Throwback Thursday – Art Is An Organism

I have always had an attraction to the unreal. Part of this is I have always been a vivid dreamer. I recall crying one morning, my heart filled with the sting of injustice, because I’d dreamed my mother had promised to fill my room with pink balloons and when I awoke, lo and behold not a single balloon! I unfortunately also had frequent nightmares, see first drawing below. Coupled with this was a fierce sense of individualism. I had a strong aversion to directly copying any influence. It seemed like cheating. I was also a coloring book addict, and due to this strong attachment to individuality, I ended up with quite a few pictures of Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” with purple hair, or green skin, or even shooting metallic red and gold lasers from her fingertips at the personified wardrobe. Color her jumper blue? Please.

I suppose I always figured if you’re going to draw something that you can already look at right in front of you in real life, the live version is always going to look better anyway. Show me something I CAN’T see. What I’ve learned, however, is that the whole “You have to learn the rules before you can break them” thing I was always told in school by teachers (which I HATED, by the way) is totally true. Just as an inventor certainly can’t go about building a time machine if he doesn’t know how to rewire a lamp, if an artist doesn’t know the basic techniques that allow him or her to replicate reality, he or she can’t know how to bend it. The very last drawing of the girl with the crazy possessed sword was a project for school my junior year based on a fantasy novel I was writing at the time. I said, “gather drawing references? Grid the facial proportions? Psh, boring!” and went full steam ahead. Note the oddly shaped alien skull, the giant mutant hand larger than said skull, and the strangely sized and placed nose and eye. Like, her eye is literally way up where her hairline should be. If you have innovative, mind-bending, insane ideas, never abandon them! Keep sketching! But in between all that, practice some of that “boring, mundane” stuff in between, because this practice is the key to unlocking the worlds inside your head, allowing you to transfer them into plaster, paper, wood, corrugated cardboard…! Go on google image search and look at pictures of eyes, of hands, and practice sketching them. Look outside your window and even if it’s just for 10 minutes, grab a pencil and try to draw what you see. Use scrap paper, the backs of envelopes from all those credit card applications that fill our mailboxes day after day and just DRAW WHAT YOU SEE once a day. I promise you’ll notice a difference. Each person’s art is like a little organism, and it has to keep evolving.

So there's the regular mom, and then there's the mom with sharp teeth. Note the little girl on the left looking up and being like, "Oh shoot, it's on!"

So there’s the regular mom, and then there’s the mom with sharp teeth (Thank you real mom for the convenient labels!). Note the little girl on the left looking up and being like, “Oh shoot, it’s on!”

Early 80s punk hair, fangs, a bug infested abode with poor sanitation standards and broken windows ... nothing good can come of this.

Early 80s punk hair, fangs, a bug infested abode with poor sanitation standards and broken windows … nothing good can come of this.

Lest you think I'm morbid, here's a perfectly normal drawing of a girl in a bohemian skirt and bangle bracelets jamming out to a cassette player.

Lest you think I’m morbid, here’s a perfectly normal drawing of a girl in a bohemian skirt and bangle bracelets jamming out to a cassette player.

Behold, Emmie the four legged girl! Having only two legs is for squares.

A later drawing from high school. Behold, Emmie the four legged girl! Having only two legs is for squares.

Amethyst Eyes, the fantasy epic that never was. What evil being is living inside that sword, and why does that woman have such a flat head???!!!

Amethyst Eyes, the fantasy epic that never was. What evil being is living inside that sword, and why does that woman have such a flat head???!!!

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