Corban Wilkin: Illustrator


Drawing Consciously and Subconsciously
May 18, 2018, 21:03
Filed under: drawing, drawing theory, illustrations, sketchbook | Tags: , , , ,

life drawing april-may 2018

Can you learn new things unconsciously?

Skills like riding a bicycle aren’t really skills until you can perform them subconsciously. No-one can ride a bike well if they have to think consciously about the movement of each arm and each leg, and consciously keep balance and so on. You’re not really riding until you’re doing it without thinking about it.

I’ve been doing a lot of life drawing recently, and I’ve started to notice a distinct pattern in the quality of my drawing.

Here’s how it goes: sometimes I tell myself to buckle down and really concentrate on executing a careful, tightly-observed drawing, taking note of as much as possible, and relating as many areas to as many other areas as I can. What usually happens when I do this is that I do some interesting bits of drawing; some novel local observations, but I do not do a good drawing, which is to say, a good, whole drawing; the parts do not hang together into something harmonious.

Usually the drawings I produce when I focus very consciously in this way make me frustrated because they end up being ugly to look at and I can see how unsuccessful they are at capturing the person I’m drawing, so after a few of these perceived failures I tend to stop focusing and relax into drawing very quickly; more quickly than I can think; letting my hand take over from my brain; drawing subconsciously. Almost invariably when I do this, I end up producing quite nice, harmonious drawings and it gives me a lot of pleasure to do. Additionally, it takes little energy; indeed, I often end up invigorated after drawing this way; I feel full of energy, as though I could draw all night.

So what’s the problem? Just draw subconsciously, right? By delegating responsibility to my hand, my subconscious understanding of drawing takes over and makes things easy. But I started to think about this, and it occurred to me to ask: how did I gain that subconscious ability to draw? Because I didn’t always have it. Surely it must have been through the struggle of drawing consciously, and so paying attention to things very closely and actively and, through long, difficult work, committing the knowledge that I picked up consciously to my subconscious.

It makes me wonder: when I draw in this nice, very enjoyable, subconscious way, am I learning anything? Or do I only learn new things and improve my drawing by doing the difficult thing of being fully-aware and drawing consciously? And isn’t life-drawing, when you’re trying to learn rather than create your best, illustrative work, the time to do that?

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A Way That Works

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My graphic novel project with G. Neri has been in progress for a year now. The end may or may not be in sight, however.

I’m actually now redrawing a number of early pages. I started drawing the book at too-small a size, and I decided I wasn’t happy with it, and reformatted to a weird paper size I’m cutting myself (I’m envious of US paper sizes, since the standard formats we get here in the UK never feel quite right (or maybe I’m just that picky)). So I knew I needed to come back to those pages. Since I’ve had something of a deadline extension, I’m able now to go over some of this huge project and spend a bit more time on what’s be2en some truly tricky drawing.

In addition, I’ve been writing a ton of comics short stories, which has been a lot of fun.
Redraughting and drawing them up is a different matter, though. That’s the curse of comics: it’s all so time intensive, but I’d love to find a way to draw my comics quick n’ dirty in a way that works. At least I’m not an animator.

Currently obsessed with: Toulouse Lautrec’s sketches and drawings. He’s very much an illustrator’s fine-artist. Drawings have to have outlines or my puny mind can’t make sense of them.

Also: Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor. Which I’ve read about four times now and may be the most novel-like comic I’ve ever read. Nothing else I’ve seen by a single creator is as successful as this at giving you the scope and depth of a novel. I understand it divides opinion, mostly due to the kitschy nature of the eponymous sculptor-main-character’s art (according The Comics Journal, anyway), and I’d noted that, too, but in book on this scale, there’s bound to be criticisms of some elements. But the thing as a whole: wow, it’s a great comic.

And that’s Corban’s totally-late-to-the-party review.



Patience is Passion Tamed
June 28, 2015, 16:28
Filed under: comics, graphic novels, sketchbook | Tags: , , , , , ,

One of the things that used to cause me no end of frustration when I would draw outside, from life, would be the necessity, sometimes, of drawing buildings. They’re always there, looming above us, often dominating the field of view. You can ignore them for a while, drawing a person here, a tree there, but if you want to depict any scenes from the modern world, buildings and architecture have to get in on your compositions.

It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve actually taken to drawing buildings: somehow having gained enough self-assurance that I can feel comfortable sitting for long periods of time putting together an office block line by line. When you start to embrace it, it becomes something meditative and fulfilling completely in its own right. These days, in fact, I tend to enjoy sketching urban landscapes more than people, who have the highly disagreeable habit of moving around.

Below: a few pages from a small sketchbook that survived a recent trip to the West Highlands with only moderate water damage.

Meanwhile: back to working on the sketches for my graphic novel collaboration with Greg Neri.

scotland sketchbook (1) scotland sketchbook (2) scotland sketchbook (3) scotland sketchbook (4) scotland sketchbook (5) scotland sketchbook (6)



Horsing Around

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You’d be hard-pressed to find any visual artist who would disagree that horses are hard to draw, but I’m working with Greg Neri on a comics project heavily involving horses. Like my short comic If Not Now then When?, we’re looking at working with a nice brown wash on ink lines, which seems to give it the right feeling.

Not going to say a whole lot about it at this point, but it should be a great project.

Gail

I have to share Kim Jung Gi’s portfolio with anyone who’s not familiar with him. Somehow I’ve only recently come across his unbelievably rich and detailed and living line-drawn panoramas. Do yourself a favour and spend some time looking at his interiors and street scenes, because I certainly am.

Below: just a little sketch of nothing in particular that was drawn digitally but looks sort of like pencil!

Untitled-12 copy

 



More Sketchbook Drawings
January 12, 2013, 22:02
Filed under: sketchbook | Tags: , ,

sketch1

sketch2

sketch3

sketch4



Drawing Places
December 1, 2012, 00:58
Filed under: sketchbook | Tags: , ,

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Just found a sketchbook drawing I did a while back of the shell shop called ‘Shell Shop’ that I mentioned in my last post. Drawn back when it was sunny. And below is a drawing from a few days ago of part of Folkestone harbour.

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