how do i create an artwork? what goes through my mind? is there any method to the madness? it differs from drawing to painting. this blog will be about drawing.
when i draw, the planning stage is kind of painful. i start with very little in mind, other than a few shapes and patterns or colors. the drawing develops as i doodle with the shapes and build new ones, i try to find an interesting pattern filled with cool shapes. i continue doodling, practicing the shapes as i build them into something i like usually the patterns are very repetitive. sometimes i have to practice drawing the shapes, or conglomeration of shapes so i can execute it to my standards for a finished drawing. i connect those chunks of shapes together to form the pattern.
then i start to work out the composition. a page full of one pattern, or series of patterns, is not very interesting. it can be impressive, but it doesn’t give the eye much to hone in on. the composition can solve this. i can break up the shapes by size, color, or whim. then i start making a pencil sketch to give a brief idea of what goes where. i can divide the page into thirds, make big circles and arrange things around them, i can separate things into interesting groups with lines or dots or swirls, whatever works.
when i finish that, i put the plans of the drawing together, in another, less rough pencil sketch. i ink various parts of it, the structure and such, but leave the areas where the repetitive shapes go open for me to fill the mass of details from the memory of the doodling and practicing that led to this point. once i have the line art finished, i add color.
i usually choose ink, but colored pencils work really well, too. i spend a long time choosing colors. do i want it dark or light? bright or elegantly dark? a variety of contrast and harmony?colors combinations that please me? or just using my favorite palette of colors?
i apply them very carefully, with the size of marker or pen being very important in choosing which ones to use where. i lay the color down once, done in various sections of the drawing that are related, like, all the circles are blue or all the spaces between patterns red, on and on. i see the work develop bit by bit. then i lay down a second and third layer of color, sometimes mixing colors or shading. i don’t usually look at the whole until i’ve done all that.
when the drawing is complete, i prop it up on my desk and step back a few paces. i’m usually totally surprised by what i see. shapes with shapes create other shapes that i couldn’t have predicted, colors make it different from what i expected, too. i can see lots of things that i didn’t know i was making while i was immersed in it.
it’s very trippy to know my subconscious was creating things that are an optical illusion or that look particularly psychedelic, without doing it on purpose. when i try to force it, it rarely works. it’s stressful, looking at it in the end, worrying that it will just come out as a meaningless blob.