2011 was a great year for artistic growth. I don’t think I have been this productive since I was in college over six years ago. I owe much of this drive to creating a comic book, it opened me up to new ways of thinking and creating. Here are a few things that also contributed to this being a great year.
Telling a story
Storytelling has become much more important in my work. Obviously, it is a big part of creating a comic book, but it has also helped me with my illustrations. I feel like in the past I would draw without meaning, I could make it look good but it had no substance. Putting the focus on story takes it to a new level makes my art more interesting and engaging.
Studying storyboarding has given me a better understanding of how to tell a sequential visual story. I learned a great deal of this from Sherm Cohen, a talented storyboard artist. His DVDs “Storyboard Secrets” and his blog “Cartoon Snap!” have made a huge difference in my growth this year.
I was shoved out of my comfort zone and thrown head first into the convention world. It’s no joke, I had to do the things I hate most, convince people to buy my work, draw quickly on demand (while people stare at you), and be surrounded by large crowds. Although very uncomfortable, conventions have been the best training ground for pitching myself and drawing under pressure.
They are also a great place to network. Every time I do a convention I make new contacts and learn about the business. It’s very helpful talking to people who are at different stages and how they got there. I always leave a convention inspired and ready to work.
College was an artist support group with critiques and art shows galore. Nowadays, it takes a lot more effort. The last art show I was in prior to 2011 was four or five years ago and I went a few years without talking to other artists about my art. This year I joined an art group called the “Cartooistas” it is the first legit art group I have been apart of and it’s great. I forgot how important it is to have other artists around to share ideas and experiences. We all influence and support each other. They have really pushed me to be my best.
Putting my work out in the world has allowed me to take part in a few art shows this year, the “Zombie Art Show” in Long Beach and a western themed show at “Catalyst” in Westminster. I also participated in an online Alice in Wonderland themed art show.
I had a sketchbook by my side all year. I spent many lunch breaks and late nights drawing. Even if it was nonsense or doodling I made sure to draw. It was a hard habit to start but once I got the momentum going it did not stop. I am happy to say I filled up eight sketchbooks this year and I plan on matching or besting that number next year. I see my drawing and observational skills improving and I feel it is starting to show in my work. It’s really about keeping my mind in drawing mode and making quick decisions.
All in all a wonderfully productive year and I expect 2012 to be even better. There will be more art, comics and I will be learning some things from a great animated show creator in the spring (more about that later).
Happy New Year!!