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Friday, September 10, 2010

IF: Dessert

There is a website called Illustration Friday that, according to the site, serves as a "weekly creative outlet and participatory art exhibit for illustrators and artists of all skill levels... It's a chance to experiment and explore and play with visual art."  Basically how it works is each week a one-word topic is suggested. Participants create an illustration inspired by it, post it to their blog, then link to it on the IF website.

I know the website says it's for artists of all skill levels, both novices and pros alike. I know it says there's no pressure, no judgment. I've stalked this site for a while now and the other artists do seem to be supportive and encouraging of each other when they leave comments.  I know all that, but...

I'm still as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

Now there's an image for you.

It's been a long time since I've shown anyone my work. This may seem silly, but drawing this picture, and then posting it online, felt like a big step for me. This week's IF assignment was "dessert".  Having just recently taken a class about body image and intuitive eating, this was the first thing that came to mind. We're so quick to put certain foods off limits, but that only makes us desire them more because they are forbidden. We give food the power over us, and we become even more obsessed.  What did you think of, when you first saw this picture?  Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know.

I miss doing art.  I'm so much happier (and healthier mentally) when I'm drawing and painting on a regular basis.  My heart is so frustrated over the fact that I can't currently get to any of my art supplies. Consequently, the drawing shown above was done on printer paper with a #2 pencil and no pencil sharpener.  Not my first choice for media (printer paper is not very forgiving), but it finally got to the point where I just had to put pencil to paper somehow and start creating again.  Maybe next week I'll at least upgrade to a drawing journal or something, until I can get my little art studio back into a usable state and can access my supplies. There are so many projects I want to work on, but I've got to knock the rust off the ol' gears first. Hopefully these little Illustration Friday challenges will help me do just that.

Because I felt helpless in being unable to get to my art supplies, I actually downloaded the Brushes program to my iPhone. It's an amazing little program, but having never used digital software to create art before (yeah, I'm old school) there's a bit of a learning curve. I actually tried to draw for this assignment using the program, but I felt like I spent the majority of the time adjusting my "brush" width, transparency, color, etc. and then constantly zooming in and out on the page. You can see the sad result of my efforts below.

Even though the software is very intuitive and relatively easy to learn, I don't know if I have the patience for it.  It seems a whole lot easier and quicker to just pick up a pencil that is the color you need, or to use the side of your finger to blend a shadow, then it is to finesse a software tool ad nauseam before you can even begin to draw. I'm guessing the program would be easier to use on a bigger screen, like on the iPad (hint hint - to anyone reading this who may be shopping for my birthday) and maybe once I get the hang of it, and get quicker at it, the results will be more immediate and satisfying, like they are when using real life materials.  Who knows, maybe one day I'll be posting videos to YouTube like this one.  Ha!

14 comments:

Linda Hensley said...

It does take courage to show your art. Pat yourself on the back for biting the bullet. Welcome to IF!

D.L. White said...

Thanks Linda! Although I just now realized that I posted a week behind everyone else. DUH! lol I'm such a newbie!

Elizabeth Carman said...

Your talent knows no limits!!! Hurray for you! I love your drawing. It immediately made me think of self control and how hard that can be.
Happy day to you!

D.L. White said...

Thanks Elizabeth! :) Hope you have a great day!

Laura said...

My first thought when seeing your drawing was "how sad, someone thinks that cake is off limits". I learned many years ago the lesson you described about not allowing food any power. All food is just water, vitamins, minerals, protein and fats in varying degrees. I am slave to it no longer. :)

Now, about critique from others on IF... art critics in forums such as this may not be interested in edifying each other, there may be a sense of competition. I've looked at the site before, but I don't recall ever noticing the comments. I would say to you, take what you read there with a grain of salt. Consider your audience and then the reason you are posting on an illustration forum. If you are looking for critique from other artists then put weight on their comments. However, if you want critique from people who are not gifted in pencil, then post your art here or at a gallery where you can glean the oohs and aahs from those who like to observe art for the sheer pleasure of feasting with their eye.

I can relate to your feeling that this drawing was "only" in graphite #2 pencil and "only" on copy paper, but come on, you have to know this is a beautiful drawing that conveys a powerful story using only four subjects. Good job!

I have felt that same way with my jewelry and cooking. I think "anyone could do this, it's not that difficult". But what you (and I) have to remember is not everyone wants to create using these mediums nor do they have the ability to foresee what they want their end result to be. When I cook, I already know what I want the end result to *taste* like, and that makes the process much much easier and a pleasure.

