-By Scott Fischer
Sounds simple, right? If something is wrong, make it right. But lets be honest. Sometimes as artists we kinda suspect an area of our painting isn't as good as it could be. Maybe we don't know how to fix it? Maybe we show it to some folks, and hope they wont notice. And if they don't notice, we are like, "Sweet, fork that shiz because it is done!"
And if they do notice, we are like the kid caught with melted chocolate on his hands before dinner.
When a painting or even a sketch for a client has already been approved, it is sometimes tougher for us to act on our instincts to improve a piece. Even if you know it could be better. I ran into this in my early days of illustrating. There would be a poorly drawn hand in the approved sketch, and I felt tethered to that crappy drawing, like they would get mad at me if I made it better. Sounds crazy when I type that, but man those approved sketches felt like hand cuffs. But eventually I just made it better, and you know what, most times they didn't even notice. But I noticed.
We all make mistakes. We won't catch them all. (And it helps to have a bad-ass critique group that can catch the mistakes we missed.)
So here are a couple of my re-dos.
(Disclaimer- I don't claim to be the king of likenesses. They are tough. Even if you trace a likeness it can be tough to capture it. My hope is to get it close enough that when the title is blasted over it we have no doubt who the character is, lol. But I do my best, even if it means redoing it.)
This was the final art for Angel & Faith issue 5 (season 10). It was approved as you see it.
It didn't totally suck, I like a lot about this one. One of my favorites in many ways. Except dude, Angel is such a blubbering baby in this version.
Get that lil guy a diaper and a warm baby-bottle STAT. (Full of blood of course. (The bottle you sickos.)) I mean I get it, Angel is a 'Weight of the World' player most of the time, but come on. Try to get a little bad-ass back in there.
This was oil and acrylic on Duralar, already done and approved. Traditional art. A pain to fix. So what did I do? I attacked it with nail polish remover and redid it.
That felt better... Fork it!
It isn't the only time it has happened to our favorite brooding blood-sucker. Somehow he got a bit too much Alec Baldwin in Angel issue 3 (Season 11). Again, traditional art. Pain to fix. Out came the nail polish remover.
I grabbed a little vid of the destruction and reconstruction...
Both of these were self imposed changes. On work that was already finished and approved.
It is about taking ownership of the work. I reached a point in my career where suddenly I wanted the art to be improved FOR ME. Not just for the client. And my stamp of approval on my work became as important as the client's approval. I think we need to be selfish like that to make our best art.