Moleskin sketch - polar bear themed



  • Lately I've been reading a Norwegian traditional legend (story, folk tale, fairytale - I don't know the exact translation) called "Kvitebjørn Kong Valemon", which means King Valemon White Bear (polar bear). I would really like to make some illustrations for this story, or maybe one big, fantasy-inspired illustration. So far I've started to get to know the polar bear better, doodling in my Moleskin. I think perhaps this is to ambitious of a project for me, but this is purely personal with no deadline, so maybe it'll happen anyway.

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  • @Camomilla The title is already intriguing. I once had a discussion at school about the different ways polar bears interacting with humans have been represented in illustration - there is a lot to draw from!
    I don't know about you, but deadlines, external or self-imposed, are very important for me to get work done. So why don't you go for it and set yourself a time-frame?



  • @smceccarelli You are so right! If I want to pursue this, I really should give myself some kind of deadline. I keep telling others that big goals are more attainable if broken into smaller tasks, perhaps it's time to take my own advice. I don't want to set a time-frame for when this should be finished, but I'm thinking that I should give myself next week to explore the theme, and perhaps the week after to start doing thumbnails. Time to art is limited, and next week I start a new daytime job as well :)

    I think that the thumbnail phase will give me an indication of wether to do just one or several pieces. Right now I'm exploring the aesthetic of medieval to Romantic era in Norway (1100 to 1800) - traditional clothing (which still is a big thing in Norway) and of course polar bear anatomy. My drawing skills are not great, so it's time consuming. My rendering skills are even worse, so this is kind of scary. But it's such an awesome story; it has everything! Love, trust, betrayal, hardships, and finally victory for the Princess and the King. There is SO MUCH to draw from this story! A part of me finds it really intimidating, because I'm afraid I won't do it justice.



  • @Camomilla Of course you will not do it justice!! And by this I mean in no way your skills or ideas, which are exactly how they should be right now and they are perfect. It is a given that the ideas we have in our head of how something should be like (especially if it is a story we are emotionally involved with) will never be translated on paper or screen, no matter how hard we try. But the fact is, the world does not know what is in our head, so a concrete and existing drawing or painting, even if it is miles away from how we thought it should be like, it is still a huge step more than...no drawing or painting.
    I used to be extremely frustrated by all of my work all the time - to the point that I did not even start anything because I knew I would not be able to "do it justice" - no matter what it was. A lot of reading and a lot of thinking and evolving (many years) have me now in a place where, I know from the beginning that I will not "do it justice" and I do not care. It is the way it is, and no amount of skills will change that, so I decided to accept it and embrace it and realize that it is always better to do something - even if it is a pale imitation of what I see in my head - than to do nothing. So don´t be scared - embrace the gap and create!



  • @smceccarelli Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! I think this is among the hardest of artist struggles - the fact that the gap between what we see in our heads can differ so greatly from what we create for others to see. So refreshing to read your take on this, especially since your drawings and paintings are so good, that I would have a hard time seeing where they could be better in your imagination. Your work is truly inspirational to me.

    I made the time to sketch another bear, trying to capture the fierce roar. I used a reference for this. Sorry about the bad lighting, it gets dark earlier and earlier here north :)

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  • I will share this here - I do not know the source anymore, I found it a couple of years ago and it has been a HUGE eye-opener for me.
    So, if you ever think your work sucks, rejoice - it means you are growing your perception! And if you think your art looks great, rejoice of your growing skills ....and be aware that you may need to go and look at more art ;-)
    Since hopefully the growth never stops, we probably all go through these two alternating states...I certainly do!

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  • @smceccarelli Haha, this was spot on! It just goes to show that there isn't an end point to the art journey :)



  • @smceccarelli Oh I love that graphic, it is very true!

    Yesterday, my son pulled out a dummy book I did back in 2014 and asked me to read it to him....it was not a fun experience for me (I was hoping never to look at it again ;-) ...I didn't like the pictures, or the words any more, and the thought that came to mind was 'how could I not see these ways to improve it before? I was pleased with it at the time...it was definitely an art high...since then I know my skills have improved, yet I have more 'I suck' moments than I did before....like when you look at someone else's beautiful art piece in a new way, and it hits you, YET AGAIN, just how much more you still have to learn. Sigh...but just like your graphic shows, I guess that's the (gentle) rollercoaster that all artists ride :-)



  • @Dulcie Looking at old art can be truly painful, but I'm sure it is not as bad as you think. After all, it was a stepping stone to where you are now :) I can very much relate to everything you write about your earlier projects, I feel very much the same. People have always told me that I'm talented, and that my art is good, but I always find (great) room for improvement. Perhaps this is what drives me to make better art, but again, this is also what is holding me back. I think I need to disregard the voice in my head that is so afraid of failure and just do it. If I put in the time and effort, it will at least be a learning experience :)

    Tonights doodle, also nature themed. The story starts with the Princess dreaming of a wreath, and I think I want to make a floral or organic one :)

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    The next few days are really busy, but I plan on gather more reference images during the week (I didn't use any tonight), and do more actual drawing this weekend :)



  • Can't seem to put down the sketchbook these days :) Didn't get anything done last night, but tonight I squeezed in a few more polar bears. I find them difficult because of the blocky shapes - it's hard to tell any structure beneath all the fur and muscle/fat, so they sort of end up looking very flat. So I'm trying to hint at where the joints would be to bring more life to them, and up my understanding of their anatomy.

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