Loosen Up and Get Organic – Taking Serious Work Not So Seriously
As I get older, I tend to try to plan what I’m going to draw. I usually have limited time and am hoping to get something on paper that I can be happy with. After having an idea, I usually start out with thumbnails and quick sketches and then later moving onto the primary drawing. Recently, I started doing warm-ups before I start. This idea seemed kind of weird to me at first. Then, I heard that some of my favorite comic book artists do warm-up doodles before they begin their day.
What do I draw when I warm-up? Anything. I tend to draw anything that comes to mind. If I’m thinking of a car or my children, that is what I’ll draw. Or maybe I take some random shape and create something out of it. These are never really serious drawings and I’d be embarrassed to show them. However, I have found that this practice really opens up my mind and gets the creative juices flowing.
Much of the time, I tend to be a very detail-oriented artist. What I mean by this is that I tend to put a lot of detail into my work and do very tight drawings. So much so that I even get stiff myself. I struggle with this and I suspect others do as well. The warm-up process has done a lot alleviated this problem. I also get up at various times and walk around and then get back to it.
Regardless of our artistic niche, we can still improve and learn by using other mediums. Years ago, I took a Life Drawing class. I must say, it was a challenge for me to see and draw real people without clothing. To top that off, a few of the nights, the model would take a break and come around and observe and critique our drawings (with a robe on). She would often tell me along with the teacher that I need to take more time observing and loosen up. I think they sensed my nervousness. It’s funny when I think of it today. That class proved to be priceless for me. At the time, I was heavily involved with trying to break into comics. I took this class after being rejected at the San Diego Comic Con and taking the advice of one of Image Comic’s editors. The results of taking that class were astonishing. I looked at anatomy and form in a whole new light. Pieces were starting to fall into place. Later, I took a Water Coloring class and that class opened my eyes to Layering and how they are everywhere. At that time, I was just starting to get into Photoshop and it was a direct correlation for me. You can say this was an “aha!” moment.
As you can see, there are several methods for improvement and loosening up that will help our art improve. Though uncomfortable at times, developing skills in alternative arts can be extremely beneficial. Classes taken that were seemingly irrelevant can later be crucial to the development of your artistic style.