Today’s Art (31st August 2016)

Well, although I’m still making limited palette paintings at the moment, I felt like doing something a bit different and decided to paint a landscape.

This painting required quite a bit more digital editing than usual after I scanned it though (essentially, the hills on the right-hand side of the painting originally looked more like a tsunami wave than anything else. So, I eventually ended up reducing their height digitally, since it seemed like it was in poor taste).

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

"Blue Moon Street" By C. A. Brown

“Blue Moon Street” By C. A. Brown

Top Ten Articles – August 2016

2016 Artwork Top Ten Articles August

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

All in all, although some of this month’s articles were kind of rushed, I quite like how many of them turned out. Surprisingly though, I ended up posting a lot more reviews here than usual this month.

Anyway, here are the lists:

Top Ten Articles For August 2016:

– “Four Classic Ways To Bring A Character Back From The Dead
– “How To Take Inspiration From Other Things (Without Plagiarising Them)
– “How To Deal With Unconscious Inspiration (Plus An Art Preview)
– “Three Things About Making Good Sequels That I Learnt From A Terrible Computer Game
– “Finding Your Main Inspirations – A Ramble
– “Four Tips For Making Art (That Looks Like The Awesome Type Of Art You’ve Just Found Online)
– “Four Ways To Make Horror Funny
– “Four More Quick Sources Of Inspiration For Webcomic Updates
– “Three Things To Do When You See Better Art Than You Can (Currently) Make
– “What’s So Great About Webcomics?

Honourable Mentions:

– “How To Use Art Instruction Books
– “How To Give Your Audience That “Instantly At Home” Feeling

Getting Inspired By Remembering Seeing Cool Things From A Distance- A Ramble

2016 Artwork Cool things from a distance article sketch

Well, for today, I thought that I’d talk briefly about one interesting way to get inspired. I am, of course, talking about remembering (and researching) cool things that you perhaps only saw briefly, only knew a small amount about and/or have almost forgotten about.

Chances are, the things that will give you this type of inspiration will be things that fascinated you when you were younger. When we’re younger, there are usually all sorts of barriers between us and the cool things that fascinate us. Things cost too much, we don’t know where to look for things, we’re in the wrong social clique, we’re too young to buy certain things etc…

We’ll catch glimpses of fascinatingly cool things but, for one reason or another, won’t get to experience them fully. Since we only see these things from the outside, and have little information to work with, our imaginations often have to “fill in the gaps”.

So, when we revisit these things years later and look at them in more detail, they can be a surprisingly potent source of inspiration. Since we’re already “used” to daydreaming and thinking about them, they can be the perfect thing to prompt further daydreams and inspiration.

One personal example of this sort of thing is probably 1980s/90s American punk music (especially from California). When I was a kid in the late 1990s (and before I discovered heavy metal), this was the coolest genre of music in the world to me.

But, apart from a few CD singles by The Offspring, I didn’t own that much music in this genre. Whenever I visited my cousins, I’d always spend at least an hour listening to their collection of punk CDs.

It was this amazing genre of music, and I only had a limited knowledge of it at the time. I saw it from a distance. Of course, in the years since, I’ve listened to a lot more of it, I’ve discovered a few more bands and I have at least a few more punk CDs than I used to.

Yet, to me, 1990s California punk music will always be this cool genre of music that I can use to get into a “cool” mood. To get nostalgic about the 1990s. To daydream about a time, a historical place and an old version of a subculture that I’ll never fully experience. All of this stuff is, of course, a great source of inspiration for me.

Another personal example is probably gruesome horror movies from the 1980s. When I was a teenager, I was a massive horror fan but – thanks to this country’s stupid film censorship rules – actually seeing decent horror movies was a relatively rare occurrence.

