Starting over with art is a process. While some may dive headfirst into a drawer of paint and brushes, others like myself have to have some sort of direction. I have come up with a 4-Step process that I will follow to help me.
Step One: Identify a Goal
My end goal is to become an illustrator but I also need some benchmark goals. For someone like me who has a nasty habit of folding my goals up and stuffing them in a drawer if it takes too long or is too difficult, I must set more realistic goals. This time they will be ones that I can achieve over a short span of time and will instantly feel more attainable. I am going to term these small goals “Benchmark Goals.”
My portfolio site is a good place to start. I have plenty of work design-wise to showcase. Illustrations are a different story. I view the current caliber of my work to be on the lower end of the spectrum, for now. It is good to friends and family but to myself and industry leaders it would be considered that of a novice. Perhaps I am being hard on myself, perhaps not. I am my own harshest critic. So, Benchmark Goal #1 – Work on my skills. Benchmark Goal #2 – Create 5-8 pieces that I deem worthy of having represent me as an illustrator (for the time being). That is until I create newer better pieces. Benchmark Goal #3. Submit Art to Spectrum. For those of you who aren’t privy to what that means, anyone who wants to be part of the sci-fi/fantasy art world should make it a goal of theirs to make it into the annual Spectrum book. Spectrum is a collection of the best works in contemporary Science Fiction and Fantasy art. Many of my artistic heroes have had their work accepted into this prestigious publication and it has created opportunities for many of the like. If for some reason my current work doesn’t doesn’t secure a spot for my art in their pages this year, I will continue to submit again next year. And probably every year after until my hands no longer work. This seems like a good place to start. My long-term goal is to create the illustrations for a book series that I intend to write, once I accomplish these, plus many other benchmark goals.
Now that I have my goals identified, it is important to acknowledge my strengths and more importantly, my weaknesses. I could stand to improve in many aspects of my artistic skills. That leads me to the next step.
Step Two: What Do I Want To Improve On?
This question is easy…everything. I want to improve on my shape/form, perspective, lighting, proportion, realism.…the works. After being off the paper for so long, a solid foundation recap is as good a place to start as any. As I become comfortable with where I am with the foundations I can then progress towards improving on other things like technique and exploring mediums that I am only acquaintances with. It will be like learning to ride a bike. Sort of. Next up…steps #3 and #4.
Sketch Forward my friends!