I feel like I have really wasted this term or at least cocked up my last project beyond all recognition.. (FUBAR springs to mind)... but do we all feel the same at some point? I'm not one who goes around fishing for compliments, i don't often believe my friends when they are being kind, mainly because I don't like my own work half of the time and that I could've done better. The worst thing is knowing that I could've done more, that I have let things slip and if only I had planned a little more that it all could have been avoided.
Luckily I popped into Manchester today to see some friends and spent most of the afternoon chatting and drinking tea with my good friend Abby Ryder ( illustrator/cartoonist, inker, colourer and one half of the dynamic duo who runs the Travelling Man comic store in Manchester). It's not often I vent about work/university but bless her, she listened and helped me feel better. I explained to her about how i was feeling, that I should've done more, I feel like I've ruined my degree, I am lacking in creative ideas at the moment and that I generally have low self esteem when it comes to my own work.... and she said... stop moaning! She told me about how her own experience at university... how hiding away/keeping things to yourself doesn't make them go away. I don't like asking for help as I feel it means I'm not good at what I do but Abby said that even just writing a list of what you want to do allows you to prioritise and work out what is feasible to complete for deadlines. Abby manages to some how hold together working in store and drawing and colouring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, colouring comics for 2000AD and then finding time to draw some personal work.. so she must know a thing or two!
Now I mentioned that I never believe my friends when they compliment my work, but thats because most of them see my work as I'm doing it and not when it's finished... so i wonder how they can actually like it before I've even completed it... yet when Abby was looking at some of my work, her reaction was exactly what I'd hoped everyone's would be... she immediately smiled and was interested in seeing more. She described my style as "instantly likeable", maybe due to the cartoon/comic style of most of it... and whilst looking at my 'Negotiated characters' (bugs bunny, mickey etc) she recognised all of the characters (without prompting) and even spotted the link between my work and the punk influenced stickers I was referencing which made me happy... at least someone got it! As I was then explaining the lack of work to my most recent project - the diesel/D&AD competition brief - the interactive aspects that I had tried creating really caught her attention... I have already admitted that maybe I didnt use all of my potential with these ideas.. but that didnt seem to matter. The simple characters that I drew and cut out of foam board really made her smile due to the cutesy quality and japanese influence but it also reminded her of Jess Bradley's work - a friend of her's and a fellow illustrator. Bradley's own cutesy characters are simple in facial features but (dots for eyes and usually a line for a mouth) but its the almost innocent and naive appearance/personality they have which makes them so appealing... again, maybe due to a nostalgia for cartoons from when we were younger or just rekindling the child within us all. Apparently starting out just making her own greetings cards... her work has moved on to trading cards, she's done some designs for GenkiGear t-shirts, childrens books, wall stickers and painting small canvases which she sells at UK comic conventions.
so... all in all... I know I have the ability to do well in whatever I put my mind to... it's just I'm all over the place with what I want to do... I'm half thinking about starting up my own brand as an excuse for me to work in my own varied styles and formats that I want to print on...
I often don't know when to step back and review my work.. I sometimes get too set in my ways and just carry on regardless.. it's only when I've "finished" that I realise I should've changed certain things... but I feel that working alongside someone in a collective will help me come to these conclusions sooner... also they can offer criticism and suggest new ideas.