Wednesday, April 11, 2012

pages and pages

It's nice to be home, just in time to watch the buds grow and erupt into bright green leaves.

. . .

It's interesting to look back on that last post I wrote, over a month ago, about 'practice'. That idea really stuck with me and changed the way I've been working lately:

I started using my sketchbook solely to jam out storyboards. For the past month, my sketchbook has been nothing but panels, dialogue and cinematic directions. Sometimes the boards are an idea for a story or a scene; other times they're just framed drawings from my imagination or my surroundings. The only parameter I'm sticking to is that the panels are not for any larger purpose.

I'm intentionally preventing myself from editing the panels or imagining how they could fit together into a film or comic. This is keeping me amazingly productive, because I'm not tightening up and trying to make things perfect. It's a daily brainstorm. I'm trusting that a story will emerge if and when it wants to, but I'm not forcing it.

There's already three or four ideas in there that I'm itching to refine into something, but I'm holding off. Even when (and if) I do start to refine some of these things, I hope to continue this practice.

I'm excited to see how the happenstance positioning of unrelated images has an effect on my stories as well. Will a couple unrelated frames of a robot throwing beans give me an idea that I never would have thought of otherwise?

I partly got this idea from an editing book I just read  - "In the Blink of an Eye" by Walter Murch. Mr. Murch was talking about the advantage of using old editing machines (as opposed to digital), because you'd have to scan through all the footage to find the clip you were looking for:

"Because the film is all stored in these big rolls in an almost arbitrary way, you are learning something new about the material as you search for what you think you want. You are actually doing creative work, and you may find what you really want rather than what you thought you wanted."

I like the idea of my sketchbooks being like these big reels of film. All kinds of ideas for me to scan through when I'm trying to "edit" together a storyboard.

There I go starting to think ahead about the final product again.

A similar thing I was doing (which I haven't done since I've been back from the Dominican Republic) was acrylic sketches in another sketchbook. Small and fast. Nothing precious, so I could whip off ideas and just enjoy the act of painting instead of tightening up. These two practices really get me in that loose and free frame of mind. All of art-making should have that feeling.

I gotta start doing this acrylic sketchbook again. The problem is, there are just way too many other projects and things to do...

...For example, this big oil painting of a maple I've been working on. (This is a blurry detail). I can't wait to get it done so I can move onto another big painting. I'm trying to get a bunch of paintings done for a Call for Submissions in late June.

I have a few other things on the go that are competing for painting-time, but I'll save them for future blog posts.

It's taken me a couple weeks to get my routine back in place, and to be in a place where I can apply myself to my practice with diligence. Now that I'm settled in again, I hope to post far more regularly. Stay tuned!