All Hail Divine Nibru!

Recently, I came across a posting at via an email from Jason Manley. A user had put out a request - a creative challenge to see some interpretations of his beloved character, the Divine Nibru.  What followed was some impressive responses from various artists, including none other than Wesley Burt, Justin "Coro" Kaufman, and Andrew Jones, to name a few. It was epic. My week at work had been unbelievably busy so I wasn't sure if I would have the time or energy to work on my version before the thread lost momentum but I couldn't get this character out of my head and I would check back often to see so many great follow-up posts. The weekend rolled around and I finally found some time to work on it so I decided to contribute a version of my own. I noticed that most people posted theirs in greyscale and I decided to do the same even though it's an area in which I'm a little weak especially when working from imagination. Although I felt it wasn't complete, I just wanted to get it posted. I learned a lot and, taking a step back, have a better idea of my shortcomings in this area and what I need to improve on. This was an excellent exercise in being given an assignment that both restricted and challenged my creativity and, most importantly, it was a lot of fun!

For any beginning artists these challenges are great in showing ourselves our limitations and pushing beyond them or figuring something out to achieve the creative objective. In a real working project you would have an art director to give you feedback and opportunity to make improvements. In the meantime, communities such as ConceptArt have thriving memberships that do fill that role while we are still learning.

This is the author's thread. My contribution is below and here is my entry in the thread.

The importance of drawing

Remember when you were a kid and loved to draw—just for the pure enjoyment of it?  When you didn’t have a care in the world and time would slip away without you being aware of it?  Ah, to have those days again! When our right brain takes over, drawing can seem effortless but sometimes it is difficult to get into that mode when things like responsibilities get in the way.  These other times can seem like a chore when the left brain is telling you, "You suck! Why even bother?" or you can’t figure out why the feet or hands you've drawn don't look right.  I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another.  It’s important to push through because, believe it or not, you are learning and that knowledge is at your right brain's disposal when you are in the mood to play. Keep at it!

I’ve learned from experience that when I stop for too long, I get rusty. So I try to draw even when I don’t feel like it.

Here are some ways I try to keep myself motivated:

  1. Whenever I’m having a bad drawing day, I look through my work from past to present to see the progress I’ve made. It reminds me of how far I’ve come and helps put things into perspective.
  2. I look to other creative areas for inspiration: music, poetry, art, animation, whatever it takes to bring out the emotion I need and I always like to listen to music while I draw.
  3. In the past, I have participated in online art challenges but recently I've stayed away from those while I concentrate on my drawing fundamentals because I felt I was getting ahead of myself. However, these challenges can be useful to an artist's growth; they can identify gaps in our skills and may stimulate our creative problem-solving.
  4. Doodling. It is amazing what happy accidents may occur when you doodle.

Do you have a technique to keep yourself motivated? If so, feel free to share in the comments below.

Some sketches from this weekend: