Saturday, 6 April 2019

My Art Journey (Part 1)


I've been drawing for a fair amount of time, around 22+ years, and it's something I continue to enjoy immensely to this day. I actually gave up Art as a formal subject at age 14 (mostly because I had to study sciences for my future career in medicine, but also because if I had to draw another goddamn still-life I was going to break my pencils in half!), but that didn't stop me pursuing it in my own time.

My drawings have come a long way since I first started, and it's interesting to see the various phases I've had. So, given that I'm in a very different place where I began, I've decided to look back on my art journey and see how I've arrived here.

Phase 1: Where it Began

The very first drawings I ever did were...Sonic the Hedgehog! I got a SEGA Mega Drive age 5 with Sonic 1 bundled in, and while I used to burst into tears when I couldn't get past Marble Zone (the second level), something about the plucky blue hedgehog drew me to him. Literally haha!


A very early drawing of Dr Robotnik (I was probably between 6-8 years old)
A very early drawing of Dr Robotnik (I was probably between 6-8 years old)

I even made a Sonic board game, drawing the individual panels, which I'm still rather impressed with.


Behold the days when doctors could accept useful office stationary from the pharmaceutical companies!
Behold the days when doctors could accept useful office stationary from the pharmaceutical companies!

As I grew older and art became a more formal subject at school, I started to enjoy it even more. I was especially interested in nature art, such as flowers and animals. It also helped that I had an extremely talented art teacher who was very encouraging of my ability. I can still remember when, not long after I had started my new school year, she caught me in the corridor and casually told me I was in the school's art club- which was quite prestigious as only kids with promising potential were allowed to join it! It made me feel very proud, and I enjoyed attending every Monday morning before lessons.

Sadly she passed away from tetanus about two years after I was in the art club, which was devastating. Her replacement wasn't nearly as enthusiastic, but I continued on, remaining a part of the school art club and making interesting fun projects such as ink paintings:


An ink pattern based on a peacock feather
An ink pattern based on a peacock feather

However, nature wasn't always a possible drawing subject, and I got very, very tired of constantly being told to draw still-lifes (which was eventually what made me drop Art quicker than a boiling metal pan handle). Plus, since I wasn't actually being taught useful things like how to identify a light source, measuring from a reference, shading etc (which I all had to teach myself years later, and am still learning!), I didn't find these types of drawing exercise useful.


The joys of...fruit and veg...yaaaay...
The joys of...fruit and veg...yaaaay...

On the days we were allowed more artistic freedom, however, I dove straight for animals. These were much more interesting and dynamic than plain old fruit and kettles, and I loved sketching them. Elephants and tigers were my most favoured, as well as dolphins and foxes.


Hear me roar!
Hear me roar!


Dolphins were my favourite animal at the time and this showed!
Dolphins were my favourite animal at the time and this showed!


It's supposed to be a fox, I promise you!
It's supposed to be a fox, I promise you!

And so, as I left to start secondary school age 14, I left my humble beginnings for the next phase of my art journey...

Phase 2: 'It's Anime not Pokemon!'

During the ages of 12-14 I drifted away from drawing in my leisure time, sticking to only drawing in school for projects rather than my own amusement. It was only when I moved to secondary school that I got back into it, as at that time I also started to get into Japanese animation, or 'anime' as it's more commonly known.

The anime Tekkaman Blade (or as I knew it, Teknoman) aired on Fox Kids in the UK, and I got really into it. Thus my thirst for drawing came back, and I started drawing the characters from the show. Yes, like so many artists out there, anime was also one of my first forays!


(insert image of my Teknoman art- sadly I don't seem to have kept any!)

Once Teknoman ended I fell further into the anime whirlpool, starting to watch things such as Evangelion, Love Hina and many more. I also got into Japanese RPG games, namely the Final Fantasy series, with Final Fantasy IX being my first (and still favourite) of the franchise.

I became known for drawing at school, but of course as Pokemon was far more popular I got colloquially known as the 'Pokemon drawer'. Prompting the always-to-fall-on-deaf-ears protest that makes the name of this phase!


Presenting Asuka from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion...along with a sticker one of my friends added as I often put these pictures on my locker!
Presenting Asuka from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion...along with a sticker one of my friends added as I often put these pictures on my locker!


Orphen from the anime Sorcerous Stabber Orphen...I was rather obsessed with his character design, which you will see comes into play later down the line...
Orphen from the anime Sorcerous Stabber Orphen...I was rather obsessed with his character design, which you will see comes into play later down the line...

Thus drawing became a firmly establishing pastime, and so it was only inevitable that...

Phase 3: Deviantart and the Fanart Frenzy!

So, deviantart (at the time at least, in the early 2000s) was the biggest website to view and post art, mostly fanart of games, anime, books and everything else in between. I badly wanted to join...alas let me tell you a tale...

My history with deviantart is a little weird. In 2003, for some reason anyone who used AOL as their primary ISP (internet service provider) was blocked to make accounts on the site. I think it had something to do with troll accounts or something, and the code of the website just didn't allow for specific blocking of the troublemakers.

Of course, guess who had AOL. This was massively disappointing, as I adored the art there and wanted a place to save my favourites and post my own work.

Lo, as luck would have it, an online friend who had BT internet kindly created an account on my behalf, and it's been mine ever since. This was also when I managed to find a graphics tablet from John Lewis, and thus I ventured into digital art for the first time (see my post on Essential Tools of my Art to learn more).

Most of my early deviantart work was fanart, again from various anime as I was growing quite a taste for it, along with my favourite video games (funny how the two often coincide, isn't it?). My software of choice was Paint Shop Pro initially, but eventually I graduated to Adobe Photoshop, which has been my mainstay until very recently (I still use it to colour, but I now use FireAlpaca for lines first).


Arima and Yukino from the anime KareKano, my first ever digital piece!
Arima and Yukino from the anime KareKano, my first ever digital piece!


Looks familiar? The digital version of the Asuka pencil drawing from earlier!
Looks familiar? The digital version of the pencil drawing from earlier!

However, one day, everything changed, and that was when I played a game that opened the door to me creating my own characters, and taking the next step on my journey...

To be continued in Part 2!

No comments:

Post a comment