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Art-Making: Keeping It Fresh

This week was vacation week, both in the regular sense and in the sense that I really needed a break from working on the comic.

We spent a couple days out of pocket and out of the office with friends and family indulging in fun and relaxation. Several naps, a game of laser tag, some wizard themed mini golf, a shower that was like a water park, and at least three meals that blew my calorie budget out of the water later, and I was ready to come home and work on some art.

(Look a wizard and laser tag relevant gif!)

But, not my comic art. I needed to work on something different. Really different. I had an art teacher tell me, "Once your passion becomes your job, then it's no longer your passion." And comic making has started to feel a lot like a job. Since I want to avoid that, I decided to switch things up a little bit this week and return to comic making this coming week.

"Once your passion becomes your job, then it's no longer your passion."

So, I pulled out an abstract piece I had started back in August and never finished gold leafing and wrapped that up. Also, the cat helped. Everyone, meet Nox.


I finished the piece and still felt the itch to create. I cracked open my trusty moleskin idea journal and went through the pages where I've jotted down every painting idea I've ever had. I landed on "kind princess gives poor page boy a piece of chocolate."

This particular prompt is from a series of works that I've already started.

I wanted to maintain the look and feel of these pieces, but illustrate a new aspect of a character. In this case, Rosamond. So, I planned to pull in elements such as the branches and similar gold leaf play, while making this piece unique with other elements specific to the content of the work.

I took about an hour and a half to rough out the piece. The good news here is that all of my work drawing out pages cut the time I spent roughing out the work in half! Usually, it takes me between two and a half to three hours to do this. I was shocked, too. Comic-making, kids! It's painful and time consuming but it will make you grow as an artist like mad. After that, I referenced some of the content of this video by Matt Rhodes, Art Director at Bioware, and his brother again when I began detailing the characters.

The characters should tell the viewer their story just by their attire and demeanor and I really tried to pull that into this piece.

Here is the work step-by-step to where it is now. (Still quite a way to go.)

As the new week unfolds, I'll begin diving into my comic creation again, while also sprinkling in some time spent on this new beauty with the hope that bouncing between projects will keep me fresh for each.

If you find yourself becoming stale on a project, or avoiding working on it all together, perhaps it's time for you to try to freshen up your work by creating something else and returning to your stale project with a new outlook.

For more process posts, follow me @msrmcgaughey on Instagram! If you have questions about process or techniques for your own work, don't hesitate to reach out through Insta messenger.

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