For today, I thought that I’d look at a few things (other than improvements in your skill level) that making new versions of your older works of art will show you. For best results, it’s usually a good idea to wait until a piece of art is at least 1-2 years old before attempting to create a new version of it.
So, here are two other things than how much better you’ve got at making art that remaking your old art can show you:
1) Your influences: Whilst writing yesterday’s article, I went looking for a painting that I remembered making in 2015. When I saw this painting, I just had to remake it. But, something interesting happened when I did…
Here’s the painting from 2015:
And here’s a reduced-size preview of the new version, which will be posted here in December:
As you can tell, both versions look radically different. This is mostly because of all of the extra inspirations I’ve found in the time between making these paintings.
When I made the original painting in 2015, the two main influences were “Blade Runner” and a game called “Dark Forces“. But, when I made the remake, I’d also been influenced by other things in the sci-fi/cyberpunk genre like these “Doom II” levels, “System Shock“, “Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex“, “Technobabylon” etc… too.
So, remaking an old painting in your current style can be a great way to see how many extra influences you’ve picked up.
2) Your best works: Generally speaking, you can find out a lot about what your “greatest hits” are by seeing which of your old paintings or drawings you really want to remake.
Whilst everyone’s motivations for remaking a piece of art might differ, it often happens because you want to see what one of your favourite pictures looks like at the highest level of quality that you can produce. In other words, you probably want to see a clearer picture of what you really wanted to draw when you had less experience.
This can be a good way to find a group of paintings or drawings you can show off if you ever need to give a brief overview of your art to anyone. Seeing which paintings you’ve remade (or want to remake) can be a quick way to find your own collection of “classics”.
Likewise, if you try to remake a picture and find that any remake doesn’t look as good as the original does, then this is usually a sign that the original is one of your best works because it has stood the test of time (although it can sometimes mean that you need to wait longer before remaking it). For example, here’s a painting of mine called “La Chanteuse” that was posted here in 2016:
I really like this painting! It’s dramatic, gothic and atmospheric. So, naturally, I tried to remake it about a year or so later. The remake was an absolute failure – although the lighting looks slightly more realistic and the characters are more well-drawn on a technical level, the remake just really doesn’t have the same atmosphere and ambience that the original did:
So, if you really want to remake a painting and/or if the remake doesn’t turn out as well as the original, then this usually means that it’s one of your best works.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