Q:Hi Alex, I was wondering if you could talk about what kinds of things you're thinking as you fill up your sketchbook pages? They're so wonderfully dense. Sometimes I feel like I'm searching for inspiration, where it looks like you have no shortage of it. Any advice? :)
Quite a few people have asked similar questions, so figured I should answer this publicly, sorry for the spam.
Mostly it’s down to my sketchbook becoming part of my daily routine. I find it very hard to get going with my work day without doing a page of sketches or two. If I can, I will head out to a coffee shop and have a cup of tea (just to be a rebel) and draw a few passers by. The most important thing here (for me anyway) is just to glance at a person once, and draw the gesture as quickly as possible, that way you are drawing mainly from memory rather than direct observation. After doing that a couple of times, I just start drawing random figures and faces from my head, usually somewhat absentmindedly while I think on what ever story or character or anything else I am planning on working on that day. Then actual productive sketches start to creep onto my page more organically that sitting down and thinking “I am going to draw thing, and thing is going to be awesome” which I always find sets me up for failure.
If I can’t get out to sketch, as a fall back I use http://artists.pixelovely.com/practice-tools/figure-drawing/ set to 1-2 minuets (depending if I am going to do some light studies) but I rarely take more than 30 seconds a gesture. I like to doodle a few faces/heads between images loading, so I let the timer go maybe 30 seconds more than I need.
The most important thing for me as far as filling sketch books go was to stop being so concerned as to whether or not the drawing I’m doing is good or not. I spent a long time, years even, of being in this cycle of starting a sketch book, then trying to make one good drawing on every page (which was never going to happen) and everything would turn out really stiff, forced, over rendered and poorly/over thought out. You could see my anxiety and frustration in everything that I would draw.
A few years ago I decided that I would fill every page, drawing over drawing and perhaps for every 100 sketches I did (which really doesn’t take very long at all) I would get 1 decent one I could actually use. I am not the best illustrator or draftsman out there by a long shot, but after filling a few sketch books every 12 months for the last three years, my work has improved dramatically (at least, that’s what people tell me, I am a terrible judge of my own stuff haha).
Short version: Don’t wait for inspiration, just draw anything, a lot of anything and before you know it you will find yourself drawing something. Maybe even something good!
I just wanted to add that I am a big fan of your work. I love the figure turn around you posted a little while ago, fantastic stuff.
I hope that rant helps in some small way!
All the best,
Alex Wilson’s advice about keeping a sketchbook Full. Good stuff!
Warm up’s from yesterday. Every once in a while I like to draw a page ‘o’ Rosie, see if I can’t figure her character out a little more.
Hope your week has started well!
I want to get my sketchbook looking as confident and free as Ale’x - just inspirational!
His colours are suchan inspiration!
Since I’ve been playing Wildstar so much here lately, I thought I’d celebrate with a little concept art dump!! Some of the many random things I drew during my time at Carbine. Also I’m sure Andy Cotnam, Mindy Lee, or Johnson Truong probably had a hand in the concepting of more than a few of these. What a super talented team I had!