There has been something on my mind lately, and I figured I'd just write a post about it.
There is a weird misconception when it comes to artists and time. People think that when we sit down to paint, sketch, draw, or animate, or even model, we just sit down and do it for hours.
That is not how this works.
I'll use myself as an example (what else can I do, right?)
First of all, know that art is a process, and that art takes time.
When I sit down to sketch or to paint, I don't just sit down and just sketch or paint right away. Before beginning any art piece, I spend at least half an hour, or even an hour, or perhaps even two full hours just browsing and searching for reference (and maybe even some inspiration).
Sounds insane, right?
Makes you wonder: Who the hell needs that much reference? Shouldn't artists just be able to draw everything off the top of their heads all the time? (Okay, I'll get to that in a different post, that's a whole another rant in and of itself).
But let me quickly be honest here: we all want to just sit down and draw and paint whenever we feel like it. It's much harder to do than you may even realise.
For whatever it is I'm doing - whether it is a daily sketch, art for my personal project, or even a private commission, I spend a good chunk of my "art time" just searching for reference to fit whatever it is I'm doing. And guess what- all that time that I'm spending looking for reference? That's also billed! It is not just something I'm doing to waste time, or to stall my actual working on a piece. I am actually working.
Artist brains are wired slightly differently.
Think of a writer's brain for a second: it's probably filled with a nice word-bank with oodles of fancy vocabulary they can just pull from while they're writing. An artist's brain is very similar in that regard. Our "word bank" is actually a visual, image-bank. Every piece of reference we look at, whether we use it in our piece or not, is stored in our minds, like photographic memory.
Some artists have a bigger visual bank than others; and there is absolutely no shame in yours being smaller than your idol's. I guarantee that, five, seven, or even ten years ago, your idol was in the same spot you are in now: slowly building that visual bank whether by observation or by actual study. (I will delve into this further in a different post.)
But just know that it took them a long time to get to where they are now.
Heck, even I am still accepting this concept.
(I'm going to end this post prematurely right here, since a lot of the topics here deserve their own posts), but just keep in mind that next time you wonder why your commission is taking a while, remember that not only do we have to actually paint it for you, but there's also researching, ideation, thumbnailing, sketching, drafting, and of course, rendering involved. (Keep an eye out on a future post that will delve deeper into this multi-step process.)
Each and every step takes a substantial amount of time to complete, and is equally important in the creation of a masterpiece.
• Artist | Illustrator | Creator | Writer | Prophet •
Check back here from time to time as I will update older posts with more information and/or links to other posts.