Encouraged by my peers, I keep on developing my comics style, trying to push limits as I conquer my fears over the unforgiving qualities of ink. This time, I have a more personal piece on the table, which opens opportunity for new explorations but also demands an approach that matches the level of authenticity I try to capture. In this art-challenge, the main objective was to get people to know me a little bit more, by sharing not only my personal information but also showing a more intimate side of my process work; the more experimental and less controlled freedom of the sketchbook.
To achieve this more spontaneous look, I decided to go for an ink-washed rendering, since that’s a technique I mostly enjoy under the comfort of pages that are not meant to be seeing. I started my process as usual. The right reference photos aided by my roommate (who has become my professional photographer by now), followed by a semi-realistic base drawing and highly detailed line-art that would add up character; then I added my wildcard. At the beginning, I was full of fear; never really trusting the independence of liquid mediums like ink or watercolor -and for a good reason. As I added the first washes, I found myself already regretting trying to ‘think outside of the box’; the materials not cooperating in doing exactly what I wanted -as if they ever did. Luckily, the inevitable ‘breaks’ that I had to take to let the layers dry gave a chance to clear my mind. When I stopped for a moment, I realized that what was clouding a more spontaneous decision making process was the expectations I had for this piece, based on previous artwork, that is. In the middle of this internal war, I had forgotten the most underrated but significant key of art making: enjoying the process.
With the ink dry and the flood in my head dealt with, I came back to my sketchbook with a simple goal in mind, a strategy that was the most logical for this situation: I proceeded just trying to make something that I would like… and it worked wonders! I was able to not only ‘save’ the piece but go up one more step into my stylistic journey. As any other work, there are some things that I would now do differently if given another chance. The good news is, there will be, indeed, many other chances. As I keep on perfecting my desired comics aesthetic, I will remember this piece as one of those that was fun, freed me of hesitations and, most of all, taught me well.
With these kind of exercises, not only new art but a new me is born.