Jul 23, 2014

The road goes ever on

So, the last post dealt with the things I would like to do with my artwork, both on a personal level and commercially. This post is all about how I plan on getting there. It requires a few changes, as you'll see.

First and foremost, I am going to be changing my main medium.
For basically all of my professional freelance illustration career (all three years of it), I have been working in black and white, with pen and ink. This has been a lot of fun and I think I've produced some decent work in that medium. But I think the time has come for me to move on to something else as my main tool of creating the images I do. This is not to say that I dislike the black and white stuff all of a sudden. It's not that all. It's just that I want to express myself artistically in a medium that can give me more.
From this moment on, coloured paints are my medium of choice. I've been wanting to move on to them for quite a while now and the thought of learning all about them fills me with excitement. And when I say 'learning,' I really mean it. It's not going to be a case of  me simply transferring my skill level from the black and white stuff over to the paints. It doesn't work like that at all. Painting and colour are their own beasts and they each have their own set of skills to learn.

I really can't wait to sink my teeth in. I'm going to be starting from the very start and being smart about how I go about learning how to do it all. And I will be joined along the way, by my best art buddy, Gordon Mackay. We've both been talking about switching to paint as our main medium, and we plan on learning together as we go. It's going to be a lot of fun and hopefully I'll have my first pieces to show in the coming months, even if they are just simple still life's or portrait studies.

So the painting covers most of the personal goals I have, but it also spills over into the commercial side of it too. Because I want to paint Magic:The Gathering card art, I want to paint book covers, I want to paint Faerie stories. So in order for me to do that, I should probably learn how to paint properly, right?
I believe I have a core ability or 'talent' (despite what Greg Manchess says) that will enable me to progress well and I honestly believe I should be at a decent enough painting level sooner rather than later. But that won't stop me from learning every beginner-level lesson I can find and developing a base of acquired skill through experience and experimentation. So there will probably be a lot of references to James Gurney over the coming months and years. Be warned.

All of this painting stuff is going to take up a lot of time, I imagine. Which is why I am going to stop taking commissions and jobs for the next little while. I have some regular clients that I will continue to honour our arrangement, but I'm afraid I won't be able to take on any new jobs for a while. But when I do open myself up for commissions and new jobs again in the future, it will be as an artist that works in colour and with paint. This will mean that I will have a new portfolio, a new product, a new price list and, hopefully, a new career.
It is my plan to open myself for painting jobs and commissions on January 1st, 2015. That gives me roughly five months to knuckle down and get some serious, intensive painting done. I imagine that the learning curve is going to be steep!

One of the reasons I am doing this is because I can envision a time when I don't have to get up at 6:30 in the morning to go and work at a retail job and come home 12 hours later and try and squeeze in a couple of hours of art before bed, if I have any energy left at all. I can envision a time in the near future when I get up at 7:30, instead, and work on my art for as long as I need over the day. Essentially, I plan on getting to a point, hopefully in the next few years, when I can be a full-time artist. If I want to seriously be a proper Faerie and Fantasy artist, I will simply have to take the plunge and change the way I live. At this point in my career/life I work long hours for little pay and the time I have for the thing I actually want to do, the art, is restricted and severely compromised. I'm not being the artist I know I can be and I don't want to live like this for too much longer. Honestly, it's what I am meant to do with my life and I will only ever be creatively content if that is what I am doing. So I plan to make that happen. And painting is the way it will happen.

But there are other things I want to do, too. I've been going on a lot lately about how much I love Podcasts. I think they're great! So great, in fact, that Gordon and I are seriously considering doing our own one. We're still working out the kinks and actual viability of it at this stage, but we're both keen to at least give it a go. The reasons I, personally, want to do a podcast are many, but really, it's mostly just about further getting my name out there. I look at a lot of the podcast presenters I listen to and how their careers have blossomed with the aid of their podcasts, and I think I'd be mad not to give it a go myself.
One of the other big reasons for doing a podcast is that it will be a part of the learning process. Hopefully, by openly discussing the process of painting and art, the lessons learned will filter back to the actual artwork. That's the idea anyway.
But I'll keep you posted on the podcast thing. If it can be done easily enough and we can do it justice, then I'd say we'll be going ahead with it in the next few months.

There's a couple of other things I have in the works, but I imagine your excitement is already at dangerously high levels, so for the sake of public safety, I'll leave it at that for now.

Back soon with paintings!
A recent Urban Sketchers painting. It sucks, but it's a good skill level marker.

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