Hey y'all, I intended to carry the posts through the weekend as well but... looks like weekends are not particularly good for writing. So I'm trying things and learning as I go, which beats sitting around and wondering why I'm not getting anywhere.
Today's chapter deals with "Originality" vs. "Theft"
No, we are not talking about passing off someone else's work as your own or pretending it's okay to post unattributed works. But this chapter is about bringing together everything your know and love about many art forms in your own work rather than forge ahead trying to create original art out of pure nothingness. With thousands of years of recorded human history and art, the odds are against that approach anyway.
For example, I am not reproducing the entirety of the book here but rather giving an only slightly spoilerish review of each chapter, plus my own thoughts about what I learned and what that means for my next step.
The concept of bringing together the best of many disciplines is probably easier for polymaths to put into practice - if you're already into everything and trying several art forms, fusing them together is really the next logical thing to do. Here's a quote from Jeff Goins' bestseller Real Artists Don't Starve about the sort of "theft" that's okay in art: "The best artists steal, but they do so elegantly, borrowing ideas from many sources and arranging them in new and interesting ways."
I like that - a lot. It's what I've been trying to do already, and it's a big part of the reason I want to get into animation for my stories. Animation calls for such a huge variety of skills to bring the project to life - writing, of course, and drawing, but also acting, music, sound effects, light, color, mood, an understanding of what's simultaneously universal and specific about people. I'm always baffled by people who look down on animation as just being cartoons. Have they never really considered all the vast array of talents and the sheer amount of work that it takes to put together even a simple cartoon?
One thing I thought that this chapter could have dealt with more is the need to push the work that you're creating. It's mentioned as a matter of course, but it's such a crucial aspect of creating art that it may need its own chapter. But then again, it's a hard thing to quantify in words. Let me see...
The push - when you've done enough and it's decent, but there's an itch in the back of your mind when you just about know the direction your work is going. You could almost see the next mark to make, or the next bit to peel away, but at the same time, it's risky because you have an equal chance of destroying your decent work while trying to make it art. Is it worth pushing when you don't know where the edge is?
In a word, yes. When your work is in your hands and you feel that itch, that almost-in-tune feeling just before it sings or it cracks, push. Push to the edge and don't stop too soon.
Okay, y'all know by now that I am giving away a copy of Real Artists Don't Starve, right? Here's how to put your name in the hat for the giveaway: Leave a comment with your name on any of the blog posts in this series about the book. Counting the introduction and the conclusion, that will be 14 posts. I'll try to post daily but I may not make weekends.
I'm not exactly thrilled with this blog layout, because it isn't very obvious how to leave comments, but if you click on the number of comments in the top right corner of the post, you should get there.
Thanks so much for reading, and I'll see you tomorrow!
Artist, writer, creator of stuff. I just want to build worlds for you to escape to.