Let's talk art. (or specifically, talk about it in more detail than I normally do.)
Lately I've been noticing a lot of things about my own art. I don't know what exactly to attribute this to; perhaps it's the deviantART chatroom I've been hanging out in lately, perhaps it's connected to the changes I've been making in my style, or maybe it's just the weird mood I've been in. (which itself may be attributed to the long nights I've been having over the past few days.)
But whatever the reason, I've been having an easier time sitting back and looking at my art; not my artwork, but my art in general. my style.
One thing I've always been striving for is speed, as a matter of fact. My goal has always been to get comfortable enough with my artistic talents to be able to just sit down with an idea in my head, and within the day, have a finished piece of artwork. A result that I was actually happy with.
But looking back, I noticed a trend. Yes, my artistic talents keep getting better and better. More details, less mistakes, better quality in general. (nowhere near perfect, but progressing nicely.)
But I've also been getting slower and slower as a result.
It's brought me to re-think my goals a bit. Why am I getting slower, even though I'm getting better? It's my nature.
I'm learning new techniques time after time, and with every new tip I gather, I turn them into tricks to apply to my work.
And I've built up a pretty good pile of tricks.
Now, sure, I could probably emulate some of my older works even faster than ever. But it's not in my nature to "waste" my skills. So when I work, I apply all my tricks.
Now don't misunderstand me here; I'm quite happy with my style, no matter the speed. A few years back, I wouldn't have guessed I'd be working at this level. I still have even loftier expectations, but it is human nature to constantly want to be just a bit better than you are.
But the end result is, I have more skills. And I use more skills. And I take more time.
So here comes the re-thinking.
It's just not in my nature to learn skills and not put them to use. And for me to realistically just get faster, I'd need to not learn new skills, but simply master the ones I have.
Which is a great option, but not for me.
It isn't my style.
I'm constantly learning new techniques. Evolving my style, morphing it. My latest art project is an image of Myrkr-sefa; I've been working on it off/on for about two months now, and my art style has already changed halfway through the project. (I'll probably end up going back and re-doing some of the earlier sections as a result.)
And I wouldn't trade that advancement for anything. It's why I enjoy art. The feeling of learning something new - that sense of accomplishment when you stumble upon a new technique - it's pretty great. So what if it means your three-layer Photoshop project now has five layers in it, and takes an extra three hours to finish. (on that note, my Myrkr image currently has upwards of five layers, per finger, per hand, and a total of probably fifty-plus so far.)
The results are worth it. When you can put the final touches on a bit of artwork, sit back, and say, "this makes my last project look like crap in comparison."
And sometimes you can't top your last project that easily. But that just makes the next best artwork feel that much more rewarding.
So what are my goals now?
I'm not sure.
It's certainly not speed anymore. Sure, I want to be more comfortable with my style; but in the meantime, I'm perfectly happy with spending a few extra hours - or weeks - on a project to make it that much better.
I guess the one goal I had before, and still keep, is to just keep getting better.
And really, do I need more?