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The second question is easier to answer than the first, so I'll start with it. If all goes as planned in my head, than I should be able to gracefully segue into answer/question one along the way. Let's go.
I am here because of Jazza (a.k.a.: Josiah Brooks) from his Youtube channel Draw With Jazza.
Watching his instructional videos alone is not what brought me here. In part it was his "artist's insight". To understand this, I highly recommend that you watch, by Jazza, the videos Practice Practice Practice, and "Not Good Enough" - An Artist's Perspective. Through these videos I came to understand drawing as a learnable skill, not a gift inherent and unteachable from birth. (More on this in a bit.) But it was also, in part, from Jazza as a person; his energy, his enthusiasm and his passion. He made drawing something I wanted to do. (Again, more on this later.) And with a personal preference for his drawing style, combined with his continuous praise of the Newground web site, it seemed like the perfect place for me to share what little I have made. Jazza is a man I respect, and an artist I find inspiration in. If he likes it here, I feel confident that I'll like it here, too.
Okay, so perhaps not the elegant segue I'd hoped for into question/answer one, but meh, work with what ya got, I say.
Who Am I?
Wel, my account says Venger Voldur. So, in the face of conveiniece, let's stick to refereing to me as such. It'll make things simpler for sure. :)
Okay, but who am I as an artist?
Before Jazza, not much. (I know, really laying the bromance on thick here, but just roll with me for the moment, k?)
Drawing has been a thing I knew I could do since I was in the first year of primary school. My teachers and fellow students were always telling me that I would grow up and be an artist some day. I never "got it", never saw what they saw; it was just something I did. To be honest, I don't remember, nor did I keep any of those drawing that I made as a wee lad so I can't hail back to my younger days, with the wisdom gained with age I have now to see if I was being patronized or it was honest appraisal.
This general attitude stayed with me for my entire life; pre-Jazza I mean. Sure, I had the desire in the back of my head to take it up more seriously, but it never really blossomed. I was always busy doing something else, some sort of project or job. And don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining here. I was very happy with those projects and jobs, most of them things I took on by choice. But drawing was never one of them.
In the fifth grade I changed schools. I hated it. But then, who ever loved changing schools/moving/etc? New and unfamiliar faces aren't as exciting to a little kid as they are to adults. I'm sure there's a deep and philosophical reason for that. I may write a paper about it some day. Hmmm....
I digress; back to being in the fifth grade. There I recieved through the schools "art class" some generalized instruction into... I don't know if there is a technical term, so I'll call it 'traditional photocopying'. One particularly challenging instance was when my art "teacher" gave each student an image, cut in half vertically, with one half taped to a blank sheet of paper. The other half was left free. The object was to copy the free, biforcated image onto the taped down blank sheet, thereby completing the image. I don't know if my teacher had some previous notion of my skills. I certainly don't recall being epecially apt, or showing aptness before that point, but I recieved nothing less than.... *dramatic pause* a flippin' sailboat. No, not ome cheesy child's line drawing. I mean an honest-to-God, (what felt like a) forty bajillion-masted sailboat, with lines and rigging, and whatever else you call all those ropes running between those vertical poles, running everywhere. Oh, and of course it was on the ocean. The line work was IMMENSE! Oddly, I wasn't put off by it, nor do I recall feeling daunted by it. However, it is entirely possible that the blow to the head that I recived with sparring with a friend duly knocked this information out of me noggin. In any case, I do recall that it took me a while to complete. Having "art class" once a week, and not being able to take it home with me, I therefore spent perhaps four sessions (about an hour a piece I guess, though I never paid attention to the time) working on it. To my younger mind it felt like an eternity for sure. But damn it if it wasn't the spitting image of a complete (and not biforcated) sailboat when I was done! I was proud of what I'd done; it looked... well, not realistic. But the line-work was spot on. Even in the ocean, too. I distinctly recall over-hearing my "art teacher" talking to my mom about the drawing; something about "really gifted", or some other. The point was, the teacher was impressed.
But I just shrugged. I still didn't get it. Drawing was something I did when I needed to. It wasn't some gift I had to perform, like Mozart banging on a piano. I didn't /have/ to do it, or else burn up, like I've heard some people say. It was just something I could do.
Some years later, on an entirely random moment, I was walking though my house. (I don't know what I was doing; these memory gaps are probably a bad sign.) But as I was about to exit via the back door, this HUGE and overwhelming urge hit me; I need to draw something. Right. NOW! I grabbed the nearest thing in reach, a Mug Rootbbeer soda pop can, and ran to my room. Some indetermined time later, I emerged with a brilliant replica of the logo image of that rootbeer can. (The image can be found on my page, whereever my things are uploaded too.) Again, others noted my talent. Likewise was I impressed. But, I still didn't get it.
I came away from that drawing with some new information, though.
1) I can copy pictures very well, even though I have only rarely, like 3 or 4 times to this date in my entire life, and only once or twice before that time. Line drawing was super easy for me, so long as I was not creating an original piece. (I had frequently toyed with original facial profile pics, and made some decent progress with it. But I never got very far, and wasn't personally inspired by my progress. So I didn't pick it up.)
