It's been a tumultuous past couple of days, with tonight's session being especially rocky. The day itself wasn't pleasant, with work dragging on and my work-from-home days most likely coming to an end. My plants once again are leggy and falling over despite my best efforts to grow them properly, the kitchen was a mess, and I just could not seem to focus on anything.
That all carried into tonight, and after drawing about a dozen pages of scratches while trying to figure out what I want to do with this damn fox, I eventually started drawing new pages on paper instead of digitally, since I decided it would look better due to the dynamic look of the pencil lines, but then I kept screwing up, because I'm trying to draw the fox with just one line and no sketching, which is difficult despite the simplistic and messy style, so I kept having to erase and draw again, and traditional art leaves scuffs and marks behind unlike the clean erasure of digital, so that left me in a conundrum too.
I look at all the art around me, including the new background image as I write this, and I see all sorts of different styles, and I can't help but wonder how much thought goes into them and how it compares to me. Did Maurice Sendak spend weeks on end determing the skeletal system of the wild things? How much time did Dr. Seuss spend sketching the building blocks of a Sneech?
Children's books often act as licenses to use unique and unorthodox art styles, including some that appear very messy and childlike themselves, and while it's tempting to say, "That's what I'm going for," a large part of me yells at myself for thinking that, saying it's just an excuse to half-ass the work and be lazy.
Finally I came to two realizations. The first came as I was trying to sketch one of the final drawings of the book. The fox is making her way back home (spoiler alert!) and all the little creatures are looking at her in awe as she glows bright from having been to the Moon. And I sat there trying to draw all those creatures when I finally realized, I have no fucking idea how to draw any of them! And what was I going to do, belt them all out in 5 minutes so I could finish and feel good about it?
So there was the first realization: because I've told others that I'm making this book, I've now put an unreasonable amount of pressure to finish as quickly as possible, and thus we get all the conundrums faced here. That's why I haven't been able to sit down and delve into this like I have with my standalone pieces.
The second realization came as I was writing this just now - you know what the difference is between all those illustrators and me? I'm the only one who's not having any fun! That's not quite right, now is it.
I feel renewed now, but it's 12:10 and I need to get ready for bed. I imagined if I stayed up until the wee hours I'd have something I adore, but I'm trying to curb my sleep habits. A constant balance between enough time for art, enough time for socializing, and enough sleep. Another problem to deal with.