The Evolution of an Artist
Whenever I tell people I'm an artist and they take a peek at my work, they seem to forget that I too started somewhere and spent many long nights crumpling up papers and tossing them in the trash. For every filled sketchbook I have, there is another one of mine with angry scribbles being recycled into toilet paper. The journey of any craft is a long one, one that we must mentally indulge in every day.
Above is a crop of a mixed media piece from 2008: it's a playground of inks, acrylics, gel pen and stamps. But you may notice that there's nothing skillfully rendered in this piece: no faces, birds or even objects to give away how truly terribly I was at everything except splattering paints on a notebook. Below is a drawing of a face in the same journal from the same year—apologies in advance for the potato quality.
Honestly, it pains me to even show you this horrible face, but that's the point of this post: I've made more bad art than good in my lifetime, and I'll continue to make bad art if it helps me learn anything at all about making good art. My skill level was stagnant for quite some time. Let's skip ahead to 2011 below. Both faces are done in colored pencil, and you can see I've gotten better with proportions and the placement of facial features.
The next few years show a substantial improvement. Here's a small comic strip I created in April of 2012. Learning how light reflects off of surfaces became an incredibly efficient way to learn, so I started doing studies in black and white. I also picked up some books on color and light, specifically James Gurney's Color and Light.
Somewhere after 2013, I started to shoot for a more realistic style. I grew up with manga and anime, but it was time to shed these influences and aim for something more my own. Below is a sketch from 2014 in charcoal on toned paper.
Once I learned how to learn, my improvement was quicker and way more enjoyable, and my skills began to translate across media. Another (mostly) charcoal piece is below on orange paper.
And of course, here's something I drew last year in 2016. Hopefully in another eight years, I'll be posting this art embarrassed by how much I've grown. Here's to being human and ever-changing! #barislife #barisart