Art · Blog

The Process of “The Process”

A.k.a art is an evolution

Written while listening to: “Hurricane” — Halsey

To an artist, a blank piece of paper is the most terrifying thing in the world. And a pencil. And an eraser. Really any tool necessary for making art is terrifying to an artist.

Because we know that 99% of what we’re about to put on a blank page is probably going to be shit.

One of the most important things I’ve learned from working at Threadless is that art is an evolution. When I interview artists, my favorite part is looking back at how their style started vs. where it’s ended up. It’s really inspired me to pick up drawing again and it’s been crazy to see how my style’s developed:

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Left is…oh man, early high school? Right is 2012

I started developing my style by tracing body poses from a “How to Draw Manga” art book, to get the feel of the body on the page (oh hayyy.) And my style was super Manga-heavy at first. Y’know, chibis and stuff.

Then my style got an upgrade when I switched to Avatar: The Last Airbender fanart. A lot of it. To accompany a fanfic so long that I won’t tell you that it was 96 pages…

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Avatar fanart…shutup, I was 15…(left was more recent than right…thank God)

And from there? Comics. And that’s where my style stands — a cocktail of manga origins mixed with Americana Pulp Art by, say, Brett Parson (more like BAE Parson). And moody, artistic surreal work a la Amanda Manitach.

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Far left is angsty art from my early high school days, middle and right is angsty art from modern day! EMBRACE THE DARKNESS.

For me, seeing how it evolves is the best part of art. It’s like the embodiment of personal growth, a visualization of how you’ve changed over time.

As a creative person, I’ve learned that along with all those crinkled up pieces of crap writing/drawings we throw away, we also need to learn how to throw away our pride as creatives.

Nothing inhibits your growth like your ego. Because sure, knowing that what you’re about to put on a page might suck isn’t exactly super motivating. Actually, it’s terrifying.

But then again, do nothing, and you’ll never get better.

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Character design in 2013…
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…vs character design in 2015

I kind of stopped drawing for awhile for that reason. But ever since I started working at a place where if your desk isn’t covered in toys, you’re the weird one, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with people who inspired me to start drawing again. Even in just a year, I’ve changed immensely.

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GUH I can’t figure out how to switch the two so RIGHT: spring 2015 and LEFT: Summer 2015

Just like we grow out of things and change what and who and how we love, drawings we once thought were incredible suddenly start to pale against our new style. And it’s pretty dang satisfying.

Unless you’re in that rare holy grail-level slipstream of creativity where you could throw pencils at a wall and create artistic gold, your drawing is never going to come out how you think — for better or for worse. It creates this weird mental war that goes on when you draw. Because everything you put on the page is a choice (just like life, maaan).

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Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 12.45.05 PM

And sometimes just letting your pencil and right brain pull your hand like a ghost to a Ouija board is the cure for getting out of your head and onto the page.

Embrace your inner Yoda spirit guide and don’t think. Just do.



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