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November 1, 2011

I recently posted up a little interview with Amiee at Drink and Draw Montreal. We chatted about all sorts of things – but of course, had to trim it down to fit the format. Plus, I can ramble a lot. I’m getting old or something.  Anyway – I thought maybe some people might be interested in a ‘deleted scene’.

Here’s an un-edited bit that I think is worth rescuing from the cutting room floor.

2) When did you first start drawing on location? How did leaving the studio and drawing in “plein air” affect your practice?

If I can go backwards to my job in games, that kind of drawing is entirely done in Photoshop. I was mostly doing fantasy gaming stuff – Elves and Dwarves etc. Now, drawing digitally is great fun. It’s so easy. When it comes to inventing things that don’t exist, things you want to look convincingly real but aren’t available to take a photo – doing it digitally can’t be beat. It’s just the most flexible way to work.

But of course there’s 3D rendering. Which is a tremendous opportunity for artists. But if you’re the sketching guy it’s the Sword of Damocles over your head. You’re sitting there pouring effort into your drawings, trying to visualize imaginary things, and meanwhile the 3D guys are just racing past you to the finished product. And making it look amazing.

The same power tools that made digital drawing easy, make photographic realism easy as well. For a while I was experimenting with digital photo collage (example tutorial) as a method, but it’s not really a long term solution. You just have to embrace the 3D if you’re going to operate at a professional level. And while that is absolutely art – it’s art done with mouse clicks and technical skills not with instinct. So that’s not really my thing. (Yes, that’s changing every day with new software, but it’s still a long way off).

Basically I had to choose – go more digital, or cut bait and get out.

I decided it was time to really learn to draw. Instead of going back to school, I went to life drawing. A lot. Like, two or three times a week. For a few years. That’s about a thousand drawings a year. I was just doing a ton of 5 ,10 and 20 minute figure drawings.

Once you start drawing from life, the complexity of drawing really opens up. Drawing from imagination is by definition, refining a formula. You’re doing the ‘style’ you do, and just getting better and better at it. Which is cool and all, don’t get me wrong. But drawing from life – you’re not going to be satisfied with your own shorthand. You’ve got reality right there, laughing at you.

It’s an addictive combination. The never ending challenge versus your growing fluency. It can turn into a self-perpetuating obsession :) I get the feeling it’s a lot like being good at a sport, or playing music – but I wouldn’t know too much about those things.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Steven permalink
    November 1, 2011 10:48 PM

    Reality laughs at me like Jabba the Hutt.

  2. November 1, 2011 10:55 PM

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