Archive for the ‘illustration’ Category
“Here’s the first illustration,” I say to my son. “What happens before this?”
“The mighty bear snatches the children and hoists them to his shoulders. Suddenly the minor god Zangboolantar appears and tells the bear that he must sacrifice the children on the top of Mount Grabfalder. Two giant purple lightening bolts blast out of the skies and incinerate the children into dust.”
My favourite web site right now is Brain Pickings. The curator of this information believes in the idea of Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity, an idea that resonates with me like nothing else has before.
It’s the answer I’ve been looking for all my life, to everyone who’s told me that there are no new ideas, that everything has been thought before. This has become like a block in my head, especially with the explosion of the internet – you start wondering if all of humanity is just a blog of breathing, eating, shitting nothingness, repeating memes over and over, each new generation regurgitating the same thoughts, jokes, revelations, loves, hates. You start wondering if there is any point to attempting any sort of art at all.
Largely, the ideas of networked knowledge, when applied to the facebooking masses, just scare me. I don’t understand it and I don’t want to understand it.
But when I start reading Brain Pickings, I start to feel a sense of calm creep over me and the stress rush out. And then a sense of excitement and inspiration flows into the empty space. There’s a peace in just accepting that there are no new ideas, but that all ideas build on everything known and learned and thought before.
Brain Pickings curator Maria Popovich describes it this way, “Now, implicit to this idea of combinatorial creativity is the admission is that nothing is truly original, at least not in the sense of being built from scratch, and that can be hard. There’s a lot of resistance in the creative ego to that idea. But there is plenty of evidence for this ecosystem of influences and inspirations.”
Recently, Brain Pickings posted an the amazing speech by Debbie Millman, delivered to the graduating class at San Jose State University. You can listen to it, or read the full transcript here.
She says exactly what I would say to my own children, who are finishing up high school and about to pursue paths of their own. My daughter is about to move to Toronto to study Comic Book illustration. If anyone can make a success of this challenging and exciting career it is my daughter, who is driven, like no one I’ve met before. It brings out all sorts of pride and awe in me, because like Millman, I think I’ve chosen the simpler path in my own life. I’ve “determined what was possible even before is was impossible.”
Millman says, “Our abilities are limited only by our perceptions … Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities, don’t compromise, and don’t waste time. Start now. Not 20 years from now, not two weeks from now. Now.”
This weekend I spent some time drawing as I kept my daughter company. She has also been drawing, working on her portfolio for art college.
I only drew bears.
There were a few complaints from the other side of the table that all I know how to draw are bears, and did I really want to grow old only ever drawing bears?
I said, I know how to draw boys too.
I tried drawing a pig and a cat, but they both ended up looking like bears. So maybe it’s true and all I can draw now are bears.
I’m just glad I don’t have to work up a portfolio for art college. It’s rough. My daughter has to draw hands, and rooms, and characters from all side. I drew a bear from all sides.
She has to draw perspectives, and shapes, and expressions.
She has to do self portraits, and figures in action.
I can draw bears forever and who will ever care?