One of my favorite things to do is redraw my old pictures. I'm the type of artist where it's really hard for me to see my own art as unique or skillful. It helps me when I redo something because then I have a direct comparison to show me what I've improved upon. But MY GOODNESS, I could not draw before.
I drew these gypsies only two and a half years ago, yet it seems like a lifetime worth of art improvement. Why did I ever think these were good? Often times, in day to day work, I can't see improvements and it frustrates me. I know I need to be better, and I work hard at it, but it doesn't seem to be there. But, improvements are small. They aren't visible daily, but when you look back across the years or months, it's more clear.
Originally my aim was to draw a young attractive woman, an old woman, a bratty little girl, a mother, a preteen girl, and an outcast girl or the "black sheep". After I would draw their male counterparts. I think I initially succeeded at pushing the diversity of my design for my skills at the time, although anatomy and diversity of silhouette were definitely lacking. Here's an in-depth analysis of two of my favorites.
This young man was my least favorite in the old one, and my favorite in the new. Before he seemed bland and generic. For the new one I pushed the shapes, elongating the head, creating distance between the nose and mouth, and corrected anatomy. I don't know why I didn't draw hands and feet before. Probably because they were annoying. But not as annoying as looking back and realizing my characters had nubs for appendages. This brings me to the old woman.
I just need to point out one thing. She was 8 1/2 heads tall. GREEK ADONIS' WERE NOT THAT TALL. I chopped off a few heads for the new one. I think she turned out better this time.
*Sigh of relief. I did improve. My current art is far from perfect. I can see the errors in weight, anatomy and diversity. But my brain isn't quite able to realize them yet. But for today, I can put frustration aside, knowing I improved since last time I drew these gypsies. I'm excited for the next two and a half years, perhaps I'll look back at my new gypsies and scream with horror then. I can't wait!
In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo in France this month, I think it is important for all of us to remember the powerful impact that art has on those around us. Everyone can recall a time when a film, drawing, book or play affected us. Perhaps it evoked a raw sense of emotion and animal instinct.
Or maybe it stirred a nostalgic feeling for something we did not know we missed.
Or maybe it reminded us of an old friend and made us laugh.
Regardless of the effect, each of us, especially artists, has a responsibility to watch out for our fellow man, and perhaps even to try and help others with our work. The tragedy at Charlie Hebdo reminds us that free speech is an important aspect for society, but even more importantly, it reminds us of how fragile humans can be. If each of us remembered every day that every person we meet is loved by someone, and loves someone in return, perhaps it would make the differences between us seem far less insurmountable.