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Creation is Never Easy...

As a few of you may know, I've got a few artistic works tied up to our Gods and traditions in the works. Now with a great deal of time and effort I can usually turn out some good stuff, but I'm rather self-conscious about letting folks see my early work on it and most of the progressions from original thought to final product.

Tonight as I played around with conté crayon for the first time in years, I was awed a bit, to see a sketch start to come alive. And it pleased me, even with it's numerous flaws. I have an inconsistent directional for my light source, and thus my shadowing and highlighting are off. The perspective of the piece is also off. The face should be longer and angled a bit more. Nose and mouth moved, and their proportions adjusted. The eyes need work (it's hard to do detail work with conté unfortunately). Still, there's a serenity and kindness in the facial expression, as well as a warm sort of amusement. This represents the first such art piece I've drawn as representative of a God where I actually felt a bit of that God coming through. Hopefully, this means I'm on the right track with the first of several Loki compositions. If you're curious to read up on my process, and see some examples?

I tend to start with rough sketchy circles, kinda approximating out the body (if the subject is human), with some basic lines to get a rough idea of form (and when I say rough I mean it.) Pretty much at this stage I'm not bothering with details, I'm literally trying to figure out general body position to other elements (if any) in the piece. So like Stay-Puffed Marshamallow Man body sitting cross-legged, with squiggles or boxes to represent other potential elements in the work. I think of it like a post-it note for an idea. Something you quickly scribble down to look into later. These are so rudimentary, it's laughable. It's not uncommon for me to do dozens of these as I go through and discard ideas.

Once I think that I have an idea I'd like to pursue a bit more, I do a sketch that is more refined then the blobby mess of my thoughts sketched out in phase 1. These are more like older kids in elementary school might draw. You can definitely recognize the shapes and art for what it's supposed to represent but the shapes are still simplistic. A human face, is merely an oval. I'm looking for composition at this phase and NOT details. So whereas phase 1 was an idea, phase 2 is the idea put into an outline. At this point I may decide that the subject matter is not shaping up the way I'd like it too, and isn't worth further pursuit, or if I think I'm heading in the right direction, I'll then proceed to phase 3.

In this phase my sketch starts showing signs of realism. While it's still not horribly detailed, it does features basic details or hints at them. Once satisfied here, I'll then proceed to phase 4, which is more or less along the same lines but where I begin to start to look at things like light and color. Here I execute for the first time some of the basic blending effects that can help a 2D drawing appear 3D. Phase 4 is full of revisions. I fool around with color, texture and medium. Tangentially I also work on refining the details of certain elements that may be in the composition. I might use color pencils and scribble swatches of the piece as I work out my color scheme. Usually I'm also separately working on the pieces. Maybe I'm working on the pattern that I'd like to use on some clothing on a sheet of paper over here, on another sheet I'm working on the elements I'd like in the background, and similarly what elements I want in the foreground. Once and only once I think I have all the pieces, then o I proceed to phase 5.

This phase begins with the illustration that combines everything together, and eventually will conclude with the final product. As you can imagine, this is a long, convoluted process. While I've received some art training through the years, I never really actively practiced art. So things that come easily to some folks I know, can represent weeks of work on my end, that being said, while I'll never be a grand master I can in fact create some very nice stuff. My greatest challenge is that I'm actually really, really good at reproducing something. But when it comes to creating something wholesale, without a reference. That's what can take up the most time, and is usually why I can sit at Phase 1 and Phase 2 for copious amounts of time before I finally feel that there's some sort of REAL progress present.

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