pandora_parrot: (art)
I've been feeling anxious when it comes to drawing for the past half-year, so I haven't done a lot lately. In the past couple months, I've been trying to get myself motivated again to get back into it and go for it. I managed to start one drawing, at least. And since I happen to be bored with nothing to do today, while waiting for the conference to start, I decided to finish this one from last December.
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May. 10th, 2010 12:51 pm
pandora_parrot: (art)
I have a post coming up soon on the trip to Joshua Tree, but I wanted to talk about an experience I had last night.

Last night I had a dream about drawing. I had learned enough to draw cartoon characters and was able to do a fairly decent job of it, but I wasn't very good at drawing in general yet, and still had a lot of negative opinion of myself.

I woke up a bit confused, trying to remember what I could and could not do regarding drawing.

Then I realized that I haven't picked up my pencil or brush since December.

I make the excuse that I don't have a lot of time, and that's more or less true. But when I do have a few minutes to spare, I'm not drawing. I stare into space, read web pages, or play video games. Why am I not drawing?

Because I'm scared of it.

On some level, drawing is still this magical arcane art that I know that I can't really do. It's a complete fluke that I've been able to draw what I've drawn so far, and I am convinced that when I put my pencil to paper again, I'll be able to draw nothing better than stick figures once more.

I look at my sketchbook, always with me, sitting in my bag... and I look at it with fear. I *know* that I will never be able to draw the sorts of things I've *already* drawn again. I have these images in my head, and I *know* that I can't put them on paper. I don't know how. I don't understand it. I can't describe it or explain it. Somebody else must have drawn those things. I know I can't.

I suppose that I just need to grab the pencil and start doing it again. I've drawn some neat and simple things. I'm actually not doing too badly. But I need to "just do it" and quit hiding from it.

As for time... I should just pull the sketchbook out when I'm doing something else, like eating or relaxing on the couch or talking to someone while they do something else. It doesn't take long to add a few lines to a thingy when I'm not busy doing something else. I don't need to devote whole hours to drawing. Just a few minutes here and there.

But the first thing to do is overcome the fear I've developed of it.
pandora_parrot: (art)
A sad fact that I have to deal with and own up to is this:

I am an artist at heart. I crave the act of creation. Whether that be creating music, images, sculpture, software, pottery, literature, poetry, hair, or any million numbers of other things. It's why I have been drawn, time and again, to the creative arts throughout my life. It's why the majority of my closest friends are also artists in some medium or other. Musicians and programmers and painters and draw-ers and tailors and poets etc. etc.

The sad fact that I have to own up to is that, really, until about 2007, I have been an artist largely in theory, not in practice. Although I've had moments of creative acts, it's mostly been in the context of school and work. My life has mostly been filled with avoidance and fear, convinced that I am worthless and incapable of anything. It's only around 2007 when I began to turn that around.

I am growing into the artist that I have always been in my heart. I hope that some day I can look back at what I've created and say, "I am an artist in fact" in all the ways that I want to mean that.
pandora_parrot: (Default)
As I've been getting my creative and active mojo in gear this past year, I've noticed something interesting: In order to succeed and do well, first you must perform/produce crap.

Some examples:
Starting to draw. My first works a year ago were really poor and didn't do a very good job of representing anything I really wanted them to represent. Even now, with my skill improving, I'm still producing things that I feel are quite poor and amatuerish.

Getting back into programming for personal projects has resulted in a similar experience. My first efforts took a long time and were really poor. I really wasn't able to get much good accomplished, and my UI doesn't look nearly as nice as I wanted it to look. Over time, I've re-learned the API for Swing/AWT, and my UI is starting to improve, slowly but surely.

I've also been witness to other folks trying to get started on things. People that learn to play go generally play really badly when they first start out. I know I did and have for the past 10 years, and now folks that I'm teaching to play play really poor moves at times.

Similarly, I'm watching [ profile] viesti struggle with getting back into programming herself, and I'm seeing a lot of the same kinds of struggles that I used to have as she gets her mojo working again.

