Well so much for blogging more during the holidays. I guess thrice is better than one blog a month right?
I have not one but TWO artworks to update you all with (above)! I was in a star kind of mood when I drew them, as you can probably tell. Just a result of the holidays I’ve been on – and I was kind of on a roll last week. I guess I just got inspired by late nights and a lot of tea (despite my worst efforts I’ve pretty much become nocturnal….gah I really need to get back in sync before college starts again ).
I’m pretty happy with how they turned out – of course there are always things I can improve on and will keep working on, but it’s satisfying looking at this and then looking at my previous work from a few months ago. I’m not usually entirely happy with the stuff I create but I think this time is a bit different…because I’ve realised how much I’ve actually improved overall, and that each piece is a step to getting better, and not something that is holding me back (if that makes any sense at all…rofl…). In fact there are still things I want to keep changing in these like the hair…and shading….euughh… but I’ve decided to just leave it and move on to the next thing.
I admit I was pretty noobish when I started this website, and for those that have followed my blog since I started it, you can probably tell it’s taken me a while to get to grips with the technical and science-y elements of design and illustration. There’s just so much to learn and take in sometimes it is actually pretty overwhelming. And from the outset I can totally understand why some people might think art and design is just something you’re good at or not- in fact a lot of people I know assume creative related skills are things that come naturally. And I have to admit I’ve thought that sometimes too. But then a lot of people also assume that because art is what many would consider “fun”, that automatically means it’s also easy. And then there’s others who think art is worth less than what one would earn at a crappy retail job… But I’ve come to realise art and everything creative in general requires so much more than natural talent – it requires motivation, perseverance and lots, and lots and LOTS of practise.
I’ve still got such a long way to go before I even get remotely to a level I want to be at in terms of visual art and being comfortable with my own personal ‘style’, but my main point is the stuff I’ve learnt this year in particular has actually reinforced with me how important it is to know the basic principles of design and art before attempting anything bigger than I currently know (I think I’m guilty of wanting to ‘run before I know how to walk’ sometimes). I mean you can know all the technical skills and be able to recreate a tutorial exactly- but when it comes to creating your own design or piece of art it’s also up to your knowledge of trends and composition and colours amongst other things to create the message and appeal.
A lot of people will say you can learn everything online or in books to be a designer or artist….but to be honest I think I’ve improved so much more while at school than just learning on my own at home. Maybe it’s because I learn better in a structured environment ( )…but if you were wondering if it was worth it signing up for an art/design course, I would definitely recommend it. Because once you know the basics you can really just make whatever you want and even bend the ‘guidelines even. Right now, I’m still learning and chipping away…but I’m actually looking forward to seeing my work like ten years from now.
So yeah that’s basically my soapbox speech for the day.
I don’t have many progress shots of either of my two recent arts because…it was late at night when I did those two ;-; I did save a screenshot of Islands before Photoshop though (yes that white line is my image – not your computer. My computer was spazzing out whilst I was painting this so I had to draw with that white line obscuring part of my view….not cool): Obviously a lot of colour corrections were added in Photoshop. I also spent a while redoing the girl’s arms….it’s pretty small but it didn’t look right so I spent ages trying to fix the angle and also the hair in PS. I think it looks better in the final version, but I clearly need to work on shading and anatomy a lot more!
As for my other painting, I really wanted to draw a skyhouse, like the ones in the movie Oblivion. The movie itself is actually surprisingly entertaining, but probably the best thing about it was the architecture of the houses above the Earth. Whoever designed those are just genius. I really can’t do buildings very well so mine don’t look as great ;-; I really want to be able to do city-scapes in the future though….another thing to practise on my list of things to do!
On another note, I bought a new Wacom Intuos 5! From ebay, and it arrived with overnight shipping. Seriously, who even needs to go to the actual shops to buy stuff now? I mean I don’t mind paying extra at a bricks and mortar shop…but it’s hard to compete when shops online have the range and the bargains.
Anyway I’ll probably do a review of it on this blog once I’ve tested it out and drawn something. I think the most exciting thing about it is the shortcut keys, because my previous tablet (an old Wacom Bamboo) had the crappiest keys which I never even bothered using because they were just so clunky. I know I said in my previous blog post I probably wouldn’t upgrade my tablet for a while. Aha..ha…ha… Well, I thought about it and decided I actually may as well, since I can claim it as part of my business expenses. And it’s tax time right now in Australia. So why the hell not. I got the smallest version and honestly it’s actually not that small. My previous tablet was way smaller than the small Intuos5! But I’m not really complaining. I also got the wireless kit because my desk is chock full of wires as it is.
Apart from working on some client projects (I’ve got a few to do this week so luckily I haven’t started next term just yet!), I’ve been busy updating my Mac. I really only use it for the Mail app and to watch shows, but I actually spent two hours the other day fixing it so it can read AND write ntfs hard drives. For those that don’t know, Macs can read NTFS drives. But they can’t write to them without third party software. Seriously, so. irritating. I thought I was going to have to buy some shareware to fix the problem ($20 as well…frickin crazy) but luckily I found the right version of MacFUSE to use. It was hidden away on some random site….it’s just so goddamn confusing sometimes to know what works on Mountain Lion now. I’ve been donating to more devs for freeware stuff I use though – I just think it’s amazing how people put up their work for free for everyone to use. I’ve also been thinking about drawing my own icon sets for my Mac because I used to have libraries worth…but for some reason they don’t work on Lion anymore. I used Candybar to replace a few, but there’s just no cohesion in my UI anymore. And I need my Mac icons to be cute. Windows I can get by with the standard…but not for my Mac. I find I can actually appreciate icons a lot more on a Mac unlike Windows….sad but true. So yeah, that’s something on the backburner for later down the track when I really have nothing to do.