Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Finding 'it'

Another quickie, about an hour.
Not really thinking, but there in lies the problem. I get caught up in the process of painting and discovering 'something' in it, that what comes out is kind of boring. Some nice things come about, but a lot of the time I feel my work always misses that something unique that should be special about every design or painting. I feel like I need to be able to find something special, even when working from nothing, every time. Otherwise my work has no purpose other than being just another practice piece on technique. I'm making this differentiation as wanting to be a concept artist. The purpose of my painting should be the idea itself really.

So.. yeah...;


  1. Hey Andy! Long time no speak! What you are observing is the separation between illustration and design. The problem with speedpainting is that it is if anything, a miniscule, tiny glimpse of potential of a good design. In all honesty, it's just an overly beautiful thumbnail. (This isn't to discredit them, because I love doing them). If you want to learn more about finding 'it', it being the design- That's thumbnailing. And not like... 'make a box, draw a landscape in the box', I mean literally, stream-of-consciousness sketching. No boxes. Just start drawing your ideas. Draw the top view, draw the side view, explore it in 3d space, change it however you can- do it with simple primary shapes to explore the idea, but don't worry about speed either. A GOOD design takes a LONG time to make, and it is not the same as a GOOD painting. a good painting can hide a bad design very easily. While learning it, in my opinion, it's probably best to separate design and painting the same way you would separate line and value as far as study is concerned. I know you've done thousands of thumbnail sketches, but try writing yourself a paragraph of your idea- make it into a STORY, that is, give it an emotional direction- such as "Evil sorcerer's experimentation room" or "Maximum security ice planet prison"- something that has a definite tone. That way you know the feeling you want to communicate to your audience. Once you have that sentence, just sketch with a pen- like a hi-tec C or ballpoint or sharpie, whatever you have- and think not about the 2d composition of the final image, but of the 3d space your design occupies. Think of it's history, and what it STANDS for. Whoever built it wanted to accomplish something, so think about what that something is that you can tell the viewer. This way, when you sketch your idea, you can ask yourself, "Does it convey my idea at all? Does it do it strongly? Is it too literal? Could I approach this from a different direction? What limits have I placed on myself, and how can I break them?"

    Sorry for the ramble, but I had alot of the same thoughts you did and it took me a while to sort through it, but trust me- the IDEA, and not the PAINTING is what makes you valuable. There are thousands of guys like us who do speedpaintings who want to do concept, what is going to make you different is the way you think through your designs- because the film goer, or the game player, or whatever aren't going to be looking at your PAINTING, they are looking at your DESIGN. So you have to separate the two before you can weave them successfully together.

    It's worth noting a second time- design takes TIME. You can't really 'speed through it' like alot of people want to, you do lots and lots of erasing, overlaying, trashing and re-hashing to arrive at a good design.

    I hope some of that was helpful to you, you've really definitely come a long way!

    1. You sir, Justin, are awesome. Its the kind of thing you think about but when it all gets put down together and you read it, your like DUHH why haven't I been thinking like that all the time. You've made me bring all this to the front of my mind now.

      Hope your doing great too man, we should catch up some time, would love to know what your up to. Thanks again for taking the time to post up these great thoughts.