Sunday, November 11, 2007

Last Man Standing 3

It is SO on!

If you've been living under a large rock, you may not be aware of the Last Man Standing, an awesome tiered head-to-head art competition. Get into it.
I'm glad I checked out Min's site today, or I might have missed registration!

The reward? The pure adrenalin of seeing the best of the best slam each other with amazing concept art. This is what all competitions should be like. I will be creamed early on, if not in the first round, but gosh darn it it's worth it for the rush. :D

Saturday, November 10, 2007


This awesome pipe/tube/thing was sitting out the front of my work this week. It immediately brought to mind giant space worms. I love it when art presents itself to you by accident... unless some crafty builder was reading Dune at the time or something. Either way, it made my morning.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blank and it's scary addendum

Following on from what I said yesterday, my good friend Rebecca Kimmel also pointed out one of the easiest ways to get past blank page fear is to get someone else to tell you to stop being such a big wuss!

Well, what she actually said was take a life-drawing class (or similar), but I agree with the sentiment all the same. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's blank and it's scary

I'm going to talk about something everyone has experienced from time to time: Blank page fear.

Some people call it "new sketchbook fear", "white canvas fear", "empty notepad fear", but it all boils down to the same thing: A fresh clean space is looming before us and we don't want to mar the surface.

I experience this about once every couple of months when I buy a new Moleskine sketchbook. These books are so well made and so pretty that opening the cover and putting pencil to the first page is something of a fearful moment. Why? Because I don't want to ruin that page with some horrible doodle or half-baked idea.

Therein lies the problem. Many artists, be it designers, writers, illustrators, painters, 3d modellers, musicians and so forth are paralysed by the notion of failure: The all powerful mistake.

From the outset this is ludicrous. I buy the sketchbook for the very purpose of filling it with mistakes. I'll repeat that: I buy sketchbooks for the very purpose of filling them with mistakes!

Some smart cookie once said we learn from our mistakes. Another more well known one said “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”. So why do we still fear failure if our mistakes are what make us better?

Sir Ken Robinson has a theory and I tend to agree with it (watch the talk, it's amazing). Our culture has developed into an industrial mindset of failure being the worst possible thing you can do. Education can kill creativity by instilling the notion that mistakes are useless and should be avoided at all costs.

So how do we get past this? Fear ultimately does one of two things: It drives us or it halts us in our tracks. Let's look at that in the light of the sketchbook example. I can either draw something or not. Not doing anything leaves a blank page and i've learned nothing. Doing anything at all means i've done something either good, which I can be proud of, or horrendous, which I can learn from.

Digital art programs and writing applications means we almost have no excuse for not at least trying. I've halted many times in Photoshop with a slate of blank pixels and then thought "It doesn't really matter what I do since I can always try again or paint over it."

Trial and error should be the norm of creativity. Why let little things like mistakes get in the way of your creations?