Here’s a few things I’ve made in my spare time to try and improve.
A long way to go.
Black and white process experiment. 2019.
Lots of swords.
Trying out this shading corruption thing I was going for.
Another process experiment (failed). 2018. Got bored, but I still might finish this one another time.
I’ve done a lot of stuff I’ll never post anywhere. I was dumped into being an illustrator all of a sudden, and kind of had to learn really quickly to be good enough to actually make a living out of it. Lots of these sort of studies, lots of learning.
Lots of embarrassment.
But without these kind of failures you never progress.
I still have a very long way to go. Let’s just ignore the fact I have a crippling progressive neurological condition that’s undone all that hard work. But I put a lot of effort in trying to become good enough.
All the bad stuff leads to the stuff you sort of like. Like this Kalvin thing, I sort of like it.
I don’t think it ever gets better than sort of liking the stuff you make.
I steadfastly refuse to toot my own horn.
I’m not capable of it. But I enjoy faces, and if you were to nail me down about what I do, I might try to say I’m a portrait artist. Or at least I’d like to be. This crunch of teaching myself to be an illustrator meant a rapid run through of styles, techniques and results. I think as a result of those results, I don’t particularly have a style of my own, but rather I’m decent enough at reproducing various aesthetics. What I learned from my £46k Graphic Design degree also helps here. I know how to get a certain look. Maybe, I might, that’s definitely too much tooting. But I know my way around the entire Adobe suite, that helps. I’m proficient! Sort of.
Whilst this is just a random selection, there’s some unreleased work in there, very old work, work I despise, as well as some commerical work so keep these top secret images to yourself. But basically these 48 portraits vary considerably in style, and quality.
But I think if I ever regain the ability to draw, I’ll be well placed going forwards career wise. That’s all thanks to this crunched education of mine.
My health sucks, and already took being a Graphic Designer from me. Which forced me into Illustration, only to then take that from me as well after I’d put all this effort into getting good enough to do it as a job. But if things go well, and they fix me, I’ll be thankful for the health problems. Even if the last few years have led to me now being entirely unable to put contact lenses in, with the threat of full disability if not death. I’ll be happy if I end up as an illustrator. I love doing it, it’s a hobby turned earner. Very few people get to enjoy that luxury in life. To find myself in a place where I can draw, and earn a living from it? Couldn’t be happier, just need to focus on the not dying bit.
I do statistically have an 80% chance of not suviving beyond June 19th of next year. Luck has rarely been on my side of late, so I’ll be impressed if I beat those odds. I know June 19th is oddly specific, but that’s just the nature of 3 year survival rates for certain events. But I have these certain events to thank for giving me the option of doing my dream job, I wouldn’t have ever gone for it unless I was forced like this. Thanks as of yet unknown rapidly progressing neurological condition! Though I quite liked being a Graphic Designer as well, typography is fun. Baseline grids, rivers, and whatnot. Wonderful stuff. Truly.
It’s been a difficult balance trying to set the base for a career in illustration, and navigate continually losing more and more ability to draw until the point where I now finally can’t at all. It makes me feel gulity, lost, and stupid. All that effort into a dead end. But if I’m dead in the end the difference is somewhat academic compared to having just sat on my arse feeling sorry for myself. When I get emails offering me dream jobs that I just have to say no to, usually burning those bridges in the process, it sucks. Even turning down the shit jobs sucks. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to start saying yes soon enough. I’m quite young compared to a lot of contemporary Football illustrators, we have an odd niche, and there’s definitely space for me when I’m fit and able.
Losing even the last 6 months of time where I could’ve been getting better at drawing, taking some of the amazing jobs that have been sent my way, properly running my print shop (I’ve been making my dad take most of it to the Post Office) is all fairly depressing. 6 months is a long time. June 19th lads, that’s it, that’s the deadline. The dead... line... Anyway, I just wish I could do my job, or do just about anything without an incredibly humiliating tremor fucking it up. Should add most things make me feel guilty, lost, and stupid but that’s usually just a crippling fear of letting others down rather than a valid take on my current life prospects.
Sorry for the extreme oversharing at the end of a page showing off my throwaway art that I’d prefer to hide, I just needed a reason to guilt trip you into drawing more, to get better. Don’t worry if your current skills dissuade you from drawing more. I was utterly garbage at digital art in the beginning even though I was already good at analog art. It’s a different skill set. A skill set you can actually get on top of pretty quickly if you’re given the correct starting points. By the way here’s my few attempts to share those starting points if you haven’t already seen them.
Should say I’m not saying I’m an amazing artist now, but people do regularly pay me to draw, and believe me I’m the biggest imposter-syndrome-haver there is, but I can’t ignore people pay me to draw. Real money. They buy my prints,
even my mugs. I have to take that as a sign that I’m an Illustrator, not just someone dabbling in their hobby publicly.
Until I can get back to it I’ll do my best to share any tips I have, not because I have infinite wisdom to share, I just like helping.
The bad numbers.
The world needs more A1 portraits of Marcelo Bielsa, and I’ll do my best to help you make your own.