Friday, August 13, 2010


I will forever be interested in the way an artist prioritizes their techniques.

... Wait, that sentence made no sense. Let me explain.

When I was little and still mastering the art of holding things, the only thing I cared about when drawing was making things look like things. If I drew a cat, it needed to be easily recognized as a cat. If anybody thought I drew a koala or maybe a mouse, then I had failed.

After I had learned how to read and write, drawing things consistently mattered. Especially since I was into drawing comic strips. It has to be obvious that the person in all three panels was the same person, and they they weren't randomly shrinking or growing.

In ninth grade, when I thought I knew everything there was to know about art and drawing, I got really persnickety about my process. It went like this:
- 0.7 Papermate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil with 0.7 Ain H pencil lead and Pentel Hi-Polymer Eraser (With the plastic still on below the red line)
- 100lb paper desirable, but anything will do that isn't lined
- Sketch basic shapes for the body very lightly
- Add wire framing, also lightly
- Check proportions and make sure everything is perfect
- Body outline, slightly darker but still very light
- Guidelines on head for the face and hair
- Face and hair detail
- Draw hand skeletons about 5 times until it looks like a hand
- Draw hand blob because my style is to cut that corner
- Clothing with "perfect" folds
- Other details, like clothing accessories and shoelaces
- Pilot Precise Grip Extra Fine in black for fine lines and Uni-Ball Vision Elite Bold in black (Something like 0.8 thickness) for thicker lines
- Ink thin lines first using fast, fluid, and accurate movements (Use arm and shoulder, not wrist and fingers)
- Ink thick lines next to add variability (Wrist and fingers, since these were usually small lines)
- Wait for ink to dry, and then erase all evidence of pencil
At that point I would either add shading in a persnickety way, or scan it into the computer which starts off a whole new list of things that needed to be done. I never strayed from my process, and having perfect details and lines was only possible to me if I did the process right.

Now days I'm obsessed with making big areas of black look completely solid, and not like I tried to fill it in with my tiny pen. Everything else is optional.

You see, the thing was, back in 9th grade I thought that what I strove for was what every artist strove for. I thought everyone was insane and touchy about what materials they used, and that perfectly proportioned people were key, and that you had to do everything a certain way Or Else. I thought I could achieve any sort of art style perfectly so long as I followed a similar process. I guess I've grown out of thinking that way, because now I don't even want to draw people. In fact, I'd be happy if I never had to draw another person again.

Enough about me. What I was getting at is that different artists strive for different things in their art, and I find it fascinating. I was just reading the blog of an artist that goes to great lengths to make his drawings look like they were dashed together in a minute. He spends hours sketching and planning and practicing how to draw his lines slowly but still make them look haphazard. It goes against everything I believed in back in the 9th grade, and it's really really neat. And then I was just reading about how another artist thinks it is incredibly important to use as many different materials as possible in his artwork, and there was this other artist who thought the most important thing was to have a generic style that could get her a job working in the manga industry.

I like knowing what is important to an artist in their works, especially since most don't see it as something that they want to do, they see it as what they are supposed to do. It makes me wonder what caused them to think that there is a wrong way and a right way to make a pretty picture.

I've drawn four new pictures in my sketchbook. They are different from how I used to draw, and I like that. I think my next entry I will upload a bunch of art I have made, and maybe talk about why I stopped drawing for a few years. Mostly I just want to show off these new pictures because I had fun making them.

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