I've caught the drawing bug lately. Wait, you say. Aren't you a cartoonist? And i say, correct! But that's my job. I've been drawing everyday on Frank and Steinway, and even in my regular job as an artist on Games. But I haven't really been drawing for a long, long time now. I haven't drawn on paper for fun, since just recently. I've mostly been following my routine. Going through the motions. Lately, this has put me in a rut.
I bought myself a portable light table recently, which helped me trace something on a project. I realized, when doing it, that I can go just as crazy on a Cintiq then just do a nice cleanup drawing in the end. What I realized more, was that I was starting to feel that drawing feeling again. In other words, my mojo was starting to reemerge. What is that? Well, for an artist, it's when you draw something, anything, on paper-- It can be as small as a doodle, but suddenly, you find that the drawing starts to take on a life of its own. Before you know it, you've got yourself a masterpiece....on lined paper. Doh! But for some reason, that spark appeared, even if for a moment.
When you do the same thing over and over again, for years, the passion tends to wane. I felt that in my drawings for the longest time. Then, one day, I noticed that even drawing the simplest thing for me (the face...hard to believe for some people), seemed impossible. I was getting frustrated. Then, after watching some Youtube tutorials, and artist's profiles, I realized, I was out of practice. I hadn't really drawn in years! Yes, years! With the advent of the Cintiqs and Photoshop, many artist today get sucked up in cutting corners. Overpainting, multiple undos, and line stabilizers in the computer make drawing a factory experience.
When you draw traditionally (pen and paper), there is a sense of exhilaration. That's because there's a great deal of risk involved. You have a limited resource: Paper, Pen/Pencil. If you screw up, you start all over again, unless you can cleanly erase everything. It takes precision and patience to do a traditional drawing. Lately, I found, I had neither. I watched one of my favorite artists explain how they were so good. Unfortunately, it was an answer I've always heard all my life. Draw everyday. But my work, there's no time, I have deadlines....yada yada. I realized I've always made excuses and noticed, I hadn't touched paper and pencil in years (in a personal project). It was always roughs for a concept at work. And when you do concept work in my field, there's very little time for experimentation. You draw fast, or they find someone faster. But I wanted to get better. So...I started to draw, slowly.
The first few days were awful. It felt sluggish and I was definitely not having any fun. But, I was improving. I usually test how I was doing by posting my stuff on Instagram. If I get over 10 likes, then I knew it was at least getting somewhere. I drew a Prince sketch and posted it on Facebook. It got almost 80 likes. Most of the time I get 15 on Facebook. This was good (Although because of news on Prince, there was some bias). But still, if it sucked, I'm sure I would have just had a handful of likes. The satisfaction was not in the likes however. It took me almost 4 tries to get the drawing to where I was satisfied. Not totally pleased, but I knew, I was one step below where I really wanted it. I will finish that someday. But for now, I got close. I know caricaturists who can do better. But then, they've been doing that most of their careers. What I was happy about was getting my Mojo back.
What is Mojo really? Well, I'll tell you. It was a smile on my face after I finished a drawing. I hadn't seen it in a long time. It wasn't a big smile, but it was there. It's coming back indeed.
Bye for now!