I come from a Graphic Design background. My education helped me understand the value of editing. Most of my fine art is made in an illustrative manner, rather than realistic or abstract. It can be tempting to rush ahead with the first idea I get and resist the urge to alter it in any way.
Sometimes our first sketch is the one that captures the perfect amount of charisma and proportion. But more often than not, our initial sketches will depict either too much of an idea or too little.
Taking risks with your first drawing and letting it go in different directions can end in some really incredible images. If you think of your image as a story, you may see how editing is such a good practice.
Step 1 - RELAX - Take a nap or bath. Do some stretching, or go for a walk. Wash the dishes or pick up some menial task that lets your mind wander in an unstressed mode. Let images start to pop up and play with them in your head. What is happening? What are the images feeling?
Step 2 - SKETCH - Without any reference, start to draw the images that come to you. Try not to judge your sketch. Accuracy is not important. Tap into the emotion you are feeling in this picture.
Step 3 - COLOUR - Now is the time to play with colour. Using simple, quick materials such as pencil crayon or watercolour, let the colours inspire new elements into the story.
Step 4 - RESEARCH - Look up images that will aid and boost your design. You may be wondering where a body part goes or whether an animal has claws or the colour of its fur. Remember to keep the essence of the imagination intact. You don't want to create a replica of a photograph. The key is to find the playful, whimsical, uniquely-you aspects of your drawing and keep them!
Step 5 - STORY BOARD - This is not necessary if you are able to get right to the finished product. But if you have several projects going on at a time, you may want to collect your ideas and research into one board for reference when you get to the final piece. I always keep books, magazines, and print-outs for reference. Sometimes going to a photograph is best. Other times, looking for different stylized versions of an image can help push you're creativity that much further.
Step 6 - FINAL PIECE - With this flying horse image, I was captivated by several parts of the story. The freedom in the wind blowing through the rider's hair. The beauty of the waves, drawn in a fairy-tale, puppet-theatre fashion. The gold wing and the black splattered paint on the horse. Each element had it's own gravitational pull, but put together, it became too much. This is the difficult part in finishing a piece…knowing which elements to take out. Even though I had put a lot of work into the drawing of the waves and rider, I had to give them up to save the strength of the image. The end result is bold and very different from the initial sketch. But what I now have is the potential for a second and third painting, creating a triptych or series.
Step 7 - COMPLETION - Pushing yourself to finish a piece is deeply gratifying. This may be difficult for many artists since we get inspired and pulled in new directions and can sometimes loose our focus. I know many artists will have several pieces going at once so they never feel bored with one. Whatever the case, the sooner you can bring your work to completion, the more energy and passion will be given to that story within you that needed to come out!