Learning As I Go
In the post I am Woman, I talked about one of my personal 2022 New Year's Resolutions. Today, I want to discuss the other goals I didn't mention then.
Before I state what that is, I want to paint you a picture, based on first-person perspective;
Comparing myself to others was easy. It always has been. When I say that, I don't mean it in an over self-confident way, like they were "them" and I was "me" in a sense that I was better than everyone else, but rather the opposite.
I was just a shy elementary student when I started to become aware of my flaws. It was a really simple thing, but there was a girl who used to poke fun at the mole on my back, and I began covering it. It's not particularly large, just obvious, and I always wore a jacket or had my hair down from that day on. I covered it for a long time. It was only about the time I hit 10th grade that I decided I didn't care if people saw it anymore. It was just a mole, lots of people had them, To think, I was so ashamed of a natural thing simply because the words of another made it so. I doubt she remembers that now.
I wish I had known then, that I had nothing to be ashamed of, even now I struggle with that reality. The voices and opinions of others seem to have always directed my life.
In middle school, I realized the difference between myself and the popular kids.
I had a best friend in Elementary, we were close, but that changed not too long after entering sixth or seventh grade. I was very suddenly a weirdo, and her friends told me that with their expressions. I want to go into the story of how, but I don't want to call any of them out if they happened to read this. Let's just say it happened because my sense of humor didn't click with them. I'd never really understood the pain of losing a friend like I had then. The most vivid memory I have is the day that I sat by her as she sat curled up on the bleacher stairs crying. She looked up at me with such sad, helpless eyes, then jumped up and left without saying a word, leaving me on the bench by myself wondering if she was ok, but knowing it wasn't me she wanted to be the one to check up on her. I knew it was over then. At least, that's how it felt for me.
I was practically a loner then, there were people I would talk to, but it wasn't until eighth grade that everything was okay again. My bestest friend came back to school from homeschooling, and so we had each other's company, as well as the company of the friends she happened to make. I had another companion as well, who'd walk home with me after school most days. We'd stop and browse the local drug mart, then follow the road to the library behind my house, where we'd spend some time until she was picked up, and then I would walk home alone. I always enjoyed the time spent with her.
My passion for art started in elementary school, but as I entered middle, I practically hid behind my sketchbook, carrying it everywhere. It's weird that no one made fun of me then, most people encouraged my artistic strife. When I look back at the drawings I made in the past now, and can't help but laugh. I think the person who most encouraged me was an old crush. He was still a current crush at the time, we used to be in band class together.
We were having some kind of break day when as usual I brought out my sketchbook and started drawing. My crush jumped suddenly beside me, asked me to hand it to him, ran over it with his eyes, and then complimented it. He had never done that before, and I blushed, happy. There were "ooos" all around us, very loud and embarrassing, because everyone in that room knew I had a crush on him, and apparently, as I learned later in life, he had a crush on me too. I never knew that fact though. We never dated. No one had told me then. I often wonder what he's doing now.
It was his words that caused me to really want to improve. What started as a passion, which grew in necessity as I was getting accepted by the people around me, eventually turned into something I wanted for myself more than anything; not for the sake of acceptance, but for the sake of being. I don't feel like myself if I'm not creating in some form or another, that fact remains true.
Art and I are partners in crime. She expresses the words I can't say. I stick to her like a clingy best friend. I rely on her. So, I want to do her justice. It's in that justice that my 2022 art resolution applies:
to improve my artwork by practicing anatomy, highlights and lowlights based on a heavy light source, and foreshortening in partnership of dynamic poses.
For that whole spiel I had just written above, these three goals may seem a bit lackluster, but accomplishing each isn't as easy as it sounds.
To best understand these goals of mine, I'd like to go over some examples for each category:
I'm sure most everyone knows the importance of anatomy unless, of course, you're a fluid/abstract artist, in which case this fact only applies to some of you. Either way, anatomy has always been the kind of thing I've struggled with most. Understanding the placement of certain body parts and more specifically their shapes, and comprehending how underneath the skin, muscle helps the bones move in one direction or another; each element is a part of the bigger puzzle.
At the library as a kid, I used to order "how-to-draw" books to take home and study with. I had improved mainly by self-taught instruction, through said books, or by watching Mark Crilley videos. I began to improve even more so by the time I hit eighth-grade Art class. I had a lot of fun then, in both schools I attended (I moved before the D.C. trip to the suburban countryside. I had my cousins at the new school, so I was never alone). However, it wasn't until I attended Cypress Lake High School that my art improved substantially. I was surrounded by amazing artists, and instructed by great teachers, who guided and challenged me like no other teacher had before. I'm where I am today thanks to them.
One of the facts I drilled into my mind then, and believe even now, is that there is always room for improvement. Just think, I went from this:
But I often wonder, what else can I do? How much farther can I push myself as an artist?
That's what the goals are about. Pushing myself. It starts with anatomy.
One day, I'd love to create the human form without ever needing a reference photo to base it off of. I'll simply just know and correctly execute my imagination into a proper pose that justifies my intentions and follows the human form correctly. I must clarify, though, that this has been accomplished partly through means of my more animated drawings, although there is still much to improve in that department as well. Cartoons specifically can use either simplified or exaggerated human forms.
Take these two examples for instance:
For my unique purposes, learning anatomical correctness benefits me and my artistic pursuit. Just take a look at the following drawing references to understand what exactly I'm trying to accomplish digitally:
I want to study anatomy for the sake of dynamic poses and character design range (i.e. body types). The above photos show anatomy broken down and in a cartoony style, but there are other references one can use for realism's sake, and each would help improve both my digital art style and my traditional:
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Believe it or not, this is quite the improvement already. Take a look at my digital artwork progression from 2020 until now:
This was quite encouraging to see, and I'm excited to see how much more I'll grow. It was with this last piece that my goal to work on lighting was constructed.
It brings drama to a piece. Though that seems like a small accomplishment, I assure you the difference between layers that have and haven't been what everyone now refers to as "rendered" is considerable. If you've ever seen the "rendering process" videos on TikTok like the ones below, then you can imagine why I want to grow this skill. It makes an already great drawing to an even better one, through means of highlights/lowlights and sometimes other added small details. The work above was my more serious first attempt at trying the process. I've stated it earlier, but I've got a long ways to go; but at least I have a start.
@dinodesu Rendering tutorial is finally here?!?!👀 #rendering #art #fanart #arthacks #fyp #foryou #stevenuniverse #spahire #garnet #foryoupage ♬ to the salon short version bethannrobinson - Beth Ann
@penkorii Reply to @penkorii Breakdown of steps on my instagram! You may need to pause to read some parts #rendering #arttutorial #renderingtutorial ♬ original sound - Penkorii
3. Foreshortening and dynamic poses:
Foreshortening goes hand-in-hand with anatomy, and the subsequent dynamic poses I earlier itterated. Allow these images to explain:
It is often heard that "practice makes perfect," but in many cases this holds untrue. I much rather refer to that idiom in a different matter: "practice makes progress," and so, I'll practice and practice until the day I no longer can. I'll leave behind a memory for my children and grandchildren to look back upon; proof that I existed, in the manner I wished to be presented in.
With that, I conclude today's article and say cheers to my future improvement. I know what direction I've come from, now to pursue the direction I'm going.
I hope you'll stick around to witness that journey, and join me next week for the latest artist feature, where I'm showcasing a watercolor portrait artist and her emotive works!
Please, follow my blog or Instagram for regular updates!
[I do not own the rights to any of the photographs pictured other than my own work, and I do not own the rights to the tiktok videos]
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