Friday, 11 May 2018

Whispers in the Forest I, II, III

The enchanted forests beckoned me towards the heart. The trees waving their arms as if to lead me deeper and deeper. I can feel the whispers in my ears of the spirits, nature's caretakers. Their eyes glow in the dark and if you look carefully you might be able to see them glistening in the shadows of the pulsating trees.





3 paintings made for group Exhibition, Hidden Depths, hosted by Craft + Graft in Cape Town, and included the Unblush girls.

Medium: Gouache on cold pressed watercolour paper

Size: A5

Friday, 2 February 2018

Dear Art Block, please leave.

 
Recently I've been feeling a lot like this illustration; in a dark place with a tumbleweed rolling across the emptiness of my brain. Emphasizing the drought my creativity is currently experiencing...

I have been struggling a lot with art block. Not even prompts are helping me right now! SO I decided to write a post on this topic. I will be sharing some of my thoughts on how one can go about overcoming art block. let's start off by defining this thing we call art block.

I read a very...majestic..definition for art block on The Urban dictionary once:



 "It's the worst fucking thing for an artist to ever encounter.

It's when you run out of ideas to draw things off, and temporarily loose all motivation to do anything art related. "


 So...basically when you run out of ideas of what to draw, according to this definition that is. I, however, believe that it is much more than just this. Many times I find myself with countless ideas of what to draw, but I never seem to get a start on them. Either they don't seem worth persuing to me or my skill level just doesn't seem up to it. Most of the time it has been a lack of purpose in my pursuit of making art. And I think creative purpose is something that takes time to develop. And it's something you lose often or it changes etc.





So I have been thinking long about this and came up with some strategies that have helped me get through the drought. Sometimes they work, sometimes you just gotta let it go and do something else for a while before trying again. But without further adue here are a few strategies I've prepared...

Play

Just make marks! If you did the same course as me then that’ll probably sound all too familiar to you, since we had one lecturer who was a bit known to tell that to us. Draw, write, paint! Just make splotches, dots and lines or anything on the paper. I usually do this if I can’t think of anything to draw or paint. Making marks warms me up and usually it helps me flow into a creative rhythm which in turn helps me flow into an idea. And sometimes it's just freeing to create without a purpose. It becomes an act of play.


Mixed-media artist Trey Speegle suggests making a drawing and photocopying it 50 times, then altering each image in as many ways as you can think of. “The important thing is to turn off your brain and just play with a repeated form and let your mind see where no ideas or thought processes takes you,” he says. “Create your own tight parameters . . . Then give yourself a lot of room to play.”(Porter:2015)

Practice from observation

If I really don't feel the creative flow I'll just open a life drawing website and do some gestures or open one of my figure study books and practice a part of the anatomy I usually struggle with. Sometimes this leads me into a creative flow as well. I've gotten character sketches out of doing this before and I've even ended up making complete illustrations from starting like this.

Going to a completely different space and drawing different people around you is also an effective way to practice drawing and to get myself into drawing again. It helps that you're simultaneously also switching up your environment when doing something like drawing on location, which brings me to my next point.

Explore new areas

Whether it be a new area in the creative field or a new area in terms of location. Changing things up usually helps freshen my creative flow a bit, sometimes a little change goes a long way. Another way you could change things up is by looking at a favorite artist and study their process and then try to make art the way they would go about it. Apart from it being fun, this can also be a good learning exercise.

Buying new art supplies is probably one of the best ways to get myself into creating work. It just fills me with delight when I can play around with new tools and explore new techniques with tools I'm using for the first time. This strategy is what helped me overcome my most recent bout of artblock. And it was especially special to me since my new art supplies were mostly gifts from a loved one.

Surround yourself with like minded people

I definitely think that being to connected with other like minded creatives helps in overcoming the hurdle of art block. And I don't believe it necessarily has to be people who work in the same field as you. Nothing is as contagious as being around someone who is filled with enthusiasm for their hobby. My guy loves making just about anything he can use his dremel with if not more, and it just fills me with motivation to make art when I see him eagerly hammering or gluing away on a building project he has thought up for himself.

Relax

I have found that I come up with ideas easily when I am relaxed, either after I've done something completely different to my usual routine or after a holiday period. So what I'd usually do is sit by my work place and listen to music and a podcast and let myself relax. Taking long periods of time by myself when I can helps get me going for this reason.

I would love to hear any suggestions you might have that I haven't mentioned here. What are some things that help you get out of an idea-less rut?