This initial step seems vital to the entire system of teaching yourself something. But it can be so hard to deal with. Recognizing that your first attempts at creating/doing... anything really... are going to be complete crap. That you're going to produce something that perhaps only a few people are really going to like and many people will actively dislike. That's a big pill to swallow. For me, it makes me fret and worry that I'll never produce anything good. That my efforts will always be in vain and my art/programming/projects of any sort will always look like crap and never evolve beyond that.

Many creative/skill-based communities can be quite judgemental, too, which works even harder to encourage the kind of mental attitude that I have struggled with. Writing software? Well, your code is crap, your UI is incomprehensible, and the performance of your program leaves a lot to be desired. What kind of programmer are you, anyways? Did you get your CS degree out of a cereal box? ... Drawing or painting? Wow! My two year old nephew can draw better than that with his doodie. You might want to give up drawing before you hurt yourself. ... You can't climb a 5.10a? I'm surprised you're even in here trying. Maybe you should go back to something easy, like walking?


And yet, getting over that hurdle... Facing down the judgemental voices both internal and external to create something... To do something... That's what you have to do to become great at anything. Or at least good. Or decent.

It's something daunting to me when I look forward to new projects on the horizon. My idea for getting my computer game-making skills up to snuff and actually writing games faster and better than what I've done before. My desire to produce drawings and paintings on the order of artists whose work I look up to.

It's all going to be a hell of a challenge, as the first thing that I have to do... The first task I have to accomplish... is to produce crap.
pandora_parrot: (art)

Damnit, the perspective on this is all wrong!



That looks better... But now *THAT* looks like crap.



Okay, that's looking better.


Look at clock
I've been working for an hour and I have only drawn three simple elements of this drawing...

Oy, I wish I could do this faster... It's really frustrating to work for so much time and have so little to show for it.

But it is *such* an awesome feeling when I can sit back from my piece and feel such pride that I've drawn something like this. I get a feeling of power and capability that just thrills through me. Mmmmm.

Now, if I were able to execute these things faster, that would be even nicer. :)

I'm really struggling with perspective on more complex objets, still. Arranging cylinders and human figures and cubes and blocks I've managed to figure out, although it still takes me a while, but arranging complex things like clothing, mountains, rock faces, etc. is still challenging. Hooray, more practice!

It flies!

Sep. 20th, 2009 02:07 pm
pandora_parrot: (rc)
I took it up in the air! It flies!!!

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pandora_parrot: (art)
Picked up a set of watercolor paints, brushes, and paper today to try my hand at painting. Did my first painting this evening. I'm not displeased with the results, although I do feel that I've got a lot further to go before I'm really happy with the results. Take a look:
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pandora_parrot: (Default)

I'm back from Burning Man.

I have a few photos, but not a lot. Really, I didn't feel much like taking photos. I was too busy having an absolutely amazing time.

Burning Man... is nothing like what I thought it would be. Nothing at all.

It's not a big drug filled rave. It's not a snooty art festival. It's not some big party or some weird pothead campout in the desert or any number of the other things that you might have cynically heard it described as.

All week long, I've been trying to figure out what the words are to describe it. Do I talk about all the weird shit that happened? Do I talk about what I did each day? Do I talk about how it all felt? Do I talk about my perspective on it all?

At the end of the day... The words that I found were this, as gifted to me by many people. Burning Man is a week long lucid dream. It follows dream logic and everything. It is what happens when 43 thousand people get together and turn their dreams into reality. The people there come not to be entertained and have a good time, but to entertain others and help them have a good time. Burning Man is near-complete artistic and personal freedom to do whatever you want. Burning Man is not an experience to be had. It's something you do. It's something you create when you're there. Burning Man is your own celebration of your self, expressed in whatever way you desire. Burning Man is an experience like none that you can ever imagine. You don't know what its like until you're actually out there, standing on the Playa, looking around at night, seeing parties and lights and music and colors and people and insanity in every single direction you can possibly look, for miles and miles.

It's like nothing else I've ever experienced.

Also... I'm taking my Playa name as my new LJ name. gentle_gamer no longer suits me. Instead, I'm now [ profile] paradox_puree. :)

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pandora_parrot: (games)
It seems that Link, Bub, and Rock have a few new friends!


pandora_parrot: (Default)
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