I am shooting a couple of tutorials these days. In the process of doing so, I am “forced” to look closer into my own technic and ask myself the questions of why do I paint like I do and what do I find important in a drawing and so on. I find that the answers are not always as clear as I thought they were.

I was looking at a recording of myself painting a merfolk. A small painting. Do I was able to record it in one take of approx. 45 minutes. When I watched the video I was  clearly painting differently than I thought I was. In my mind I was solving every element by itself. Working efficient and precise towards the end goal. I thought that my painting style was very strict and very much based on knowing exactly where to go with each stroke. But what I saw on the video was different. I even got a bit annoyed watching this painter dot away all over the place not finishing an area before he suddenly worked somewhere else. The clear evidence of the video was that I was being a much more indecisive and intuitive painter than I thought I was. And it bugged me. I have always been proud of my process of painting being very strict and very controlled. I know with control comes the certainty that you can fall back on the system when things goes wrong. On the other hand, being loose and spontaneous is something I have been striving on for a long time in order to set myself free of the shackles of a strict system: I know, sounds like I cannot make up my mind. But my goal is to have a sound mix between these to areas: Control vs Intuition.

I bet you all have noticed that when you are painting or drawing you sometimes slip into a state where you forget about yourself. The world around you disappears and you are fully and clearly invested with all your focus and open-mindedness to the art in front of you. Only when you come out of this state, do you recognize that you have been in it. The counter state to this, is the state of mind I hate. Its the one where you think about what the client want or the audience. “You wonder if you are solving the task or art description or product good enough? Will they like it? Ohh I bet this is not what they want, they will be very disappointed. Now they will all see that I am not nearly as skilled as I let them on to believe. everyone will see that I am shit, and its all there in full colors”.  That last state of mind is clearly not helpful, on the contrary. Its completely killing your ability to create freely. When the mind centers around the finished art and how well or badly it might be received, you are no longer emerged in the process. And being IN the process is what its all about.

I have recently found a way to stay in that state or area of openminded playfulness for a longer period of time. And its a way where I can keep a bit of control too. I assign areas where I can deliberately loosen up. For example in the background behind a character I will only very loosely sketch in some directional lines for trees or branches and then allow myself to be spontaionious in those areas. In practicality it means that I am daring myself to be painting without a sketched line or design, but instead saying to myself: “Jesper, I trust you to wing it in this area here”. I do it with more and more areas now – especially in elements that are supposed to be random and alive: Like plants, hair or clouds. It makes me develop a familiarity with looseness and randomness and it makes me trust my intuition.  It makes me stay longer and longer in the state of openness and that in itself acts a counterbalance to the heavy imposter syndrome.

You can watch the video of the Merfolk painting here: