Recently I have been putting some thought into why things went so wrong to result in me effectively giving up drawing and painting completely. When I was small I was always the artistic one in the class, I used to sit on my Nana’s ice cream fridge in her Belfast shop and draw- she would give me brand new pencils, pentel pens, special green paper pads and comics and I loved it, life didn’t get better than that. This artistic interest lasted through Grammar school and then started to ironically go downhill at art college.
I chose to study animation and it is probably here where I got it wrong, for a number of reasons. Number one to my mind is that there was very little tutoring and it was badly directed. The crucial thing that they did not develop was our drawing skills, understanding of painting and colour, form, lighting and to this day, 9 years later, you can still tell that no one has been taught how to draw. Trying to animate without being able to draw is impossible. We did draw of course, we had reviews but no one actually taught us any drawing technique, it was all mostly about self discovery. Whilst we spent no money on proper teaching and support, we did seem to be able to buy lots of Apple imacs to impress visitors as they walked around the studio.
I found Art College pretty traumatic, when it ended I wasn’t sure what I had achieved and I felt that I hadn’t managed to live up to my potential. I didn’t get a graduation photo, my parents didn’t understand this but it was because I didn’t think there was much reason to be celebrating. I kicked myself for many years about this, blaming my lack of ability and it was only recently that I discovered lack of teaching traditional skills is very common in art colleges.When I started working in Video Games I put all my energy into genuinely trying to be good at my job, in the beginning it was exciting to be working, earning a living and at that point there was a lot of optimism. What I didn’t do was keep in touch with the traditional skills I wanted to have. This has changed recently as games are becoming increasingly technical they have drove me seek out those traditional skills again and I actually think there is some advantage to facing that wall as I have a lot more focus than I did when I went to college