I’ve tried to write this post a couple times now, and it just hasn’t happened. This time I actually have something to write about!
This painting, which doesn’t have a convenient name since it’s original content, is part of a continued effort to better integrate figure and non-figure and the many layers of background to foreground, all of which has been a perpetual problem with no clear solution. This painting is also somewhat of a return to my roots in that even though the figures are in the foreground, the focus in effort is really on the non-figures in the background, and I think that is a first for a painting with both in it.
Mechanically there isn’t really anything complicated going on; it’s a pencil backdraw with a pen lineart and more or less cell-shaded paint. The range of color isn’t quite that big because I actually started with a single color and then added more as I went, which isn’t quite standard procedure. In what I thought was a brilliant move, I saved screenshots of the process every night I was working on this, but that didn’t turn out quite as exciting as I’d have hoped. I think I missed the first night though, which doesn’t help.
As in the last painting, my colonial train crew makes an appearance. Also, there are some new locomotive designs, but I think I will save that for another post, because I think I could write a lot about that.
Like I’ve been keeping the account to host big pics and keep a record/portfolio of my supposedly “better” stuff, but this business blew my mind; I’m the kid who never got any awards in my family and definitely not for art.
But okay, how many people actually get featured? A rough calculation using the number of DDs per day (30), the number of pieces on DA (278M), and the number of days the site has been around (4900), suggests that it’s about 1 in 2000, or about 0.05%. That’s somewhere around the percent of people who get perfect SAT scores. So I’m either really lucky or really good, or some combination of both, which is almost certainly the case. Regardless my mind is still blown because I never win anything, and it’s been a long time since I’ve given myself that much credit.
I’m going to say the last time I thought I was pretty damn pro was way back in the legacy era when I guess I just didn’t know better. When I started doing figures and we started doing Nonsense Wars it was really rough; there were a lot of times where I knew I had no idea what I was doing, and I would have said I was pretty bad. Many years later (maybe like 2010 or 2011?) it got to the point where I figured I was basically good enough to draw anything pretty decently if I had a reference, and I upgraded myself to “decent”. I would still give myself that score today mainly based on the same, though this whole event gives me some confidence in that area.
And I say “that area”, because I want to make the distinction between content and implementation. I’ve noted before that I used to think writing a story was the easy part… until I got the drawing to that “decent” stage. Even in just “normal” sketching/drawing, I was drawing mainly fanart for a really long time and didn’t worry too much about original content (I think J has done a really good job of not doing this) because I had this idea that nobody except you really cares about original content unless it’s really amazing. It’s only been recently that I’ve been finding fanart limiting what I want to draw and exploring original content more, but apparently I can’t be that bad.
… and it once again comes back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. At least for me, once I’ve felt like I have a good enough grasp on how to draw, I can think a little bit more about what to draw and what I’m looking for in drawing, so we’ll see where all this talk goes if anymore.