Two points for the shy and self-doubting artist (all of us in fact)

Two points for the shy and self-doubting artist (all of us in fact)

figure drawing week 3

I’m dead and buried – and unburied – every morning, nothing new here, health problems – let’s just say my current normal look is that of a freshly dug-up zombie (“grrrrrain!!!!!” as the vegetarian zombie would say, I know, sigh).

This week is just a little harder energywise than usual, and frankly doing my assignment was far beyond my strength, I therefore did it but in a cartoony, quickly done way, still showing the box-and-sphere ideas a bit as requested, but mainly showing that I did not have the strength to do a properly rendered drawing or drawings.

Glenn Vilppu keeps saying, but many don’t listen, that he prefers to get an assignment that is a doodle, a sketch, rather than nothing – because that way he can still help you – even a quick sketch is a dead giveaway of your main difficulties – at least for someone of his experience – and wasting one crit is such a shame. It’s not the first time I submit a half-baked submission, and he never ever treated my work any differently (even if you dont send a note saying “I am sick” or “I have lots of work and my family blablabla”), he knows. He has a life too. Whether you are a working professional in a studio or a student – there are moments when you simply can’t find the time or energy to do a nice assignment.

And frankly, between you and me: “nice assignment” that is a silly concept! I mean we all tend to want approval from our mentor so we go for assignments that look like classical drawings, the kind of art that our mum likes, the kind we were showed at school. But let’s face it: if you are yourself, however crazy, weird, novel, silly, your work will be far more interesting, and Glenn’s crit will help you find your style, progress faster and go straight to the goal.

I remember the two times I did composition one and two. These are courses meant by Glenn for advanced people,so that they suddenly have to face the fact that drawing is….. really not the problem or goal or art. Two classmates I knew well were with me and we all three went totally nuts: the workload of the first course being insane, on purpose. We were not sure what we were supposed to do, and at one point, exhausted, nerves wrecked, we all three said “what the hell!” and sent in for assignment one of those artworks we would do for ourselves: free direct, no respect for the masters and their classical style, a lot of F words said while in the rendering department – if you see what I mean…… and if I may sum up in one sentence Glenn’s reaction it was: “at long last! Now we can start really working!”.

The three of us totally thrived under Glenn’s guidance in that course. I’m pretty sure he was not in love with all 3 of our 3 styles, but do you think artists who work on Samurai jack (saturday morning cartoon – is it still on?) or the Batman Chronicles (comics) do paint/draw in that style when they do personal work? We are here talking professional work, and also deeply personal work, this means “nice drawing” is totally irrelevant. Personality, yours, or that of the franchise you work on (if you are a pro) IS relevant.

So stop trying to be the new Rubens, new Poussin or new Leonardo – be YOU! if you work for someone else you’ll have to fake being them (more or less) so at least know who you are!.

At the end of that composition course one and two (which we all 3 did twice) we had diverged amazingly, each of us had totally a personal style that could not be mistaken for anyone’s else, Glenn had helped us become ourselves. Imagine three students starting all with pale imitations of Raphael and ending up doing respectively something akin to a sunny Hellboy, a dashing action Pixar mix, and  European comic with some Krazy Kat in it (boo! that would be me!). I’m caricaturing and i’m going to get flamed by my two classmates  “I am NOT drawing in a sunny Hellboy style!”  lol but you get the idea.

So just remember this: when you send an assignment to a master like Glenn, send something you would draw just because you feel like it, and not the drawing you’d do as a birthday gift for your mum!

(of course study the old masters … in order to make your own style stronger!)

Here’s is my half-baked assignment, you can tell I did it fast and without much energy (disregard the “rom memory” doodles of a boy and his tiger and a page boy by Franquin – I was testing my memory  to wake up my brain – or what was left of it). The rest is mine, good or bad, direct.


The lowerest (is that a word?) left side guy in profile is…. what I do when I’m tired, when I’m not paying attention, when I’m not censoring myself. It’s good or bad, but it’s me. All I have to do is take care of it to make it better, but I’m not going to transform him into a Raphael because however hard I try I’ll never do as well as Raphael, because I am far from sure Raphael could draw cartoon-style (not everybody has the degenerated brain needed for it lol) and because considering I’m into comics, I’m more likely to get fame, money, success and the rest by drawing this way than by drawing like Raphael! (I also paint in a more traditional way, but even there I cant help being caricatural a bit, people are so boring when represented as average faces, ’cause nobody has an average face, look around you in the street, everybody is a caricature, even pretty girls and macho men – especially macho men but that is another story lol).

So draw a lot and draw free! If you are really shy, get one of those “my lovely secrets in pink” horrendous looking sketchbooks for little girls for their private journal – there is a key lock on those, that way you’ll be sure no one but you will see what you draw in that sketchbook, explore yourself! you’ll be surprised. and you’ll be even more surprised when you show the results to colleagues, for they will find that your secret work is real good, but a bit tame.

Your are never too daring!

see you next week !

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