Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The Baby Steps of Progress and Restarting

I have spoken about this before, but this has been a challenging year to make art. Each day seems to bring a new horror, a new setback, a new challenge. I was firing on all cylinders going into January and February. I was wrapping up everything for The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia Kickstarter, and I was already looking ahead to the next books as I prepped a slew of illustrations ready to create. I even finished the linework on the first. The Kickstarter began, and I was super busy, and the art had to be set aside. Then as March started, it all fell apart. The lockdowns came, and life was turned upside down, and all of my art came to an end. I just could not get to my drawing table and work. There was too much going on. Working from home for the day job, it was impossible to find the strength to move from one workstation after putting in 9-11 hours of work (we were in our big deadline) to move ten feet to a different workstation and put more time in. There wasn't the strength, and after a few months, there just wasn't the interest anymore. Too many other pressing things on the mind, and too much other things being done to hopefully address mental and physical health in this new normal. 

Vexed Beanmonger close up 

I made attempts along the way to get started again. New drawings and concepts that would be pieces to help bridge the divide in my work. I didn't want to try to jump back into a massive drawing that had sat unloved for months. To that end, I worked up some smaller images to ease back into things. I was able to get the linework done on one, but again, that is where it stopped. I simply was unable to will myself to work. Understand, I have been able to work through anything and everything up until now. I have never faced artist block and am lucky enough to find my mind to be a fount of ideas and a dynamo of motivation. Unfortunately, 2020 was a perfect storm I was not prepared for. None of us were. 

I took on client work to hopefully force myself to get back into the swing of things. I hoped that external deadlines and schedules would get my mind back in the swing of setting aside time to work and focus on art. I am not sure if it worked. I got the assignments done, I did find enjoyment in them, but at times it was extremely hard to motivate myself and focus. I am not sure it resulted in the desired outcome, but I think it was essential, and I was able to complete the tasks given to me. 

About ten days ago, I sat down at my drawing table for the first time in a while and began the black render pass on one of the smaller pieces I had planned to as a bridge to the larger pieces. It was a slow, uncertain start, but it had begun. There was a lot of working, reworking, working again, and adjusting. I felt rusty for sure. But each time I returned to the drawing table, it was a little easier, I got a bit more done, and I felt myself speeding up. In the past few days, I was able to get back in some semblance of a groove and to really start working. Getting things rendered, adjusting the entire images to push it where it needs to go. As of last night, the black render phase has been completed. I will now go in with the white render, black ink washes, and finally, white paint finish. Knowing my process, I know that I am really close to the end of this one. A lot can still happen, but I am feeling good about this one, and I think I will have my first new completed piece for the Grand Bazaar in the coming days. After a 6-7 month gap in work, it is really nice to find myself working again. It has been a very hard road to get here, and I could not have done it alone. I look to the uncertain future ahead of us all, and I hope that we can find the strength to continue to create.

That is all of another exciting Wednesday on the blog. See you back here on Friday! Until then...

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