Friday, 19 April 2013

Draw Something; Creative Obstacles

I'll soon get round to posting some of the work I've been doing lately, but in the meantime here's something I drew on my phone's touch screen that I'd like to tackle in Photoshop one day. Not very original, but it'd be fun practice.

Incidentally, if you play Draw Something, add me, Mark_H_ - I got back into this game last night.

One of the thing that inspires me in this game is the limitations. I can't get accurate brush strokes, I'm limited by brush thickness and I've not that big a colour palette. I find I thrive with such restrictions; where it's a sort of do-what-you-can-with-what-you've-got situation. It frees you up. I used to love Biro pens, MS Paint and Adobe Flash for that sort of thing, where as if I'm using Photoshop there's just too much choice so I end up over-working things - which is definitely something I've encountered with the recent illustration work I've been doing. I wonder if I just need more practice at it because I'm straying outside my comfort zone, or if introducing some kind of restrictions before starting would be a better idea, such as a stricter time limit, or picking a colour palette before painting.

It's maybe not a good example, but compare the first Star Wars film, which was fraught with production problems, experimental effects and a tight budget, to the prequels where George Lucas could basically do anything he wanted. Finding creative solutions of obstacles often seems to produce better results than just having the power  to do everything exactly as you see it in your head.

As for my own work, I next want to experiment with bold, simple colour. I shy away from it too often when given the choice, but I really do like some of the stuff I do in Draw Something that reminds me of the limited palettes and primary colours of old video games, which I mentioned in this post.

Any other artists/illustrators have any thoughts on this subject?


  1. I think what you said about letting limitations at the start of the project is interesting. Quite often when I'm working on a project it can discreetly steer off course, and before I know it I have something completely different than what I initially planned. This method of working is of course useful, as some of the best creative work on this planet has probably originated from some form of this process. I think having a defined 'scope' at the start of the project is just a different way of working, and provides the possibility to produce an excellent and refined result, but perhaps the downside being that you're less likely to surprise yourself! AL

    1. Yeah, it's like... happy accidents. Stuff you'll probably never think of until it just happens, and then you pursue it. You can't expect to try and imagine the unexpected.