Fully original update.

Wow, I haven’t updated for a long time. I’ve been busy.

Last summer my wife wrote a series of children’s books and one of the things that’s kept me occupied is trying to figure out how to illustrate them. I’ve had to think a little differently in order to do this, slightly simplifying what I would typically put into an illustration and trying to see things as a kid might see them. It’s a funny mix of subtlety and blatantness, balanced with not being condescending. In short, it’s been an education.

I’ve also been participating in “March of Robots” on Instagram this year. A robot a day. However, I’ve chosen to doodle mine, rather than render them. I don’t draw or sketch much anymore but since getting my iPad (my wife insisted, honest…) I’ve been determined to start again. Learning to draw or paint on an iPad is kind of like learning to ice skate…if for no other reason than drawing on glass is a slippery experience. It accentuates every twitch and tremor in my hands. But it’s been fun, too. Here are a few.

I’ve been busy on the 3D front, too.

If you want to keep up to date with what I’m working on, check out my posts on Instagram: http://instagram.com/james_in_3d

or on my Facebook page: http://facebook.com/jameswrookart

I’m most active on Instagram these days.


A bit of an aside before I go.

It’s hard to be original; to create fully original work.

Especially in the latter half of the second decade of the 21st century. As the adage goes: “There is nothing new under the sun.” That was written thousands of years ago. It’s more true now than ever.

The internet, as amazing as it is, creates a very real danger for the creative person. Online we’re exposed to millions of images and billions of words and phrases. Thousands of years ago, they didn’t even have printed books. Now we see everything, all the time.

And that all lodges in our brain somewhere. All of it. Some of it is buried and for all intents and purposes, forgotten. Some of it is just tucked in a mental drawer for later. And some of it is like that ten dollar bill you stuck in your winter jacket last year and found today as you were preparing to take it to the dry cleaner. Surprise!

But there’s an insidious kind of recollection that most creative types seem to deal with — and I’m not sure what to call it, what name to give it. It’s the recall of something you saw, with no direct memory that you saw it, so that you think it’s an original idea of your own.

I’ve seen artists do this, I’ve seen writers do this. I’ve done it, too. For example, I had this idea about a farm boy who lives on a desert planet with his aunt and uncle…  I’m kidding.

Anyway, being bombarded with information 24/7 makes it hard to be sure that what you’ve come up with has never been done before. Chances are, it has. So your best bet is to “remix” it and do your own take on it.

But here there be tigers also.

Copying.

If you are going to do “your own version” of somebody else’s work, you’d best be sure to move beyond blatant copying and further than pale imitation. You have to make it your own by putting your own spin on it, your own heart into it. If you can’t do that, keep it to yourself.

If copying is all you do, especially if you copy and pretend that it’s your own original idea — then you’re kind of a jerk. Some people would happily spit on you for doing this. It’s effing weak.

To be fair… Everyone learns by imitation. Learning to walk, learning to speak, learning to write. It’s how we’re wired. We are copycats. It’s in our wiring.

But imitation, while it is the sincerest form of flattery… is also the simplest form of forgery.

Someday, someone will bust you for copying. Might be the original artist, might be a judge.

Something to think about.

GO YOUR OWN WAY.

A woman with a sword…in a forest. How unoriginal can you get?