Posts tagged ‘drawing skills’


Relearning a Lost Skill

Last year I wrote about wanting to launch a webcomic. In the end I held off because I’d come to realise that my drawing skills were nowhere near where they had been in my late teens. More accurately, I could still sketch out anything that sits still for long enough in front of me trees, ornaments, corpses, but anything mobile…people, and their faces, hell no.

Anyway I’ve worked hard since then to regain those lost skills, and I’ve discovered that taking back control of some skills really is not like riding a bike.

In my late teens I wrote constantly. I made both Airfix, and radio control models. And I drew reams ,and reams of pictures. In fact I became pretty good at all three (though I was not, and never will be very much of a grammarian). The first two skill sets never really went away, simply because I’ve never stopped writing, and 50% of my modelling skills are directly transferable to household DIY. But drawing it turns out is a very different story.

I can remember how to do most of the things involved. But my body is different these days. My limbs respond to my imaginations requests in unexpected ways, the smooth easily controlled movements I had as a youth now lost to the arrival of stiffening  joints, ligament and tendon damage, not to mention the levels of physical pain I cope with in day-to-day life. I have also realised that even my sight has changed in significant ways in those 16 years. I simply don’t see colours the same way that I used to, and while my eye sight was never good, it has degraded even more over the years. And let’s face it, not even the most perfectly produced spectacles ever completely, perfectly return our vision to what it should be.

But there’s more to it than that. I no longer look at objects, animals, or people in the way an artist needs to be able to see them. I’ve lost the ability to figure out the composition of a subject, the skill needed to break it down into simpler shapes, and objects. This in particular I am still struggling to relearn.

In essence teaching myself something again, which I used to do instinctively is turning into a huge pain in my butt. I’m not about to give up. I still have things I want to show the world. But It does mean I have had to accept that I may never be able to express those concepts the way I truly want to.

I’ve also realised that stopping drawing was a huge mistake. I stopped because what was coming out of my imagination had begun to scare me. I was in a terrifyingly dark place, and that darkness had started to pour out of my pencils, and pens on to the paper. But now I truly wish I had persevered, that I had simply faced that fear down, and not walked away from it, and in doing so lost so much of  what had once been an instinctive gift.

Just adding a small note reminding people again about the appeal for funds to help the talented, and gorgeous Dr. Carmilla get her EP recorded. Please click the link and help her if you can. Thank you.


I’ve fallen in love…with my graphics tablet

Like many others I’ve harbored the long-held dream of writing, drawing and publishing my own webcomic.  In my case, I have for many years semi-permanent visions of comic characters flashing through my head.  Even when I am writing literary fiction, I tend to envision my characters strutting their stuff in a comic style.  But always two things have stood in my way.

1: Artistic talent. While I do have some significant game, at least where it comes to engineering style drawing.  I am a near incompetent, where moe artistic drawing is called for.  The sad part is that once upon a time, many moons ago I had reasonable skills in both.

2: Equipment. Now you’re thinking to yourself “What the frik is she talking about?  Get thee to a stationers Missy and buy some pencils and pads.”  That’s not the sort of equipment I’m talking about.  Being amongst other things a table-top roleplayer, I have no shortage of either pencils or pads.  What I mean by equipment is the means to get my drawings onto my PC and to manipulate those images to best effect.

Strictly speaking, there was a third thing lacking as well, a web space suitable for hosting a webcomic.  But let’s face it is a glorious resource that will be quite suitable for webcomics also.  At least it will be if I use the right theme to support it.

Now for ages my webcomic ideas (I have several though one is far more developed than the others, damn my Muse and her being hyped up on speed.  Seriously the girl is like Liv Tyler in Empire Records, hot but has a serious chemical problem.) languished in the recesses of my brain.  Then I started this blog and realised that I could indeed put my thoughts out there to be read.  Though whether that is a good thing or not…we’ll see.

So venue for my artistic vision achieved I had a horrid realisation.  I have truly lost all my artistic capabilities.  So despondency and sloth occurred.

But then, something both horrid and wonderful happened.  One of my lil sisters left Ireland for Canada and I inherited a lot of her electronics.  I inherited her PC, which rocks, I mean seriously, I can now run World of Warcraft with completely maxed out graphics settings.   I inherited a few old IDE hard drives with a lovely enclosure.  But I also was given a graphics tablet.

I am officially in love with my graphics tablet.  It’s a Wacom Intuos-1, which makes it at least ten years old.  So of course, being by now an experienced tech-chick I was beset by system compatibility fears. After all how many electronic love stories have ended in the ashes of incompatibility over the years?  So very many, but not my tablet, it just plugged and played.  No problems, no hassles.

Not only did it run perfectly, but to my complete surprise it was for me at least, so much easier to draw with than a paper and pen.  I have yet to figure out why this is so, but I have found that a lot of the basic drawing skills are much easier to use on my tablet.  I’ve been using it with GIMP, as I don’t own a copy of Photoshop.  But despite both my tablet and GIMPs limitations, not to mention my own, I’ve managed to do better drawings in the last week than in the previous ten years.

So inspired by my limited successes, I have started to look for a good comprehensive art class in my area.  I have graphic stories I want to tell, and now that I have the means to tell them, I need the skills as well.

So right now you might be sitting there wondering “Why has she written a page from a diary as a blog post?”  Well there’s a point to all this seemingly pointless waffle.  I spent years waiting to start my webcomic projects.  I was paralyzed by the immensity of what I wanted to do.  But that first sudden realisation that with WordPress, I could host my vision made me realise a very important truth.  A truth which I should have already known from my experiences during the writing of my first novel.

If you have a big project, there’s no need to freeze up.  It’s not a big project at all.  It is in fact a myriad of little projects, which huddled together for warmth have made themselves seem big.  Break it down into manageable chunks.

My webcomic projects, the first of which I hope to start publishing before the end of this year, was held up by what were actually several very manageable pieces huddled together.  Skills, web hosting, equipment.  Well all but one is now dealt with and that  one I hope to soon make a thing of the past.

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