Restarting the Art Engine 2/3
13th Jul, 2020

It seems my resistance to doing artwork is far deeper than I first thought. There is still a burning passion for art within, but it’s not unleashed, and I do not know how to unleash it. I can write for hours, and I never have writer’s block. I have hundreds of essays for Sciror. I feel compelled to write, to express my ideas, but it never translates to art. Notwithstanding, my Sciror writings are not translating into articles either. Something is wrong with my process or my aim.

John Blanche

I took my original portfolio, to games day ’97. After blagging my way past security to get into the VIP area, I met John Blanche. A good man. He was kind enough to look through my work, and while the pair of us chatting away, he said (and I paraphrase) that I was “not an illustrator but an artist”. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but the words stuck in my head. These words came back to haunt me, and later they led to an epiphany, which I’ll get to in a bit. Getting back to the story, He asked me what job I wanted, and I said ‘his’: to have free reign to paint large scale 40K posters. He smiled at my ambition (I assumed he smiled at that), but that job was already taken, and the studio was full. He asked if I could be an illustrator and pointed out the restrictions. Again, the whole artist-illustrator thing went over my head. I was so wrapped up in working for GW I was like the little engine that could; I think I can, I know I can! (Turns out: not so much). Mr Blanche tried to warn me that I was not an illustrator, but I didn’t know any better, and I couldn’t imagine any other options. I was a serious 40K fanboi, and I was all in! With my promise to work hard at illustration, John pointed me to the new start-up publishing imprint of GW, and to tell them he sent me, and that’s how I got my foot in the door with the Black Library.

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Restarting the Art Engine 1/3
3rd Jul, 2020

This is the first part of an article which runs my issues with creating art. I detail my confusion about the difference between being an artist and an illustrator, there is a bit of pop psychology, and my plans to get back on track. It is a tad long and waffly, and that’s after I’ve drastically cut it down to a ‘mere’ three parts! If you are not an artist or find pop psychology interesting, there is not much for you here, but, if what I write here is correct then maybe something creative will come of it in the future? Time will tell…

The issue

Do you ever wonder why you don’t do the things you know you should do? You would have thought that getting back into art would be easy; start practising again, get in the flow, produce a few pieces, and then contact games companies for work. Easy eh? I’ve done it before, so what’s the problem? Well, it used to be easy. Now, not so much. It’s not that I don’t want to; so why am I not doing it?

When getting to grips with something complex, as your psyche, it’s probably easier to think in analogies. At least in the early stages. We live in stories; it’s how we navigate and orientate ourselves in the world. Once we have a clear narrative of the issue, it’s much easier to figure a solution. To that end, I think of my artistic instincts as ‘an engine’, that is always ticking along in the background, and I rave it up when you want to do some work. Except my engine won’t rev :(

Like most problems to do with modern engines, it probably the electrics: the wiring. So, let’s break open my brain schematics and take a look under the bonnet (hood for my American cousins). Time to reprogram my Electronic Engine Management System, plug in some ideas and see if we can get a connection—time to find a spark.

My wiring problem maybe ADHD, masked for years due to the pressure of my role as a carer. Though nothing is certain, the mental health team will be getting back to me some time in the future after we had a little chat. In the meantime, I’ve been looking to overcome my barriers to producing art, and counter any potential ADHD to boot (or whatever it turns out to be), I’ve been watching YouTube videos on ADHD and motivation/ focus. The best ones seem to be a rehash of stoicism (habits makes the man) with a few pointless tricks thrown in. However, one video struck me like a bolt of lightning; they suggested using artwork that ties into your goals to inspire, artwork that means something to you. Nothing new there. Then they suggested creating that artwork. I thought ‘I create artwork’, and I shrugged my shoulders as if it was nothing, and then; BANG! For some reason, I didn’t think of my Black Library art; I instantly thought of my old (really old, like 20-year-old) ‘grand project’ for 40K. I felt a sudden compulsion to gaze upon my early works, back to where it all started, my first portfolio that was rejected but got my foot in the door with the Black Library. I wanted to look with fresh eyes at works I’d not seen in decades. Spark found.

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13th Apr, 2020

My new portrait :P

Time flies. I was expecting a call on 1st April from the mental health team, but no call came. The UK is on lockdown, and while people die, mental health has to take a back seat. Maybe it’s now like the old days, and we have to sort ourselves out? So, I thought I would write about what I am going through. To see if anyone responds – like a message in a bottle, cast out into the sea of the cyberspace. I wonder who’s shore it will wash up on?

Where to start?

Don’t worry. It’s nothing serious. I just have an overactive imagination. Ideas keep popping into my head, and I feel compelled to write them down. All the ideas that have built up in the back of my mind, suppressed over the last 30 years of being a carer, are flooding out. It’s a bit of a mess really. I should post more, but more ideas keep coming and resisting the torrent is futile.

ADHD – maybe.
The reason it may seem like ADHD, is that while researching my creations, I get ‘distracted’ and run down many rabbit holes while taking notes. I don’t see it as a distraction. I see it was more info! This new info is correcting and honing my ideas. I take notes as I watch and read, which I then take and work into current WIP concept blocks, formulating the ideas on the page. Of course, more info breeds more ideas, more ideas link into other ideas, and begat more ideas, and…

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