Friday, February 15, 2013

Hard Things Are Easier

So I've always wanted to be good at drawing.

I am not THIS good
at drawing.
Since I was a kid, it's something I've wanted. Not so much that I ever picked up a pencil and put in the time to get good at it, but still. I certainly did spend a fair amount of time sitting around feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't draw, so that counts for something, right?

I've been picking up the pencil somewhat over the last few months, just trying to get some skills, and yesterday, something amazing happened: I had an idea for a drawing during the day, and when I got home, I drew something that sort of looked like what I'd pictured in my head.

That has never really happened before.

Most of my drawing efforts began with little or no clear picture of what I was going to produce, and then a lot of pathetic, incomprehensible scribbling. And then of course, frustration, humiliation and self-reproach.

None of which, strangely, ever improved my drawing ability one whit. Drawing remained a mystery to me.

Until recently, and I think I know what's changed: I have started to get a sense of how HARD drawing is.

Strangely, this seems to be encouraging me to work more on my drawing ability, until I've gotten to the point where I can imagine a scene in my head, and produce something that looks like I imagined. It still looks terrible, don't get me wrong. But it's recognizable as what I was TRYING to draw.

Over the past couple of years, I've worked very closely with a couple of very hard-working artists: Claudio Pozas and Dave Knox. Claudio has been the lead artist for DINO-PIRATES OF NINJA ISLAND, detailing characters and cover images for all the DPoNI products thus far. Dave is the artist for the REFORM SCHOOL NINJA GIRLS comic book, and he and I have collaborated very closely throughout the whole process of putting that book together.

As I've watched them put together amazing illustrations, I've seen first-hand the amount of work involved. Seeing early thumbnails as we figure out composition, and then how those get turned into full-size sketches and finally, after hours and hours of painstaking effort, a fully-rendered image is finished, has been profoundly eye-opening. And strangely comforting.

Maybe it was just getting a more realistic notion of what an early-stage drawing ought to look like. Or improving my ability to visualize what an early-stage drawing is likely to look like. Or maybe my standards for "looks like" have just dropped so far I get excited about anything.

Motivation is a funny thing. You'd think seeing that something is really hard would DIScourage me, but it's the opposite. There's probably some deep and profound truth buried in there.

Anyway, I'm going to go draw something.