Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hand It To Ya

While most of the other children played Atari or baseball, I stayed in my room and drew things. Mostly I drew my own hands. They were always around. They were also very difficult to draw.

I've always loved a challenge.

The sketch to the left was completed in 1983 and first published in Facets, the school art magazine, in 1984. Andrews and McMeel, the folks responsible for bringing you Ziggy, For Better or Worse, and Calvin and Hobbes, sponsered magazine publishing for all of the area High Schools in the Greater Kansas City Metro Area. It was pretty cool knowing every student in my High School would be getting a copy of the magazine with my artwork in it.

I was hooked from that moment on. I was a member of the magazine's staff every year after that. A few years later when my Drawing Instructor, Frank Stack, told me that it was very important to do whatever it took to get published, I knew exactly what he meant.

Publication creates a deadline. Deadlines lead to a commitment. Commitments translate into finished artwork. Most artists find it hard to complete work. I forget which artist said of their work, "I never finish a piece. I work on it until I abandon it."

The sketch to the right was created some ten years after the one above. I think it's from 1996. Notice the quality I could achieve after four years of college and a few more working crappy, dead-end jobs with lots of free-time to doodle.

The beauty of an art-blog like sketch-it is there's an extra level of commitment. With an ordinary art-blog, I or any contributing artist could go for weeks, even months without posting anything. The ego-payoff of having others see one's work only lasts for a short while.

The fact that people pay us money establishes a contract that must be honored. It's good for us to be pushed beyond our comfortable confines. Demands on an artist can be a positive force.

For years I worked solely on a computer. I hardly touched a piece of paper over the last ten years. Sketch-it has changed all that.

So thank you, all the sketch-it customers and visitors for giving me the motivation I needed to create art once again.

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