Flip Flop Flying

3,150: Confidence

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It’s a strange thing to do, to be an artist. Even using that word “artist” is hard for me. I avoided it for a long long time. But when I was in Belize earlier this year, at the border, filling in the form thingy, I wrote “artist” next to occupation without any hesitation. That was a good thing for my brain to think about afterwards: yes, Craig, you are an artist. One thing that I tend to avoid talking about, even to other people privately, is confidence, though.

I’m used to there being times when the creativity just isn’t there. The artist version of writer’s block. That one is relatively frequent, and the only way to deal with it is to power through, keep on drawing (something, anything), and eventually it’ll come back.

But confidence in what I do… sometimes that’s a tough one to deal with. Writer’s block is a mental break. Lack of confidence feels like your brain telling you that you suck, asshole.

There was this competition recently. I don’t usually pay attention to competitions, but when I read about it, the theme seemed like something I would enjoy doing: sounds of the city – an illustrated interpretation of sound. It was a British thing. I liked the theme. And when I thought about London and other cities I’ve lived in, the one thing that came to mind was the contrast. Not sounds themselves, but the contrast when you are walking home at night. The relative silence.

My first sketch was this:

I wanted to get the sky right. The colours of a night sky in a big city. It’s a drawing done from memory, not an actual representation of a place, but it’s a drawing of returning to my mate’s house in Barnet after being out in central London. When you come out of the Tube there, you’re a bit higher that the rest of London, so there’s a good long view over the city. (Google Street View doesn’t give you too good an idea of what I’m talking about, but it’s better than nowt, eh?) This was drawing in the Adobe Sketch app, so it was only ever an early sketch because it doesn’t export at anything close to high resolution.

After that one, I got to thinking more about non-manmade sounds. Cities are full of the aural reminders that it’s a city. It’s either humans or things humans are doing using things made by humans. I like it when it’s raining at night in a city. The rain takes over. It’s like nature is saying, “you’ve made this fantastic functioning thing with millions of people, but here’s some rain. Deal with that!” And people are quieter, the only noise is the noise of wheels on wet road. This was something I noticed first a couple of years ago in Mexico City. Walking home, listening to Sunn O))) on my iPod. The combined sound of that music and the car tyres on the wet road was fantastic. This was the drawing that came out of that idea, a drawing of High Holborn in the rain. I imagine the pubs have closed, it’s late, you’ve missed the last Tube, and you’re desperately looking for a taxi but there are no yellow lights on. (Street View)

I was pretty happy with that one. (I did it with the Procreate app, btw.) I’d drawn the scene twice, then partially erased one of the layers. I liked how that looked.

Then I read the rules properly. It had to be portrait not landscape. Fuck.

So rather than add to this one or redraw it, I decided to do one with the specific proportions in mind, and to introduce the idea of the quiet caused by weather in a busier place, Oxford Street. (Street View)

I did one drawing in Procreate, then imported that into Photoshop, and cut it up into sixteen overlapping parts, then opened each of those parts in Procreate again, and redrew everything. Once that was done, I re-exported them to Photoshop, and put them together, and erased and overlapped various parts. This was what I ended up with:

There were two days before the competition deadline. I sat down to write the wee statement thingy. And thought, Nah, I’ll do that later.

That was the mistake. I’d given myself a crack for doubt to creep into. I looked at the drawing many times over the next two days. My internal valuation of my work was in a weak phase at that point (this was two months ago, btw), and, well, my stupid brain won. It’s not good enough, Craig. What if you’re not one of the one hundred they choose for the competition exhibition? Not winning is fine, but how the hell will you deal with not being in the top 100!? And at that point, it was better to not enter than to fail. That was a mistake. I should’ve entered. A stupid mistake. My stupid fucking brain.

The song in my head when I woke up this morning
It was Drag Me Down by One Direction again. We’ve had that here recently. Fourth time this year. So here’s another 1D song, Night Changes, my favourite song of theirs. It’s a lovely song. I realise that it’s easy to dislike boy bands, and/or TV manufactured groups, but give it a go, eh? The melody is really nice, and the bit at 2:28 is just delightful.

Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article
Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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Minecraft Project Day 56 and 57 and 58 (just so I can end the week on a multiple of five)
All day pruning leaves so I’ve got a bunch of them for doing things in the garden.

Such as disguising the ugly storage room.

And today, time to get busy down in the cave system. All I did today was light up the tunnels, keep the bad guys at bay while I’m mining. (This is boring, isn’t it?)

Minin’, minin’, minin’…

And blocking up some of the crappier cave tunnels. The ones that don’t go very far or deep.

And I used some of the mined rocks to put a nice edge along the steps down to the as-yet-unused area.

Written by Craig

November 16th, 2016 at 10:56 am

4 Responses to '3,150: Confidence'

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  1. Craig, those images of London are perfect.

    Kate Ward

    17 Nov 16 at 04:13

  2. Thank you, Kate! Hope you are well.


    17 Nov 16 at 09:03

  3. I am well and I am sitting in dark Holborn right now. The rain when typed my comment yesterday made the streets just as you pictured.

    Please keep writing – I’ve loved having extended blogposts from you to read once again.

    Kate Ward

    18 Nov 16 at 10:47

  4. Good good. I kinda love that rain when the sky gets really dark. Reminds me of school afternoons.

    And thank you! I’m glad you are enjoying it. I’m definitely enjoying it. Forcing myself to do it some days, but that’s a lot better than just not bothering.


    18 Nov 16 at 13:08

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