The world tries to homogenize us, and, like lambs to the slaughter, we all tend to fall in line easily.
My pet example of this is cars ...
When cars were invented, they were just basically a buggy with a motor and a steering wheel ... a buggy with no horse.
As the concept of a horseless carriage caught on with the public and new car manufacturers sprang up, competition drove them to get inventive with the designs. It used to be quite a thing to anticipate a new body style coming out every year on our favorite models. Not only could we tell from three blocks away what kind of car was approaching, years later we can look at older cars and tell the brand and the year ... that’s a ’53 Chevy or a ’69 Oldsmobile. And most of us older folks fondly remember our favorite ... mine is a 1955 T Bird, hardtop convertible, in RED! I never owned one, but wow!
Nowadays, all the body styles are beginning to blend into one basic shape. With just a few exceptions, we need to be close enough to read the markings on the car to know what it is.
This same thing tends to happen in all areas of our lives. Maybe it’s not some grand conspiracy ... perhaps we just find a better way of doing things and then stick with it. Until one day someone stands up and says, Why are we doing it this way?
That’s kind of what happened to me ... I fell into a rut. I didn’t realize it until I wrote The Meek and the Mighty articles ...
The last thing I remember was getting all excited about going to some workshops and having all these big plans to go out and do live sketching in the park and the mall ... but all my big plans got derailed when covid hit. The malls closed and we were told to hunker down at home. Like everybody else, I moved indoors and workshops moved online. Any live sketching was out the window, including any face-to-face interaction with other artists and writers. I just settled in and maintained the status quo, just like everybody else on the planet.
But that was two years ago and things are opening up once again. Now the weather’s warming up and I just want to go outside and be around people! I have my friends, of course, but I want to go out into the world and be among humanity. You can watch TV and videos on the internet. You can pull up all kinds of images for reference material to draw from, but nothing beats live observation and sketching out in the real world. It’s inspiring and informative all at the same time.
Then, back in the studio, when you’re drawing a character in motion, you capture it better. When you’re trying to conjure up different hair and clothing styles, your head and your sketchbook is full of images. You’ve got a better idea about how people interact with one another, about mannerisms and expressions and postures.
So the first step to getting out of the rut I’m in ... get back out into the world and do some live sketching on a regular basis!