Thursday, June 21, 2007


Lately I have been experimenting with watercolor. It's a medium that I have never really tried before. I purchased a moleskin watercolor sketchbook and decided I would do a simple still life painting from a photograph. I had to be completely unintimidated. So here is the bowl of soup:

Next I painted a sailboat from a picture I took while on my cruise:

And the other night I painted an iguana, also from a photograph from my vacation:

All in all, I find it to be a fun medium. It takes patience and a certain amount of planning and calculating which satisfies the left side of my brain.

I enjoy these little paintings, it's fun, it's easy to work from photographs, and fast (I can easily finish one in between dinner and bed-time). I actually look forward to doing these when I get home from work. This is a problem, though, because I haven't been working on "illustration" projects. This is mostly because I could sit around and come up with concepts and thumbnails, or I could bust out a whole pretty little painting in the same amount of time, (which amazingly people are offering to buy, to boot).

How can I somehow get this same excitement into my illustration work? Why does it take me months to get one "illustration" done when I can do 3 watercolors in one week? How can I change my technique or approach to make illustrations flow out of me one after another, like Penelope Dullughan? I am in a rut and I feel like something needs to change. help.


Blogger Tyler said...

Concept and reference. That's probably a major factor in why it takes so long to do a darn illustration. You have to pull it out of your head instead of just painting from a nice photo.

Mark English said that he doesn't have the patience or attention to work on something for more than a few days... that's why he made simple compositions and used techniques that weren't labor intensive... And that's straight from the horse's mouth. For his gallery work, he can do two or three small paintings a day now.

Ever notice that some illustrations which make it into the SOI annual have a simple execution?

I hope these unfiltered thoughts make sense and can help you.

In other news, Erika is here!

1:00 AM  
Blogger Starbuck said...

I think it all depends on what you want to do. I think Sterling said that coming up with the concept is his favorite part. Some illustrators are very concept oriented and others are more concerned with creating a finish. Both are equally good and have their own place in illustration. Find out which you want to do and do it. No point in doing something you don't want to do. The question shouldn't be "how can I be this excited about my illustration work?" but instead "how can I make my illustration work more like the work I like doing?"

and as for Penelope Dullughan, thats rule number one...

2:02 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

What Starbuck said. That's some gold. Nevermind what I said.

9:30 PM  
Blogger cEwald said...

Try doing a final of your concept with watercolors. you are already experimenting and having fun with it, why not have it extend to your illustration work. p.s. the posted work is still illustration;)

10:15 PM  
Blogger cEwald said...

p.p.s the watercolor is fun as hell because it is still new and you are learning. its just like the sense of excitement you get when you buy a sketchbook. take this learning curve and apply it to the way that you already work. It will give you a whole new outlook and way to work. i know that every time i feel things are getting mundane, i find a way to introduce a new technique or material into the process that i had in place. this is a good way to get outside of that comfort zone and start learning again. you will be forcing yourself to react and this will enable new possibilities. just a thought. i could be out of my mind.
and also, the bowl of soup rocked my face clear off my head. i would like it back, as i am sure it made its way to california!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Don Rogers said...

you are doing very good with experimenting and trying new stuff, the watercolor work looks very interesting. I guess you will have to prove art process for yourself. I think the words Matt left for us is so true. There seems to be so many artists out there and sometimes I / we get tto focused on what they are doing and how much better it is ti us than our work. They may have similar feeling about their work too. So do an assignment from the academy and so yourself you can do it.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

hey dudes - thank you all for your support and encouragement. I have felt like I am in a rut since I started working full time again and I just missed the joy in making art. I enjoy the concept and story telling stuff (although i am not as good at it as some, but it's something I would like to get better at).

I have a list of illustration ideas that I have been wanting to do, I think I am just going to try to "simplifty" (every instructor's favorite advice) so I can be more prolific. I'm going to try some new techniques that will be faster and more satisfactory.

of course, I'm all psyched to do a few of the ideas that I have, but I'm in the middle of moving and I packed all my paintbrushes somewhere. I will (hopefully) be unloading that box tomorrow night so I can get back on track.

Oh and Matt, that was awesome advice. I am going to put it in the sidebar!

7:32 PM  

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