Concept Art

I hate being a connoisseur of what I can’t replicate.

I love concept art.  As far as animation goes, which is a pretty cool thing in the first place, I’m interested most in the very beginning and the very end – the visual development and character design and the final rendered pristine high definition movie.  Unfortunately, I have decided that as much as I like concept art and was thinking of pursuing it through the Animation BFA, I couldn’t get over the fact that I don’t like to draw.

Weird, huh?  I love this kind of art but I don’t like drawing?  I suppose that’s partially because I’m bad at it.  I find it very hard to visualize and flesh out creative designs that look nice.  I can make interesting images using design principles and somewhat imitate models from life, but it is extremely difficult for me to merge the two into a successful character, prop, environment, etc.  When people do do this, I’m amazed.  I admire it a lot.  There are plenty of fabulous designers and artists who create characters that are real enough for audiences to identify with but stylized enough to portray character while maintaining simplicity and good design.

I cannot do that.  It took me a while to get that thought through my thick head, but it did eventually.

That’s why I’m changing my major to Computer Science.  I am fantastic with computers.  Just look at my animation blog (it’s the link at the top that says “Brandimation”) and you’ll see my LEGO minifigure and the butterfly (after scrolling down a lot) that I made for my 3D modeling class.  Then look here and here (scroll past the good ones; yes, there are some kids who are at my level, not that I’m being arrogant or anything) and you’ll see that a lot of people just don’t get it.  But they can draw.  I can’t.  I can learn how to use software faster than anyone else, I can be resourceful when solving problems, and I have a lot of experience using computers.  But I can’t make a good design for the life of me.

It is one of my dreams (along with being married with a family and touring the country in a rock band; guess which one is most likely come true) to have the ability to create in such a marvelous way.  I find it hard to even imitate the style of other artists without essentially copying their work exactly.  I have always admired ability; perhaps I admire it most when I have little hope of progressing to the point where I can compete with it.

I like to tell myself that I could get there if I just drew in a sketchbook every day.  For a while, I did.  I had to think so hard to come up with ideas of things to draw, and sometimes I just drew the human figure or design elements that looked like practice.  When I did have an idea, whatever I put on paper looked nothing like it.  This was all very discouraging.  Maybe it got a little easier as time went on, but I felt like it wasn’t worth fighting my natural instinct to create order and solve identifiable problems so I could do something which I disliked every aspect of besides the final result.  Sure I liked to look back through my sketchbook to see what I had drawn before, but when it came to drawing something new, I might rather read one of my textbooks or write an essay.

And that’s the thing.  I like calculus.  I like writing.  I like piano improv.  I like messing around on the computer.  Those are all things that lead to the logical conclusion of me being a computer programmer.  I’m lazy and I want the computer to do things for me rather than figure it out myself (another problem I have with drawing – figuring things out).  As long as I can learn how to do something once, I am content with making a computer do it perfectly forever.

I’m just trying to justify myself and my decision.  Being a huge art skeptic before I came to college, I was surprised at how willing I was to call myself an artist for the sake of pursuing something I should have realized that I couldn’t compete in.  It was good for me to learn design so I could recognize good art when I saw it, and it certainly helped me to appreciate art a lot more, but that didn’t change the fact that I couldn’t do it.

And I’m wagering I still can’t.  My mind doesn’t think that way, at least not now.  I’m hoping that sometime, if not in this life then the next, that I’ll be able to create through this marvelous thing which is design.  Until then, I console myself with the fact that if I get good enough at what I can do, I will be able to facilitate good design by making the tools necessary to more easily create it, and therefore see the results of others’  work by involving myself with people who have the ability that I lack.

–Brandon

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