When I was younger, I never did any form of prep work for anything - I even managed to pass all my exams with only one or two short revision sessions for a single subject - but artwork was something in particular that I wouldn’t make effort to make preliminary sketches etc towards a final piece.
Recently (and partially due to me working almost purely in digital media these days), I have found that I no longer have such a thing as a ‘final piece’. So many unfinished works will later be cut up and reused as a part of another - or returned to with different eyes following a long hiatus in the belief I had run out of steam.
The recent ‘Weekend Workshop’ challenges I have begun in conjunction with a talented young writer (Psynexus) have confirmed this. Each week in turn, one of us will suggest a theme and some pinpoint details (enough to allow the other a relatively free reign over the outcome of their work) and then the recipient must produce a piece in around 90 minutes using that as a start point. Next, the other one of us must produce a companion piece based upon the outcome of that. Last week I asked him for something with a medieval setting, and I produced a piece of artwork inspired by his words. This week, it was up to him to suggest to me a theme for artwork, and he would produce some creative writing based upon my artwork.
The original challenge he laid out for me this week, was far too detailed to allow the sporadic nature of the challenges to flow (although I did like his idea a great deal! - an epic scene of alien invasion!), so he gave me another (a more claustrophobic scene of a firefight upon an alien vessel).
It started out great - but I soon realised that this too was to be too complicated as well, not because of any perimeters he had given me, but because my own lust to create a grand piece had taken over! I actually began to combine portions of his original suggestion with the second and created a monster! I am still preparing elements towards the beginning of this artwork and hope to complete it in the near future.
So, yet again we were at the beginning… I asked for a fresh start - something of a more scenic based suggestion (rather than action or character driven) and he gave me this:
Earth, 3000 AD. Humanity is dead or dying and all that's left of civilization are the skeletons of major cities that died out hundreds of years ago. Skies are overcast and nature has reclaimed the planet. The moon is fragmented and cracked and the dying sun is a sickly orange as it sets on the dying planet.
...So I quickly got to work. From last weeks challenge, I still had plenty of unused bits and pieces of landscape left over from my sessions on Al:Chemy from last weeks challenge. This really reduced the time I had to use getting a base together for my end of the challenge -90 minutes is not a great deal of time to produce something specific in! In the image below, I grabbed figure #1 from a session last week. I quickly did figure #2 in Al:Chemy in about five minutes, and meshed it together with #1 to produce several variations until I got # 3 and #4. Due to the flow of the lines, I rolled with #4 and managed to piece together two quick variations of an idea using a couple of simple colour washes, and a photographic texture overlay.
I went for a final upon the second one. I spent ages wasting time trying to figure out where to go with it as I genuinely preferred the black and white crispness of the originals. It didn’t occur to me to just go with a black and white piece!
Anyways, I eventually pieced together the broken moon and all that (the moon alone took twenty minutes) leaving me with nearly no time left. AHAH! - this is where yet again the validity of old prep work comes to hand. I dug out an old alchemy session and grabbed some random shapes to create some blowing leaves, and an old space piece for the starry sky. Within minutes it was done - or as near as could be . Basically, this time around, a good amount of old prep work saved me!
Have a look, post a comment, and go see what Psynexus came up with in response at his blog: LINK
I may soon also upload the brushes for the moon etc if anyone is interested - if so, please drop a comment!
Broken Moon by ~cyrus-crashtest on deviantART