I suspect drawing is the same, you already know in your mind's eye what the end piece will look like. That is the gift. Do not make light of it, God has given you a special talent. It is my privilege to be part of the audience.

D.L. White said...

Wow! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments Laura. And a big AMEN to your comment - "slave no longer"! I'm still in awe of the freedom I feel after learning those Truths about food.

As far as my purpose for posting on the IF site... I think it's more about having something external to challenge me and prod me to have a goal and to do at least one piece of art a week. It's more about the exercise itself. Sure, I'd like some feedback, and maybe make some friendly connections with other artists, but I don't think that's really my main purpose. I've sat thru enough art classes (and writing classes, for that matter) to know how the whole critiquing thing can be a double-edged sword. I'm pretty sure I'm already behind the 8 ball in that I have no knowledge of all the digital software and tricks of the trade, or half the stuff they talk about on these art blogs. I'm still slaving away with my little pencils. :-P

Here's the reason behind the reason for me doing this. To be uncomfortably honest... I feel like somewhere along the way, who I am got absorbed by the beige cubicleland and I forgot that I am a writer. I am an artist. This is going to sound totally cheesy, but I'm trying to find myself. LOL Or maybe just recommit myself to living up to my full potential and not settling for being a secretary for the rest of my life. I know that sounds real cliche, but it's kinda where I'm at right now. I need to stop whinning about my situation and start doing something to change it. I would consider this whole exercise a baby step towards accomplishing that.

D.L. White said...

Oh, and one more thing, Laura - your last paragraph made me cry!

Laura said...

Yeah, well your last paragraph made me cry. :(

Don't let anyone tell you you're going through a "midlife crisis" (because they will). I HATE those words. It's like people can never change or try something new.... we're supposed to find our dream job out of college and stay there for the rest of our lives. NO one does that anymore. In fact, job-jumping can be healthy if done for the right reasons.

Finding joy and fulfillment in work is certainly in the attitude you bring to the job but there's got to be balance in life and changing jobs is a whole lot less stressful than changing husbands.

And thank you for being "uncomfortably honest", that's what friends are for. :)

chandy said...

Beautiful. I really like it! I think my favorite part is the bendy fork at the bottom. It invokes such frustration! I think it's cool that a drawing can elicit a mood.

And I think it's awesome that you've found this IF site to post to! It's like how an athlete is more focused in her training when she has a goal in mind, you know? Even if it's just a little push to keep you on track, it may be all you need. I hope you are able to get your supplies and studio set up asap! Make it priority #1!

D.L. White said...

I would love to find a job where I use these talents (or even if I get to use just a smidgen of them, I'd be happy), but even if it doesn't translate into that - I asked myself, "What's keeping me from doing those things right now? Why do I need to wait on a job to do something that makes me happy?" I think it'd be easier to be more tolerant of my work situation if I was at least fulfilled in other areas. At the end of the day...a job is just a paycheck - a means to an end. It's not who I am. I guess I've just been missing part of that equation. ;-)

D.L. White said...

@Chandra - That's exactly it! I've also given myself a timeline for working on clearing out my art studio. You'll hear the story about that here too, as it's a continuation of my "Great Purge of 2009" which unfortunately has spilled over into 2010. :-P

hyacinthinemoon said...

I hope your going to post your art on your blog every friday too, so you can share with us. I really enjoyed this picture. I think the cage is "pretty." I also like the bent up fork because it adds a bit of humor to the work. (I thought it was funny, like, yeah, I can totally realate to that). I also liked seeing your digital art attempt. I have found myself equally frustraited with trying to draw with different art/paint software. I like drawing a sketch by hand, scanning it and then "coloring" it in with the software. Drawing with the software makes me feel like a child and I get frustraited easy. I am also just very happy to see you drawing and creating again.

D.L. White said...

Thanks Kat - I'm going to try really hard to do the assignment and post it every week. I'm kind of stumped right now on this week's assignment...

And I'm glad I'm not the only one that's experienced frustration with the drawing software. Good idea about drawing it and then scanning it in to apply the color. That sounds like it might be fun, actually.

Jess said...

I feel you should not be ashamed of your art! It's creative. We all know tht self control is hard, but you really showed this through your art work.
Oh and don't feel bad about liking it old skool, because Im a teen and it feels easier using a pencil then on a touch of a screen.