Recycling is good for the environment, but is it good for you and your audience?
No, I’m not talking about recycling your failed projects again, but about redrawing your old drawings.
The fact is that redrawing is an incredibly fun thing to do. Redrawings can be a good source of filler material for your blog/online gallery and redrawings are also a brilliant way to get past artist’s block too. As well as revisiting your best artworks from the past and bringing them up to date, it’s also a brilliant way to show yourself how much your drawing skills have improved too (especially if you choose a really old drawing to re-draw too). All in all, it is wonderful!
But, nonetheless, it’s something which you shouldn’t do too often for several reasons…
Firstly, by going over and over your past artwork again, you aren’t creating anything new. You aren’t practicing thinking creatively if you just spend a lot of time re-drawing your own drawings (it’s kind of the same as if you spend all of your time drawing fan art). Whatever spark of inspiration you had when you drew the original drawing may not be there when you redraw it and, after redrawing too many of your old drawings, you might have even forgotten how great it feels to make something new.
Secondly, if you post your art on the internet, then your audience might find it to be fairly repetitive if you redraw your old drawings too often too. Yes, it’s nostalgic and interesting if it happens occasionally (especially if you choose to redraw something which has had a lot of views). But, if it happens too often, then your blog/online gallery will probably start to look like a television station which shows nothing but repeats of old shows.
But I like redrawings! How do I keep them interesting?
In short, change a few details in your redrawing. Add more things to the background, re-draw your old black&white drawing in colour, give your characters slightly different clothes, show things from a slightly different angle or draw it in a different style. Whatever you do, the new version of your old drawing should at least look like a different drawing.
Also, you should wait quite a while before you decide to redraw something. I’d say three to six months at the very least, depending on how often you draw new pictures. If you redraw something a month after you drew the original, then your creative abilities probably haven’t improved enough to make the redrawing look a lot better than the original drawing. It’ll just look like a very similar copy of the original drawing.
Another good thing to do with redrawings is to change something about the basic format of the drawing too. For example, if your original drawing was quite small, then make sure that your redrawing is much larger. Or if you drew your original drawing by hand, then (if you have a graphics tablet) try redrawing it on the computer.
As well as keeping things interesting for your audience, changing things in your redrawings also makes you think about your original drawing in new and more creative ways (this will help you to avoid one of the pitfalls of re-drawing which I mentioned earlier in this article too).
Think of it this way – the best cover versions of old songs aren’t always the ones which try to reproduce the original song as closely as possible, but the ones where the band tries to interpret the other song in a totally different way. I’m sure you can probably think of at least one example of this.
So, in conclusion, redrawing your old drawings is a lot of fun – but you shouldn’t do it too often and, when you do it, be sure to change a few things.
[Regular readers of my online gallery can probably work out which drawing I’ve re-drawn (yet again…) in the sketch at the top of this blog post].