Letters from Somnolescent February 8, 2023

art goals 2023 (what do you mean it’s february?)

by fiveducks

I made a more personal “here are some things I’m hoping to do this year” post on my site, but I intentionally left out details about my goals art-wise. I’m always trying to improve (probably?), so I figured it was a given.

This year’s also been weird and full of emotional ups and downs (with no external triggers) violent enough to give me a neck injury. Oh shit, it’s only been a month?

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a healthy outlook on my art (or anything ever). It’s getting there, and I think I’ve experienced some solid growth the past year or two, but I’m still sat here wanting to draw like a professional artist when I’ve got a real day job as a raccoon disguised as an office drone.

It’s overdue, but I think looking back at my art over the past year, where I stand now, and my goals might be the best way to help my viewpoint align with reality. Hopefully? No, probably not.

where was i

I’ll do a deeper dive into my ancient art someday, but for now, I’m going to focus on the past year.

It’d be too easy to get mean about my old art (right now it’s not old enough to hit that “it’s so far removed from me it’s charming” phase, give me a few years), so I’ll be holding everything at arm’s length.

More finished pieces meant more playing with lighting and trying to iron out awkward bits of the style. I think by the time I hit March-April I was starting to work out faces.

As I finally got a new job that let me go home at 5 pm, I started getting a little more experimental. I wanted to attack some of my weak points (namely, backgrounds/solid objects/perspective) and, yes, I started drawing some animal people.

I’ll breeze over October, which was an extra productive month, because I covered it in this post.

I actually think my 2022 art peaked around October-early November, and I dragged myself through the rest of the year and into 2023. Is that too pessimistic?

2022 saw improvement, it’d be concerning if it didn’t. My lighting got sparklier, my shapes a little more defined, and I played with subject matter and perspective more.

where am i

The start of 2023 was slow-going for a handful of reasons. I’ve been working on getting Wisp out the door (maybe this year!) between laying around my apartment like a sad sack of potatoes, but I’m still fighting to push out at least one piece a week to keep my feeds alive.

That being said, once I got over the hump in early January, I think some things clicked into place.

A lot of Doms, which isn’t too surprising. And since it’s redraw season, here’s my latest piece, a redraw of a piece from last summer:

full piece on any of my socials ever

I thought it came out pretty nice. Shapes are well defined, higher contrast than the original. Starting to get where I want to be in regards to style.

where am i going

I want more defined shapes (especially with my backgrounds), more solid lighting, distinct and dynamic poses, and way more style. I want this shit oozing style like a really bad (really stylish) infection.

I think I’m working my way there, if the above pieces are anything to go by, and I’d say the focus on dynamic posing and flashy lighting is leaning into my strengths more than anything. I’ve been working on a distinctly angular style with Wisp, meaning everyone’s due for another reference update, for example:

Sharp, stylish. Something that lends itself well to action-y shots and high contrast lighting. I also want to get better at polishing my work in a way that makes it pop—like the screentones and chromatic aberration in my most recent redraw.

I’m pulling a lot of visual inspiration from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and, digging further back into the recesses of my brain, Sly 2 and 3. (I absolutely, 100% stole the idea of chromatic aberration to show things as out of focus from Spider-Verse.)

this shit goes unbelievably hard

Which is funny, because both of those are meant to have a comic book-y style. So… I want my comic to look like a comic?

Part of my sudden drive to consciously define and push my style is because I’m more integrated into Somnol. Being in our little art collective, I guess, has made me antsy. I don’t want to feel like a cheap knockoff when I draw animal people, and I want to feel like I have specific strengths that no one else does.

It’s ego. But I guess wrestling your ego comes with the territory of being an artist.

I’m getting there. Not at the peak yet, nor will I ever be, but I’ll keep pushing ahead. For once I feel like I’m a little less behind the curve, even when there really was no curve in the first place.

Tags: art, blog,

About fiveducks

Canadian writer/artist/hermit. The raccoon living in your basement.

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