I posted a painting in a series of illustrations I did for fun in December, and I wanted to share the rest of the series. Enjoy!
For those of you who follow my Instagram, you probably saw a series of paintings I’m doing for fun. As you may or may not know, I love giraffes. They are one of the strangest creatures created by God, and they never cease to fascinate me. Seriously, what was the point of their long necks? Why do they slobber so much? Why do they have those cute little horns on their heads? The male giraffes fight with their necks to win the love of a mate. The female giraffes give birth standing up.
Just as I am intrigued by giraffes, I am becoming more and more interested in people. I love observing people, learning from people, and I cherish the moments we as human beings can create. We take on emotions that no other animals can fully feel or express. We seek meaning. We seek joy. We seek deep and healthy relationships, whether it be with family, friends, or our significant other.
I wanted to find a way to combine the two things that I am interested in. Imagine if giraffes and other animals could feel and act as we do. What if their emotions were just as complex?
I’m still learning how I paint best, when I paint best, and where I get my ideas. The moments I drew and painted so far have been based on people I know or memories I have and had. I’m still figuring out how to scan and retouch my work properly, so hopefully I can share all of that with you soon.
It’s no exaggeration that I would not be where I am without my fiancé Manny. This is the man who stayed up with me in college before we started dating to keep me company while I worked on my studio projects—he was in Boston, I was in Providence. Yes, he stayed up with me online! To this day, there is no one else who supports and believes in my work as much as he does. He still stays up with me while I work; this time, I also get to keep him company while he studies as a student at med school.
Nonetheless, I struggle many times with fear even with the constant words of affirmation. It’s the voice inside my head that tells me, “Kayoung, you can’t do it. Just go to sleep. Spend your time doing something you know you can do.”
For those of you who experience fear, too, know that it is paralyzing and unproductive. If fear didn’t exist, I feel like I’d have hundreds of pieces lying around my studio along with stacks of completed sketchbooks. That’s not the case at this point because fear often times prevents me from making any mark. I’m afraid of making bad pieces, and I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid that people might think my art school education was a waste or that I can’t illustrate because I studied industrial design. Or that I simply suck.
This blog post won’t end with me saying that I finally overcame fear nor will this end with me writing about ways to kill it. However, I’m excited for the day when fear won’t consume me. I’d love to stay forever young, but I know getting older will come with more wisdom. And more wisdom means finding effective ways to filter out the negative thoughts in my head!
These days I’m working on learning how to draw again. If I don’t practice, I lose touch. Kind of like languages (I took French for four years and all I remember how to say is “I’m hungry”). My wrists went back to being rigid, and my hands start shaking at the thought of drawing a line.
These are the times I miss college. I had no choice but to improve my technical skills because the freshman foundation studios went for eight hours a day, three times a week. We drew and drew and drew until we lost our fingerprints from smearing charcoal and got a free tan from the dark dust. It was a time to be less of a perfectionist because, well, we had to finish what we drew by a certain hour. Even though I probably lived on 28-35 hours a sleep a week, life was good.
I’m writing about this because a couple of my coworkers and I are going to be attending Sketch Night at the Society of Illustrators on October 8th. We’re going to be drawing nudes! Yay! I can’t wait to learn how to draw from observation again. To give you a sense of how bad I got at drawing, here is a comparison of then and now.
This is what I drew in college back in 2005.
This is how I draw now.
Yes, the ribs are floating in this instance. Yes, this skeleton is striped. Okay, I admit it’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s not too far from the truth. I’m sure if I put the time, effort, and practice into it again, I can make it look believable. I think what’s really cool is that my coworkers and I will be learning how to draw again together.
Let’s just say, it’s time to get diiiiiiirty!
I’m sure I’m speaking for every designer on my team, but Scott Campbell totally just blew us out of the water today. One of the sweetest things has got to be meeting someone you’ve enamored from afar and finding out they are way more awesome than you imagined them to be in person.
Scott C. is an illustrator with a lot of versatile experience. He’s worked at Lucas Arts, art directed other video games, illustrated children’s books, and drawn a whole lot of comics. He keeps up a blog called Great Showdowns, which is a “chronicling of some of the greatest confrontations in film history.” Super cool, right?
What was even cooler is that he shared his process, including the drawings he did as a kid. He said, “The end product’s not the big deal—it’s the process that’s fun.” And he was totally right. When you hear about the process from the artist, you end up appreciating the work so much more; that’s where all the fun, juicy details are!
Here are some other things I learned from Scott C. today.
1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Don’t be a perfectionist. Do complete your projects. If you feel stuck on one piece, move onto another one and finish that one. Anyone can work on one painting forever because, honestly, something could always be better. Sometimes you just need those little wins and pieces where you are also able to practice your technical skills. It’s the only way to improve as an artist!
The timing of this piece of advice could not have been more perfect because I actually talked to my fellow coworker and artist Scotty Albrecht last week about working on quantity over quality over the next two months. I used to think being a perfectionist produced great work, but it certainly doesn’t.
2. Show your work.
Scott C. said something very similar to what I heard writer and inspirational speaker Jon Acuff say. “90% done and shared is worth more than 100% perfect in your head and not published.” It is the truth. If you don’t show your work because you’re afraid it’s so darn horrible, you won’t get feedback. You’ll actually never know if it was, indeed, horrible or if it was the negative voice inside your head speaking. All it takes is one person telling you, “Hey, I dig your work.” It will fuel you to keep going. It certainly does for me, which makes me wonder why I don’t do it more often.
Thank you, Laurel, for making this happen!
Here is a photo of me with zee artist at the end of the chat. What an awesome time at work!