Drawing Outside Your Comfortzone: Redirecting Your Ability

Nick Davis Teddy Bear Author And ArtistHello, and welcome to another installment of Drawing Outside Your Comfortzone, today I am going to talk about redirecting your ability. What do I mean about this… Well, join me after the jump and I will discuss it below.

We grow, we learn, by copying what we see, the basic teaching instinct, we see – we do – rinse and repeat until we have picked up that ability and move onto the next lesson. That is pretty much what I’ve been doing since I picked up a pencil again over five years ago.

I learned crosshatching and fur from the E.H Shepard Winnie the Pooh illustrations, inking from Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes, the use of cartoon dynamic movement from PowerPuff Girls, morphic imagery with My Little Pony, adaptions of character creation from Steven Universe and feeling comfortable with my more unique view of drawing the human form from Bruce Timm and anime illustrations.

In short, I looked, I learned, I drew, I adapted, I tried again, I stopped, all the time taking what I could see and tried to take what I felt comfortable with and add it to my own style, and along the way I fell into a trap. The imagery, the characters, although unique because I drew them, were in the end… NOT MINE!

Anime Girl - Always Experiment

Always Experiment

I don’t own Winnie the Pooh, you could argue it is public domain, but good luck fighting Disney with that, and Calvin & Hobbes, Powerpuff Girl, My Little Pony, Steven Universe and the various Bruce Timm/Anime inspired superheroes just don’t belong to me. Great practice fodder, but in the end, not mine.

Anime Girl in Chinese Dress

And Never Give In

It is time to redirect my ability, and perhaps it is yours too? Very few of us are ever going to get the chance to draw the big guys like Cap, Bats, Wonder Woman, Supes, Spidey for a living without living in fear of a Cease and Desist or a DCMA letter. Those long hours spent figuring out how to be comfortable drawing Diana’s hair, Steven throwing his shield and Bruce well lurking could all be naught. Even my Teddy Bear Hero Mash-ups are pretty close to a parody line.

So, what is the solution? Do we give up looking at others work for inspiration and practice? Of course not! But take what you have learned and direct towards your own work, your own characters, revel in your learned abilities to make your characters finally do what you’ve imagined them to do on the paper.

In short… Create your own universe, ain’t no one going to be able to take that from you. Onwards!

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About Nick

Just an Englishman lost in the USA who happens to write now and again... Anyone got a cup of tea?
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