On constant, incremental progression

I decided sometime back in 2011 that I was going to really start focusing on improving my art. So, I’ve been drawing for a few years now.

I mean, I’ve been drawing–more or less off and on–since I was a kid, but. Well. You know what I mean.

One thing that I’ve tried to do is give myself visual guideposts as I’ve been working to improve. Pieces of art that I continually return to, basically on an annual basis, as a check on my progression. One of these pieces is Link from the Legend of Zelda.


So this is what it looks like when I draw the same character every year. What I really notice from seeing this set laid out like this is not only how my skill with a pen has increased, but also technique and style. Some time in 2014 I started adding textures to my art, but I had no idea what I was actually doing, so I just cut them randomly into the background. In 2015, I learned how to set a texture to overlay and my world became larger by immense magnitudes. I also acquired a brush pen in 2015, so you start to see variances in line width, which greatly improved the look of my linework.

Plus, man, I could NOT draw in 2012, could I? Yikes. But I still show it here because I should not be embarrassed of my history, especially once compared to my present.

Here’s another, smaller, example. Hawkeye.

There was so much wrong with my technical skill, even as recently as last year. 2014 Hawkeye’s fingers are weird, I don’t know what’s going on with his legs, his torso is SO LONG, and that HAIR?! But, honestly? I absolutely ADORE 2015 Hawkeye. Interesting line width choices, much better styling around the fingers and shoes, I felt like I made excellent choices with hair and quiver. I don’t like how I drew the arrows (I completely neglected to add the ARROW TIPS, WHAT?). But other than that, I feel like 2015 Hawkeye is such a huge improvement over 2014 Hawkeye, it’s not even a close comparison.

That’s really the long and short of it, I guess. I’ve been spending the better parts of 2013, 2014, and most of 2015 so far, just DRAWING. As often as I’m able, as close to daily as I can manage. DRAWING.

And that’s the big secret, really. You can’t really get worse at something you do every single day. You can only get better. And I’m definitely looking forward to putting together yet another retrospective of my progression as an artist in 2018, looking back at the six years that have preceded it. I’m actually excited to see how I’ve improved as an artist in the coming year.

It can only get BETTER.