I know I’ve been waxing philosophical about pencils lately, but there’s a reason:
I’ve always been a fan of the pencil, much more so than the pen. Pencils always write, they don’t leak on you they come with erasers. The list goes on, but the relevant reason is probably more that I’ve never really felt especially comfortable with a pen as an artistic tool.
In brief, it feels like there’s something at stake when I pick up a pen, whether that is the sanctity of the great pencil or watercolor sketch I am inking directly (I’ve since abandoned that dangerous practice, though if I start watercoloring again I might have to think about starting back… Time enough to worry about that when it happens, I suppose) or just how much white-out am I going to have to slather over this page to make it presentable.
It’s always been something that
bothers stymies discourages me, and I don’t know how to shake it. It’s not a lack of practice or experience- even my inking projects through high school and college were always kind of bad, and it never really got better, though my sketching skills have in my eyes at least, improved vastly over the years. My inking, physical or digital always seems to lose the joie de vivre that my pencils have, and really, I think that that is the heart of the problem.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I thought I would be able to get away from that problem by going digital, but between the disconnect of not watching my hands as well as the limitations of the hardware I currently have, I never got better at it, I’ve just been able to spend more time working on something without completely ruining it.
It’s a time-consuming, somewhat debilitating process that I’m pretty sure the people at Wacom would be horrified to hear that I’ve been putting myself through, but over years of fidgeting with settings and not being able to upgrade my equipment, I’ve sort of found myself in this grudging acceptance of the situation with no ready recourse.
I mention all this because I took some time with that Tiamat sketch I did, and I have no idea how I am going to be able to complete it at all, nevermind in something like 8 days. It might have taken me 4 hours to complete all 5 heads, including finding references, positioning them in Photoshop to make sure that they all would fit without too much overlap, etc), but I’m sure that it will take upwards of 40 hours to ink/paint them in my current cartoon vector style because of the intricate scale patterns over all of them, to say nothing of the nooks and crannies in the faces.
And again, I’m still not sure that I should be admitting weakness or talking negatively in this semi-professional space, but talking out problems that I’m having, particularly with my professional endeavors helps me look at them objectively, as opposed to having them rattle around in my head, especially since I spend so much time by myself.
I think I overdid it with the color- at first it was just the blood, then the nib of the pen, and then I decided to make the hapless forest dragon green (because they are), but I feel like it takes away from the impact of the piece. Oh well. Sometimes I have to mess things up in order to learn what works.