Thursday, October 9, 2008

process and progress in art and writing

Do your writing and/or art processes help you make progress, or slow it down?

ART: it’s all about the process

When I went to art school, process was just as important as what the picture looked like when you were done. Every few years or so, my art progresses through changes in process because I like to play with techniques, styles, mediums and subjects. Right now I’m in the midst of a jump in my art. It started sometime last year and I’ve been working on it ever since. The last time I made a big leap in my art, I spent every day for a year drawing and painting cows, followed by a year of dogs. I did two solid years of art before I was satisfied that I was on my new path.

My progress this time has been a bit disjointed because I’ve been recovering from an injury, which means I can’t work as fast or as long as I used to. And I’ve been making art for the art licensing business I started this year and the picture book request I have. Those are all good things, but they’ve slowed the growth on my new processes. I also work in both digital and traditional mediums, so I’m working on a new direction for both.

I like my new digital style. I need to do a few more pictures to make sure, but it seems like a good style that showcases my strengths as an artist. As most artists know, you don’t want to go too far with a style you can’t duplicate or don’t want to work in on a regular basis, which is why I need more practice.

I’m still trying to nail down my other style. Right now I’m painting a zombie cheerleader because it’s close to Halloween and I like zombies. When I get the zombie cheerleader done, I’ll decide if I want to continue with the style (and maybe post a picture). If yes, then I’ll pick another subject and try again, then repeat until I know I have the style down. Maybe I’ll even do a whole series of zombie cheerleaders ;)

WRITING: process can lead to progress … or not

I’ve been blathering on my blog for the last few years about various books I’ve worked on. My novels always seem to get side-tracked for a picture book request from a portfolio review, but no more (after the current PB request). Insert much eye rolling here. My art licensing business will still need to co-exist with my writing.

My problem lately is “lots of process, not much progress.”

So, I’ve decided to scrap my current WIP for a new, just-for-me-novel for NaNoWriMo. No, this isn’t crazy, it takes the pressure off of the writing process to do something just for fun. Besides, the MC in my current WIP will be the best friend in the just-for-me-novel. It’s not a prequel or a sequel, it’s just a novel set in the same world, with another character taking the lead. I think it might shake things up and allow me to make progress in my writing.

This decision is all about a new, much more productive process for both writing and art. I’ve done NaNoWriMo twice (finished once, sidetracked by a PB request the other time). The year I finished, I got a lot done outside of my NaNo project so it’s worth another shot.

I need to get back to making progress in my writing, art, and life. NaNoWriMo and art exploration seem like good things to get me going again. At the same time, I’m heading back to the gym to get in shape (I haven’t completely recovered from my injury, but it’s time to get moving again). I’m also going to keep making zombie cheerleader paintings and other just-for-me-art, so I can make progress on the PB request and my art licensing projects.

I’m not trying to kill myself, I’m just trying to get back a bit of my old life, the one where I made progress through process. IF I’m still alive at the end of November, I’m hoping I will also be back on track.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need buckets of it!