Thursday, 2 July 2015

Confidence in Art and Life

It's been a long, long time since I last updated, there's a reason for that.

Since last I posted I did some intern work for Wales Interactive and did some free work in my spare time for Irontown Interactive on their iPad game Iron. Both of these gave me experience and confidence in my work as well as some essential industry connections. Ultimately it helped land me my current job as Junior Environment Artist at Oysterworld!

I've been at Oysterworld for around about 9 months and it's been pretty great all round. I've been working on a number of unreleased projects and it's great to be part of an awesome team. It's also helped greatly in one other aspect and the subject of this post...


Confidence has always had a strange place in my life, I've always struggled with it in almost every aspect of my life but at the same time it's never been overwhelmingly crippling. My art has always been a part that was particularly bad, never really producing anything I've been proud of for more than a day or so before resigning it to being awful. I know I'm not alone among artists in this respect, it's a hurdle every artist faces and one that many fall at, and I'm far from over it yet.

I have however, improved. It's partly down to having an industry job, where I can get real, honest, face to face feedback on my work. It also helps to see everyone else's work and your place in the chain. Sure, I'm not the best artist, far from it, but I'm a Junior, nobody expects perfection from me other than myself. I've come to see where I stand in the grand scheme of things and it's helped me be confident in what I do at the level I'm at and to seek to improve to rival the people around me.

There's also the personal side to things. I would say my confidence overall in life has seen an improvement. I've been through a lot of the last few months, I've had to face a lot of demons, some of which I didn't even realise were there, and I have many more to face in the near future. I went to the doctors about my anxiety and have been put on medication for that, which has been a life saver really, it's allowed me to 'come out of my shell' a little more, less terrified of every little thing in life. This helped reinforce the idea that I already knew, everything wont fall apart from that little thing you said the other day, that thing you almost did but decided against. No, actually things are better not worse. This has helped me no end in many aspects of my life, but within the context of this blog I think this carries over to the art I produce.

Confidence. Confidence in what I am doing, what I can do, what I should do. All of it is essential in art. Whether it's that one confident brush stroke or the belief that you CAN reach that level of detail if you take the time and think about it. Confidence and belief in yourself. It's not easy, it takes a lifetime of effort to achieve, but if you really want it, you will put in the effort.

I'm not saying all this from a position of complete confidence or self security. Not at all. I've just managed to take a peek over the wall to the other side and seen the light, I still have to climb over the wall to reap the benefits.

Christ that was wordy... and a little heavy...

Let's have some images to remedy that. I've finally got round to practising my Photoshop drawing/painting again, an area which fascinates me but one I consider to be a weak point of mine. To help learn some new techniques and ways of working I've been watching and attempting to replicate the art of Aaron Blaise. He's a personal favourite artist of mine and has some awesome videos on his channel. I took the video step by step, pausing every few seconds and trying to replicate that on my image. I found this much less intimidating than trying to outright copy it and it also offers an interesting insight into other artists workflows.

Anyway! Here they are:

Ultimately I think they are both massive improvements over previous work, and not half bad for someone who hasn't practised this kind of painting in a few months. One of the main things I can chalk it down to is... CONFIDENCE! And guess what, because they turned out well, it's given me more confidence! Time to ride the confidence wave while it lasts...