Monday, 1 July 2013

Make Mistakes

Tomorrow marks the final session in this year's Cannon Hill Lectures series at mac birmingham, so I thought it would be fun to go full circle and show you the drawings behind the Cannon Hill Lectures postcards. Because everyone loves an origins story, don't they?

As you can see things don't always go right first time. I tend to re-draw rather than be a rubber-outter as when going over the same drawing a panic can set in, scrubbing away wildly at the paper in an attempt to physically and psychologically erase the fact that you made a mistake in the first place. Making multiple drawing attempts simply becomes akin to re-drafting an essay, or holding a scratch night on the way to a finished performance; constructive and clear-headed ways to naturally advance a creation.

In the last year I've grown to understand that my third drawing of the same thing usually turns out the best. Keeping the drawings leading up to your favourite is a good way of reminding yourself that it's okay if it doesn't come out successfully first time round, and sometimes these stepping-stone drawings are absolutely charming in their own way, like the bizarrely cheerful floating pig head above. (Hey little buddy!)

With layered compositions it's best to think of each part of the design as an individual atom, a smaller part of the whole design molecule, and so on. That way if one element breaks down, the whole structure doesn't crumble. One thing I'm learning to do is keep elements of an illustration separate so they can be easily altered, moved, changed or adapted, be that physically or digitally.

I think it's all too easy to look at a finished article of any kind and detach yourself from the process leading up to it. We'd all be forgiven for forgetting creative things didn't just happen that way, especially when some people make it look so effortless. Acknowledging and accepting mistakes brings with it a sense of comfort towards your own abilities as well as the potential for further growth, and is something which can so easily be overshadowed by that strong desire we all share ~ to make something good. Making something good is okay, but in my opinion to make something great, you have to make mistakes first.