Friday, July 20, 2012

I Think the Internet Broke My Brain

One of my favorite Concept Artists, Matt Rhodes, touches on some similar feelings I've been having lately in a recent post on his blog.  Read the article HERE.

Inspiration is good, but can too much be bad for you? Does being so plugged in to one another's art lead to incestuous solutions? 

What do you think?


  1. that was such a good read. Thanks for posting a link to that. I've wondered the same thing. I haven't felt super inspired for a long time and yes, whenever i sit down to draw i's been done. Or...this isn't original...or i need to do this on my own my way.

    and then i do nothing at all. haha.


  2. Yeah, this was a great read and very 'close to home'. Seems that being flooded with so much cool imagery can lead to neglecting practice and disrespecting ones' own skills.

    And cool images are not the only problem. Technical information about techniques, brushes that others use, mediums, fat over lean, gesso and acrylic primers, and all the other things we would not have given a damn about as children ... they can lead to fear and block.

    Fortunately on MuddyColors the trend is to keep the flood at bay. Technical questions always get answered when posed, but are not the foundation. Thank you all very much for that!

  3. For the design community as a whole I think the flood of information and awesome images is a good thing. Building off what has already been done (including the work of mother nature) is by far the best strategy for coming up with solid and iconic designs. It can be different for the individual artist, though. With so many images that can be accessed by anyone it is possibly more difficult to stand out. There are no more small ponds. Personally I don't get blocks from watching other people's work. I get blocks from trying to come up with something new. Nothing original has ever come from trying to be original.

  4. Good Christ that's timing. I've been plagued with this now for weeks and keep having the same thing run over and over in my mind, "It's not good enough, it's not edgy enough, it's been done before, it's not original..."

    I've done thumbnail after thumbnail and even pre-coloured sketches drawn out that have been totally abandoned in fear that i will be wasting my time on something that is trite.

    Since i've been in school for the last 2 years I've become such a serious critic that I have to fight myself just to get past the sketching stage. I am aware of my over-saturation with hundreds of images stored in my computer that I am desperately trying not to depend upon but i'm still having trouble moving past it.

    Anonymous (from Matt Rhodes blog) posted this:

    1) Stop looking at your reference collection for a while. This was said above and rings true. Take a break from consuming content.

    2) Look to nature for inspiration. This always helps me. Draw some insects, leaves, people, clouds, mountains, anything REAL. Try to look at your subjects in different ways.

    3) Juxtaposition. This one is difficult but can be very satisfying when it works. Try to make strange combinations of subject matter. Maybe you are drinking coffee and a fly buzzes near your head. Draw a fly drinking a cup of coffee. The results of such experiments are often humorous, and once in a while you'll have an idea that reinvigorates your creativity like you never thought possible.

    -For this (#3) I would highly recommend the "Fantasy Genesis" book by Chuck Lucaks for artists.

    It's a Dungeons & Dragons technique involving a handful of game die for the purpose of randomly using whatever the die chooses for you that ties in with different animals/attributes/mammals/landscapes... then you simply take your attributes and create like the wind.

    I'm REALLY curious to see what anyone does to move past this creative block.

  5. If I may be so bold as to quote myself - " Put the books back on the shelf. Turn off the image search. Throw the phone out the window. Shut the door. Take a deep breath and set yourself.

  6. I believe that Paul's advice is wise. I've been doing this since the start of the summer. I've consciously tried to stop worrying about style, "originality", about making mistakes, entering challenges, building a portfolio - about anything, really, except having fun painting and exploring.

    It's been... great!

  7. The solution is to suck at what you do then no one will care. Seriously I feel for you all who have to come up with endless numbers of dragons etc. It's a good thing narwhal haven't hit the mainstream market yet or I'd be screwed.

    Paul, that is great advice. If you want original work go to the only place where it can exist; in your own head.

  8. I see art as speaking, internet is giving us the ability to talk about everything and the possibility to listen to everyone opinion but when you are speaking you should focus on saying your thing, developing your dialogue and explaining your viewpoint. The problem is that is hard to say something interesting between all the chat that occurs in this environment, so yes internet is great for information an knowledge but could give some serious artistic headache if you can't focus inside all the caos that the web carry behind.

  9. Dan, I can't tell you how much this applies to my trade, tattooing. I want to be an innovator, but my clients won't let me. The problem... The internet. Too many choices. That shouldn't be a bad thing, but it kind of is.

  10. I'm sorry, but I don't believe that any of you would create better art if the internet was not there. The Scifi/fantasy art world has prospered like a motherscratcher since the arrival of CG. There was a big hype in the seventies, but I honestly think it cannot compare - at all. You can take an image of a dragon and say it hasn't evolved since Larry Elmore, but the dragon is an icon, it can only evolve so much or it wouldn't be a dragon.

    It is always hard to break from archetypes and iconic designs. It is now, just like it was thirty years ago. Still, people manage to do it every day over at cghub, conceptart, wipnation and here at muddy colors. 

    An original style, just like skill, takes years and years to develop. What is funny though is that Matt Rhodes, who initiated this discussion, really has one. I don't. Yet.

  11. Yep, everything has been done before- years ago and a zillion times over.. What hasn't been done before is the honesty of expression that you as an individual bring to the table. that's why at some point, you have to put away all the other visual clutter and focus on what it is about the way you draw and see the word that makes you unique. the sooner you can trust yourself to make something that comes from inside, the sooner your style emerges. Your drawing style is like your handwriting. Trying to copy or being too influenced by the "handwriting" of others will only dilute or obscure your artistic expression. Have the guts to go out there and just do whatever it is you do without fear. That is when the real magic happens. That is when you find out where your originality lies.

  12. I think I have a similar problem but with a small difference (or maybe a similarity but one that no one else has pointed out yet). I do lock up lately when I try to draw but only when I'm not drawing from life and I think it's partly the topical problem but instead of just saying "Why bother, it's been done before," I say "Why bother, I'll never do it better than what's already been done."

    If I thought I could draw it my way, and if that way was fun and skilled and felt like an accomplishment, then it wouldn't matter how many times it has been done before. Unfortunately, I don't have that much confidence. Every drawing I try to start I just think it'll turn out badly so I preemptively give up on it.

    Not always... but a lot more lately than at other times. I'm hoping it's just a slump and I'll get out of it soon.

  13. I agree...I call it "Artistic White Noise" (TM Pending, ;) After a while it all looks and sounds the same. Its a hard thing to do, but I don't blog and share images often, I don't Tweet at all or have a Tumblr, and Facebook maybe once a week. This is on purpose, and its not easy. I honestly don't want to see what other artists are doing. I love other artist's work and you're my friends, but I don't want to look at it! I don't even keep my own work hanging around my house or studio. Eventually after all the blogs, workshops and masterclasses, you just have to shut-up and go to work! "In the end its just you and a blank canvas." And with that- I'm going to work, see you all in the funny pages! Peace!

  14. I think it steals your creative energy. Regular unplugging is good for creative energy. I love Paul's Advice. I think I'll do that. Maybe I'll actually have something to show for it.

  15. Have you seen Mongo ali's way to work? you would not believe it-brings a smile to your face... but better look close it's not as easy as it looks. And the artist is a real character ... A treasure really. NdrU


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