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July 24, 2023

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Wow, well I am completely overdue for a new post here. I actually have several art updates to share, it just happens that whenever I have the time for blogging my energy tends to go toward my semi-absurdist analysis of metal albums I've been doing on www.subterraneansteel.com. That effort has been deeply gratifying to me but also time-consuming, and for better or worse, my art blog has been a bit neglected as a result...


So I have some catching up to do here, but at this moment I have every intention in the world of doing so. We'll see what happens!


surrealist pencil drawing of machines and roots intertwining around human heads

To the point though, this is the newest drawing I've been working on. I'll share the finished pencil art now and then the ink work in a future post. I'm trying something a bit different with this one. I felt like I hit a wall recently with digital color and it has just kind of felt like a slog. At the same time, my desire to do more with physical media has grown intensely, enough to finally overcome my fear around it.


So this one, tentatively named The Tireless Lament of Past Selves, is done on watercolor paper instead of the usual Bristol, and I will be doing color with, naturally, watercolors, paints, and whatever else is lying around.


The motivation/courage to jump back over to physical media actually came from the remarkably insightful and engaging Seth Godin, including his amazing podcast Akimbo, which is about work ethic, marketing, and general mindset toward starting and maintaining a creative endeavor, as well as his book The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, which covers the same themes – both of which I was devouring for the second half of June.


dark fantasy pencil drawing of machine implants, tentacles, and tree roots growing from child's head

Something Seth talks about often is the willingness to do work that isn't perfect or as good as we think it ought to be. This doesn't mean doing shitty work, it just means letting go of perfectionism, sticking to a process, doing our best, and allowing the result to be what it is without getting trapped in our own judgments and over-analysis of it. Just finish it, send it out into the world, and move on.


(His Akimbo episode on the myth of writer's block is exactly the kind of kick in the ass I need on a regular basis.)


This line of thinking, along with a variety of other immensely useful ideas he shares around creativity, compelled me to finally tackle physical media for these types of surrealist dark fantasy drawings I do, and basically allow the result to be whatever it is.


And honestly, it might be really bad.


And I may not share it here, haha.


I'll scan the ink work before starting color, so if all else fails I can still do this one digitally. But to accommodate the shift into the analog world and give myself a chance to do work I can at least feel motivated to build on, I moved to a smaller drawing size. This one is 9"x12". I had actually been trying for months to create a very small sketch to practice color on...but that just wasn't happening.


cosmic horror pencil art of mutated heads in jars

I've never been a sketcher (unless I'm deliberately practicing something specific like, say, drawing trees in a park), and the compulsion to make visual art for me really comes from a desire to open up some part of my subconscious mind and let the result pour out onto a page spontaneously. Sketches, planning, etc. just don't play well with the creative mojo involved in that process.


So I ultimately had to let this one come out as a fully realized drawing. I even told myself I would limit the amount of objects or detail in it, but of course, that didn't happen either. It's just so damn satisfying to me to fill every bit of the page.


comic book style pencil art of cyborg man's head in jar

A little bit about the process here: I start by sketching my drawings out very lightly with a 2H wooden pencil. Once I have the basic composition worked out, I go back through and outline and delineate the major details using that same pencil. Then I grab three mechanical pencils of varying widths, all with a darker HB lead, and use those to go through and hammer out all the fine detail work.


What you're seeing here with the different darkness of the pencil work is a result of that process. The parts where there is a lot of detail got more attention from the darker HB lead in the mechanical pencils. The parts with less detail, got less.


dark surrealist pencil drawing of trees, machines, and cyborg body parts

I'll share the ink work for this one soon (probably!) and then color down the road. As always, info on the specific imagery, symbolism, etc., will come at the end in the post about the finished color art.

 

Thanks for spending your time here with me and reading this post, it means a lot to me. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a like-minded friend or family member.

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