Virtual interactions.

Soulcraftcandy cartoon cafe racer.

Two posts ago I talked about the many distractions hanging in the air these days, they are all mostly still there though my mind is slowly learning to ignore them. After all, one can only do one thing at a time and besides there are quite a few things to finish before immersing myself in a new medium, material, technique etc. Best get those done then.

 

Here is a more completed scan of the picture featured in that very post. The bike and rider are now done and it’s background time, again. I wanted something impactful but simple, colour but not complicated. I’d settled on a sun and sky combination and wondered about treating it as a series of concentric arcs of colour across the page. Sounds simple enough I thought, though knowing also how easy it can be to make a complete mess of a decent picture through the application of an ill considered final detail, I resolved to “sketch” it out in Photoshop first. So now we get the image shown below.

Soulcraftcandy cartoon cafe racer.

It is not looking too shabby at this stage, but I’m already wondering whether this is achievable in ink and paint given that the paper is Bristol Board, not the best thing for getting large areas of really flat colour. This is one aspect that Photoshop and other similar softwares can’t mimic. The digital space is a nigh on perfect canvas, free of the foibles of papers, boards and other physical media. Ones brushes are consistent in their behaviour, even when using a tablet as I do, and their “feel” is experienced through your gliding across the uniform surface of the tablet and the application of tiny variations in pressure. All lovely, but nothing like the real thing. So whilst I’ve got myself a scheme that seems to tick all of the boxes for me, the real challenge now will be rendering it in the mucky, unpredictable and unforgiving analogue space, where water manages to help and hinder all at the same time.

 

 

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Are you ever unhappy with your work? Perhaps this is why.

Red_Jacket_Racer_by_JonTremlett2013

What do you do whilst thinking about how to finish a picture? This question is usually answered by going and doing something else for a period of time while the imagination, now freed from staring at the problem, finds a solution in its own time. In this instance though, the answer was to promptly do another picture. It’s smaller and was done a bit more quickly. When I’d finished it I was quite happy with it, the red jacket experiment worked well. The following day however, with fresh eyes. I didn’t like it at all. Something wasn’t right, and while I wondered what was suddenly wrong with it, I got to thinking about what it was inside me that would not allow the picture to enjoy any approval. This episode brought to mind a quote from a recent book about creativity by Seth Godin, “The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly”, which was shown to me by my partner a couple of weeks back. To me this quote goes some way to explain why we self appraise our work, not just that we do, and illustrates the relationship between the two agents of this internal process, ambition and taste. here it goes:

 

 On Good Taste.

 

Ira Glass understands how you feel.

 

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple of years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get passed this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have…… And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work, …… It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions”.

 

What I also found interesting about the above was that it explained to me something that has bugged me for ages. Have you ever allowed a friend or family member to see a piece of work? Has that viewing resulted in a spout of gushing praise that made you feel uneasy? After graciously accepting the praise, have you then struggled to explain why to you, in spite of their protestations, the piece is not very good at all and you should do better? I’m sure it’s not just me. The introduction of the ideas of taste and ambition really help to frame the argument you want to make, your only real challenge is to find the right words to use. Let’s face it, people get very upset if you tell them you’ve got better taste than they have! It’s surely about the education of that taste, and we are all responsible for our own in that regard. I must read this book.

 

Here’s to closing the gap.

 

Distractions, distractions.

Head_on_CafeRacer_©JonTremlett2013

Drawing and painting onto wood, drawing on metal with a Dremel, designing t-shirts, jewellery making, wood carving, sculpting, transferring images onto glass, painting rocks(!), etching, wire modelling, making enamel badges and resin casting. These are all ideas that have flown my way over the last few weeks. Whilst they are all valid, they are all residing in the possibilities box at present. Some are self generated and others come from those around me. Some arrive with the word ‘should’ tacked on the front somewhere, whilst others take a more open approach with the word ‘could’. I prefer the latter, it speaks of a freedom to chose, of open ended possibilities and creative potential, whereas the former does not, sounding often like a form of well meaning edict, but an implied command none the less. Anyway, there they all sit in the great lottery ball tumbler of options waiting for possible selection. While they are in there they churn around, the subconscious busy doing what it does best, sampling, analysing and interrogating each one in turn. I’ll report on what this process reveals in coming posts I’m sure.

 

This is a great thing but, my word does it create a mountain of distractions which have led to a kind of treacly inertia needing to be overcome each time the drawing board is occupied. I know that the best time to grab a new idea is when you can feel fired up about it, knowing that you will do something with it quickly rather than sit mulling it over. I can feel that moment coming but it ain’t today, or possibly tomorrow either. So in the meantime focus has returned to the drawings and paintings that have suffered from my neglect. The image above is where I’m at with a pen and watercolour rendition of one of those Rocker guys whose style seems to be popping up everywhere at the moment. Enjoy, and don’t forget, the store is open and has a limited stock of those greetings cards for anyone stuck for a gift for a biking mate.

Finally, with new followers arriving all the time, a big thanks to you all for your support and loyalty, it means a great deal and is a welcome spur to keeping going.

 

New in the store today.

Soulcraftcandy greetings cards ©JonTremlett2013

Hot off the press, some of the new greetings card designs are now available in the Soulcraftcandy Store along with accompanying larger prints of the three images and an old favourite. So, if you’ve ever had a problem finding an appropriate card for that biking friend or relative and always come up short, then here could be a solution for you.

 

The three card designs in this first foray are from the Cafe Racer series of biro drawings completed last year and among my favourites. They have been digitally printed on heavy card stock with a matt finish to lend them some quality. They are A6 in size which works pretty well and helps me to offer them at a competitive price for a pack of three. Go take a look even if you’re not in the market, I’d welcome any feedback you’ve got.

 

The images on the cards are also offered as larger A3 and A2 fine art prints for those who feel like owning or giving something a bit more unique, and these are limited edition this time around, with a run of 250 prints in each size for each image. As I may have mentioned before these are Giclée prints of archival quality, fade resistant and on heavy stock acid free cotton paper.

 

That’s it for today, though I’ll leave you with a glimpse of something I’ve been fiddling with whilst I’ve been thinking about what I could put on a t-shirt. It’s just a sketch, but it could lead somewhere.

Soulcraftcandy sketch by Jon Tremlett