Saturday, June 18, 2011

Artist’s Block, not necessarily a mental thing.

Everyone has heard of “Writer’s Block”. Defined as “a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.” Well, Artists feel it too. A combination of family issues and a disastrous convention outing lead me to one that lasted almost six months last year.

In an attempt to fight the Block, I made a New Year’s Resolution to do a sketch-a-day, also inspired by my friend Rich Bernatovech who did the same thing in 2009 and produced a Great sketchbook from it. For the first four months of the year, I did pretty good. 120 sketches in 120 days. Well, as of today, June 18, 2011 I am officially 40 sketches behind, and I know why. Artist’s Block.

But this time, it’s a little different. This time it is a Physical Block and not a mental one. Let me try to explain.

When I accept a project, whether it’s a paid commission or a simple freebie sketch for a friend, I set a certain expectation for the final product. I imagine the final picture in my head and I tweak it till I know exactly what I want, and then I draw it. Some times this process can take a few minutes, some times a few days. In one case, I imagined a double sized splash page for several months but when I final figured it out in my head, I completed the whole thing in two days. I actually have dozens of personal ideas floating around in my head that have yet to make it to paper, but that is going to change very, very soon (I will write more on that soon).

Because of my process, I work on several projects at one time. I roll ideas over and over in my mind and work on the one that reaches that final step. Usually finishing up a drawing in a day or two.

Today, I realized why I am currently in a new Block. I have several personal issues, family issues, real work issues and such but those are not the cause of the problem. The problem is a sketch. And not an idea for a sketch but an actual physical sketch.

I have this sketch, currently in the pencil stage, that has been sitting on my desk for over a month. This sketch is killing me. I can’t finish it and because I can’t move past it I can’t finish anything else. I have several sketches ready to go but I just can’t get past this one sketch. I’ve realized what I have to do… I have to trash the sketch. I have to rip it up and throw it away. If we still lived in our old house, I would probably start a fire in the fireplace and burn the thing.

I’m not sure what it is about this sketch. I know it’s not the subject matter. When I first got the request I jumped right into it, knowing almost immediately what I wanted to do. I sketched it out right away and then sat on it. I keep looking at the sketch and something about it just isn’t right. And I don’t know exactly what it is. Would the requester be happy with the sketch? I think so, but I’m not happy with it. And that’s why it will NEVER get done and why nothing else will get done.

So today, this is what I am going to do. I am turning around, right now, grabbing the sketch, tearing it into 20 pieces and starting all over again. I’m going to make myself happy with the final product and then (finally) make the requester happy (he’s only been waiting five or six weeks). I am going to physically remove my Artist’s Block.

Time to draw.


1 comment:

Craig Zablo said...

Artist's block is a tough nut to crack. Seems like you have though. Congrats!