Thursday, July 9, 2009

Keyboard Cat - Revisited. Repeatedly.

I have as of late been berating myself for my lack of "what the hell, let's just do it"-iveness. It was something I prided myself on doing quite often in college and that eventually fell by the wayside as I was in an environment where it became oppressive towards my former free spirit.
I've begun to feel that loosen over the past 2 years, but when it is there, my word has it held fast. My courage is the submarine and Nemo is out on the deck battling the Kraken of What If??? with a tiny little spear that is engraved with "Yup, what if? Neat, huh?"
Every day I think of things then sit on them because I am unsure I will do it right, or because i don't think I know all of the steps to properly complete it. Ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for years still sit there, not wanting to budge. Why? Because I didn't know publishing laws. I didn't know if I needed (or could afford) an agent. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do was topical. I didn't know how to market my artwork. I wasn't sure if I was wording something correctly to not piss off customers at my online shop.... a million reasons, not even diving in more than the last 2 years. They stack up and I feel them groaning above me like rusty joists in a tower.
The latest iteration of this was my initial excitement over seeing G4 TV's contest to create artwork of Keyboard Cat. The prize would be a signed poster from the G4 set and the winning artwork would be displayed. Runner-ups would go to a charity auction to help kitty rescue in L.A.
I was so stoked. I knew immediately what I wanted to do, knew how to do it, and dove in to reading the rules to make sure I was following them.
Then I came upon this one bit where it said that whatever was left over would be thrown out, and I stopped in my tracks. Cold. For a week and a half.
I couldn't get over the thought of someone taking something that I had worked SO hard on and just pitching in the garbage. It paralyzed me, and I kept thinking "What if it's not good enough? What if it doesn't even go to auction? What if it just gets tossed, like refuse?" Somehow what ~might~ happen hit me like a truck and I couldn't get over the personal commentary such an action would imply. I would love the artwork and pour my heart in to it. That it could be carelessly discarded seemed to say to me that it wouldn't be good enough, and a direct reflection of my skills. (Not the budget of the studio for postage expenses or a function of the logistical nightmare that would be returning the items.)
Hope sparked again when I saw a few examples of stuff they had gotten in the mail and I realized that I could do better than what they were holding up. I replanned, refined details in my head, then got stuck again on that little detail and I sat, twiddling my thumbs, another 3 days.
Then last night after reading on the notes for my shiny new Java programming class and the process of Object Oriented Programming (a concept that still eludes me a touch, I must admit) I got fed up with myself. I had 4 days left to draw and get the picture mailed. I could do it well. I could make it awesome. And if they threw it away? Well fuck 'em. I was going to photograph/scan the item as best I could so I had a copy for myself. I leapt up, cleared off the kitchen table, and dumped my copic markers down, en masse, sketching like a mad woman.
This was around 10 pm.
At 2 am I put the last marker down and here's what I had.

It's shaded. It's toned. It looks like the cat, and I think I properly conveyed the whole psychadelic atmosphere I was going for (although I was really irritated I didn't even have so much as a pack of neon highlighters to supplement the wild colors.) In 4 hours I went from a wimpy base sketch to that, and I actually think I did a damned fine job for it being my first major piece. I got a real feel for how the markers work together, both in close proximity and over large areas.
-based on this piece I will be avoiding large areas of color-
Anyway, they can have it now. It's done, just gotta get it rolled up and shipped off to L.A. I'm proud that I went to the trouble of getting the image on paper, at least, so I know what I'm capable of. And best of all, heck, what if I win??
Maybe I get to trade off for a totally awesome poster that we can hang in the office and I get a little bit o' recognition. Maybe my poster goes to help out with cats and kittens in LA. (I'd be lying if I didn't say I was seriously pondering trying to bid on my own piece if that happened) Just as many good things could come of this. It just took me a bit to realized that and I feel better now for having released that energy that was locked up in me being worried and preparing to be disappointed in myself. I feel great.
For my next trick I'm going to work on another project that's been knocking around in my skull but hasn't gone on paper out of fear. This may be my new hobby, scaring myself to death by just DOING stuff. There's probably better ones, but for now I have to partake of this one or nothing will get done and everything will back up and circulate in my head. Which would not be fun.
I seriously dig my keyboard cat. I'm hoping somebody else does too.

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