I haven't done any character sketches in a super long time. Two years ago, when I was doing my animation, I got really into them. Even though I was doing a claymation and even though I never need to draw my 3D characters, I took the opportunity to do so because there was something so mindful about creating a character and then rotating it in proportion along fine pencil lines. I actually started sketching characters I had no intention of using in my animation and at one point the only drawing I did were of character sketches because it was therapeutic.
After I finished my animation and my employment at YAP was over I put my creative energy into painting, largely ignoring my sketch book. I had begun an attempt at a graphic novel, which I have every intention of continuing with at some point, but once again, drawing it had been a form of therapy I needed at the time. The repetition of my pencil lines was reflective of the personal mayhem I was working through. It felt like my life was going through the same pattern of frustration, hurt and loss. As I went through the motions of my life, learning a little bit each time and slowly getting stronger, so too did I see my art improving.
As I began to feel more stable I began stretching what I was doing with my life into other aspects of creativity. I also decided it was time to really work on my tarot cards in earnest. The character sketches and the sketchbook I'd used to do them were put to one side. My work has become about single pieces, single static characters.
My graphic design course has re-awakened my interest in animation and it's also pushing me in another direction. Time and again people have asked me if I would consider doing children's book or providing illustrations for their own writing. I've been daunted by the idea of doing either because I honestly haven't felt I've got the skill to create illustrations nor do I have the discipline to write a story for children. I've been daunted, but that doesn't mean it's not something I really, really want to do.
Next week I'm learning Illustrator, the last of the three programs covered in the course I'm currently doing. This is the program I've been waiting for because it could be just the tool I've been looking for to finally jump into the world of children's literature. I feel enough in touch with my inner child that I believe I can write stories captivating for children to read. I also remember my childhood quite vividly including the books and stories I most enjoyed. All of this should built a solid foundation for the makings of what I hope to be a well written, lovable and fun series of books/animations.
But before I vectorise anything and before I make the very expensive but desirable purchase of CS5, I am returning to my sketchbook and those simple pencil drawings. I have to say, I do feel my character sketches have gotten a bit rusty. I'm not quite so quick to rotate a character all the around across the length of a page. But I can feel it coming back and along with that I'm finding ideas for story lines becoming more solid in my mind.
We shall have to see what comes of this.