Saturday, February 21, 2015

Words Of Art: Societal Impact

Hello again (sorry I'm a day late, it's Saturday and not Friday… whoops)

So today I thought I would talk about this horrible word called

PATIENCE.

It's something that we don't have a lot of, especially in today's era.
How long does it take to load a webpage? A youtube video?

…..is it sad that we each probably know that exact amount of time?

It's because it's the NOW era. With the edition of the cell phone, and then becoming a smart phone (basically a small computer at your finger tips), and of course googling everything we need to know….
we aren't exactly accustomed to waiting for answers.

And you know, I'm still grateful for all that stuff. I want to look at reference for a painting, or whatever, it takes me mere minutes to have something. That's time that I can afford.

And yet…. half the time we think taking the time to find reference is a WASTE of time.

THINK OF THIS:

All those old reference painters, they had to have SOMEONE STAND THERE AND POSE FOR THEM. FOR HOURS, DAYS, WEEKS POSSIBLE.

Talk about a "waste of time" in our minds!! And yet, where would we be without them??

Back in high school, when we hit 17/18 years old, there was that question: What are you doing after you graduate?

HECK: even growing up as a child we are asked: What do you want to do when you grow up?

And when were 10, we say fun things on a whim:
A dentist,
A doggie doctor,
A scientist,
A dinosaur… haha….

And sometimes we mean it, and other times, we just say something that sounded fun.

BUT WHEN YOU HIT COLLEGE: the question is now REAL.

And the answer has to be 100%. Or….

there is no or. You either know, or you shouldn't go to college…. right? That's what I was told.

Well, Let me tell you something: I graduated college, and

IT'S WORSE. People now EXPECT that you know.

And it's part of this society, the KNOW NOW mentality. The days of saying something that was a hobby are gone, because now it has to: Pay the Bills, Support a Family, Fix the Car, etc.

Whatever you chose, it has to DO something for you, right?

Well, this societal impact kinda stinks.

Back in the day, there was this really cool thing called Apprentice. You studied under what you were supposed to do, and you knew that was where you were going.

Yet, that sux in it's own way, because now you have no choice but to Apprentice under whatever you were born into.

So….

I suggest something, Semi-crazy.

Have some patience with yourself. If you aren't 100% sold on something, it's simply OK. It feels like (to me) like I'm a disappointment. I don't know where I'm going, therefore I must HURRY and FIGURE IT OUT ASAP.

I read on Facebook the other day that the FASTER you need something done, the MORE time it will take.

So, if I'm studying to become a pianist, and I NEED TO BE GOOD AT IT TODAY, so it can bring money in, get me a job, etc….
it's going to take me 10xs longer to get better at it.

Simply because I have stress, and fear and NO PATIENCE.

LOVE TODAY.

That's right LOVE IT.

DO you have the job you love? Probably not. Does it pay the bills? Great. That's awesome. Then work  for what you love.

****THE FEAR OF TIME:

My wonderful boyfriend of 5years brought up that he wishes he had more time. Something we all want.
But here's what I read in my "Success is not an Accident" book (It's great, you should read it):
YOU HAVE AS MUCH TIME AS YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE.

If you don't manage your time, It'll pass you by, LITTERALLY in an instant. Somehow Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Vines, Instagram, and then POOF, its 7pm or even later. And now your day is over. So now you can just keep goofing off until you go to bed.

I can also choose where to put my time.

****DONT BE AFRAID OF NO:

The word "No" is a wonderful word. It brings about freedom and confidence. You should try it sometime.

I myself am still learning the wonders of the word No.

Don't be a wet blanket: In other words: don't half commit. That's the worst.

Either PLAN for it.

Or Dont.

Don't say yes if you know that you will be luke warm about it. Think of it this way: do you have the time (or make the time) to dedicate to a project that DESERVES time?

