Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Setting sail for Faraway Shores

By Jesper Ejsing

This is one of my first professional acrylic paintings for a Fairy tale about the Ice Queen.

Not long ago I had a girl write me and ask for advice in putting together a portfolio for applying for job in the Fantasy Gaming industry. I looked through her portfolio and told her to do some more art specific targeted the job she wanted. She wanted to do Magic cards, so she should do some exact magic card art. No surprise.

But it got me to thinking:
I read a book called “Safe the Cat”. It is a book about screenwriting. One advice from the book always stuck with me. It said that, very early on in the process of writing a manuscript you should nail down the title. A Killer Title. In doing that all your ideas and focus would be steered by the tile and you would rarely lose your way in the multitudes of roads and paths that shows itself during the process. Next was defining the story in a couple of lines. Once again; to keep the focus and narrow the possibilities down.

I see no reason why these advices or rules is not applicable to a whole life. Or a career at least, in case you are one of those who distinguish between the two. When I think back to being 14 years old and seeing the first DnD illustrations I know that they were my Title. Ever since then my sole purpose in life ( except for love and happiness ) have been to work as a professional RPG artist. Perhaps all of this is just a retrospective clear sight, but nonetheless I can see how all my choices for about 20 years has been to hone my skills at painting, drawing, writing and inventing fantasy. When I was coloring comics I always practiced sky painting, since that was the area that was undefined by line. When I was doing historical educational illustrations for school books it was almost fantasy - at least it was painting people in armor and old costumes. When I was painting pirates it kind of taught me some more about ships and especially about painting water. And so on and so on. What I ended up with after many years was a solid visual vocabulary. Here are the things that I can do without much thought: armor, trees, cliffs, clouds and beasts. On the other hand I am terrible at: Cars, buildings, spaceships and anything naturalistic. The defined choice of genre or motives is a great help in becoming good at something. You can be the best in the world at anything if you just narrow the criteria down to a bare minimum. Point is. If you can define your target, you can aim at it. You can hit bulls eye. The frightening alternative is trying to paint everything.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Jesper! It's such a great reminder, lucky ones that realised this early in their life:-)