Don’t Let Uninspiration Win! – A Ramble

Well, it’s time for another thrillingly melodramatic account of staring total and utter uninspiration in the face and still making a finished piece of art.

I know that I’ve told stories like this more times than I can remember, but they’re worth telling for the simple reason that feeling uninspired is something that all artists face from time to time – and it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s often something that can be defeated with the right mixture of inventivness and/or determination.

This is the kind of determination that comes from wasting investing large portions of one’s life in playing fiendishly difficult computer games from the 1990s and early-mid 2000s. The kind of determination where, even when the feeling of “Oooh! A challenge!” has faded slightly, you keep going because… dammit… all games can be completed! Yes, this is one of those stories.

Anyway, let me set the scene. It was a long, sweaty summer night last year and I had to make something for one of this year’s daily art posts (yes, if you’re posting art online regularly, make your art as far in advance as you can – it takes at least some of the pressure off of you. It isn’t “cheating”. It’s common sense!).

I’d had a large meal and a bottle of vaguely hipsterish “craft” beer earlier (seriously, the description on the back of the bottle read like a piece of found poetry), and I was feeling somewhat lethargic as a result. Something not helped by the hot weather or the fact that I was fairly tired and had spent far too long writing and editing this review of an episode of “Doctor Who”.

Still, I needed to make some art! A sensible attempt to make some art earlier in the day had failed miserably when my idea for a cool 1990s-influenced cyberpunk picture ended up looking more like something from the 1970s:

Yeah, this didn’t end up being the badass 90s-inflenced picture I’d originally anticipated. So, it ended up being abandoned.

But, it was late and I had to make some art! So, I put a DVD on in the background and started sketching. After two episodes of “American Dad” and one episode from a “Futurama” DVD, I’d eventually come up with the beginnings of what looked like it could be a “film noir” painting. Except, to my horror, I suddenly realised that it looked so terrible that I had no choice but to abandon it.

*shudders* Seriously, it looks like former prime minister David Cameron posing for a professional photograph!

No, this would not do! I’d have to take emergency measures! So, I drew a few angular lines in my sketchbook, with the plan that I would scan them and cunningly disguise them as “art” using image editing software. No-one would be any the wiser! But, alas, this devious plan didn’t turn out well….

For a while, I actually thought about just saying “f*** it” and using this in my daily art post, but…

After a lot of editing, my computer suddenly crashed. Bands of glitched-out pixels streaked the screen, as if in protest at the monstrosity that I had wrought. Taking this as a sign that I needed to take a break and do something new, I restarted my computer and got a refreshing glass of ice water whilst I tried to think of what to do next.

Then it struck me. I’d make a picture using nothing but digital tools – I’d done it for a large part of this highly-uninspired comic update and I could do it again!

So, I created a blank image file, filled the background with solid black and opened it in my ancient late 1990s image editing program. The plan was to cunningly use silhouettes and the program’s “noise” effect to create a piece of quick, cool-looking cyberpunk art that would be inspired by both “Blade Runner” and this Doom II level.

Taking up my mouse (because, by this point, I really couldn’t be bothered to dust off my graphics tablet) and telling myself that victory was close at hand, I began my task. Things were going well. The picture looked cool and I also soon realised that, by messing around with the brightness levels, I could add a fog-shrouded city to the background too. But, then… Disaster struck!

My computer crashed again! I hadn’t saved my work!

By now, I was tired, sweaty, in a state of mild fury and … determined. Punching the reset button, I told myself that I would rebuild!

And I did! Within fifteen minutes, I’d re-created the picture. Yes, the lines looked less precise than those in the original “lost” version of the picture, but it still looked a bit similar. Best of all, this time I’d remembered to save my work! And, wow, it actually looked like art! Here’s a reduced-size preview:

The full-size picture will be posted here on the 2nd May.

Yes, this tale was a little melodramatic and it is hardly typical of an uninspired day. But, it is proof that “not feeling inspired” isn’t the end of the world! It is possible to make art even when it seems like a near-impossible task.

—————

Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

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3 comments on “Don’t Let Uninspiration Win! – A Ramble

  1. I don’t generally read anything titled “a ramble”, but am happy to see one from you on this topic 🙂 All unite against Uninspiration!

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