Tag Archives: landscapes

Pluses and Minuses

     Happy holiday!! Or it would be if I weren’t on a train headed to work. 

     You might be tempted to ask how that happened, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Anyway it’ll give me the chance to do some artwork in peace. So there’s that…

     Today’s image is from a manga/anime/live action movie, Rouroni Kenshin. It’s actually from a cosplay done by a new friend. And it allowed me to blend a few skills I recently acquired.

      As some of you know, backgrounds aren’t a major part of my art. I detest landscapes, probably stemming from having grown up in one. I’ve gotten better of course, but it isn’t an image of choice.

     Still, my work shouldn’t suffer because of personal bias. So I practice it occasionally, to keep my skills up. In this image I needed to give the feel of a snow covered forest; easy enough, but making it feel like a Shinto shrine clearing took a little research!

     I was happy with the result, and moved on to the character himself. Trying to create texture for his clothing wasn’t as easy as it first seem. I haven’t drawn a lot of silk in awhile. 

     After that my next big hurdle was his hair. Depending on the look of the scene, you can often get it completely wrong. There have been times when I needed a more realistic look and ended up with something out of a comic book. 

    And there’s the real issue. The great thing about talent is that you start out ahead. You can intuit things that others have to learn and practice. 

    However, the downside is that unless you really pay attention, you can easily become a creature of instinct. Getting simple things wrong because you didn’t think ahead can lead to disjointed images.

   If you’ve got the talents, congrats, but don’t forget to learn the skills.

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Laughing in the Pain

      There’s a reason I hate doing landscapes. I grew up in a nonstop version as a kid. Later, the military made sure I had plenty of alone time in various natural locations around the world. Your dad took your family camping for a few days? My “uncle” Sam took me for weeks, sometimes months on end. It got old.

    Still, I can appreciate the value of being able to create one. So occasionally I give it a go. It’s good to practice ALL your skillsets, not just your favorites.

     So when I was asked to provide a serene sunrise image for a customer, I didn’t have a problem with the issue. It’s good to be able to have a diverse portfolio, you know?

      Working towards a complete picture is such a struggle. It took a lot of time for me to understand that, to a certain degree, I was little more than a glorified Xerox machine. I could copy, but I couldn’t create.

    It took an uncomfortably long period of time to develop my mind’s eye. To imagine something or someone and bring it out into the world is highly satisfying. I would never have learned to do so if I had stayed in my comfort zone.

   So it’s okay to try new techniques. Give something different a try! You’d be amazed at how many times it proved immensely helpful in a form I was already familiar with. If all you’re doing is stuff you already do well, be prepared to see your peers surpass you.