Monday, March 28, 2016

Killing Your Darlings (and just about everything else)

There is a saying I have heard used in writing, "kill your darlings". This is not a call to murder your family, this is a train of thought in the creative process to rework, edit, reevaluate, delete, or take a second look at the parts you love the most about what you are working on. If you have fallen in love with a part of what you are working on, there is a good chance you are not being objective and honest about the real merit and quality of your creation. Recently I have been killing a lot of my darlings and a lot of things that are nowhere near darling status.

A final photo of something I was scribbling on before I threw it away.

I have my current client work and I am happy with it and it is moving right along. I have my larger involved personal projects that take a lot of time and are involved, I am happy with them and they are all moving right along (albeit, slowly). Then there are my sketches and scribbles that fill in the times in between. The drawings I work on when I have a free moment, a pause in my schedule, or when I am doing a passive activity that allows my hands to work... as of late, those drawing have all been dying a quick and painless death.

Granted, a couple of these drawings have survived even if they should not have, but for the most part I have been destroying more of my drawings recently then I have been finishing them. I have been here before and I will find myself here again in the future. I find it part of the natural cycle of the creative process. No idea how long I will be crumbling up my monsters but it will pass. Got to get the bad ones out to make room for the good ones. Need to be objective and honest about the work I am making. There is DEFINITELY something to be said about finishing what you start. A professional finishes. A professional also knows when to cut their loses and move on to the next thing. I could fight and fight and fight a drawings and eventually get it to a finished state. I have done it thousands of times by now. I do not give up easily on any of my monsters. The one above went through many different states before it finally met its ultimate fate.

Not sure I can tell you when you should abandon your work or start over, that is really something only you can know. For me it is a gut feeling. I just know when it is time. Maybe it is when the drawing feels like it is going over visual ground I have traversed dozens of times, or when I see the hand of someone else beginning to appear in my work, or... I just don't like what I have made. I have high hopes for everything I make, but it would be unrealistic to think everything I make is good and will see completion. By no means should you consider ending a piece before completion a failure. It is only a failure if you didn't learn anything from it. I learn many things from every piece I terminate. I learn about myself, I learn about shapes and forms I like and dislike, I learn about what is working and not working in my visual language that I create, and I learn how I am personally doing outside of making monsters. There are times when the monsters spill forth without end and there are times making a good monster it like getting blood from a stone.

Right now I find myself killing my darlings and getting a lot of fluff out of my system. I just need to focus on the client and personal projects that are currently successful and look to the natural world around me for my next inspiration.

That is all for another exciting Monday on the blog, see you back here on  Wednesday! Until then...

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