If not, then it's not really a MEAN or NASTY response to say No.
It's simply: I wish I was the man for the job, but I don't have the passion needed to make time in my busy schedule for this. SOmeone else probably has a lovely spot in there life for it and YOUR PROJECT deserves more time than I can give it.

See that? No is a wonderful word.

****MONEY COMES TO LOVERS:

There's this artist that I follow on Facebook, and her paintings are super crazy realistic. I like it, you might not, but that's not the point.

The point is that SHE QUIT HER FULL TIME JOB.

Yup. She quit and just paints whatever the heck she wants, and makes money doing it.
How?

Because, SHE LOVED IT.

She loved it, people saw that she loved it, and now she has an audience. While she's working full time, mind you.

And now, enough people see the passion she has, the time she makes to commit to what she loves, even though she has a job on the side.

Now she started a Patreon.

THIS GIRL MAKES $15,000 EVERY 2 WEEKS NOW.

Just on Patreon.

So she quit her job. Never anticipating it, just doing it because she loved it.

The money is out there, but you have to have a passion for it WHEN IT PAYS NOTHING.

That's why the first thing I said is: Find what it is you love. Loving something that will give you money, or loving something because you love it are two different things.

Do you follow me?

There are more stories I have like this, but you get the jist.

Love it first. For what it is.

And you know what?

I don't know what that is for me. There are a ZILLION ideas out there. Ideas are NOT the issue.
Hence why I can say all of this to you, without fearing you stealing my ideas.

Ideas aren't what do anything for you.
ACTION behind an IDEA = BIG THINGS.

That's the secret to life.

Seriously.

I'll be here all week.

Haha, Seriously though. Take your time finding what it is you love.

You don't have to be THE YOUNGEST PERSON TO EVER _______.
You don't have to start tomorrow.

I'll leave you with these parting words that are rocking my world: ENDURE PATIENTLY.

Endure. Not "wait", but Endure. That word fits so well.

And Endure how? Patiently.

Patiently… like with peace and joy.

Wow.

Endure Patiently.

Cheers,
JECooper
PS!!! THIS IS IMPORTANT: YOU CAN NOW POST AS ANONYMOUS  YOU DONT HAVE TO HAVE A BLOGGER ID TO BE HEARD! SO I'D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MATTER TOO! 
It'd be cool to know who you are though!

Here's a work in progress, rough sketch. It's not done yet.

Well, the truth is: it was painted.

But I didn't like it. So I'm enduring patiently, and starting it over again.

So here's the rough sketch =)

DRAGONS: DAY AND NIGHT
ROUGH SKETCH






Friday, February 13, 2015

Words of Art: The Way We Make Art

As artists, I find that the way that we (I) think or perceive things is really important.

For example: It's said that artists see "more" than other occupations because they know where to look and what to look for.

I tend to agree.

Not because I even see half of the stuff yet, but I've been realizing more and more about different things most people don't even notice. For example: clothing textures, colored light reflections, facial construction, eye shape, composition…

I could go on and on.

However, there's another aspect of it that I thought was also really interesting:

If artists tend to perceive more than most other occupations, why are they the one's that HEAR the most criticism?

I read on a blog the other day, that a very awesome and well versed artist said that his mom STILL to this day (he's been in the animation industry for years mind you) asks him:
"When are you going to stop playing and get a real job?"
He said he also gets from his family:
"Is your job even stressful?"
"You just write for children, I have to work with ADULTS all day."

I'm sure you've heard your own versions. I have too, but that's not the point.

The point is, unless you are made of ice, these things definitely sting.

It's said for every 1 insult, someone needs 10 compliments to balance it out. I think that sounds crazy, but feels so accurate! Especially when it comes to the internet.

The freedom to say whatever you want is great, but it definitely invites the "trolls" to come and wreck stuff. Because that's all those people can do, ruin others.


ALL of what I've said, plugs into the same point:
Some people get pleasure from seeing you upset.

