Originally, I was going to title this article “The Joy Of Crappiness”. This is because one of the things I’ve noticed when I look back at my old art from 2012 and early 2013 is that, although it looks hilariously awful, I was a lot more creative back then.
Yes, this is going to be a rambling, nostalgic article – but there’s a point to all of this (sort of). So, don’t be afraid to skip to the last five paragraphs if you’re not interested in my reflections on my own art.
Anyway, I still made a fair number of unimaginative drawings back in 2012 and early 2013, but I was making lots of comics (that I actually finished) and coming up with lots of interesting ideas for drawings – even if my drawing abilities were a lot more primitive than they are now.
Here are three examples of what I’m talking about:
These days, I’m a lot more proud of the technical quality my work – but I miss that energetic hyper-creativity that I used to have. And, I think I’ve worked out why I was so creative back then and why this has dropped off very slightly these days.
Back then, I didn’t really care about quality as much as I do now. Although I still produce “fast art“, it’s got a little bit slower than it used to be because I’ve had to put more time and effort into the quality of what I’m producing. Gone are the days when I’d happily produce and upload as many as eight A5-sized coloured pencil drawings or comic pages a day.
If I’m making a comic these days, then I’d probably just make one or two high-quality A4-sized watercolour pages per day. Like this one from my recent unfinished and abandoned sci-fi comic:
I guess that, because I didn’t care about quality and I was producing lots of smaller pieces – the chances of something interesting appearing increased significantly.
When I made a comic, I could make it spontaneously and at a breakneck pace. I could spend a week or two on a short comic and finish it just before it “overstayed it’s welcome” in my daily schedule.
Not only that, since I’m using watercolour pencils these days, I’m producing more “painterly” and “professional-looking” pictures – but one of the downsides of this is that it slows me down slightly (even if it just means having to wait for the paint to dry after every painting).
Despite all of this, I wouldn’t really want to go back to producing low-quality A5-sized drawings on a regular basis. Ok, it’d be interesting, but it would feel like a retrograde step in many ways.
Even so, I’m glad that I’ve still got all of my “terrible” old drawings because – not only are they filled with lots of great ideas that I can recycle, they’re also a reminder of one of the most creative periods of my life. If I’m feeling uninspired or I need to remind myself of how creative I can be, then I can take a look at all the stuff I produced in mid-late 2012 and early 2013.
So, what was the point of all this rose-tinted rambling?
Well, one of the best ways to learn more about yourself as an artist is to take a look at all of the stuff you used to produce ages ago.
Not only will it show you where you’ve come from and how much your art has evolved over the years, but it can also allow you to find out a lot about yourself as an artist too. Like I mentioned earlier, it can even show you things like what the best working pace is for you.
Honestly, you’d be surprised what you can learn about yourself from just looking back at your old art.
So, give it a try.
Anyway, I hope that this article was interesting 🙂