While I’m working on these ink cards, I’m trying a few different ideas out. Of course, one idea is purely commerce driven, I’m unemployed and selling things keeps food on the table. But artistically, there are a few things at play here.
First, I’m trying to relearn what I knew about inks so many years ago. Ink art can be a challenge, using a few lines to create a reality. There are certain methods to approach creating texture, like the weight of the line, the directions of the crosshatching next to other lines, and so on.
Secondly, as I’ve mentioned before (what? you don’t read all my other ramblings? Shameful.), I’m going off of photographs to get a better sense of what objects in the real world truly act like. In the past I’ve relied simply on my imagination, and, while that works, it’s limited to only what I know. By working with photographs as a base to an image, I can see things I may not otherwise have known about.
I don’t copy the photo directly, in fact none of them that I’ve created so far are an exact copy of the reference. The photo leads me in the right direction, but with all of these I’ve taken quite a few liberties with them. I’ve created different textures, different shadows, and certainly chosen different cropping to create them.
That works great with monsters, and with creatures that I can have a little leeway. But with things like sculptures that really exist, I need to keep far closer to accuracy.
Or with fossils.
I’ve had the idea for some time to try one of these ink cards, basing it on one of the many fossil photos I’ve taken over the years. I’ve been hesitant to try it, knowing that I was going to have to pay attention to accuracy.
But then I came to my senses and remembered something that Roosevelt said, which I’ve quoted before but I’m going to again anyway:
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
I’ll never learn as an artist if I am unwilling to try and do things I’ve never done before. If I sit in my comfort zone, never stretching, I might as well give up and go back to being a construction worker.
But if I truly want to be an artist, to always learn and always get better, then I have to be willing to try new things no matter what.
That said, here is the new ink card, which is called Fossil DMNS (as that’s where the photo and fossil are from). Whether I succeeded or not I leave to you, fine readers. Myself, I’m happy that I tried.