Monday, April 20, 2009

Q & A

Recent Question from one of my students

Q:How do you get your inspiration when you draw, what do you think
before drawing? I try to draw but for some weird reason i stop, and
get stuck....

A: Well, inspiration is an elusive thing, but for me it hinges on what I like. I wonder sometimes how many people really know what they like, or do they just let the world act upon them. I try to maintain a balance. I know what I like, but I'm also open to letting the world throw something my way that I may have to confront and then process by asking myself "why?"
"I don't like it."
"what is it that you don't like?"
"I don't like the way it looks."
"That's not good enough, what about the way it looks bothers you?"
"I don't know."
"Figure it out."
"How do I do that?"
"By continuing."
"That's dumb."
"I know."
"Shut up."
"Fine I'll keep working."
"Keep working till it's finished then decide."
"I still don't like it."
"Why not."
"Because it's not good enough."
"Good enough for what?"
"Good enough for me."
"But you made it."
"Keep working."
"That's dumb."
"I know."
"Shut up."
etc. etc. etc.
Eventually I've learned to's not that the work is any better or worse, but I place less importance on the judgment, the connoisseurship. Instead of:
"I don't like it" I say.
"It's Ok." "It will work." " I can work with that/this." "This is a perfect time to use that/this" "If I can get it all to look this shitty it will be consistant, Nice!" "I couldn't have made that mistake if I'd tried!" "Yes!" Etc. Etc. Etc. And I know that each time I make a mistake, if I can relect on what went wrong, I have a better chance of getting a faster better solution later.
Sometimes it's just about the action. Just the pure action.
So anyway, I now know that one of the things I like is not knowing, and figuring something, anything (hopefully something constructive) about what it is I don't know. That is probably my greatest source of inspiration, what I like and what I don't like. Do you know what you like?

That said, I keep a sketchbook around me all the time and I feel naked without one. I never know when an idea will hit. I just don't. And you know what? Whenever I sit down and wait for ideas I never know when one will hit either. So Keep a sketchbook around and I don't wait for ideas to hit I just start. I have a pretty easy mental list of things I start with. My sketchbooks are full of faces, monsters, abstract designs etc. Just stuff that doesn't take any effort for me to start drawing.
I think because I know I have a platform to record my ideas I get a lot of ideas to record and I don't pass them by. I try to write my dreams down because I think it helps free up ideas.
I also keep written lists of things to draw. These things might be commissions, they might be things I want to get better at drawing.
Most of the stuff in my sketchbooks are scribbled or half finished because I don't place a lot of importance on that stuff ( I place physical importance on it but not artistic importance) I think of it just as a net that I go out fishing with, most of the time I just catch weeds and rocks but a lot of the time those weeds and rocks grow into great trees and hatch into really cool creatures. I don't know I just try and catch. There are a million and one exercises you can do to widen your net. I'm not going to go into that here. The main thing I think is to know what you like, look at stuff you like to look at, read stuff you like to read, play games you like to play, eat stuff you like to eat, reflect on your tastes actively not passively...discuss what it is about that that activates your tastebuds/imagination.

What I think about before I start drawing doesnt matter I've found out. What matters is that I draw. And if I'm having trouble starting I force myself into action, any action to break me out of the stalemate, sometimes I might even ruin my drawing! (gasp) But anything is better than letting torpidity win.

"I try to draw but for some weird reason i stop, and
get stuck...."

Exchange "Draw" for just about any other verb. There is just not enough information to comment on. That said...once again following the path of action is usually what one needs.
Then taking one thing at a time, not thinking or looking ahead, just one pass, step, day, object, line, splash, word at a time.

I know I am better at drawing because I drew.
I know I will be better at drawing because I draw.

Just a few quick thoughts I'm throwing out there, hope they help. - Nate.