Friday, January 24, 2020

The Benefits of Daily Practice: Part I, Finding the Joy Again



My grandfather often said, “Don’t get so busy making a living, that you forget what you’re living for.” 

In talking with a number of other artists, I have found a number of illustrators that spend so much time working on illustrating for others, that they lose joy in the creation of their art. It becomes a job and they forget the delight they once found in the creation process. I see this often with students as well. They get burned out with all the assignments that we as professors give them. It is no longer fun. 

Many do not spend time exploring and having fun with drawing because they are too busy with the work. They work, and their art is their work. They do not draw for fun anymore. It is their job and that is all. I believe, that in order to maintain the joy of creating art one must set aside time to draw or practice their art daily. This needs to be free of others expectations and demands.

For me, I try to fill at least a page in my sketchbook 6 days a week. This daily drawing is a free draw for me to explore, have fun, be creative without boundaries, or to practice drawing whatever I want to improve on. I have found that this drawing time generates ideas for personal projects that keeps me going through more difficult jobs and deal with some of my more stressful moments. 

This is not easy. Often the clamor of work, putting out fires, and other pressures cause me to sacrifice this drawing time. In order to combat this, I have started scheduling 15 minutes a day to just draw. Although this does not solve the problem of competing demands, it has helped me draw more. 

Recently, I have discovered again the joy of drawing guinea fowl. They, along with other creatures, like aliens, robots, and observational sketches, keep populating my sketchbook.

I am happier when I make the time to draw regularly. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Personal Project: My Shakespeare Series, Henry VI part II


A few years ago, I set a goal to read all of William Shakespeare's plays and do an illustration for each. 

In Henry VI part II act 2 scene 3, after Gloucester is found dead, Suffolk is accused without evidence. The Earl of Warwick gives the following reason:

Who finds the partridge in the puttocks nest
But may imagine how the bird was dead,
although the kite soar with unbloodied beak?
Even so suspicious is this tragedy.

This image of the kite hovering over a nest struck me. It seemed to say so much more than just the murder of Gloucester.   I replaced the puttock's nest (a bird of prey like a kite) with the crown to emphasize the idea of the impending coup. I chose the black-winged kite because of the blood red eyes gave the illustration a more menacing foreboding appearance. 

To date I have read King John through Henry VI part II in order of the sequence of their action. It wasn't until reading this one that I came up with my first image. I think I will have to go back and review the others again for more ideas.