Own it

Sketch for the makers of Pact Magic and a rough sketch for the Eowyn and Nazgul challenge on Art Order. Debating on whether to finish the Lord of the Rings image. Hard to motivate myself to create fan artwork. At the same time the webcomic work isn't satisfying my art interests and it'd be a real picker upper to work on the LotR image.

Now for my latest blathering/plotting.
I've got to do something for me. I want to own something I make. I want to have the right to do whatever I want with it. I want to be responsible for what I've made. As an illustrator, I'm often just taking dictation in a visual form.  Sometimes people tell me what they want to such a degree that there is no room for interpretation and even the style is dictated. I'm left with no product and no sense of pride in what I've accomplished for someone else because no part of myself ever entered into the process. I do work that I never post online.

"The notion of making money by popular work, and then retiring to do good work, is the most familiar of all the devil's traps for artists."-Logan Pearsall Smith

I need to do the work I imagine doing if I were retired and I need to do it right now. So what would I do if I was retired? Well I'd still do artwork but beyond that I'm not sure so I've made a list of formats for consideration.
art book-I don't have the self-confidence/ego to do this. I could easily see myself making one and then being embarrassed by it in two years and wanting to burn all copies.
calendar-possibility I suppose but it just doesn't sound very exciting to me. Maybe because I always buy my calendar several months late and whatever is the cheapest. So right now I have kittens as my calendar.
gaming visual aids-another possibility. I've messed with this in the past. Idea was to do an environment illustration, couple of illustrations of characters/creatures from the area plus an illustration of an item or two that could be found in the area. Then I'd write some plot hooks for inserting the location into a campaign. I actually put together stuff for 4 or so locations but then it fell apart after that. I think it fell apart because I can't write and I tried to do too much with the writing. Not sure anybody would care for the art without background for everything.
RPG game-I'm not a writer. Actually began this at one point. Came up with a core mechanic and sort of a style/theme but was sort of at a loss/lack of interest to get into everything else that would be needed to flesh out the game. Game revolved around the idea of re-incarnation and past lives.
webcomic or comic-I'm not a writer.Plus it's so many images and so many of those are only meant to progress the story and visually could be stick figures.So much time spent on visually insignificant images would be a downer in my opinion.
Instructional book-I'm not a writer but...I went to a lecture at GenCon a while back that had Jim Pavelec and I think Chris Seaman and Chuck Lucaks talking about their instructional books and there they handed out Impact books proposal guidelines. I actually put together a rough one but really need to set aside some time for it. I would feel like a fraud offering technical advice because so many people are better at it than me so my book proposal was more for a book about getting over artist block/getting inspired/being creative. Maybe I should start pulling together images for that. Assuming I have a good editor I think that could be a book that people would enjoy and I'd always be proud of.

Picking and Choosing- So what can I do that doesn't involve words but isn't an art book. Well there's a calendar but I'm still not excited about it. Well a comic doesn't have to have words. I could throw out those pesky words. But then there are all of those dang images where my degree of rendering seems silly and unnecessary.  Can I throw those out? Now we're getting somewhere. I remember reading understanding comics and liking the comic example where the story was shortened to a panel of "don't drink and drive" then him drinking and finally a panel of a tombstone. Maybe I could come up with a story and just illustrate the keyframes from it. That sounds really interesting to me. If I really don't want to think up a story maybe I can even make a game out of the process by just carrying over elements without regard to whatever story is. Angel with wings is flying in the midst of a flock of dragons. Next shot is native american with peace pipe with giant angel wing feathers attached. Next shot is post-apocalyptic punks pulling peace pipe out of the hollow of an old tire. Aliens collecting tires. Caveman with alien-skull club. With this method I could just come up with a couple of illustrations of scenes I'd like to paint regardless of genre and it would just be a matter of playing seven degrees of separation to connect them no matter how disparate. Either way I would want the book to have some sort of message even if it's just, "everything is meaningless. everything is nothing."
Joe SlucherComment