Sad, right? Don't they have anything better to do!? Sure they do, but they Don't. And that's why they're coming after you.
Sometimes it's a lack of understanding (with family and friends), and you can try your best to educate them with the amount of Studies, Commitment, Hard Work, Blood, Tears, and such goes into what it is you do.

But don't weigh everything on that understanding. Some people just don't see in color. Some people just don't see outside of their own viewpoint. Some people just want others to be just as unhappy as they are. Some people just want to 'get your goat' and see you get pissed.

As I like to refer to it, some people are ACTUALLY like the Joker:
                                                           They JUST want to see YOU BURN.

Now you might be saying: Wow COOPER, what a DEPRESSING TOPIC!
Haha, righty you you are! Which is why we aren't done, and I'm switching gears.

First off: You aren't alone in this. And it's not YOU, it's (sadly enough) THEM.
You aren't crazy. You don't stink, and I PERSONALLY love your work. Even if I haven't seen it, I still love it.

I can say that with certainty, because if you are here, you're a passionate person. You have to have some sort of feeling of attempting to better yourself, and you are FIGHTING the good fight!

Therefore, I promise you, your work literally rocks my world. =)

Secondly: There's this magical way that I like to fight with these trolls, or may I call them 'art unbelievers'? (That cool with you? Good.)

How I personally fight the 'art unbelievers':
What is it that BROUGHT you into this job? What is it that unearthed the PASSION you have for it?

Whatever it is, Go watch it. Or listen to it. 
You don't even have to watch the whole thing, I find after 10 minutes of my favorite scene I remember why I fell in love with it.

There are some other things that are cool to, like finding some music that speaks to your heart and ignites your passion for it again. That's a great one.

I shared this thought on Facebook the other day, but I think it's worth the restatement:

This was something that I thought was really cool and wanted to share. I found this online and it spoke to me, not sure if it'll mean anything to you guys, but I loved it. At first, you'll probably have the response I did, like, wtf is this? Well it's a comedian's final skit, just hang in there, I think you'll like it.
The idea is, as artists, we have voices that come into our lives that stay with us, things people say that make us (well me at least) feel like I can't do it. Or that I wasn't meant for art. That other people see your path better than you, or that you're art should not be what it is, that it should be…something else. Something it's not, or someone you're not. "We think we know you."
Take something dark, something that hurts, insensitive words that rattle around in our heads, and then turn it into something… well, beautiful.
Maybe I'm crazy. But, maybe you'll like it too. Maybe you're crazy too smile emoticon
******FYI: There is language (i always preface for those people who don't want to hear it), and he is an atheist (if that offends you). But if you can hang tight, it's worth it. I thought it was at least smile emoticon




I'm supposed to attach art here, aren't I….. hmmmm….


Well here is a piece I did, trying out new brushes, and at the same time, doing something I felt was pretty new for myself. I tried my best to just "Let go" and squiggle a bit.

I personally like it, might not be your thing tho. That's cool.

YOU KNOW WHY!?!?!

Because I like it. And I remember why I am an artist. Do you?

~Cheers,
JECooper

Monday, January 26, 2015

February 2015 - Dragons 2

Found some pretty cool concept work from this one, so it was hard to choose!

If these get more popular I might have to put a piece of art every day on the calendars =P
Hope you enjoy! And thanks for the reminder, Kelly!!!



Cheers,
JECooper

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Words of Art": Save your Eyes! & Other Tips

This week's Words Of Art are a little different from our typical, but just as important.

I'm going with more of a 'survive as an artist' direction. So if this isn't your cup of tea, LOOK AWAY!!!


…you still here?
Cool. Glad you stayed. You're about to hear some of the little tips I've learned recently on how to continue to survive as an artist, especially a digital one. Let's get started!

#1: Sitting in front of a computer isn't good for your eyes. 

We've all heard that one before.