Sources and further reading:

Friday, 12 January 2018

2018 Art Goals Part 1

Hello foxy folks,

Finally the first 2018 related post,

I have a lot to juggle this year, and the last 3 months of 2017 was merely a taste of what lies ahead, I will try to make time for my illustration. So I have come up with some goals I would like to achieve this year that will help me develop as an illustrator. Basically my goals have 3 categories: Art-, Self- and Job-centric. This isn't to say they can't overlap, because they definitely do. And all of these goals are generally things I try to achieve on a daily basis:

Draw more


I have a few strategies up my sleeves to get myself to draw more this year (Another blog post worth of strategies I reckon ;P). This is, afterall, the key to improvement. After I started a 9-5 job last year I have been struggling to spend time on really being a creator outside of work. This caused me real worry, which is a sign to me that I need to keep at it. I started to listen to relevant illustration/creative podcasts and audio books during my 2hours worth of commuting every day, but that didn't take away the exhaustion I felt when I got home every evening. So this year I will make a point to at least draw a bit in the mornings, because I know I'll have some energy after I wake up or after I did some excercise. At least then, if I get home and all I want to do is let my head have a lovely long date with my pillow I can rest assured that I did get some drawing in for the day; not all hope is lost.

learn more


About myself, about other people, about the world etc. I've had such a learning curve in the last few years of my life, here's to having many more! I mean, having a learning curve is tough, don't get me wrong. But don't you just feel like you've grown so much after you've had one? And feeling like you have accomplished a lot on top of that. The sense of achievement one feels just lights up the path with further motivation and I love this feeling. Sometimes you learn things because life throws some obstacles your way and sometimes you learn things because you put yourself into situations that demand you to go through a learning curve of some sort. I hope to put myself in situations like this more often, especially situations that demand I learn more about illustration and storytelling. This forms part of why I decided to start a blog. The first few posts will definitely not be perfect, and I'm mostly write intuitively before I revise. But I figured if I don't post something, chances are I never will and then I will never improve. Posting my writing online is a way to encourage myself to write more even if it doesn't get a lot of readers. I hope to improve my writing skills if not anything else through doing this.

Work Hard


I have learned quite a lot at my new work place, from my colleagues and the tasks I was assigned during my first 3 months. Hopefully, and I feel confident that, I will learn a lot more in the coming months. Apart from working hard at my day job, I really want to work hard on my relationships this year and my illustration work. I have been changing a lot of ways I used to have (ways that I am ashamed of having even had, and I will write a post about this in the future when I feel more comfortable sharing my intimate self to you, my reader) which I was never really fully aware of the impact these ways had on my life and my relationships with the people close to me. Here's to becoming a better human being!

Here's a relatable comic..



In order to keep my posts from not becoming too lengthy I have decided to make a series with this theme, as I have a lot more I'd like to write in terms of reaching my goals and cultivating goal-oriented habits and how these things have changed for me over the years. So stay tuned for future posts!

That being said, I would love to hear about your goals and what sort of things you want to achieve in the coming months. Please share with a comment below! :)

Friday, 5 January 2018

2017 Reflections...

Hi there

welcome to my art blog!

I decided to start it off with a review of 2017 in terms of my artistic career. I'm not usually a person of many words so I tend to keep descriptors short and sweet. My blogposts will also most likely be bite sized. haha~

2017 feels like the longest year of my life so far. It just never wanted to end! And I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way at all, It just felt like a lot more has happened than I had realised. Who knew that I graduated, took part in Emerging Creatives, finished a teaching course and started my first full time job as a designer all in just one year! My mind is still blown!

A look at 2017...


During the first few months of this year I slaved away on my major practical projects for my final exam. I was pretty much a recluse during this time (not that I am ever NOT a recluse lol!). These were a tough few months as it was very hot and I only have our little humid garage to work in! But alas! I survived and I managed to graduate with my Honours in illustration. I am so glad I did this degree, I learned so much about myself and my art approach, most of all I learned to let go and let the process take me to wherever my work was heading. This is a lesson I thought I only had to learn once, but it seems that I need constant reminder of this.   (haha scrap the part about this being short and sweet xD, seems I have a lot more to say than I thought I would!)

On top of graduating I was also chosen as an Emerging creative at the annual Design Indaba held in Cape Town. This was such an awesome opportunity and exactly the external validation I think I needed at the time. My confidence in my work has grown so much this year, even though I still have a long way to go still.

Along with this me and some girls got together to form an all-girl collective this year which is going really well so far. I took a back burner on my role in the collective when my life got a bit cluttered with responsibilities and a full time job, but the ladies in charge are doing an amazing job so far in organising our events and I have still been participating and contributing as much as possible.

Changing paths...


In terms of jobs I've had this year I had 2 part time jobs, one being in retail and the other being a primary school art teacher for grades 3-7. Despite my qualification as a Designer (I have a BA in visual communication design) I decided that I didn't want to persue that and would rather pursue being an art teacher. There were various reasons for this which I will not go into in this post. The main reason I will mention for now is my plans at the time (and ever since I started my studies) was to go teach english in South Korea.

I did my TEFL course and I was fortunate enough to have gotten a part time teaching position at a local primary school The teachers I worked with were amazing and friendly and I loved my time there. I grew quite fond of the children I had taught this year aswell. I think I will definitely do this a few times more in my distant future.

As time drew closer to the end of the year I felt that I needed a more stable job, one where there was room for me to improve my skills as a creative. This lead to me landing a very suitable job at a small design agency in Cape Town. I was sad that I wouldn't be visiting South Korea anymore (one of my dreams for years now), but I felt this was the best course of action that I could do for me and my happiness. I'm sure I'll have another opportunity to visit in my future.

This year was eventful and I only see further growth from here. I am ready to take on 2018 and improve myself as an artist and as a human being. Let's do this!