2) In correlation to line drawing, I could not shade well. I could copy it well enough, as you can see in the Mug Rootbeer drawing. But I didn't understand the 'science' of shading; I lacked that insight.
About the age of 13 ([saracasm]ah, what a wonderful age[ /sarcasm[) I made a friend. He didn't draw very well. In fact, I don't think he drew at all, never mind his proficiency. He did write though, and from him I took up writing too. In truth he was more of a launching point, some one to hold my hand while I jumped, as I had notions of doing some fictional writing on my own before we met. But I digress. Back to drawing. My friend's sisters could draw, though. And damn well, if I am to be thoroughly frank about it. They had a natural born "knack" for perspective, and shadowing, and proportions, and all those tedious boring and, arguably hard techniques to learn when drawing. It was at this point, in a slightly more... not wise or learned, but aware, I guess, state of mind that I began to consider drawing. Thankfully I didn't suffer Artists Envy, the afflication of seeing a superiour work and thinking that I could never achieve that. But I was inspired, instead, and intrigued. I ask them, How did you learn to draw like that? They said, I dunno, I just do. >.< Obviously this wasn't helpful to me. But between a new friend, writing stories (or rather, working on writing stories, as we never really got anywhere with them) and being young, the general topic was pushed from my mind.
Some time later, about 5 years, I was browsing a forum to which I would frequent and, in one "Post A Picture of Yourself" thread, a forum thread users posted a selfie, I came across of one young woman. And I felt that urge again. No, not that urge, you pervert :) That one I had with that Rootbeer can; I need to draw something; I need to draw this. So I did. The result may also be seen on my page, entitled "Faurore".
I walked away from that drawing, as usual, pleased with my work, and others praising it. The subject herself was also very impressed. No doubt a bit creeped out that some random guy drew her face, but meh, I'm sure her wonder at my drawing was sufficient counter-balance.
The quality of the work was similar to past works I did; good line work, but shading was lacking. Oh sure, decently enough copied, but not undestood to make it feel organic.
Lastly, about a month ago, I decided to draw the Eleventh Doctor (from the BBC series Doctor Who). This one didn't go so well, as I failed to capture the soul of the Doctor. Pua the shading looked more like the Doctor hadn't washed his face in a week, not a contrast to more or less light. (I would post it here as well, to add to my portfolio, but alas, a much younger aspiring artist, that being a 3 year old sibling, decided to help fill in the blank line drawing with some, apparently, much needed color. :/ ) But the same story as past drawing continued to shine through; a lack of technial drawing skill. I could photo copy like a pro, but I lacked finesse.
I sat down one day and talked with a friend about nothing in particular, but every thing in part. I know a fair amount about myself, but being young it is hard to see my reflection without a mirror. And as I rambled, as I did most of the talking, I realized that drawing fitted, like a complex puzzle, all of the creative nodes that I have as a person. From calligraphical writing, to building something, anything, to sharing my works with loved ones, to feel that sense of accomplishment.... drawing did all of this.
I had goal, but I didn't have a path. I knew what I wanted but not how to get there. This was discouraging. I was almost put off from drawing again, despite its apparant importance to my life. Then, quite by chance, whilst catching up on my Youtube subs, on an entirely unrelated video ....
...I found Jazza.
*Cue angelic music*
I have searched for drawing aid in the past, more so of recent, before I found Jazza. But I never was satisfied. I never liked who I was watching. And if I can't like who I am watching, as my learning medium comes from Youtube, than I won't watch what they produce, either video or instructional drawing. But Jazza, Josiah Brooks, changed all that. Not only do I enjoy watching what he draws, whatever it is, and not only do I take inspiration from his art work, and not only do I learn from his instructional videos, which have helped a lot, but I enjoy watching him. I like him as a guy. He is some one that I found that I can find help in. This matters a lot to me. More than I realized. Because of Jazza I learned the most important lesson, the words I needed to hear, the words, I think, that kept me from drawing my entire life: Drawing Can Be Learned. It is a road long traveled, something to strive from, and not given into, but it can be achieved. It isn't some unreachable goal, fit only for those naturally born into it. It was something I could do, something I could learn.
I still don't "get it". There is a lot I have to learn. But at least I know I can. And not only do I have a friend, Jazza, to take inspiration from, but to learn from, too. And, even better, I have people to share it with who will understand and appreciate it. Artists, like me, who all struggle to perfect. Who look to others for support and encouragement.
To Josiah Brooks, Jazza. You live on the other side of the world. You have never seen my face. For all intents I am just another number in an endless string of numbers. But you, Jazza, you are my light. The reason I draw. Thank you.
Okay, yeah, sure, I did get a bit dramatic there at the end. But hey, I'm as happy as a clam. I have a new hobby. Or, rather, rediscovered a natural hobby that I have rarely exercised through the course of my life. Why shouldn't I get dramatic/happy?