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SourCherryJack
Yeah, something like that.

Jack @SourCherryJack

27, Male

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Kool Skool

Los Angeles

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SourCherryJack's News

Posted by SourCherryJack - 3 weeks ago


So you've found yourself deep in a pit of creative despair.

No matter how hard you try to draw something you keep coming back with nothing, or something that looks like doo-doo. Bummer. The good news is that you're in good company; just about every artist has experienced it, and will experience it again, and again, and again, and so on.


How to get past Art Block is a frequently asked question in the Art Forum here on NG, so I figure I should make a comprehensive answer, to the best of my abilities here, so strap in we're gonna dive deep.


Identify the source of your problem.

This isn't going to be a step by step guide, so much as a flurry of information. Everyone is different, and at different stages of their artists' journey, so the root cause of the block can be any number of sources. The most important way to solve any problem, is to first identify the problem. I admit this may be a bit disjointed, but each section is a common problem, and one that I have personally experienced in some manner, and/or had friends who have experienced these issues. I don't have the data set to determine if these are issues every single artist goes through, but anecdotally speaking, they are very common.


Plateaus

Growth of any skill is very rarely a constant, linear progression of improvement. Often times improvement is going to feel imperceptible from day-to-day; sometimes you may even feel like you're getting worse. Stick it out and keep working, keep learning. Improvement comes with an increased awareness of your own shortcomings. As you get better your ability to read and identify the problem-areas of your art will generally be outpacing your ability to learn and overcome them. You can find a lot of graphs like this one; search google images for "art growth charts" but this one from Marc Dalessio was one I particularly liked

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It is important to remember that (as previously stated!) the first step of solving the problem and -- in this case -- improvement, is identifying your problem(s).


Note in the graph how after a plateau you go from riding the high of noticing how good you're getting to crashing in the doldrums of realizing you've still got a lot to work on? I've been there many times over the past decade, and it is rough, but it is important to remember you're always working to grow.


If you're feeling like your work is in a rut, and looking very same-y; then you need to jump into studies mode (this is going to be repeated a lot in this) and work on learning. Getting into, or returning to fundamentals is always a good place to start. The only way to break out of a plateau is improvement; whether that is targeted studies to grind it out, or just gradually working it out over a longer stretch of time, is up to you, but you're going to have to improve your way out of it.


Switching things up


Maybe your problem isn't with plateauing, your studies are going well, but you're still just not feeling it. Your characters are looking good, but in some way lacking in a way you can't quite put your finger on.

It might be time to switch things up. Work on something way different; if you've been doing character drawings, work on landscapes, if you've been doing fully rendered colored pieces, switch to black and white, and so on.

Beyond just changing what you're drawing, try changing how you're drawing it. Try different mediums, approaches, and techniques. Limit your color pallets, if you've never done a type of art, go for it, take up watercolor, or stencil making, work physical if you're primarily digital, and vice-versa.


Participating in whatever art challenges are floating around on social media can be a good way to motivate yourself to try something new, and feel like you're productively feeding the algorithm gods, while also working in a way that you may not normally.


Personally I found that working in very defined limitations helps me to be a bit more creative to get something done. Whether it was when I first got into digital art, or when I got a 72 pack of Prismacolor markers, I would be spoiled for choice and try to use every tool I had. This is good for studies, to get comfortable with the tools, but to do a full piece and constantly be worrying about the specific color, or brush, or using the best possible color combos, its often overcomplicating matters. When I started really dialing it back and only using a few colors, or brush options for linework and coloring, I started to be able to focus on what I'm drawing and not how I'm drawing it, or how I should be drawing it.


Maintaining Focus

A big issue I see popping up increasingly, and have struggled with myself, is maintaining focus on working. It's very easy to sit and draw for fifteen minutes then get up and take an hour to do busywork. Last year I streamed a drawing every day on twitch to keep me laser-focused. Now, that's an extreme response, but streaming on the internet can be very effective in motivating you to keep working. I found the need to stay on cam, and stay working for the audience (or possibility of someone stopping in on the lower traffic streams) very effective in keeping me at my desk and working.

