Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Ah … well, I was working on my animation-cartoony-style stuff today, and got some things done at work. Meanwhile, things back at the ranch are progressing …

Artistically, one of the forums I frequent ( had a thread in it that I found wildly amusing in the light of where I’ve been over the last couple of months. I’ve agonized over it the idea of going to school a lot, and I’ve REALLY agonized over various ways to improve. I saw a lot of pros, a lot of people whose ability I deeply admire, post in response to that thread the various ways they have to break through the “plateaus” of improvement. It was relieving to first of all hear that, yes, these people that draw SO well all struggle with improving. It was also nice to hear that, of all the methods to get through that barrier when it arises, the most popular one, the one the pros use, is to draw through it.

That helped me, a lot. I also learned that, many artists struggle and hit a wall when they’re trying to adapt or develop a new style. It’s common. And it seemed common to have these come up on a cyclical basis, so I’m not that far away from where I should be.

Based on that, I can relax and just draw. Just keep drawing. And that, dear friends, is what I intend to do.

Art school helps, there’s no doubt about it. But it seemed to be an individual thing as to whether it would be of benefit because of learning or because of “guidance” from “art instructors.” Most seemed to feel that it helped, but wasn’t absolutely necessary. And everyone thought that practice, practice, practice was the best solution of all. It was the only thing I saw listed consistently as a cure for the barrier.

I can now exhale. I’ve not been so different after all. I wonder, as I wander through the many new ways I’m trying to teach myself to draw, the styles I’m “exploring,” if I’ll forget the way that I once had of drawing in that great, realistic, very amalgamated style? I wonder if you can work so hard on everything else that you forget where from you came, and that’s a deep concern for me. I saw a drawing today that looked like the direction I was going. I would have called it “old school,” I suppose. It’s what I wanted for my style not so long ago, in the drawing timeline. It was as recent as the LAST time I worked seriously on my art. Today it made me yearn. I yearned for the ability to do it all – to draw in that amazingly beautiful, simplistic way that animators do … to draw in that realistic, wonderfully fun way that made me want to draw comics in the first place … and to blend the two somehow, to find that ability that the few blessed have: Skottie Young, Joe Maduriera, J. Scott Campbell, and all the others that have found a way to make it happen. I want to draw manga-style and anime style and western style. I want to do portraits like I’ve seen on DA, and do sequentials too. I want to render fully, render partially, and paint and sketch like the pros. I want it all. I should have gone to school when I had the chance. I had it more than once, you know. And I blew it each time.

Now, that chance is really gone. And even if I have a chance to do something in school, I think I’m being directed in a different – and I mean TOTALLY different – direction. I think, should I have time to lament about that someday, that forcing it through my fingertips will be therapeutic. I’m committed to doing something that I don’t think I’ll like as much as art, but I love it too – in a different way. Schooling’s not necessarily critical to that field either, but just like art, it sure doesn’t hurt.

Insert heavy sigh here.

So many paths not taken. I was young enough once to have done it all … to have gone down both roads and have been happy with myself. Instead, I have a pocketful of regrets and am a shadow of what I could have been. I am probably never going to be completely happy until I stand with my Savior in glory, but until then, I’ll always have something that I wish I could have done differently. But, had I flowed that way, I would have been so much happier with myself. I can’t go back, oh Lord, but if there was just one thing in my life I could do differently, I think I would direct myself that way, and follow that convolution of life roads. Where would I be now? I don’t know, but I imagine I’d be happier with what I do for a living.

And, that provides me with a necessary segue into my NEXT amazing dissertation, the work front!

Really, there’s nothing amazing here. I have been asked to be more detailed about what forms I work on in the database; I’ve been asked to assume more of a role in leading these projects, and that’s really good. That will be very useful to me at other places, with future contracts. But, that also means I can’t surf the web while I’m at work like I did on my last project. They were so nice to me … they didn’t care what I did with my free time as long as I did the things they asked. This company’s a bit more fussy about time – and it seems, dear readers, that they are so MUCH so that they’re going to ask me to account for no less than 6.75 of my 8.0 hours there, not to mention they want to know WHAT I did with those hours and on what I worked. Hmm. New situation, to be sure. I have tickets to resolve, I have databases to develop, and I have administrative record keeping with which to keep up. So far, it’s taking me MUCH longer than 6.75 hours to do all that, and I don’t see that changing.

The good news, however, is that the things I wasn’t expected to do before the end of tomorrow I finished today, including a problem that had my trainer confused and stumped. He said we’d both work on it. I don’t need to do that. And, on one other matter, he wasn’t able to figure something out and I came up with a general concept and he perfected the logic for it. A genuine tag-team effort on that one, and it works like a champ. The client should be pleased.

So, his confidence in me rose a large number of notches today. And that, dear friends, is a VERY good thing.

Well, not much else to say, gang. I have to do some more experimentation with art styles, but maybe not tonight. I have to pray – I haven’t done that in some time in a personal, dedicated time way. And the baby is beating up mommy again, so I’ll have to assist.

God bless you all. I’ll remember you in my prayers, and hope you’ll keep praying for me.