But what are some ways to continue to work as a digital artist, and to 'Save Your Eyes'? It's something I've heard multiple times, and there's the trick I've heard:

every 20 mins, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Yeah, I mean if it works for you, there it is. If it doesn't, then you're in my boat. I forget to look away every 20 minutes and if I set an alarm, I get out of my artistic groove.

Let's look at #2 so I can give you the answer for TWO BIRDS, one stone! Hollar!

#2: Sitting in one place for too long isn't good for your body.

Here's my trick! Ready!?

Go for a walk/jog.

Yup, that's my simple trick. Go outside, every day, once a day.

It's important. Not just lunch break of walking around the office. I mean, go outside and walk.

Find yourself a friend, a dog, or just get some quality alone time to listen to music or just think.

Walk for about 15-20minutes. (work your way up to longer if you can, if not, just this little amount of time will help!)

My schedule is at 5:30pm, I go for a walk with my dog. I focus on the sky and far away objects while walking, so I can stretch my eyes on different distances.

#3: Keeping in a creative mood is hard to do when you work everyday.

It's hard! Sometimes you just aren't creative anymore and you just can't seem to muster anything else out of that mind of yours.

It happens, now how do you fix it? (How now brown cow??)

Give yourself 'play time.' I'll explain:

There's this nifty thing one of my friends showed me called Kinetic Sand. It's basically like real sand but it has a polymer in it that makes it not stick to your hands (and everything else the way normal sand does haha), and it's super easy to clean up because it 'sticks' together. You'll have to try it out, it's at Target and Walmart. If you can play in real sand, that's fantastic.

GO PLAY WITH SAND. That's right. You heard me. Go. Play. Rekindle that childlike innocent fun and remind yourself how exhilarating it is to make something.
Don't get caught up in making something fantastic, just let your brain wander and have some fun with the feeling and the excitement of it.

If you can't get to sand, and on a super budget, or you want to play in another way: steam up the shower and make shapes in the shower mirror. Swirl your fingers and forget about making something perfect.

Just have some fun, and relax. You can also borrow your kids' play dough, anything you can do with your hands that you can't get perfectionistic about. Go draw on a white board and DONT get overly attached, make weird shapes and turn them into animals.

The point: go find something fun, somewhat artsy, maybe you did it as a kid, that shows YOU how to have fun again. Even if it's for 10 minutes, it'll make you laugh and help you let go.

#4: My hand cramps so bad.

Ah, that oldie but goodie.

There's a few different things I've adopted, pick whatever works for you.

One thing is I play an instrument for fun. How is that related?! I'll tell you!
I play the piano and boy does it help strengthen my fingers. Guitar, Flute, even the Trumpet, all have hand positions that help strengthen your fingers other than drawing.

Another thing is those lovely stress balls. Your hand cramping up, grab it and mush it for awhile. Mush it to stretch your fingers out, that's the goal here. (Though it works great to get rid of the stress too!)

Finally, (not really a problem, just a suggestion) #5: Get a hobby outside of drawing.

It will bring such life back into your work and in unexpected ways.

I love to take photos on my walk (that's like 3 birds with one stone, haha!) and for me, that's really fun. As I said previously, I like to play the piano too. Whatever it is, whether artistic or not, it'll bring a bit of life back to your digital workspace, I promise.

What do you love to do, other than digital art? I'd love to hear it in the comments section!

***ANNOUNCEMENT: WORDS OF ART WILL UPDATE EVERY FRIDAY!!!
That's right! I have a weekly schedule now! Wooohoooo! Feel free to RSS follow or email subscribe with the links on the top right of the page if you want reminders!
See you next Friday!

Cheers,
JECooper

Here are some of those photos I take on my walk :






Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gasp!

;P

Thought this one was a new take on my style. I really like it.




Cheers,
JECooper

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Words of Art: The Art of Tracing

A subject that you might find interesting:
Not sure about you, but as a kid I was ALWAYS told that tracing was for losers.

I'm serious.

I think you have heard similar, that tracing is for the weak, the lame and the artistically inept. That tracing has no value; is useless.

