Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting my fix...

Growth as an artist is a wonderful feeling.

From time to time, you'll have that 'eureka' moment right in the middle of your process, acknowledging to yourself that you just learned something new - whether it be a coloring technique, or just the way you decide to hold the pencil. But for me, more often than not, I find that my journey is lived in hindsight. I rarely know what I've achieved until I go back and look at where I might have missed the mark the first time. That's what creative development is all about. And it's what this post is all about.

Above is a snippet from page 15 of Dust Bunny. Incidentally, this is also Mite's very first appearance in the book. When I first illustrated this panel, I was happy with it. Excited, even. But as nearly 80 pages have come and gone, I've found myself becoming more and more invested in these characters. Subsequently, I've become more intimate and familiar with how they work, both physically and emotionally. And though the script was done before a single stroke was made, each character has found an individual voice throughout the evolution of this book - void of any script. And it's amazing to watch.

Just in this one panel, so many things have grown from first run to revision: the perspective on the goggles, a cleaner skull structure, better black placement, a tighter pose. Even Mite's "burst" that you'll often see him contained within has become cleaner. He just seems to better encompass my original vision for the character at this point.

As rewarding as this small change is to me, the challenge is to keep myself from going into a complete overhaul with my first 30 pages. This panel was a glaring exception in my mind. And there are a handful more that I plan on revising. But I have to be very selective. Part of the joy of this book is witnessing its inception, its vitae, and ultimately its end. It's the terminal nature of the whole thing that makes it so precious to be a part of. I want the life of this book to be real; imperfect. I want to look at page 1 and then at page 101, and see a clear advancement in my craftsmanship. As it has already proven to be, I want this to be a visual diary of my growth as an artisan. White-out and spilled ink have little to nothing to do with the oversights of story telling, or graphical aesthetics. And as Dust Bunny has gone completely digital at this point, I'm realizing that more and more.

I hope you're all enjoying watching this baby brave the world as much as I'm enjoying holding its hand while it does so. This has been an incredibly satiating experience for me so far, through both the first-run successes, as well as the lip-biting frustrations. I'm eager to see what this child of mine decides to be when it grows up. And I'm glad it has such a great starter family to encourage and nurture it through its growth. You all have been amazing platforms of inspiration throughout this whole process, and I can't thank you enough.

After all, it takes a village...

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