Cave Painting

For most of my career I've worked inside, at a desk, with no windows. Most days I feel like I'm in a cave. My window to the outside world becomes the internet. Feeling burned out and in need of inspiration? Boot up ArtStation, ZBrush Central, or Polycount! There are a ton of awesome things there that simultaneously make me feel awful about my art and inspired to make cool things like all these other artists.

There's a problem though. This industry really isn't that big. Going back to these websites on a daily or weekly basis for inspiration fills my head with a lot of the same ideas. How often do we see some incredible artwork and think to ourselves, "Wow, that's awesome, I want to make something like that!" As artists we should be conscious of the ambient inspiration from the media we consume. If we make no effort to reach out and find something interesting, unique, and challenging, then we will end up following the trends set by movies, games, and the artists we admire. (I'm not really talking about fan-art here, though that would certainly fall into the same category.)

There is nothing wrong with trendy art, but don't let it turn you into a one-trick-pony. Sure, imitation is an important part of learning! Sometimes it's fun to be inspired by someone and create your own take on it. However, don't stop there. Keep pushing your artistic eye and sensibilities. Certainly don't fill your portfolio with copycat artwork.

Get outside! Leave the cave, and do some plein air. Instead of always looking at other video games and movies for inspiration, get some life experiences. Travel. Read a book.  Bring something personal to your art, and it will stand out of the crowd of scantily clad females and hyper-greebled robots.

We're all busy, and it can be a challenge to set aside the time, but it's worth it. Here's on of my mine - a plein air gouache sketch I did over the weekend from a park near my apartment. I'm not a great 2D artist and very new to gouache, but it has been a blast to experiment and get "IRL" paint on my fingers.