Today’s Art (30th June 2016)

Well, at the time of making this painting, I was still in the mood for using a limited palette and I was also fascinated by Brutalist architecture too.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Catwalk Eight" By C. A. Brown

“Catwalk Eight” By C. A. Brown

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Top Ten Articles – June 2016

2016 Artwork Top Ten Articles June

Well, it’s the end of the month and this means that it’s time for me to give you my usual list of links to ten of my favourite articles about making art, making comics and/or writing fiction that I’ve posted here over the past month. As usual, I’ll also include a couple of honourable mentions too.

All in all, this has been a rather strange month on here. I was feeling uninspired a lot more than usual when I wrote this month’s articles, so I often ended up writing about all sorts of random topics (eg: fountain pens, Brutalist architecture, Sherlock Holmes, Teeline Shorthand etc…). Still, I’d hardly say that this was the worst month on here in terms of articles.

Anyway, without any further ado, here are the lists:

Top Ten Articles – June 2016:

– “Four Very Basic Tips For Writing Sherlock Holmes Parody Stories
– “One Subtle Way To Give Your Characters More Depth
– “Three Ways To Add Some “Special Features” To Your Webcomic (Plus an exclusive unfinished “Damania Returns” comic!)
– “Four Reasons To Make A Webcomic Mini Series
– “Four Quick Sources Of Inspiration For Daily Webcomic Updates
– “Three Things To Do When You’re Having A Bad Day With Your Webcomic
– “Five Very Quick Tips For Writing Sci-Fi Comedy
– “Three Ways To Spoiler-Proof Your Story Or Comic
– “Why You Shouldn’t Get Jealous Of The Ways That Other Artists Make Their Art
-“Why Do Webcomics Often Get Political ?

Honourable Mentions:

– “How To Create A Corkboard Effect In Your Art Using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)
– “Adding Some Action To Your Art – A Ramble (With An Art Preview too)

Today’s Art (29th June 2016)

Well, today’s painting is a re-make of one of my older paintings (“Chainmail And Chainsaws”), since it’s been about a year since I last posted a re-make of it and, well, I wanted a quick and easy idea for a painting.

The previous versions of this painting were made in 2014 and in 2015. This version is slightly different, since it uses a limited palette (this is a technique that I only really started practicing since the second half of last year at the very least).

However, I ended up making some fairly significant digital edits to this painting after scanning it, because I hadn’t mixed the orange consistently. Basically, it originally looked like both duellists were covered in blood (rather than the glow from the sparks that their chainsaws were creating).

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Chainmail And Chainsaws (III)" By C. A. Brown

“Chainmail And Chainsaws (III)” By C. A. Brown

Are Left-Handed People More Creative? – A Ramble

2016 Artwork Left Handedness and creativity

One of the first things that I will say is that this is purely an opinion article, rather than a scientific study or anything like that.

If you’re looking for objective facts or detailed research, then it might be worth looking elsewhere. But, if you’re looking for rambling subjective thoughts, then you’ve come to the right place.

Anyway, I’ve read a few things in books and articles over the years which suggest that left-handed people (like myself) are more creative than right-handed people are.

This follows the (somewhat contested, and possibly totally disproved) theory that, with left-handed people, the right-hand sides of our brains are dominant. This supposedly means that we have more brainpower available when it comes to things like visual thinking etc… albeit at the cost of the side of our brains that deals with linguistics etc.. not being dominant.

Like anyone, I can only speak from my own experience here – since I’ll only use one brain during this lifetime and I won’t get to use any others. So, I can’t really compare. But, I usually tend to think in visual, verbal and physical (this is the only way I can describe it) ways in fairly equal measure. If anything, the verbal parts of my thoughts are probably slightly more prominent in day to day life than the visual or physical parts are.

Yet, nonetheless, back when I wrote a lot more fiction, I’d often think about writing in a very visual way. For example, I’d draw little sketches of the characters before starting a story. Plus, when it came to actually writing, it would be more like I was sometimes translating my visual thoughts into words. Then again, this is hardly unusual. I mean, if people lacked the ability to translate words into images, then literature wouldn’t exist. No-one would see the point in it.

However, when I switched from being a writer to being an artist – and had enough practice to become vaguely competent at it- it was extremely liberating. I didn’t have to construct an elaborate story to go with any of the visual thoughts that I had. I could just draw or paint the thoughts themselves and not bother with coming up with a story.

But, in many of the art videos that I’ve seen on Youtube – artists who are far better at art than I am and far more creative than I am can clearly be seen to be drawing or painting using their right hand. So, the idea that being left-handed instantly makes you more artistic or creative is absolutely absurd. If anything, practice makes you a better artist.

There’s also the theory that left-handed people are more creative because we’ve had to adapt to a world that is primarily designed for right-handed people. Supposedly, this means that we have to think about things more (which can stimulate creativity).

But, for me, adapting to right-handed stuff is just an ordinarily mundane part of everyday life. It’s not something that I really think about much. In fact, bizarrely, I’m actually better at using a computer mouse, playing pool and playing the guitar (what little I could play on it) right-handed than I am at doing any of these three things left-handed. These seem to be pretty much the only exceptions though, I’m better at doing everything else left-handed.