Another method I use, is put on an album or playlist that I really like, with songs that I will not skip and just throw that on in the Background and full screen my computer. I am not allowed to stop drawing until the playlist or album ends, unless I need to go to the bathroom or get water.

Other effective ways may be to move your work area away from a computer, or phone screen, or if you're a digital artist, disconnect from the internet and put your phone in another room. We are spoiled for distractions and sometimes the best thing you can do is remove yourself from them.

I've had middling success with building a more structured schedule, and trying to pencil in blocks of a day where I'm working on art. It's effective for some friends of mine, but my day-to-day schedule isn't quite rigid enough for that to be super effective with any consistency, and I've never been good at following day planners anyway. It might work for you though so give it a shot!


Strict discipline is going to really help your work ethic, and that may be difficult to achieve, especially considering all the other stuff floating around in our day-to-day lives; it's on you to determine if working on art is your priority, is how you spend your free time, or is eating away at your free time.


Understanding and defining your relationship with art


This is a sort of tangent to beating art block; but I think it's important for beginning and intermediate artists to define what they are hoping to get out of art. If your goal is to become a professional illustrator, it is important to get to work and grind out art block with studies, and just learning to build inspiration from the process of drawing. Whereas if it's a hobby, or something more meditative for you; it would be more healthy to slow it down and take more frequent breaks. Doing studies and building your understanding is still important, but art block shouldn't be seen as a huge issue that must be overcome at the expense of your peace of mind, you can afford to wait for inspiration to strike.

One of the major issues with the modern hellscape we operate in is, unfortunately, the commodification of hobbies. Hustle culture has, for many, broken the idea that anything can just be for the one person doing it. If you're not trying to be a career artist, it may be worth it to take a step back, take a break for a bit. If not from art, from sharing your art on the internet. The pressures of constant comparison to other artists, whether it's in terms of skill, or follower counts, or any other measure of perceived success, can be too much a lot of the time. Taking extended breaks, and declaring you are on a break may be the most healthy option since it removes the self-expectation.


Don't Be Precious With Your Art

added 6/8/22

It is important to take pride in your work, and in your progress as an artist, I just want to lead with that in this section. However, one can become precious with their work, and this can potentially lead to situations where an artist is hung up on one piece, or a current style, or design approach. It is easy to want a piece to look perfect, to get every detail down and really lose oneself in the drawing; but at some point all that time and work may turn into overworking the piece, or turn into the fear that you'll ruin it, or go into a state of constant revisions. The reality might be that it's time to move on to a new drawing, or dial it back a bit and be a bit looser on a smaller project, or even abandon it all together and find a new approach.

I've come to the conclusion as I've learned art, that a series of quicker messier drawings, all improving in tiny increments, that were done fairly quickly; while not as visually impressive on-the-whole as a single piece I've spent days and days and days on, have been better in improving my skills as an illustrator. I don't remember them as much as the big monoliths, but the little black and white, or two-tone sketches in the sketchbooks are where the bulk of your time learning, and making art will take place, and its where the true sparks of creativity appear, so don't neglect them.

Creating a monolith of an art piece that dominates every thought, and moment of your available work time, can end up pushing you to not want to work at all; it can be totally paralyzing. I have personal experience with a large commission that ate away at me to the point where I wouldn't even set up any art equipment because I didn't want to think about it. Eventually I went with scrap the work and find a new approach and it worked out, but it was an iffy few months.


The same situation can happen if you allow a perfectionist mindset to set in and have a vision that your current skill level cannot execute. If you adhere too much to this vision, you can demoralize yourself and not want to work on it, or anything in the future, because it's not going to be what you envision.

A somewhat janky drawing that falls short of your expectations is better for you, and your progress as an artist, than no drawing at all.


The Weight of Social Media and Algorithm Chasing

The social media landscape is completely and utterly unsustainable for artists. That is the truth, that is a fact. The demands of the various algorithms' hunger for 'content' is not something that artists were built to be able to keep up with. If you feel discouraged from drawing by lack of 'likes' 'follows' re-tweets etc. I can't blame you. It does feel good to get that reward of 'high engagement' on something you work really hard on; and it sucks when you put something out there that flops in engagement. That is the truth.

