It was a good reminder, one that I needed. I turned the page and and tried again with a much better result, which you’ll see soon. I guess the point is to “just keep swimming drawing”, even when the gap seems huge because, “We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us, so the sooner you get them out the better!” —Walt Stanchfield
After a couple weeks of only drawing hair, I wanted to get back to doing faces as well. And this week, I also wanted to focus on drawing from photos rather than other cartoons.
This first set of sketches comes from yearbook pages I’ve found via Google. I’ve discovered that they’re a great source of faces and characters. In fact, one of my favorite illustrators, John Martz, published Excelsior 1968, a mini-book of drawings taken from his mother’s high school year book (every single student!)—well worth a look.
I’ve been watching a lot of Chuck lately on Netflix, so I decided to draw some of those characters. I’m really trying to focus on getting the likeness nailed down. Still needs lots of work, but I’m getting there. You’ll notice, in the bottom-right corner, my failed first attempt at drawing Sarah Walker (good version just above). I included that in the interest of full disclosure—I’m showing you guys everything!
Building a body of work (or a life) is all about the slow accumulation of a day’s worth of effort over time. Writing a page each day doesn’t seem like much, but do it for 365 days and you have enough to fill a novel.
I almost forgot to post my Friday Fuel today! This post by Austin Kleon is one of the things that inspired me to start this journey at the beginning of the year, and it’s a good reminder to keep going, every day. As I said in my last post, I need to work a bit harder at setting aside time specifically for drawing (preferably in the morning, before I leave for work), but I have done better this week (evenings).
I reread Austin’s Steal Like An Artist a couple weeks ago, and made some more highlights and notes. I get something new out of it every time I read it. I can’t wait to read his upcoming Show Your Work—I’m sure it’ll give me more insight and drive to keep this goal (and blog) going and improving.
What would your advice be to the 20-year-old version of you, who’s just starting their career?
I wish I had Everything Is A Remix when I was younger. I wish I knew that you can just start copying other people’s stuff and fiddling with it, and putting stuff into it, and just sort of build from there. It’s okay to be primitive. That’s a perfectly fine way to start making things.
I wish the earlier me understood work and practice more. Just the repeated concerted effort to get better at things. I wish I didn’t have the notions of talent and genius I had back then. I thought, “Oh, these other people, they just have something that I don’t have.” When really, they are just people who work more.
I wish I understood work. Work is the key to anything you want to do. If you want to play the guitar—anybody can learn to play the […] guitar—you can be good at it. Maybe you won’t get to be a genius but you could be good.
You can be good enough to write good songs or make a good film or whatever. There’s no such thing as not having enough talent to get to that level. I mean, persistence is talent, really. Just sticking with it. Talent is not stopping.
Internet Pal Rogie King shares some thoughts about his path to becoming an illustrator and what he’s learned along the way. This part in particular is something that I need to remember. I have a tendency to get frustrated when something I’m working on doesn’t come out how I wanted it to, which can lead to a fear of starting at all. Hit the big orange link to read the whole thing!
No Such Thing as an Overnight Success
If there’s any lie you can believe its that people are just granted this insane skill and you are just behind. They’re all overnight successes and you actually have to work to get there. Lies. They all had to work to get there. All of the “overnight successes” you see are missing one key component. The backstory. The history. The failures and iteration. I heard somewhere that Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds had something like 20 flopped apps before the success of Angry Birds — I believe it and so should you. Now go out there and fail!