Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Over the edge

You need to push yourself over the edge.

- By Jesper Ejsing

I never feel at ease with what I do. I think drawing and painting is damn hard and extremely difficult. I do not have a system or a basic training that I can lean on and that will help me along. Instead I have a blurred vision in my head of what the illustration should look like. My process is what I do to painfully squeeze that image out.

I try to keep myself on the path of improvement, even if that road is a bumpy one with tons of obstacles pitt-fals and enemies at every crossing. I stay on that path by setting goals for myself with every drawing I undertake. ”This one, Jesper, you have to do more dynamic than anything you have done before” or ”His face is gonna have to look 3D as if it was a hologram” or ” She should be so sexy, that people will blush just looking at the painting” or ”Pull yourself together, Jesper and do a detailed background for once, you lazy bastard”. If I didn´t yell at myself every single time, I am affraid I would loose my creativity.

What I do to avoid the great abyss called repetation or routine, is I force myself, with all the will I can muster, to do something new or something a bit more difficult everytime I start a new illustration. It is easy to just do the drawings the way I am used to. Solve the problems the same way as lasttime. I could easily do yet another fighter in cool outfit looking cool and powerfull at the wiever. But even if the art assignment is somthing like: ”A fighter looking angry and threatening at us”, I try to squeeze something else out of it. I just got assigned 6 covers in a row with figures basicly just standing there. What I did was consentrating on getting the poses interresting. I had the figures pose in a slightly different way than simply up and down. The head to the site, the hand twisted, the weight a little off. Most time I stand up and place myself the way the figure is standing, to try and get a feel for the pose. I got a mirror. I look silly. But I get a sense of it that is useful. Even if the giving motive is something I have done many times before, I can put at least 10% into it that is new to me. 10 % that I haven´t tried or dared try before. That is the only way to improve and keep improving.

It is also damn hard. It is the reason I am never at ease and always dread comming into the studio every morning getting that fresh eye at the painting I am doing. Because I am never totally in control or knows exactly where it is going.

"I remember with the Griffin, that I wanted to make a figure with a clearly readable silhouette to make for a better illustration in cardsize. It was a magic ard illustration for Shards of Alara." "With the female sorcerer I tried to concentrate on a really crazy outfit along with a powerful pose fitting an evil super-being"


  1. Inspiring! :) Thanks for sharing you thoughts, Jesper.

    All the best!

  2. That gryph is gorgeous. And yes, sir, it's all about pushing!

  3. Very inspirational. Thank you very much for that reminder!

  4. Your thoughts are very helpful and encouraging and I like your approach.

  5. Very true and an important point you make. Actually just got me out of the dumps on a painting I had been working on minutes ago.

  6. The hard work pays off for you sir :)

  7. Thanks for that - it's nice to hear that from another artist - the love/hate encouragement to keep yelling at your inner self to try again and harder. :)

  8. Jesper, stop beating yourself up. You're awesome, bro.

  9. I really can agree with you that pushing the boundaries with every new commission is important, otherwise you could easily change position to the frontline assembly.

    I really like the two pieces, but the female sorcerer looks a little off to me, from the small image it looked like a foreshortened knee on her hip, it took a while to realize her leg is on the other side. Also from this position the legs could be longer, not very much but a half headsize, probably this comes from the fact her feet are hidden, but somehow it looks like the lower legs were too short. Other than that, keep it up!

  10. Thank you, Jesper. This post is so enlightening! I thought you were talking about me :)


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