Walk People! Walk!
This week, James McLean takes over the blogger again! Take it away James!
The artwork is suffocated by it on so many levels. From the basic student to the most successful artists. It's everywhere.
No other vocational field suffers from this more than art. Art harbors the very worst of it.
I believe I can best describe the characteristic I am referring to by this rather dull idiom:
You have to learn to WALK before you can RUN.
I'm sure many of you may have seen this this issue occur at school, or college or in art generally; people adopting styles or approaches to art before they are really able to utilize such a skill base accurately.
In otherwords, they are trying to do something advanced, before they've learned the basics.
"It's art!" I've heard people declare defensively. This basically means "because artwork is an extension of self expression, I can do anything!" Yes, you can try and hide certain failings under that mantra and thereby set yourself up to do anything.
You'll see this problem in any creative pursuit. You'll see people in Fine Art trying to do a Picasso and pass it off as "abstract art". You'll hear a terrible dirge of sound and someone will declare it's ground breaking "experimental music".
Question is: when is it really abstract? When is it really experimental? If you go and have a look at a famous Picasso, it is abstract; it is devoid of realistic comparison - but go and have a look at some of his other work: the man could REALLY draw - and he could draw fast and fluidly. He could do the basics. Abstract was a progression from his basic skills.
Now, I wonder, how many abstracts have you seen done at college or school? How many do you reckon are a progression of self expression, and how many are just people copying what has now become a style"?
How many are running before they've learned to walk?
"Style" is a problem for art. There are a lot of amateur artists on the internet. Some of them think they are rather good, but are clearly trapped in stylistic whims; caught doing characters in a "Manga" style, or trying to emulate the stylistic simplicity of Matt Goering's The Simpsons.
Are you one of these people?
So many amateur artists could be really GOOD artists if they learned to walk before they tried to run. Instead of trying to draw Batman like Jim Lee, how about you look at the figure? The REAL figure! Go draw your mate, your mother or your dog; start looking at the relationships in anatomy; when drawing a hand, take a photo of a hand - use reference material. With digital cameras on virtually every cell phone there is little excuse.
In essence, mix the basic ingredients to your cake before smearing on the icing. Don't simply read a "How to draw Comics" book and learn to draw a basic stick design with a blue pencil and then copy Tim Sale's approach to the body - go and look at real people first. Try taking a photo of a friend in a heroic position, then applying the stick man approach to that visual; look for the relationships between a real body and the structural basics of a figure drawing.
Look for relationships between reality and illustration and you're illustrations will take on YOUR style rather than borrowing someone elses.
Again, if you understand the relationships between the facial muscles and the shape of the skull, simplifying a face into a cartoon character like Bart Simpson will be so much easier and FAR more effective.
You can't hide the inability to master the basic skills of art. People will see right through you. Educate yourself in the basics - give yourself a foundation to build upon. Walk before you run.
And keep on going back to basics. It's amazing how easily we become complacent. It's not long before even the best artist will start making his own short cuts.
So with that, this average artist is going to run off and draw some hands.
Run off? I meant walk.