prehistoricfish asked: Hi, I love your art and your beautiful lines. I was just wondering how you get inspiration? do you just draw so much that you can't help it? because recently I feel like everything I draw is so derivative and I can't get anything that's purely from my own mind.
Hi there!! Trying to get to questions in my inbox, sorry I didn’t see this sooner! Thank you so much for following my work!! Your question was an interesting one! I have a lot of thoughts on the topic, so I apologize in advance for what will probably be a rambly response:
The internet has completely changed things for young artists. Because we have access to so many people’s artwork, a lot of us influence, and are influenced by other artists. This is completely normal and I wouldn’t call this a bad thing (and I am definitely inspired/influenced by many of my friends and talented strangers whose artwork I’ve seen in books or on the internet). As we develop as artists, our tastes continually evolve and so do our styles. I’ve found that I’ve grown the most as an artist when I began to look at my favorite artists’ drawings, my own drawings, and the act of drawing itself with a more analytical eye. (What is it that I like about so-and-so’s work? What are they doing that appeals to me, and what can I learn from them?…What are my weak areas as an artist and what could I work on?)
My approach to drawing has changed a lot in the past couple of years. I once believed growth would come purely from pencil mileage, but I found I wasn’t improving, despite drawing all the time. I found there is a difference between drawing for drawing’s sake, and “productive” drawing. We can sketch things that are within our comfort zones over and over again and not grow any because we continually make the same mistakes. Once I began to tackle my drawing problems and force myself to learn things I didn’t understand, I began to get better. For example, my linework used to be terrible and muddy…I didn’t understand flow/line economy at all and my sketches were stiff..so I forced myself to draw with felt tip pens/ink for two years and not touch a pencil. This resulted in tons of bad drawings, but a lot of growth. Once you become more comfortable with drawing, it becomes more second nature, and is just a means for you to express your ideas, stories, etc.
In regards to the subject matter of your drawings/originality…I say draw what you know, draw what you love, and draw your own point of view and opinions! My friend Anthony Holden (whose work totally inspires me) made this awesome post about this very topic, and he worded (and drew) it much better than I ever could…but to sum it up, go out and experience things and then use those experiences to draw from! I tend to draw a lot of autobiographical stories because these are things that have happened to me that have made some sort of impression on me. I draw merpeople comics because I’m a big marine biology nut, and I also like comedy. And I know there are a lot of varying opinions out there on fanart, but I say if you’re a big fan of a movie/show/video game/book, and it inspires you…then show us what it is about that product/character that you love!
Lastly, you can only worry so much about originality. There are very few 100% original ideas out there in the world, and chances are, if you think of some interesting idea, someone else somewhere out there in this world is probably thinking of it too! It’s good to strive for originality, but know that if you fret about it too much, you’ll be too paralyzed to create anything at all, and that is far worse! My opinion is if you are drawing something that is from an honest and genuine place, you’re doing it right. The more you practice drawing to express your point of view, the more your unique perspective and “style” will start to come out naturally in your drawings.
I have no idea if any of that was remotely helpful, but I hope you got something from it!
Thanks again for following along!
Good advice from Megan!