Sure, I saw a few gruesome horror movies when I was a teenager (and was often disappointed that they were less gruesome than the second-hand splatterpunk horror novels I read regularly were). But, for every cool horror movie that I actually saw, I’d notice about ten more even cooler-looking horror movies in the shops that I didn’t look old enough to buy. The irony was that, once I’d was old enough to actually buy all of these movies, I’d moved away from the horror genre slightly.

So, one way that I can feel inspired is by looking at the horror genre again. Reading about old horror movies, watching trailers for them and occasionally even watching the odd horror movie. The horror genre used to really fire my imagination when I was a teenager (since I didn’t see as many horror movies as I should have) and I can kind of rekindle that feeling when I want to get inspired.

Of course, the things that inspire you will be different from these two things. But, if you need inspiration, then it can be worth looking at the things that you could only look at “from the outside” when you were younger.


Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Finding The Right Pace To Make Art – A Ramble

2016 Artwork Pacing yourself article

Well, for today, I thought that I’d talk about finding the right pace to make art. Although I’ll be spending virtually all of this article talking about the pace that I make art at, everyone is different and different things work for different people.

So, everything I say in this article is just an example of one way to pace yourself whilst making art. It isn’t the way that you “should” make art.

Anyway, back when I started making art every day in 2012, I quickly got to a point where I’d make several small drawings per day. In fact, as recently as 2014, I was making about two to four small paintings per day. However, unless I’m making a webcomic, I usually only make one small painting per day these days.

So, why have I slowed down?

It’s all to do with pacing myself. I’ve found that the risk of being uninspired is slightly lower if I only make one painting per day. If I’m feeling even mildly inspired, then trying to just make one painting per day means that I’ll be looking forward to making the next painting even more. In other words, it’s a way of maintaining my enthusiasm for painting (rather than using it all up in a single marathon painting session).

If I make several paintings in a single day, then it can be harder to think of ideas for the next day’s paintings. If I have lots of ideas, then I’ll sometimes quickly sketch them out in my sketchbook, but I’ll try to only turn one (or very rarely two) of them into paintings per day. This means that I don’t have to worry about coming up with new ideas for several days. It’s a way of making inspiration last longer.

The other reason that I quite like making just one painting per day is because of the large “buffer” of art that I’ve built up from the days when I used to make art more regularly. Although I almost always manage to make one painting per day, having a large stock of pre-made paintings (that I can post online each day) takes some of the pressure out of making art and it allows me to keep going at a reasonable pace.

Even when I’m not feeling inspired, having a rule about only making one painting per day can also help me keep painting. First of all, it lowers my expectations slightly – since I don’t have to worry about producing multiple paintings. I just have to make one painting, and this is something I can do when I’m uninspired.

Likewise, when I’m feeling uninspired, having a “one painting per day” rule can also be a form of damage limitation. Since I take my “make art every day” rule fairly seriously, I’ll still produce art when I’m not inspired – although it usually isn’t very good. Since artistic uninspiration usually tends to pass after a few days, limiting the amount of art that I make during this time also reduces the number of crappy paintings that appear here.

Ironically though, I don’t have this rule when I’m making webcomics. Instead, I used a different rule – which is something along the lines of “don’t spend more than about a week or so on a webcomic“.

By following this rule, I can produce multiple comic updates per day (and build up my “buffer” of daily art/comics updates) but I’m able to stop before I feel too burnt out. This is why most of my webcomics that have appeared here this year have been released as shorter mini series (they can be seen here, here, here, here and here).

Of course, this is just what works for me. Everyone is different and different things work for different people. Still, it’s usually worth finding the pace that works best for you. However, the only way to learn what works for you is through trial, error and experimentation – so, it can sometimes take a while to get it right.


Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art (28th August 2016)

Well, I’m still in the mood for limited palette painting. However, today’s painting was kind of rushed, since I also made a political cartoon (that I may or may not have posted earlier this year) during the same day that I made this painting.

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

"Empty Sector" By C. A. Brown

“Empty Sector” By C. A. Brown