Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Lost World Of Stacy And The Llama

Today I’ve got something I’ve wanted to put up for a long time, but I never could think of a proper setting for it. I still haven’t, so I’m just going to sort of ramble today.

This is a quote I read a long time ago. So long ago that I can’t really even remember what year it was. It’s just a little quote, but it made a huge impact on me.

“Distinctive tonal changes on glazed or metallic surfaces can be represented subtly, by effacing your habitual marks and creating tonal strengths with carefully graded areas of solid tone. Removing your hallmark style can also create an almost photographic effect.”

It was that quote that got me to change the way I was drawing, back then. That business about “effacing your habitual marks” totally changed the way I worked. I went from being completely at sea, doing stuff that I didn’t even like looking at, to doing cartoons like this:

In most art instruction books from around the era when I was attempting to learn to draw, the whole business of “making marks” seemed to be presented as the “creative” part of drawing. The “marks” a person made were presented as embodying the artist’s personality and you, as a student artist, were supposed to “find” your personal style in the character of the marks you made.

But I really hated that. I couldn’t quite put it into words myself, or even form the thoughts properly, but I hated “making marks.”

It was only when I saw that quote about “effacing your habitual marks” that something in my thinking clicked. Instead of focusing on “making marks” I bought a stump and started blending away the marks I made. I started focusing on values and shapes and edge characteristics and I completely put aside thinking about marks.

And for a while I was happy.

I really miss those days.

The trouble is working that way was really time-intensive for me. It took me five days or so to do a cartoon like that Stacy and the llama cartoon.

But it was really fun and peaceful and I loved working that way.

But I don’t know if I can go back to it. When I try I’m constantly aware of how much time I’m taking and how much I could be doing by working in another technique or just doing stop-motion or video or something else.

I’m sitting here sighing as I type this. I did a lot of cartoons drawing that way. I really miss it.

It has become, for me, a lost world.

And it’s a world I want to go back to. I don’t know why it seems so far away. But it feels completely lost to me.

This is what I’m thinking a lot about right now. Getting back to those days of writing and drawing little things that I really like.

Even if they take a long time to create.

That’s all I’ve got for today.


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