Whilst this slight degree of ambidexterity is a cool bonus, I’ve never really noticed that it’s had any effect on my level of creativity. Then again, I have no real basis for comparison.

In conclusion, although being left-handed is really cool and although I can’t even imagine living life as anything other than left-handed, it isn’t some magical thing that automatically makes us more creative than anyone else. There are brilliant left-handed writers, actors, musicians and artists out there and there are brilliant right-handed ones too. Creativity is something that seems to follow it’s own unknown rules.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art (28th June 2016)

Well, this painting was kind of a strange one. Originally, I’d planned to make a “realistic” painting set in the 1990s but, when it came to drawing the background, I was still in a 1980s/90s sci-fi kind of mood, so it went in a slightly more imaginative direction. Although this painting required less digital editing than yesterday’s painting did, it still required slightly more than usual.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Carriage Four" By C. A. Brown

“Carriage Four” By C. A. Brown

One Essential Thing That Will Stop You Being Uninspired When You Make Art Every Day (With Art Preview)

2016 Artwork Backup Ideas article sketch

Well, for today, I thought that I’d talk about something essential that all artists who produce art regularly should have. I’ve probably mentioned this subject before but, in the week before I originally wrote this article, I found myself relying on this essential thing once again. I am, of course, talking about backup ideas.

Backup ideas are, quite simply, types of art that you can pretty much make in your sleep. These are types of paintings or drawings that require very little actual inspiration – but which still look like they’re at least slightly inspired.

What each artist’s supply of backup ideas looks like will vary significantly from artist to artist. Your backup ideas will probably look very different to mine, but my backup ideas include things like cyberpunk cityscapes, landscape paintings, new versions of my old paintings, still life paintings, Sherlock Holmes, silhouette paintings, vintage fashion, sunsets, deserts, minimalist art and horror-themed art.

If I’m completely uninspired, or even slightly uninspired, then I can just use one of these ideas in order to come up with an idea for a painting. If it wasn’t for backup ideas, I probably wouldn’t be able to produce one painting a day. They are one of the things that stops me from throwing my arms in the air theatrically and saying “I’m uninspired!” and missing a day’s artwork.

So, how do you find these ideas? There are several ways. The first is simply to know yourself. If you know which subjects fascinate and inspire you, then these are often good things to use as backup ideas (as well as for when you’re actually feeling inspired) for the simple reason that you find them inherently interesting.

To other way to build up a supply of backup ideas is through experience and practice. Once you’ve made art regularly for a while, you’ll probably begin to get a sense of which types of art are “easier” to make (and/or more fun to make).

This might surprise you sometimes though. For example, before I got serious about practicing regularly, I always assumed that realisitic still life paintings were ridiculously difficult to make. However, after a fair amount of general art practice, I finally realised that they’re one of the easiest types of art to make – for the simple reason that you’re just copying the things in front of you. There’s very little inspiration required.

Finally, another good way to find backup ideas is through research. Look at as much art (old, new, digital, traditional, comics, art from other parts of the world etc…) as you can and, if you see an artistic technique that either looks cool or looks like it would be easy to recreate, then try it out. It might take a bit of practice, some careful observation and a few mistakes before you learn the technique in question. But, once you know how to use it, then it can become one of your backup ideas.

Not only that, you don’t just have to use one of these ideas at a time. In fact, you can make easier (and more creative) art by combining a few of them.

For example, on the day that I was making one of the daily paintings that will be posted here in early July, I was having a terrible day. It was one of those days where everything seemed to be going wrong. When I finally got round to making some art, I really wasn’t in the mood. But, it was near the end of the day and I had to make some art. So, what did I do?

I relied on two or three of my backup ideas in order to provide inspiration. I first decided to make a painting of Sherlock Holmes but, to keep things quick and easy, I decided to make the most minimslist silhouette of Sherlock Holmes that I could get away with.

In the end, I made a digitally-edited painting of Sherlock Holmes sitting in front of a window in a darkened room. It took me about twenty minutes at the most. It was quick and it was probably a bit lazy, but it meant that I actually made a painting on a day when I really couldn’t be bothered.

Here’s a small preview of what the painting looked like:

"221B (Preview)" By C. A. Brown

“221B (Preview)” By C. A. Brown

So, yes, a good supply of backup ideas is essential for any artist who makes art regularly.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (27th June 2016)

As you can probably see, this painting required an epic amount of digital editing and effects after I scanned it.

Basically, this was a painting I made quite a while back (since there’s usually quite a long delay between making a painting and posting it on here) of some roadworks that I saw on a roundabout near Havant.

Because it was at night, the angular steel fences, the headlights and the lights of the town in the distance looked exactly like something from a cross between “Blade Runner”, “Terminator” and several music videos by The Sisters Of Mercy.

In other words, they were somehow the coolest roadworks that I’ve ever seen.

And, although I originally tried to make a “serious” painting of this scene, it didn’t look that interesting – so, thanks to quite a bit of digital editing (using MS Paint, Paint Shop Pro 6 and GIMP multiple times), I turned it into something a bit closer to what was going through my imagination at the time.

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Havant Roadworks, In Imagination And Memory" By C. A. Brown

“Havant Roadworks, In Imagination And Memory” By C. A. Brown