Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Curse of Progress

No I've not transferred my interest from fantasy to reality.  I won't be picket fencing to keep "them" from building a new Walmart, nor am I lamenting that a month after purchasing a new phone there is now a later and greater model.

Instead I speak of the Curse of Artistic Progression.  But how could that be a curse? You may wonder.  Well, let me tell you.

Art, like any other skill, hopefully improves the more you practice it.  New techniques are learned, old techniques refined, new art tools are invested in and the process begins again, ideally improving your end product.  Well, at least most of the time.

Again.  How is this a bad thing?  It isn't necessarily if the purpose of your work is only to be aesthetically pleasing.  After all, if you come to dislike a piece you can simply hide in the attic and never think of it again - except perhaps for an occasional chuckle as you reminisce how far you've come.

However, what if the art you create illustrates a story that is still being told - portrays characters currently living their lives on the pages of your notebook (or Blog as the case may be)?

Then when you write that character and check out their bio it's a bit like looking at your (universally awful) driver's license photo: "Oh no!  What if people see this???"  Unlike your license which you hide away unless legally obligated to show it, you want to illustrate stories of your world with character profile shots and colorful pictures.

Surely here I'm not the only one to refer to the cover of a book for aid in picturing the characters as the story progresses?  (Don't get me started on when I realize the artist has clearly never read the book.)  And graphic novels aren't so popular simply because of their story lines (though those are awesome, not knocking comic books here).  No we like illustrations, do we not?

Well, duh.  So what does all this mean?  A Redo.  (Or Update if I'm in a forgiving mood).  Well, that's not so bad - Hardly a curse, you may be thinking.

Except I've been doodling and sketching characters pretty much since I could hold a pencil - and they always come complete with full background stories.  Some of those story lines have naturally fallen by the wayside, but the Kingdom of Paonia has existed since my pre-teen days.  Some of these pics are needing "Updated" for the third or fourth time now, and as my character list and world keeps expanding, so does my Redo List.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I had a hundred or more character shots that could stand to be redone.  And, of course, I'm still wanting to create new people and illustrate the dress of new lands.

Currently I have a table - yes that's right, a full blown chart - of all the people and places in my world.  Who needs drawn, who has been drawn, and on a scale of A to F (with F being "Please redraw me, I'm embarrassing!) how well done these drawings are.

Hmm...after saying that, perhaps the REAL curse is being an anal-retentive perfectionist - but in my defense, with all the work involved with creating an entire new world, one must have some means of organizing all that data.  I'll let you judge for yourselves as I post some Before and After shots.  My goal is to post one a day for the next month; we'll call it Old to New, October to November.

Hope you get as much of a kick out of my old, old pics as I do.  Plus I can finally stop flunking my own test!

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