Sunday, December 4, 2016

How I Start and Finish New Artwork Almost Everyday (the answer may surprise you!)

Let me start by saying Yes- artwork is what I do for a living, full time. I wake up, go down stairs, make coffee and pretty much dive in to whatever work is going to be done either starting from a sketch , going straight to canvas, or grabbing my computer. Let me also say on the onset that as the title says, I start and finish new artwork Almost everyday- I too like to take days off and go down to the sand, and some days we are so busy with print orders that there isn't time to dedicate to something new.

Some readers might say, "So if you do now artwork everyday, how come you don't post here everyday?"

That's a good question, reader- the answer is we're more focused on sharing new art and the processes on our social media platforms. Want to see it in action? Follow us on Instagram @Pinstripe_Chris or on Facebook @PinstripeChris 

Alright, to the point I'm looking to make-

So I do artwork for a living; more specifically Automotive artwork from paintings, to watercolors to digital art. Everyday of the week I have an opportunity to do something fresh and hopefully captivate my audience. Hopefully. Every single morning as I'm sipping my coffee im scrolling thru images of vehicles of many types looking for something that appeals to me that I can make a statement with. Sometimes it can be an hour and the coffee has gone could before I feel like I have somewhere to start. 

Then I break out pens and pencils and begin sketching to see where it goes. Sometimes it takes a few sketches to get what I'm looking for to move forward from. Then it's on to the stage of making the thing. Either transfer on to canvas or watercolor paper, or photo/scan and complete the paint digitally depending on the look and feel Im going for and the purpose of the artwork.

On a typical day I've gotten thru my entire process and photo'd my finished artwork to share by around 2 or 3pm (unless I got a late start or we had a busy morning with prints).

"Ok, so you can draw well and paint fast... how does that help me?"

While it's true that years and years of practice on a daily basis and having a huge stockpile of materials, tools, and mediums on hand keeps things flowing here at the studio (will cover that in a separate post), speed and efficiency is only part of the battle. 

Yes, spending a lot of time erasing isn't exactly forward momentum, but it is part of the process so dont be hard on yourself about it (I certainly have my share of mistakes I work out on paper). 

"So where are you going with this..?

Distractions- are a huge distraction. It's easy to have the tv on, music blasting, internet on, phone on- EVERYTHING ON. But, they cost you time. A LOT of time. You think erasing a lot is time consuming? I'm willing to bet you'll do more erasing if you're attention is not on what you're looking to make.

Some folks are better at working in hectic environments- I worked as a pinstriper for many years at motorcycle shops, I know all abouts it. But I would say it's not my preference. 

I know many artists who say they dont have as much time to draw as they would like. Think about the things you are doing with your time and consider what you are willing to do less of to make the time. Surely you can catch that episode on Netflix later on, or respond to your bestie in a little bit- they will understand. Being productive isn't hard, it just takes discipline. While Im drawing and painting my phone is on it's lowest setting and I will only answer if it rings- a FB notification is hardly a reason for me to stop. A lot of times I wear my fancy noise canceling headphones (which I very highly recommend) and put on classical or movie scores that dont have lyrics.

Simplify. Get yourself in the zone of what you are working and STAY there until you're ready to call it a day. Do you have to start and finish same day? Absolutely not. But clearing out some basic distractions will give you some mental space to stay focused on what's in front of you and not whats all around.

Next time you're ready to sit down and sketch, think about your environment; the lighting, the noises- anything that contributes to using your senses. Which things are going to take your focus away? Find them, and limit them if you can. You want to be using as much of your mental CPU on the main task in front of you- if you're trying to multi task or your brain is by being influenced by things around you, make a change. Sometimes I like to sketch at a local coffee shop- even tho it doesnt seem like a productive place, just the change of scenery is refreshing.

Go forth, readers- Draw the things and Limit your Distractions!