Tuesday, October 4, 2011

All awesome and no skill

I have heaps of pictures

In my head that look awesome. Amazing accomplishments of artistic grandeur. Unfortunately my hands don't share the vision. I have pieces of art meticulously planned but I just don't have the wacom skillz to make them a reality.

Or so I have convinced myself

Recently I have had projects that require more marathon work than I am used to. I have been working on my current model for almost 180 hours spread over the last month. And it has taught me quite a lot about how liquid a piece of art actually is. I used to (and by used to I mean had done up until the model before this one) be scared of changing anything for fear of ruining what I had so far. In some cases this has definitely been the outcome, but a well planned ctrl+s has saved my skin. But lately I have avoided undoing work, and tried to elbow my way forward to a better design. This has forced me to work a bit past my comfort zone on each new model I create, which is the best way to force yourself to learn. I have to rely on myself a whole lot more without the safety net of ctrl+z.

But I'm waffling.

What my new modelling work flow has created

is the need to keep pushing my way past my self imposed barriers and continue working on one piece of art until it is done. This has the effect of counteracting my lack of skill. Any great piece of art is one part skill, ten parts tenacity. If I stick to one piece and keep adapting and updating and fixing the problems I find, I get closer and closer to the awesome image I have rolling around in my skull.

I heard a good term coined on a forum a little while back: "the valley of suck". It's the point in art creation where you have just finished the base block out and are ready to move onto the next phase, but you just can't visualise the final product. What you see in front of you is particularly bland and uninviting, and you start to doubt the validity of continuing work on it. This is the point where artists never destined to be great will fold every time. The point here isn't whether or not the piece will look good when it is finished, but what you will have learnt once you have finished it. By pushing your way forward you aren't trying to force a great piece out of nothing, you are trying to expose yourself to experience you otherwise would not have.

Everyone has an exciting level of awesome inside.

Everyone has those bursts of creativity where the idea in their head is the be all and end all and it would be so awesome that anyone who saw it would have their eyes explode, their brains melt out their ears and all the bones in their body would turn into fairy floss. The ability to express this monumental amount of awesome is another story entirely. It takes years to build up the skills needed to write that story, make that model, paint that piece. Years that will go by with no progression at all if you don't push past your lack of skill into the realms of sheer tenacity. Years that will be wasted when you look back on your first piece and see that it is only slightly worse than your last.

The years don't stop for any of us, so get scribbling, scribbler.

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