Creatively Stuck

 I have been, as previously mentioned, working on a Project 365 called “Doodle a Day,” where I’ve dedicated to drawing at least something every day for my personal “fiscal” year (I start each P365 on my birthday each year. 2011-2012 was Vol. 28).

Throughout this process, I can tell that my skills are growing and getting better. I am able to (much more quickly) “see” in my head what I want to draw and get my hands to be able to create it.  I don’t hesitate nearly as much as I did — I draw without fear of mistakes or “messing up.”  I doodle constantly. It’s been a creative awakening that I didn’t even know I needed.

However…

We come to this piece.  At the moment, it’s called “Clouds.”  I will start off by saying I love this piece. I am so happy with where it’s going. This is the style that I have been trying to get out of my head and onto the paper or the iPad for well over two years now.  I think I’ve finally “cracked the code” of how to get this whimsical, Eric-Carle-meets-Pixar-and-cut-out-construction-paper look and feel.  I look at this piece and just feel that inner artistic “YES.  This is what you were striving for.”

Which is all well and good until now I can’t figure out what else to put on it.

In my head, I see a few red balloons bobbing through those clouds.  But each time I try to put them in, it ruins the piece. I can’t get the balloons in the same style as the clouds. After a few hours of trying, I gave up, and saved my little piece of blue sky for tackling on another day.

What do you think? What’s missing? What belongs? What flies through the skies in your mind?

Created in ArtRage on iPad 2 with Nomad Brush.

Vitruvian Muppet Mash Up

There seems to be a huge surge in the artworld in a certain genre: the Mash Up.   It seems to be every where I look, every blog I click, every new artist I find.  Everyone is putting their own unique spin on the Mash Up.

What is a Mash Up?  Our friends at Dictionary.com explain it this way:

mash-up

  /ˈmæʃˌʌp/ Show Spelled[mash-uhp] Show IPA

noun

1 Music, Slang . a recording that combines vocal and instrumental tracks from two or more recordings.
2 Slang . a creative combination or mixing of content from different sources: movie mash-ups; a Web mash-up that overlays digital maps with crime statistics.
 
This blog is in honor of definition #2, the “creative combination or mixing content from different sources.”  Today’s sources: #1 Leonardo DaVinci’s “Vitruvian Man,” a famous icon of Renaissance thought and innovation, and #2, Grover, my favorite Muppet. (Partly due to the fact that my father would read me stories in his “Grover” voice since I was very small.)
 
This is a work in progress, hence the screen shot from the iPad to include to toolbars.
Created in ArtRage on iPad 2 with Nomad Brush.
 

Media Comparison

It’s no secret by now that much of my current work is created on my iPad.  This causes a sticking point with some traditional artists.  Digital art creation can seem like “Cheating.”  There’s brushes for this, apps for that, shortcuts here, there, and everywhere.  So many people import photos and do applications on top of them and call it art.  Some may think that traditional art is dead and there are no true masters anymore, because oils and acrylics are giving way to digital applicaitons.

“Not so,” says I.  I would argue that my art has improved greatly since the introduction of my iPad.  Yes, I studied for four years at a liberal arts college and majored in Art.  Yes, I have the technical background and piece of paper to back up my artistic opinions and creations.  And yes, there are days when I just want to get my hands dirty and covered in paint, smell oils as they’re drying, or sink my fingers deep into clay prior to molding it on a wheel.  There is a tactile, nearly spiritual aspect of art creation that is kinesthetically tied to physical manipulating the media that digital applications can’t recreate.

There is benefit, however, in having a digital outlet for your artistic creations.  For one thing, after the initial investment, you have free media in which to work.  You have a limitless sketchbook with multiple tools all packed into one slim container.  For another, there is a lot to be said to be able to zoom in on your piece without physically sticking your nose in it.  Another benefit is the “undo” button, which some days is worth more than the cost of the iPad.

The major bone of contention, however, can be that “digital media just doesn’t look the same. Where’s the texture? Where’s the crisp lines? Everything looks the same.”

Here are a few pieces where I compare the traditional media on the left with its digital counterpart on the right.  I don’t believe that using digital media is hampering us at all as artists.  I think it is freeing us to work more quickly and expressively with similar results.