I like watching people draw, especially in time lapse. All great illustrators have a dance to their process; a flitting to-and-fro across the surface of their chosen medium, alternating between quick, broad constructive strokes and OCD-driven micro-adjustments of detail. My favorite parts in the above video are when Denman revisits something he’s already ‘completed’ – pay attention to his repeat attempts at the protagonist’s weapons and troll/orc tattoos in particular. He’s not only experimenting with different stylistic approaches but evolving the proportions as well, refining and adjusting until both feel ‘right’.
Taking part in a conversation about what is or isn’t art is the intellectual equivalent of masturbation; it’s probably fun for you but isn’t of much utility to anyone else. I obtained a four-year degree in art during my early twenties which means – beyond accruing an obscene amount of debt – that I’ve spent more than enough time locked in my own head, enamored with how wonderful my own thoughts were on the subject.
This is not something I’m proud of.
That being said, I’ve found that thinking intentionally about anything is rarely a waste of time, just as long as you don’t allow the procesc to transform you into a pretentious douche. The net outcome of my autoerotic cognitive fiddlings? Two things:
The first item above is self-explanatory but the second is why I instinctually dismiss performance artists, ‘found-object’ impresarios or anyone else whose manifesto over-leverages the word ‘exploration’ and tend to revere potters, illustrators, photo-realists and graffiti writers.
Smug is an exemplary example of the latter two. Anyone who has attempted to draft anything with aerosol will attest to how difficult it is to get it to do what you want it to. I tried my hand at it during my late teens and was instantly repelled, knowing immediately that I didn’t possess the patience to be competent, let alone great. Just look at the images I’ve collected above, marvel at their draftsmanship and the artist’s mastery of color – can you believe a human being is capable of this shit? Attached is just a small sampling of his work, hit up his Flickr for loads more.
This time lapse video of Joe Fenton drawing is a bit deceiving; since the lighting remains consistent and his wardrobe only appears to change a few times you might think he completed The Lullaby in a matter of a few days.
It took two months.
As I was watching full-screen – the progress bar and UI conveniently hidden away – I kept thinking the video was about to end; how much more detail could he possibly add? What else was there left to do? Just graphite on Arches would have sufficed but Joe pushes it to some next-level shit when he busts out the airbrush, white gouache and muted water watercolors to further enhance its three-dimensionality.
The backing music by his brother, Julian, is a nice compliment to the visuals: mysterious, ethereal and subdued. Full screen and headphones, y’all.
John Kenn is an animator for children’s television shows in Denmark, but in his spare time he likes to draw these monster scenes on yellow stationary notes. They are very reminiscent of Edward Gorey, as I’m sure a lot of people will notice. It’s impressive that this is what this guy just does for fun. Check out his full gallery for more awesomeness.