Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to make your Old art New

This is actually sort of a few tricks more than a 'how to', but it is all stuff that works well for me.

I keep every sketch book I fill up. Every one. Some of them date back years and years (and are quite embarrassing to actually look at). When I'm feeling out of inspiration, instead of turning to ripping off other artists (face it, when an artist 'inspires' us, we're kind of ripping them off), or turning on the TV and turning off my creativity, I revisit those old sketch books.

Revisiting the old sketch books and projects helps from another level other than being a source of inspiration. Something I did ten years ago may still be valid as an idea, even if, as an artist, I'd NEVER let anyone see the original piece, now. All that remains is to rework the original. Take that old bad drawing and redo it with all your newly refined skills. It's also nice to look back once in a while and see that you've actually improved. Nobody else is going to point it out to you, so you may as well do it yourself.

In looking back at some of my OLD work, I've noticed that I have always loved Steampunk, even when I didn't know what it was. I also had some interesting directions that I wanted to take it in, apparently. This has been a huge help to me with some of my newer works...particularly some jewelry that I've been working on, lately...which brings us to the second part.

I drift as an artist, from medium to medium. I'm not content to sit forever with just a pencil, so I moved to ink. Ink was fine, but soon I was doing watercolors, then acrylics, then sculpting with polymer clay, then sculpting with paper mache, then back to polymer clay, but adding paper mache, then adding wire and brass bits and 'found objects'. It's an ongoing process. When you are revisiting your old work and you find a theme or idea that you like, feel free to try it in a new medium. A painting that you did fifteen years ago may just suck. A sculpture based on the painting may be very cool, though. I've done this a few times with my work, and it's always been fun, if not completely successful in becoming a WORK OF ART (in all caps, like that....that's what we're striving for. The one piece that will catapult us from obscurity to wealth and riches and fame).

I've been sticking to talking about traditional art methods, but if that's not your thing, don't feel limited. I used to do quite a bit of design work, and you'd be amazed at how easy it is to sneak in some of you old art into a new design piece. Old pencil drawings made great backgrounds for new clean and crisp designs, or photos of sculptures can be relentlessly plundered for's all up to you, and you get the wonderful feeling of accomplishing something that is completely your own style, once you are done. Any outside influences were years ago, and safely lost in time.

Even if you look at your old stuff and don't really feel like reworking any of it, at least you will be able to see your own improvements, and it will definitely get your creativity moving again. You may see this old 'junk' and suddenly be full of new ideas completely unrelated to what your eyes are on. Trust me on this.

Thank you for taking the time to read my mini artists rant, I hope that it helps at least one or two people out there, and I promise to get back to scary stuff soon!

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