Its important that I get the sense of timing, weight and 'stretch and squish' right.
So this is maybe a bit animation-geeky for most people but for me this was really interesting and fun. Spacing, key, in-between and passing drawings and most interesting was learning about slowing in... that is the gravitational effect on the pendulum which gives the impression of weight. These are like A B C. I still have the rest of the alphabet and then grammar and sentence structure to go before I can get creative. Bring it on. I love it.
So if it looks like a passport photo that's because that is all they gave me. I was quite worried I wouldn't be able to get anything from what was a tiny underexposed picture but it turns out they loved it. Especially the Dad - we had a chat about life and children and divorce. Anyway that is the nature of commissions you do what they ask you to and he says I should fully expect more from him in the future. I have to say not only do I love getting over the fear and doing the work I enjoy interacting with the people who want what I do. Its all very novel. People rarely appreciate what you do in an office environment, or maybe they do its just that I never felt that I owned what I did there as much as I do with my artwork. Anyway back to my own interests now, the list of things to read, do and watch is as ever growing. Just the way I like it.
So I went and got a better quality print of another picture someone wanted me to sell them ages ago. Just kept bugging my conscience that the one I had was not crisp enough! Clearly I am guilty of perfectionism (or is it procrastination?) when it comes to the thing I love most (might be something to do with fear but anyway). It was from a series of collages I did as New Years cards a couple of years ago. So whilst on the subject of commissioned art I felt to share some of my experiences that have led me to be at first naive then reticent and now determined in my approach to life art and remuneration. So what follows are some things I sometimes think about "finding the right balance between not-being-done-over and knowing your worth (whilst not pushing it too far)." A fine art in itself...
I was recently commissioned to do this poster design for a series of shows for five dance companies. It is the first piece of work I got literally within days of properly deciding to stop procrastinating and get on with my life just through bumping into someone who knows my art from years ago. I wanted to do art since I was three but just never got round to really committing to it because of many things all based on concepts of security or fear of starving or just simple timing. I have whilst procrastinating got two degrees and ten years of professional work under my belt after all. But now its time for me to get on with it. (This is the thinking.) I never stopped painting or drawing but I never fully developed it either!
STAGE ONE: making space and time. Ironically now I got my soul aligned my day job just got a whole lot better, but still it has a time limit and I am chasing up all those offers of commissions for what seems huge amounts of money but apparently I should be asking for at least double. I can see I am going to need my assertive office head to balance the shy embarrassed artist in me when it comes to getting paid!
I understand the show did really well so the functionality of the poster worked. I had literally only owned the software I used for this a few days. This was after some serious hick-ups with an open source art programme I was naive enough to download which corrupted hours of work I had done overnight! But despite the pressures it came out well. The company loved it. And I am promised repeat business. The show was excellent too, I went to see it last night. Antique Dances and Big Beef were particularly memorable.
Now I have to make a couple of larger versions, one for his mom as a birthday present and one for his dad to keep, guess they must be separated which is sad, but at least he still cares enough to celebrate her birthday with a gift.
I was just drawing him over a cup of tea waiting for my breakfast. I love that cafe. Its an Algerian one, not the Portuguese one which I also mentioned before. Man sounds like I just hang out with the locals all day. Whatever. Cafe's are great. Social living is the best. Just listen to Burning Spear.
I like life. Its a movable feast.
Now I understand why 2yr olds get frustrated. Baby steps are great but I want to run or at least walk without that classic drunken gait! What I mean is I know that 'gif' is not anything to write home about. And it's this that stops most people from ever learning to draw or paint or animate. They try and they don't like what they do and then they never try again. Well first you have to be realistic. I was not going to be a dysney or pixar applicant on my first go. But then I was and am chuffed to get photoshop to even vaguely do what I wanted it to, I have only had it a few weeks. I can pretty much make a pencil dance if I tell it to but a mouse? And progamming. It's all gibbledygoop to me. But as I say, baby steps.
All artists suffer from being able to imagine far beyond their skills, but it takes patience not to give up. When you take the pressure off it helps. After all I still have a day job. Though it's the day job that means I do not currently have time enough to practice as much as I want to. Catch 22. Ah but things change. Knowing where you are heading changes everything. Knowing in the sense of having made a positive decision, a commitment to yourself to try to get better at doing something you love. Knowing is half the battle (as someone I love often tells me) and being realistic means you know what to work on to improve.
I want to learn to tell a story, to capture a mood, a physicality and most of all to convey some meaning. Convery a meaning that helps someone, even if it is just one person. I would love to be able to trigger someone else's imagination, and give someone the feeling I get when I see an amazing idea or image. The most recent animator that made me just smile all over was pointed out by a brilliant artist I follow online called Ward Jenkins (whose website link is in my 'About' page). MALCOM SUTHERLAND (makes me say yay! and Tweets can be friendly and useful) and watch La Fete if you haven't before its great!
So if anyone wants to tell me my twitchy dude is naff, frankly barney I agree, and if anyone wants to offer advice and support on how to learn, with resources and inspiration then I will always be (and am) grateful.
You know who you are. =)