Thursday, June 12, 2008

Inspired by Others

Here's a new illustration I worked on today...and nope, I didn't do it quickly! Still no shortcut...just trying to figure out "my style." Spent WAY too much time on it!

I have been inspired by the work that all the artists have been doing (21 day challenge...The Pineapple Diary) and have decided to challenge myself to doing either a) different styles of work for 21 entries (to find a style I like) or b) doing a quick illustration for 21 entries which is apparently the original intent of the challenge...doing something for at least 15 minutes for 21 days to make it a habit. I find that I'll spend HOURS on something that doesn't look like I've spent hours on! I'm thinking I need to refocus my something more quickly and efficiently. I'm thinking a lot of it has to do with the fact that I don't know how to achieve the look I'm wanting digitally. I experiment but cannot find the right brush, opacity, etc. to get the style I want. I also need to find a consistent style. I guess I haven't because of the above...I've yet to find a style that I love. (Well, one that I love that's original and my own!) I love LOTS of other artists' styles...Jannie Ho's work is ADORABLE Chickengirl Design! I'm a HUGE fan of her work. As a Kindergarten teacher, I've seen her work in my big books I use at school, and I always pointed out to my kiddoes this year how I could tell it was her art! I love Roz Fulcher's feltwork and her digital feltwork Rozzie Land. I love Liz Goulet Dubois' style and her use of fabrics ChatRabbit. Mike Baker says he's not a professional illustrator...yet, but his work is amazing mike r. baker » something about me! I absolutely love Rachelle Anne Miller's work Rachelle Anne Miller Illustration! Her creations are adorable! There are so many blogs that I visit frequently that I couldn't begin to list them all. Everyone I've listed above has beautiful work, but it is all distinctly their own. I don't feel like I have developed a unique style. I've read Kathleen Rietz's article about discovering her own style The Prairie Wind » Illustrator Tips. I'd love her to share some of her shortcuts with me! :) I guess it's a journey everyone has to discover on their own, though. Oh, well...I'm definitely not a professional illustrator. It's just something I've always done since I can remember; drawing, playing with colors, charcoal sketches. I almost went to art school after HS graduation, but instead decided to become a teacher which is a rewarding career. But I feel that it wasn't the choice I should have made. Now I'm trying to teach myself things I could have already learned and be "mastering" had I gone to art school instead.

I am proud of my accomplishments...I'm a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of literacy. My students and parents love me (most of the time!) My principal is proud of me. My colleagues enjoy working with me. And I still have kids that come and give me a going to be a Junior in HS this year that I had in 1st grade! I know I've made a positive impact on others...but now I'm ready to do something for me. Sorry for blabbering on, and on, AND ON! :)

I created this blog so that I had somewhere to post artwork for Illustration Friday...last summer I decided if I was really serious about enhancing my work, I'd better have an outlet for doing it and a weekly challenge to get me going and hold me somewhat responsible for posting my work. There are a few people who visit me and post comments don't know how much that means to me! I appreciate your upbeat comments and suggestions on how to improve. Below is a little witch girl that I had intended on doing QUICKLY but then, I got experimenting with different brushes and played a little too long with it. But I did let go and decide that it didn't have to be perfectly rendered and some straggly lines could be visible...blah blah blah! Golly this post is long!


Kate said...

First of all, HELLO Tracy! Thanks for mentioning me and the article I wrote for the Prairie Wind. I am glad you found it useful. : )

Second, there are no shortcuts. Tracy, do the 21 day challenge and just draw/paint/Photoshop/whatever every day. It will all start falling into place.

Third, I LOVE this Halloween illustration best because it has so much more dimension than the others. It's really adorable. Love the colors, the light, and the character.

Funny that you wanted to do art but you decided to teach. I thought about teaching, but went to art school. Now I teach art classes. : ) Art is a journey. You will have it all of your life. Teaching is a very important thing and you are making an impact.

Chickengirl said...

Hi Tracy!!!!
Guess what...I received your package!! Sorry I was out of town this whole week, little did I know there was such a lovely surprise waiting for me in my mailbox. I was gushing over EVERY single drawing the kids made- too adorable for words. Thank you so much for your kind letter too and cute kitchen towel!! You are soo sweet! (I will post about it more on my blog soon!)

And thank you so much for mentioning me in this post...blogs are a great way to inspire each other, arent they! You know alot of the educational work that I do never really gets seen by "the public" so its wonderful to hear that you see and recognize them :-)

I'm glad you are going to challenge yourself, I agree with Kate that your witch has such great demension to it that I think you are on to something there!

roz said...

Hi Tracy,

Thanks so much for the mention, what a surprise!
I struggled with this very same thing..trying to find my own personal voice and ultimately I just focused on doing something I love.
I think the 21 challenge is a great idea for exploring without overthinking things too much. You're going to learn a lot in the process and probably discover new things/tricks along the way.
Speed...hahaha! I know how you feel. I get frustrated when I spend hours on something and don't have much to show for it...but boy did I learn a lot in the process and was able to use it quickly for the next project.
Eventually you'll come up with a technique for yourself that feels very comfortable.
Enjoy the journey, Tracy.

Monica said...

Hi Tracy--
I can relate to a lot of what you said... I still struggle to find a style of my own, to challenge myself, and to find my own voice.
I also considered going to art school, but in the end didn't feel I was talented enough. I do enjoy my work as a librarian, but the dream of being an illustrator has always stayed with me. I used to get very frustrated with myself for not being able translate what I saw in my mind with what I was actually able to create, but I'm now trying to enjoy the process itself, and believe that with time and perseverence I'll find the style and look that is right for me. One thing is for sure, there's no question that practice has helped me become better at illustrating, and so I remain optimistic and encouraged. Sometimes it's not easy with a full time day job to find the time (and energy!) to do as much art as I'd like, but having the blog, and participating in IF has been very, very helpful!
Keep working, Tracy! I agree with Kate, the little witch you created is wonderful and it shows how much you're growing as an artist!

Eric Barclay said...

Wonderful article. And a wicked awesome witch!!!

I always enjoy your drawings and the personalities you inject into your characters and situations.

Did I mention that I really like this witch?

Lisa M Griffin said...

Good luck with the creative challenge. I just completed my 21 days and had a lot of fun with it, playing with new techniques and styles. I think it is very freeing in a way, and really allows you to "just play" with your art again. Both the monkey and witch are very charming and I do think you have a style of your own that is shining through more and more.

Tracy said...

Wow, thank you all so so so much! Your words have really encouraged me and inspired me to keep working! :) THANKS!

Zari said...

these illustrations are are learning and improving really quick! congrats!

Dot said...

I know what you mean... it's hard to find your style, but eventually you'll start to fall into stuff that really works. Just keep drawing!!!