Finding my artistic voice: Taking on a huge and scary personal art challenge

Welcome to the third post in a series that I’ll be writing which will take you along on my journey to find my artistic voice. I’ve been making a serious crack at my art for about a year now, but when I look back at the piles of work I’ve done there doesn’t seem to be a cohesiveness to it. During the month of August I’m taking an introspective approach to finding my artistic voice so I can take my art to the next level.

I mentioned in passing in a previous post a project that I wanted to undertake after reading Lisa Congdon’s new book, Finding Your Artistic Voice, and that I would tell you more about that in a coming post. The time has come for me to tell you about something I’m going to be doing for the next year that I’m completely terrified to do.

I. Can’t. Draw. People. And as much as I understand that I can get there with practice, I’m too terrified to even start that process. Well I have been until now. I’ve spent so much time avoiding drawing people at all, but I want to get into editorial illustration and so much of the work in that industry includes images of people.

So I’m taking the advice that Martha Rich gives in her interview for Lisa Congdon’s book and embarking on a personal art challenge. I’m going to draw a person every weekday for a year. I’m not doing every single day because I don’t want to rush the process. This project is for intentional practice, and I have a lot to learn about how I like to draw people, so I’m giving myself weekends to either catch up or work ahead if I get behind or know there’s a busy time coming up.

But to ensure that I do stay on schedule, every Friday on this blog I’ll be posting a roundup of the pieces I’ve made throughout the week. If you’re interested in keeping up with that you can subscribe to get my blog posts sent to your email using the form at the bottom of this page. And with that let’s get to this week’s gallery!

While I think there are good things about all of these, I really love the direction of the last one. I’ve been wanting to make my work look a little weird which feels more authentic to me, and there’s something about outlining the teeth that adds to the weirdness factor.

I discovered this when I was trying to draw Lady Gaga. I think she has gorgeous and distinctive teeth, but whenever I tried to define them with line work she looked odd. And I’m not here to make Queen Gaga look weird.

Then on the page where I was kinda just messing around drawing a bunch of faces, I drew the one near the bottom with her teeth outlined, and she’s my favourite on the page! I was on to something. I think outlined teeth is something I want to tuck away and add to my visual style vocabulary. It just might mean I rely less on references of real people because I don’t want to offend anyone by taking their beautiful face and making it look weird.

Here’s to more weirdness in art!

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