page first
thing in the morning. You'll be energized then, and once you finish
breakfast, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you'll already have a page done before you've even started your day.
sketchbook pages don't divide up evenly throughout any month. You'll
realize there will be several days you'll need to do a couple extra
pages. Don't make the mistake I made, and instead, try to finish the extra pages you'll need early in the month.
Try even doing a least one extra page per day when you can. That way, you
create a 'savings' of pages for when you run into those days when
life requires more of your attention and you can't seem to get your daily allotment finished.
4.) Allow yourself the freedom to fill your sketchbook pages anyway you
I found it a challenge to tell myself I didn't need to do a
'finished' or 'nice' drawing each page, or that all the sketches needed
to be from the same direction, or that all my sketches needed to be done
with the same drawing tool(s), or they could only be studies from other
artists, or only portraits, etc. Give yourself the freedom to simply
do whatever you want.
The goals is just that: To fill up 100 pages in a month. That's all. How you do this is completely boundless. Keep your mind (very) open to all sorts of possibilities. Here's a couple links for inspiration: Inspiration 1. Inspiration 2.
When you see something neat during the day, or have a cool idea pop
into your head, take a second to make a sketch of it. The sketch
doesn't need to fill up a whole page, but a bunch of little sketches can
fill up a page really quick. This is good practice whether you have set
yourself a sketching goal or not.
6.) As in my post about Inktober,
this is an excellent way to 'break in' those 'precious' art supplies,
or rid yourself of mental blocks which hold you back from using them.
The one I discovered and squashed during this exercise was my reluctance
to sharpen pencils 'because that wastes lead.' (I have no idea where
that mental block originated) HA! squashed!! As soon as I realized I
was doing that, it was every pencil into the sharpener every time I
wanted a nice sharp point to draw with. Haha! Take that!
1.) I recently read the Mistborn
Series, by Brandon Sanderson. (Have you read it? It was good, wasn't
In this story, there are a race of people who can store up their
natural abilities, such as sight, smell, strength, knowledge, health,
and weight, etc, in metal ornaments they wear. Once they've stored one of
their abilities, they can later extract that ability to use, boosting
their normal abilities far beyond what they normally can do. The catch
is, they don't get their power from nowhere. In able to use their
power, they have to first go without that ability to a lesser degree for
a while as they store it in their metal ornaments. Some abilities take
much longer to build up.
How much is this like any creative
talent! It seems to me that too many people, artists included, have yet
to understand that in able to be great, you have to spend time building
up that ability first before it can be used in astounding ways. If you
want to draw something really well, you have to spend time first
'filling your mental library' about it. The more time you spend in
learning, sketching, drawing, a particular subject, the better you will get at
Those amazing successful artists you see out there all understand
this. They aren't supermen and superwomen. They aren't 'born' that way. They've just learned that to get better, they have to spend the time now doing work
behind the scenes to get there. Their sights aren't set on the present work, but
where they believe and know they can be in the future by doing it.
2.) Quantity over Quality. Several years ago, I read this story:
A pottery teacher split her class into two halves.
the first half she said, "You will spend the semester studying pottery,
planning, designing, and creating your perfect pot. At the end of the
semester, there will be a competition to see who's pot is the best".
the other half she said, "You will spend your semester making lots of
pots. Your grade will be based on the number of completed pots you
finish. At the end of the semester, you'll also have the opportunity to
enter your best pot into a competition."
The first half of the
class threw themselves into their research, planning, and design. Then
they set about creating their one, perfect pot for the competition.
second half of the class immediately grabbed fistfuls of clay and
started churning out pots. They made big ones, small ones, simple ones,
and intricate ones. Their muscles ached for weeks as they gained the
strength needed to throw so many pots.
At the end of class, both
halves were invited to enter their most perfect pot into the
competition. Once the votes were counted, all of the best pots came
from the students that were tasked with quantity. The practice they
gained made them significantly better potters than the planners on a
quest for a single, perfect pot.
Be assured that making a
lot of drawings (and lot of mistakes) is much more beneficial than
trying to make a perfect or nice drawing every time. Expect poor
drawings! Expect pages you will be ashamed of! Be assured, that every
page you feel hasn't turned out like you've wanted, is one less in
your system you have to draw in the future.
Coincidentally, the more
bad drawings you make, the more experience you gain, and as a result,
the better you beccome.