As an artist, I think it is important to learn from art forms outside the ones in which we practice. The key concepts of one discipline can often be applied in interesting ways to another even when they might seem completely unrelated. Rhythm, for example, is a fundamental aspect of music but important in visual art as well. It is certainly possible to compose and execute a picture without considering rhythm, but those who contemplate how it can apply to still images have an expanded set of tools to work with.
I think that artistic minds are always trying to solve problems or discover new ways of seeing. Finding reflections of one's art form in unrelated creative work and looking for ways to adapt outside influences to their craft are great ways to grow while keeping things fresh. Besides reading articles specific to painting and illustration, I regularly listen to a writing podcast, have become increasingly fascinated with photography, and love to learn about the subject of today’s post: the craft of film making.
There are a number of ways that film can be related to painting and every now and then I see blogs dedicated to the subject through study of color and compositions of still frames. I’ve recently become a fan of a video series, however, which makes no attempt to inform painters with cinematic examples, but rather study the craft of filmmaking with the aspirations that, when done well, the result will make “Every Frame a Painting.”
The series, created by an editor named Tony Zhou, is clearly targeted at filmmakers. All the same, I’m fascinated by the ideas discussed and the places in which they connect with my own creative process are often surprising and inspiring. I don’t want to talk too much about what I personally take from these because I think the poetry of cross-discipline learning is in its ambiguous nature: the connections which we make are more meaningful when they are made organically and they suit us each in a very personal way. That said, I think every video is worth watching regardless of how unlikely the subject seems to apply to painting because they ALL have layers of information to process. As an example, I was really surprised to find all kinds of great big-picture type deep thoughts in the Michael Bay episode (a sentence I never imagined that I would write) and the Jackie Chan segment reminded me just how important an eye to detail and giving that extra bit of effort really are. Others, like the recent Drive and The Bad Sleep Well videos which focus on composition, are more immediately useful to any visual artist.