Friday, June 19, 2009

If at first you don't succeed...

I was going to show you those newly gocco printed tote bags, but light here has been terrible for taking nice pictures, so unfortunately that will have to wait... But it's okay, because I thought I'd share the process of the particular drawing that ended up as a gocco print. The images in this post show the progression towards the final (and accidental) print.

I've been wanting to do a 'character' print (instead of the floral or leafy things that I would normally gravitate towards) to challenge myself a bit and to try something new. But new can be (or atleast feel) difficult, hence the challenge.

It is so easy to do something that is familiar and "easy", switch on the autopilot so to speak. I don't often draw people or (cartoon) characters. I feel uncomfortable drawing humans because there is a certain expectation to make it look human. If that makes sense?

And so I often resort to drawing very simplified people, stick people, really, although maybe with a bit more flesh on them. But it feels like my lack of human skills (he he) holds me back from reaching A Result. Of course, it doesn't help when I don't know exactly what I'm looking for.

But I guess that's okay. I think sometimes not knowing can help you too, because then you are free to explore, to take whatever idea you stumble upon and run with it or discard it or just take a tiny detail from it.

At first, my doodles were going nowhere. Not very good. Not very happy with them. On the verge of throwing in the towel. But then it dawned on me that I did have have a basic idea. Because I had this vision of red print on fabric, I wanted to make a Red Ridinghood character. So I wrote down a 'check list' of things I associate with her.

And then I just got to work. Doodling, trying to incorporate those characteristics, but still nothing... Then, after looking at my inspiration board at a postcard I made a couple of years ago, I was inspired to go back to a previous page (the second from the top in this post) and take those 'ears' - not sure why, but that's Inspiration for ya!

And in this case I actually felt that... well, whatever it is. When things come together like they couldn't be any different. I was also struck by how much this felt like a Process. There may have been a few side steps, but there was definitely a Progression. But only because I kept at it.

And here she is. My Little Red Ridinghood. I am so pleased with her, so cute, exactly what I wanted, except I didn't know it. And even dearer to me because of the thoughts she inspired.

I think that in any creative undertaking it is important to remember that things aren't always easy. In fact, usually they are not easy, you have to go through 10, maybe 100 or 1,000 drawings (or whatever it is you make or do) to get to one that is good. To make sure I remember this for next time I feel stuck or unhappy with what I'm doing, I wrote this in my sketchbook next to miss Ridinghood: "You rarely get things right in the first shot."

And that's not a negative thing. It's just a fact. Like, most people have to practice a few times before they can drive a car, right? So it is important to keep at it, to work on your skills. Whether you (think you) have them or not. Everyone is creative, we just have to make sure we don't let ourselves get bogged down by not getting it right in the first attempt.

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