In-depth 2021 #2

Why hello everyone!

I am in — let’s call it Week 1 of my Digital Art In-depth project. This was the first week that I was able to meet with my mentor, Xylia, and the first week that I really started thinking about and working with some of my resources. I was really lucky to be able to meet with Xylia in-person (after getting it approved by our teacher supervisors first, of course!), since we are both part of the same leadership learning group. It was great to have the opportunity to sit next to Xylia and begin to get to know her as well as her art. (Thanks to Mr. Gosselin for hosting our meeting!)

Agreeing and Disagreeing

Something I definitely wanted to cover in this first meeting with my mentor was asking if I could take a look at some of the digital art that she has done. During the meeting, Xylia told me that, once I begin to experiment with some art, I’ll eventually develop my unique art style. I could definitely see her own style emanating through all of her pieces, and I’m really fond of the kind of work she does. Xylia pointed out a lot of animals in her work, and I noticed many recurring shapes and themes in different drawings. Referring to How to Have a Beautiful Mind by Edward de Bono, this is an area in which Xylia and I can wholeheartedly agree to differ. No two peoples’ art styles are going to be the same. Styles of art can be mimicked, modified, interpreted in different ways, and incorporated into separate pieces, but every artist brings something unique to their work. I know that, while Xylia is my mentor, I shouldn’t strive to copy her art but instead use the tips she gives me to develop my own style over time. That is really my goal for this In-depth project — to use digital art as a platform for creating an individual genre. And the best way to do this is to play around with some different techniques and subjects — which is exactly what I did.

So this project is going to be a really great ‘before and after’ example, considering my ‘before’ piece looks like this:

I drew this very quickly with Xylia during our meeting. The purpose of the task was to give me a foundational understanding of the program she uses — Autodesk SketchBook — so that I could continue on my own at home. First, Xylia showed me how she generally goes about creating an art piece. This included using different colours and brush sizes, navigating tools, creating layers, and more. Then, I went ahead and created that ladybug to test out my understanding of the concepts. 

Differing

Something else I found interesting — and quite impressive — was the fact that Xylia uses her finger to draw all of her pieces. While I have a stylus pen that I have been using to draw, I tried drawing with my finger during the meeting to better understand how Xylia works. For me, it was very different and more difficult without the stylus. The fact that Xylia is able to create such beautiful, detailed pieces with her finger is incredible. This would be an area where we can politely disagree with each other, because we both understand the fact that we work best in different ways. Recognizing this is important and very beneficial, again, in developing my own style and building a strong relationship with my mentor.

Now, as much as I’d love to say that I went from that ladybug drawing to this next piece (left) in the span of a week, I am obligated to admit that this was fully traced from a photo of my cousin (right).

However, before you jump to deeming me lazy, the tracing of this photo was actually very helpful for me as a beginner in digital art. For this drawing, I used Procreate, another very popular digital art application, and my stylus. I began a layer with the photo on the right, then added new layers on top to begin tracing, and finished by removing the original photo. By the end, I believe I had over 10 layers. Tracing the photo allowed me to gain a sense of where different tools are located, what kinds of options I have, and what I might want to do in the future. Without this crucial step in my experimentation process, I would be much more lost as to what to do.

Lastly, I drew this next piece freehand, which was a little out of my comfort zone, but I managed to work through it and arrive at a pretty bizarre, kind of cool, Dwight.

(And for the 3 people who will appreciate my reference):

Anyway, thanks for reading, if you got through all of that! I look forward to continuing this In-depth project and seeing what the rest of you come up with!

(I’m going to put a link to a pdf here because the images aren’t showing up in the best quality on this post.)

Lara 🙂

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