Welcome to the Sketch Round-up! Here we'll be talking about all kinds of things, mostly (hopefully) connected to art and things artful. Much of it will entail ways of attacking that big chunk of art-crushing granite that sometimes appears when you expect it the least, sapping your creative potential and leaving you staring at that blank sketchbook/monitor/tablet and wondering what the heck happened.
I personally think one of the biggest contributors to artist's block is real life (yeah, I know, pretty obvious, but still...). Even if you're one of the lucky ones who draws and gets paid for it, the grind of the whole process can leave you drained, strained and just plain tired at the end of the day. I used to work at a print shop as a paste-up artist and film stripper for the press plates. One of my (not so) favorite things when creating illustrations for a job was how a client would invariably want the Mona Lisa in three hours for five dollars. And then want changes at the last minute after the plate was on the press, and be surprised at the extra charges. Do that enough times and the grind tears you down. It's a hazard of any creative work.
I think that's what happened to my co-blogger, Eric. I think Eric is a great artist/illustrator; always have, always will. But he has been in a series of jobs that doesn't quite tap his full potential. So a time came where he admitted to me that he hadn't even touched pencil to paper in a long, long time. That made me sad. So whenever we crossed paths, I tried to encourage him to get back into the swing of things. I would gush my enthusiasm in waves, but I always had this feeling when we parted ways that maybe I came off as a creepy kind of stalker-type buddy to him and I might have scared him a little. Didn't stop me from trying, though.
Eventually, many, many moons later, one of our conversations went to the idea of a weekly challenge. He was hoping it would get him motivated again, and I was only too happy to try and help. So in an email, I came up with some random suggestions, oddball things that might help spark the old creative flame. One of them was A Platypus in Space. Why? Why not? I just liked the sound of it, actually. But it was the oddest suggestion of the bunch and my own attempts at it fell woefully short. I didn't expect anything to come of that particular idea.
And then...lo and behold. It came as an attachment in an email. Slick lines, crisp colors, concept made real. Exactly the way I would expect to be. But the thing I enjoyed the most about it was the fact that Eric is getting his spark back. And I will, hopefully, help him keep the spark going without referring to the bat. But that's another story.
In the meantime, should you feel like Eric and wonder if you'll ever get going again with your artistic goals, just remember the platypus. Anything is possible with a little nudge in the right direction.
And oh yeah, I babble. A lot.