The Magical Sketchbook, 13-Dec-11: Updated sketches and illustrations
Haven't posted in pretty much forever so not sure if I even recognise anyone hehe, so I'll repost my background.
I don't come from an illustration / fine art background, I have a degree in computer science and also one in operational management because my parents told me from a young age I wouldn't be able to make a living with art =(
I've always doodled to some degree, not that seriously to be honest until about 6 years ago when I discovered concept art and decided to take art seriously and taught myself, tone, perspective, design, etc. During this time I was working 9-5 in some dead end job in health foods for a very disorganised person. I'd come home after a long day, after going to the gym and just spend from about 8pm-12am drawing and doing artwork every night learning form as many sources as possible. After 6 months I landed a concept artist job, which totally wasn't my intention at all, I just wanted to draw cool pics hah.
I've now been a senior concept artist and Art director in the games industry for 5+ years now and I now run my own design studio called Stylus Monkey Design which services the games / film / publishing industries. It has certainly been one hell of a crazy ride, at numerous points after numerous closures of companies I worked for, I was considering throwing in the towel and turning my back on art since it seemed to bring nothing but stress and misery.
There was one point where I was looking to join the military full time, the police force, even the domestic spy agency to feel like I was giving back to society more than I was taking - you just get to this point and you start asking "sure this is fun...but what the heck am I actually contributing to society?!". There was a lot of growing up I had to do as well, becoming an art director at a relatively young age (23 at the time) screws with your mind, you start to see yourself as greater than you are and you just don't have the maturity to really keep things in perspective, you become a know-it-all and you hurt people in thoughtless ways. I've certainly done my fair share of that and I think only recently I've put a lot of that behind me and as much as possible made amends from my end. I know some of you post here and hopefully you know how sincerely I mean it when I say I am sorry.
Of course, since I'm here now, I did decide to stick with the art, I spent about 6 months off all art, I ceased to sketch and instead started working on my mind, reading lots of good books, taking care of lots of different areas I had neglected over the years, finances, relationships, ethics, learning about commitment, volunteering to help old people and disabled people and just really learning to be a proper person, something I had let atrophy in trying to prove to the world - and my parents that I deserved to be making art for a living. Helping out these people in my opinion helped me more than them, it made me realise that I am indeed one lucky individual, I have my health and my whole life ahead of me.
Also, coming out of that big cluster fuck of a situation at that previous work environment, doing simple things like cleaning the kitchen dishes for these people made me really appreciate that I could do things again, that I wasn't some failure because we didn't accomplish everything we set out to do. Anything of something in excess is bad, something I prided myself on - professionalism and perfection - began to choke sleep out of me and began to turn into a big festering mental wound that eroded the very values I wished to preserve.
Now, it might sound strange to those who aren't of Asian descent, but parents are pretty much the guiding force in a lot of our lives growing up, and keeping them happy is a cultural thing, not necessarily one of our better virtues to be sure. It took a long time for me to really cut that umbilical and to become self determinant. I also got out of a destructive relationship that didn't seem destructive at the time, those are the most dangerous, they alter you in ways you don't even realise, and when you come out of one, you find out you were in a bad bad place and it almost suffocated you life force.
Once I'd gotten myself back on track mentally, I got back into art nice and gently, doing bit projects here and there, getting my feet again and pretty much a year later I've managed to turn things around 360 and I freaking love my life! I rediscovered my love of my art, I feel I have twice the energy, on top of my business endeavours I am also lecturing - my way of giving back to society I suppose and it is an exceptionally enjoyable experience for me. I don't go to sleep thinking "what are you doing for society?" anymore.
So in the span of the last 6 months, I've helped shipped a couple of current gen games to market, written multiple tutorials for 2D artist magazine, Advanced Photoshop Magazine, The Official Corel Painter Magazine, Digital Artist Magazine and I've lectured at QANTM media college and RMIT University Melbourne on digital illustration. Through my design business I've also undertaken numerous project for current gen systems, a couple are in beta testing now, a few illustration assignments, I'm art directing a game prototype for a client as well as acting as a defacto developer recruiter and I've also been seeing a wonderfully calm beautiful woman for the last 8 months and I am spending the next 3 months working only a couple of days a week so that I can spend time learning to oil paint!
Pretty much every day I wake up, gratitude is the first thing that enters my mind, thankfulness for the situations I am not in, for the situations that I am in, for the people in my life, for my ability to do something enjoyable and make a living at, and for reigniting my love of what I do! I feel at this point in time, that so much is possible, for the first time in my life it doesn't all seem temporary, it is sustainable and for me that is an exciting thought indeed!
Hah, true to form, I've probably written a pretty long arse post, sorry about that! If you've read my previous thread, you'll know I treat these as an emotional enema =)
Oh, recently, I also began to upload some vids of me sketching, check em out: