I was thinking about evolution today. Not the scientific kind, but the evolution of art, specifically MY art.
Within the last few weeks, I've given a great deal of thought to changing up the style of Space Case Sally and perhaps going with something a bit different than what I've done up until this point. It wouldn't be a drastic change, but definitely something that would push me a bit out of my comfort zone. That got me thinking about my own personal style and how much it's changed in the last few years.
When I started at SVA in 2005, I had it in my head that I was going to be a superhero comics artist. This is despite the fact that I had no real skills in that particular area and had drawn only anime up until that point. It didn't matter. I scoffed at the idea posed to me by my Freshman drawing professor that I was better suited to children's book illustration. What did he know?
I labored under this delusion that I was destined for superhero comics up until my senior year. It wasn't until my portfolio class with David Mazzuchelli that things started to change. David, to his extreme credit, worked with me on my superhero-centered portfolio comic, but told me frankly that he didn't think that I was cut out for superhero comics. This time, though, I took the advice to heart. I had begun to work in watercolor and found that I was good at it. My style had always been very clean, not much cross-hatching and filling in of black areas only as accents or block shadows, and even then I didn't much care for it.
When I left SVA, I worried that my work wouldn't show as much improvement without the guiding hand of a professor and the constant stimulation of homework and assignments. I didn't do much artwork for the first year that I was out of college and it wasn't until my first Space Case Sally story in 2010 that I gave up entirely the idea of doing superhero comics. Space Case Sally, even when I created the character in 2003 was never suited to that "hyper action" style that I wanted so badly to emulate. In a way, that first SCS story was the death knell for my college dreams of superhero comics-dom.
In the last few years, I have also discovered that I posses a trait much prized in art: malleability and the ability to move in and out of different styles. It's something that I've been working to develop and hope that it will come in handy on this latest venture with Space Case Sally.
I never regret my delusions of superhero comics artistry. Sure, it took me a long time to finally give up those notions, but I learned quite a few lessons over those years. Quite frankly also, much of my current style would not have been possible without those years. The same can be said for my years of drawing anime in high school (though THAT is a subject for another day). Even though I believed for years that I was destined for something to which I was ill-suited, it made me the person that I am today.
All that said, I am very excited for the chance to do something different with my work for Space Case Sally. It's all still in the development stage, but I am looking forward to the new possibilities.