I'm always trying to figure out why I'm not satisfied with my work and I think I may have found part of the answer.
I think my major problem is I focus on the nouns of my illustrations. As my little stylus flies here and there across the screen I'm always thinking, "this is leather. This is shiny. This is wet and shiny. This is bumpy. This is transparent. This is wrinkly. This is an up plane. This is a down plane. This is a soft edge. This is a hard edge. This is x color and y value.What's my light effect? How's this silhouette? Should this be a lost edge?" That's really great for a foundation and is great for a landscape or still life painter. It's gotten me to a certain point and has been really helpful since lots of publishers briefs run along these lines, "I need a kobold with a leather cap, rusty sword, baggy pants, sling shot, back pack, bed roll,bow and arrow,dagger, hammer, fork,spoon,girdle, suspenders, gloves, rings, necklace, fake arrow through head, coin purse, elf shoes,pet parrot and a cherry on top." I don't think solely thinking that way is going to work for an illustrator though.
The top companies need you to have the noun/thingness down BUT much of the time it's more about the verb or emotion. So the focus is more on how the kobold is falling down a hill and less about how he's attired as he tumbles. Or the focus is on how much more painful the fall is because the kobold is carrying so much stuff.
Today I was listening to Netflix while working on a piece and all that was going through my head were the thoughts about the thingness of what I was rendering. This was a particularly bad movie though and it suddenly burst into having nothing but a heavy metal song for probably 4 minutes. Suddenly I was thinking things like, "this should be more RARRR and this should be more POW and this should be more AAAAAHH." It was like the world was turned on it's head and I have to say it was more fun during those 4 minutes. Unfortunately it happened during the finishing touches stage but I hope to remember the experience for next time. Netflix isn't going to inspire me in the right directions right now. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I need to start listening to more music while I work and not my more story driven music like Tom Waits and The Black Keys but more of the hardcore metal I used to listen to in high school.
Working digitally means I kept help but be zoomed in on a focus area and notice how digital something dumb in the background looks. Then I can't help but try to work on that background element so that it doesn't look as digital. Next thing I know, everything has been rendered to the same level of finish. If I could just force myself to work traditionally and remember to keep my focal points a workable size then I could have varying levels of finish within a piece.