Well I am here to tell you that it isn't true. And I'm also here to show you one of the BEST ways to learn:

Trace.

Tracing is beautiful.

Now is there an ART to tracing?

Of course there is! That's what was in the title wasn't it? haha!
How is tracing useful? And in what ways is it actually educational?

***Before we hit that: in what ways is tracing still cheating? If you take a finished work and you simply redo what has already been done, that's not what's meant to be learned.

The idea isn't at all to recreate what they did. Now, I know what you're thinking: You said trace! Trace means… well… TRACE.
Haha, and right you are. But give me a moment to explain myself.

The idea is to understand HOW the artist draws. Get into the mindset. It's like dissecting and re-imagining the way that they draw. The technique. The freedom. The hand set. The flow of the wrist.

What lines came first? How did they start this? Where are the 'planning lines'? The structure lines?

You're plan is to mimic the hand of the master. And do it again.
And again.

That's what I meant by 'recreate' what they did. You're not in it for that. You're in it for the techniques.

My biggest suggestion: finished works are Not the best way to learn with this style of… well learning.
Don't take paintings for example. I mean, sure you can, but it's not the best way to trace learn. In my opinion.
The best is the sketches. If you can find the sketch blog of an artist that you love, that's an excellent start. If you can't find that, you can always go for ink work. That's another great one. Why you may ask? Because these sketches leave in the original foundation lines that the artist used to plan! That's what you want to grab at! Where was it rough? Where did they know what they wanted and commit?

So draw over it, and then erase it, draw over it again. This time, fewer strokes. Don't 'back and forth' like the student draws. Confidently make a mark. If it's wrong, do it again. And again.

Do it til your sick of it. Then mirror the sketches and do it again. Turn off the base layer, and look at just your art and trace your sketches of the original.

You think I'm crazy? I thought I was stupid nuts too when I started. But man, can I tell you a secret?
I'm LEARNING. From TRACING.

So for all of you awesome artists out there that already know tracing is fantastic, I have some fun little things to think about when you trace next.
Who knows? Maybe you'll learn something new from me =)

1. Who is the artist? What was their job/place in the pipeline? This answers basic "who" questions.

2. Where in the process did this fit? Early sketches? Finals of the character? Rough facials? Body testing? This answers the "when" questions.

3. How old is the master? How many years have they put into this? This answers the "insecurity/inequality" feeling more than anything.

4. Who is this character? Age? Gender? How did they define that with this sketch? The eye shape perhaps? Proportions and shape theory? This answers the "Creativity" questions.

And 5. What can I use in this to my sketch? What techniques do I want to use? How do they define their __________ in a way that I can too? What effortless lines can I use over and over again? Application time!!

I hope this helps.
What other things could I add to this list? Can you give me 5 more to make it to 10??

Here's some sketch-overs/traces that I did of Hiro Hamada from Big Hero 6!
I can't tell you how much I love these sketches. The artist who did these had such effortless lines. And ease of facial expressions and anatomy!! Ahhhh!! The love. THE LOVE.

Cheers,
JECooper

PS As always when you trace, these are not my work. I mean, the trace is, but the originals are made my someone fantastic.

 First sketches are my understanding phase, you can see I have to apply my way of drawing: use of a circle and then a build off from there. But I realized that it was not what was done for these at all. 

My investigation sketch phase: which lines were first, where is the emphasis? Which lines are a crutch to me? Where do I need to free up my own line work? 

The trial and confident stage. They're as close to the originals as I managed (yet haha), with a style of myself thrown in because I was becoming more confident. There's no crutch used on these, simply understanding. These are drawn with Hiro's jaw line and the one simple line across the eyes setting the rest of the head. No circles needed. The build out for the hair is a spacial understanding of Hiro's head in space. Something that I am NOT great at yet. Notice the looseness? Another thing, these are much easier done. There isn't multiple lines done for the face. One swoop. Something I will work into my own style for certain.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Words of Art: Fear & Laziness

Starting a new series (if I keep it up haha) called Words of Art.

