When I first started using my Wacom drawing tablet, I was positively delirious with the joy and sense of unlimited creativity it inspired. I immediately embarked on an elaborate Christmas card project that was going to be the most splendid image I’d ever produced.
In retrospect, I wish I’d given myself a bit more time to learn about the software before I started a large-scale project. By the time I realized that there were some things I should have done differently, it was too late to change them without having to scrap the whole image and start over.
Also? It turns out that drawing and painting digitally rather than with actual pencils and brushes does not magically make you a better drawer and painter. Quite the opposite, actually. In other words, if you have never drawn or painted a stone bridge before, and you’ve never been much good at drawing people, you may not want to start off your digital career with a “painting” of a couple sleighing merrily over a stone bridge. Ahem.
My personal forté is drawing horses, so that was the easy part. Look at my pretty horse!
I just wish the rest of the card were coming together so effortlessly.
A few weeks ago a friend from church asked me if I’d draw a tattoo design for him: a lion laying down with two lambs, a sort of metaphor for himself and his two sons. That was a fun little break from trying to learn how to paint stone bridges, and when it was finished I asked him if I could use the basic lion-and-lamb design for my own purposes. He said I was welcome to use it for anything except another tattoo, so that became my second digital Christmas card, and the first one I’ve actually completed:
Alas, creative drive is a fickle thing. The new Star Trek movie has just come out on dvd, and I have this awesome idea for creating a music video with some clips from the film. Learning how to draw people has suddenly been unceremoniously shoved to the back burner of my creative mind, even though the Christmas card has the potential to earn money and the video is just me goofing around for free. That’s the trouble with the artistic brain — it’s so freaking undisciplined. You don’t even get to choose what it’s going to get all worked up about.
So…my goal is to have both cards finished and printed up on high-quality cardstock by Thanksgiving, to give away and to offer for sale, but this cursed video thing has taken over my head and I may or may not get the sleigh pic done in time. Which would be a shame, because it really is going to be quite lovely when it’s finished.
At times like this I really sympathize with all those great artists who died broke and alone in rat-infested garrets. I think creativity must be a form of insanity, the way it skews your priorities and hijacks your brain for its own passing whims.
But I can pretty much promise that at some point I’ll be posting a Star Trek music video to YouTube. It’s gonna be sweet.