Art walking the art walk, preemptive defensiveness, and other art ramblings

Above is a piece I did in about 30 minutes.

And I’m not particularly proud of it.

And normally I wouldn’t suggest that an artist to put up a piece of work online that they can at least say they’re at least somewhat proud of. It’s bad practice to display your ugly drawings for potential clients and employers. So the reason as to why I posted this, I shall get to later, but typing that last sentence reminded me of something…

One of my pet peeves is when people purposely display some kind of artwork to the world and disclaim it with some kind of defense like “oh, yeah the hands aren’t that great”, or “before you say anything, I know the coloring is a bit off”. Don’t do that! If YOU don’t believe in your own artwork, how do expect OTHERS to believe in it? It’s a matter of having confidence in which artwork you choose to display, whether it be up online or in a portfolio. If you think your art is bad, don’t show it until you think it’s good.

I think I’ve probably had my share of this “preemptive defensiveness“. It does make me feel better covering my butt by actively pointing out the weak points. It’s like putting bandages on cuts. It’s also humbling to acknowledge that it really isn’t my best work. But when displaying it to industry professionals, it is not a conversation – it is a presentation. Think of a piece of artwork like a speech. You don’t start out a speech by saying “Hey everyone, just to let you know my 2nd and 3rd points I will make aren’t that strong, and the conclusion doesn’t really wrap things up too good”. No, you say it with certainty as if everything out of your mouth is the complete truth. You must execute the presentation with complete confidence and faith in your work.

Now that’s not to say that everything you draw has to be a beautiful masterpiece. I’m mainly just speaking about artwork in portfolios, online portfolios, contest submissions, blahblahblah. In fact, I think most of what you draw has to be hideous (and not the cool kind of hideous). I’m a believer in the idea that 1 out of every 100 drawings is really great, the other 99 are crap. But they are not worthless. You couldn’t get to that 1 beautiful drawing if you didn’t get the 99 out of your system. Your sketchbook should have a good amount of ugly drawings, because if they’re just filled with the same beautiful poses, you’re not pushing yourself enough. You’re not experimenting as an artist, and instead, you’re reaching a comfort zone that you shouldn’t stay in for too long. With awful drawings comes growth.


But that wasn’t really my point of this entry.

Boy did I tangent.

I’m not posting the above picture to show off what I can do, but rather I’m posting it because I need to. I’ve recently come to the realization that I’m more an observer of the art industry, and less of an active member.

I think I’m pretty aware of what’s happening with animation – I go to drawing events, I go to conventions, I go to seminars, I read up on blogs. I’m cool, I’m hip. But I’m missing the main component that it takes to be an artist: MAKING ART!! Seriously, my output is like one piece a month. One mediocre piece that I probably won’t put in my portfolio. I have a bad case of talking the talk and not walking the walk.

So I’m posting that picture for two reasons:

  1. This is my “before” picture. I will do my very best to churn out a bunch of drawings everyday, starting with a warm up 30ish minute compositions like the one above(usually before work). Hopefully by the end of the summer, my 30 minute warm ups will be massively (or somewhat) improved.
  2. I almost never post drawings that I think are bad, but I have to not be afraid to do so.

It might seem like a contradiction to rant about how artists lack confidence in their work, then go and post this drawing and say I’m not proud of it. To clarify, I’m talking about artists lacking confidence in their GOOD work, the stuff they present to others that should theoretically be the best of their best. That picture up there will not go in my portfolio, it is for experimental purposes in an effort to track my progress.

P.S. I hope you read all this so you don’t just look at the picture above and think “mmm this fellow doesn’t have the greatest art..”. The picture’s main purpose is to compliment the entry in this blog, not the other way around!

P.P.S. I also hope you read all this because it took a while to write.

P.P.P.S. I think I tried to make too many points in this entry.

P.P.P.P.S. Okay okay I don’t think the piece is THAT ugly.

P.P.P.P.P.S. I shall call it Sfam #1, the first in its series.