I realized recently, while enjoying a lovely shower, that Art for me, isn't just pretty pictures.
And I think that's why I've been lacking connecting to my own work lately.

There's something about DEFINING with Words, what it is that I'm about to do. For example, If I am going to do a character design, I just start drawing. And then, halfway through the FINAL PAINTING, I look at it and think: Oh. I coulda done this, and this. It would have been better…. and then I want to start over.

But then I think, but I already put ALL THIS TIME and EFFORT into the art?! I don't want to start over painting the SAME THING.

Fear. FEAR AND LAZINESS.

There's this weird phenomena that happened when the computer became an art tool.
We forgot it was a TOOL.
When we, heck when I, started using the computer to paint, I somehow got lost in thought and somehow we, I myself too, thought the computer was a SHORTCUT.
Something to speed up art, not just a different color of pencil.

And that's what happened. To me. To us All.
The computer: Photoshop, Corel Painter, Zbrush, Manga Studio, whatever it is YOU use….
It's just another pencil. Albeit a very expensive pencil.
But a pencil. Not a shortcut.

And there's this weird FEAR that comes about when you see your art on the screen and all the things you did wrong with it.

For me? I don't want to start over. I just want to scludge (yeah, its a word now) whatever it is I have together and just finish the stupid thing. Post it on my wall/page/blog, and move on.
That's a terrible thing.

It's not going to be loved if I don't love it. Sure, people will scroll by it, but there's no lasting impact.

WORDS OF ART.

If I speak, then listen.
If I type, then read.
If I draw, I should be prepared to entertain an audience.
Not just finish it quickly.

If I want to start a new piece (not a speed paint, which is another view of our impatience and laziness in its own right), then I got to invest in it.

NOW: I've read everywhere that I need to get reference.

But that's not really it. (I love you all, just please bear with me).

For me? BEFORE I get reference, I need an idea. I need something to get REFERENCE FOR. I can't reference a world I have in my head…. If I haven't even defined what it is in my head. In my head its a feeling. A REALLY REALLY COOOL feeling…. but a feeling that needs some form. Some sort of definition. My head can get fuzzy, and I think other people know that too.

So, Here's how we solve, I solve, the issue of FEAR AND LAZINESS:

Grab a sketchbook and draw terrible. I mean it. Draw ideas, ugly circles, weird spirals that aren't even. Let clouds inspire your hand to scribble. Grab a sharpie and think of the weirdest things ever. If they don't work, use cheap paper. Throw it out and laugh. YOU ARENT WASTING TIME. Keep reminding yourself of that, that's the Fear and Laziness kicking in.

For me? I need to sit and TYPE. I'm a writer and I don't know why I am ashamed of it.
I think in words. Is that so bad? I don't think in beautifully drawn circles. If you do, great. I am not you.
And if that's not you, that's great too.

Because I need to type out, where does this person live? What do they wear? HECK: WHO are they??? What's their personality?
I can't believe I go into a painting unprepared.
It's that stupid FEAR: that writing and planning is weakness.
and LAZINESS: I want to just start, everyone else does.

No. They don't. They Plan. We just aren't privy to the planning on a speed paint.
And the reference that follows the planning.

I hope that was interesting to you. It was to me.



Here's some of my starters, the ugly drawings that inspired a character.
And there's a whole TYPED OUT LIST of who she is. That helped.
That helped a lot.
Oh and there was reference. You want to see it? I can post it.

Because I'm not going to lie to you. There was thought. There was a whole character design sheet behind these silly little sketches.

I'm not ashamed of that. I'm not afraid. I'm not lazy.

And neither should you. Join the conversation below, I'd love to hear if there's anything that you're afraid of or lazy about.

Or if theres a Words of Art topic you'd like covered. My mind is open. <3 p="">
Cheers and all that,
JECooper