Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Owen Garratt, Dan dos Santos & Robin Sharma on PRACTICE

Owen Garratt"I was lucky that I got involved with my wife - The Colonel - early in my career, or it probably wouldn’t have got very far. The one thing all serious artists need is time…vast, selfish, astonishing amounts of time. Since they only give you 24 hours every day, an awful lot of important things can fall behind awful quick. Without her fending off life’s distractions, there’s no way that I could have found the great spans of time and introspection that I needed to develop my art and business. If it wasn’t for her, I think I’d be living in a tarpaper shack."

Muddy Colors' Dan dos Santos' "10,000 Hours of Practice":




Robin Sharma"Easy to forget that successful people didn’t just wake up that way. They started off ordinary – with a goal – and then focused on the daily small steps required to reach it. And as the days slipped into weeks and the weeks into months and the months into years, their dream became more alive. Each day, they practice."

The message is the same from professional artists and motivational speakers: TONS OF PRACTICE!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Learning to See Values Practice…and Success!

In this post I discussed a helpful exercise in learning how to see values. My initial attempts were completely inaccurate and the process was frustrating.

BUT, unlike in the past when I've let the feeling of sucking stop me from fighting through the suckiness to the goodness, I didn't let the frustration stop me.

These were the tools used, Prismacolor Premier Cool Grey pens at 20%, 50% and 80%:



These were my attempts, from Nov. 3 through Nov. 21:





THEN, on Nov. 22, I had a breakthrough!



My final attempt isn't perfect or great, but it's better than the first attempt! In comparison to the original painting (digitally converted to grayscale), it has some accurate observations:




The Arch of Constantine Seen from the Colosseum by de Crissé





And some that are not so accurate! But the point is that I kept trying until I got close.

Next is View of Ornans by Courbet.




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Robert McGinnis's and Frank Frazetta's Women



I recently received the Robert McGinnis book and was thrilled with every page. McGinnis clearly creates a story with every illustration with the poses and expressions.

But what really stood out to me was how he illustrated the female form. Of course, all of his figures are idealized in some way. What I found most striking about McGinnis's image of women was that despite the idealization, all of the figures retain pleasing proportions. His women may have impossibly flat stomachs, long legs and full hips, but they never look grotesque. This is especially true regarding how McGinnis draws breast. Unlike the illustrations of women that have been popular for several decades with super-skinny waists and gigantic breasts, McGinnis's women's breasts are in proportion to the rest of their bodies. How refreshing!




I think the same is true with Frank Frazetta's women. He depicts them with fuller breasts than McGinnis but the breasts he draws are still in proportion to the rest of the women's bodies.



A note about Frazetta's women: they often have a full buttocks. When watching the Frazetta documentary, I noticed that his wife had the same physical trait! Basically, all of the women Frazetta illustrated were a reflection of his wife. How endearing!

I wish more of today's comics artists and illustrators would study how McGinnis and Frazetta illustrate women by maintaining appealing proportions while still idealizing the form. That's what separates the good from the great.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Create a Work That Only a Few People Want, But Want Desperately


The headline of this post is a variation on "Build a Product That Only a Few People Want, But Want Desperately" from Inc. Magazine.

Although this was intended for entrepreneurs, the same applies to artists!

Instead of trying to be Pixar or Dreamworks (why does every animator want to be Pixar or Dreamworks?), find a niche audience and cater to them.


I'm doing that by featuring black people in my work. There's an almost complete absence of people of color in animation and illustration and my intention is to fill that gap.

Because how often do Pixar, Dreamworks, Disney et al feature characters of color?


Monday, November 17, 2014

Bill Plympton's Position on "Talent"


Pages from a Pablo Picasso sketch book.

“I hear things like that a lot, that some people were born to be great artists. However, I believe that's a bunch of bull propagated by jealous people who wish they could be artists, or want to believe that they could have been, if only they'd had the right parents.”--Bill Plympton

This is a quote from Bill Plympton on the unfortunately endless debate between talent and skill. It's especially heartening coming from someone who probably possesses a certain about of innate talent. But even he admits that his talent was maximized with a lot of practice, ambition and discipline.

Let's all dispel the lie that people succeed because they were "born" to do so. The reality is that success comes from taking that with which you're born and boosting it with hard work.

Back to practicing!