Dreams can’t wait any longer.

I’ve been somewhat disappointed with my progress in regards to my technical skills in the world of digital artwork recently.  I’m not talking about graphic design – I’m referring to the stuff I find to be truly fascinating and awe inspiring, like digital painting, concept art and animation.  I want to tell stories.  Not with words, but with pictures.  Right now I just don’t feel my technique can communicate my ideas as well as I need to.  Sure, I’ve been improving, but at a pretty lackluster pace.

So I decided to kick myself in the behind and really get to work.  If I don’t get to work now, some other Joe is going to take my dream job and run with it.  I’ve started a new study schedule for myself, outside of my class work, in which I can study digital painting.  To start with, I vow to spend a bare minimum of 1 hour every day (and hopefully much more!) studying from the masters – both the old masters of oils and the new digital masters of pixels.  A few days back I started my first study, and today it is “finished”…

Click for larger view

Study of John Singer Sargent's "Madame X"

I decided my first master study would be from John Singer Sargent’s “Madame X”.  Sargent has always been one of my favorite artists, so I felt it was an appropriate place to start.  His ability to describe such a complex form in very few brushstrokes fascinates me.  Something to aim for!  I will definitely be revisiting my buddy Sargent in the future!

Started this back on Monday morning, and have spent about 2 hours each day.  Digital painting is extremely enjoyable for me, so once I get started on these studies each day it’s not a chore – putting in that extra hour every day wasn’t even intentional, it just happened.  It is so easy to do what you love, it’s just a matter of getting started.  So why aren’t more of us living our dreams?  Probably out of fear – fear of failure and what others will think.

So, how did it turn out?  Mediocre at best.  Go ahead, compare it to the real deal and you will see.  Am I disappointed?  No!  I learned so much along the way to failure.  The art, the real value, is in the process, not in the final product (sound familiar?).  Someday I will be able to tell a story through an image, but there will always be a way to tell a better story.  So I’m going to keep searching, and I’m sure there will be plenty of failure along the way.  But if you aren’t failing, maybe you aren’t working on a challenging enough problem.  What do you think about that?

Tomorrow (or maybe even tonight…) I’m planning to start a study that is a little more festive!  If you are curious, you’ll just have to check back when it is finished!

-Brady

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