Chasing feedback, or an audience is difficult, and (for me) can feel gross, but it is a reality. And low empirical returns can be demoralizing. The only way out of it, is to either get a huge following and begin to get the dopamine drip of being internet famous; or to put less value on the feedback of social media. One is definitely easier to approach than the other.

I find a lot of internet artist communities can feel largely impenetrable, especially for already small accounts; but try to reach out to other small artists that share your interests, this can help to build a symbiotic community of solid feedback, and keep you all working on art. You may not rake in thousands of likes, but you can pull in some real feedback, that is more valuable. And from these connections you can push yourself to do some collaborations, art trades, or joint ventures on larger art projects. While it's not perfect, the Art Forum here on Newgrounds can be a good place to start and get targeted feedback on your art.


Finding Inspiration in the Process


I am not a scholar of psychology, and have not done much reading into the source of inspiration so this is by no means comprehensive, but I do have experience in having art block and working through it. I don't think I am alone in the feeling that after long spells of not working on art, the most daunting task feels like getting the ball rolling on it and starting a piece, sketches, or explorations. It isn't every time, but often once I sit down and start sketching, the ideas start to flow a bit easier after like half an hour, and the days after it's not as challenging to start. As you build the habit of drawing regularly, it becomes easier. I have been in situations where I didn't want to start drawing because I didn't have a few hours and didn't want to be interrupted. This is a bad perspective to have; if I had taken the twenty minutes here and there that I had, every time they'd pop up I could have gotten a lot of sketching done, and potentially expanded some ideas or chipped away at work. Instead I opted for sitting around watching a youtube video I've long since forgotten about.

This isn't to say that you gotta do a lot every day, but getting a little bit of sketchbook time in every day is great way to remind yourself that you don't need ideal circumstances to get to drawing. Waiting for ideal circumstances, whether it is time, inspiration, comfortability, or any other number of issues, is a good way to get a lot less done than if you just dive into it.


Dealing with a lack of inspiration, or creativity


So you've made numerous attempts to work through art block, switched up your mediums, subject matter, tried challenges, but no matter what you try to do it's just not happening.

It's time to do studies.

This goes hand-in-hand with the above matter of dealing with plateaus. Doing studies, whether it is practical skill building, or reading theory, will expand your knowledge and abilities, and they don't require you to come up with anything yourself.

Whether you are drawing a bunch of boxes and other objects in perspective, or doing a color study of a movie still, you have a clear objective. I'm just going to list a few of my personal favorite subjects to recommend: Gestalt Principles of Art, 1-point 2-point and 3-point perspective, Line-of-action for timed figure drawing practice.


Structured Classes

While this may be a bit against the prevailing DIY nature of the site I am going to say that some structured education is a very powerful motivator to work and to learn. The internet as a whole is full of art resources, Proko, Drawabox, Jazza, to name a few; but if there is an available option for you to take an art class, take it. I've made some good friends and met great artists from taking a few art classes. Professors can definitely be hit or miss, but there is a very good chance you're going to be forced operate outside of your comfort zone, and even be forced to do work that you may not like. I've taken art classes that legitimately felt like a waste -- curriculum-wise -- but seeing other artists work, and how they worked, asking about their techniques, and learning from each other in person was extremely valuable, and I highly recommend it. I would have never bothered getting into Oil Painting if I didn't take an oil painting class, and it's now my preferred medium for painting.

Probably the most valuable thing I took away from the various art classes I've taken was the knowledge of how to talk about art. Analyzing and then having the vocabulary to identify what works, and what doesn't, and having the basic knowledge to figure out how to fix it, or offer advice on how to fix it. I'm a very big proponent of having the sort of cognitive ability to realize there's an issue is one thing, but the ability to put it into words and intellectually break down why something works or doesn't work is much more valuable to improving the situation. You can say it's good! and then walk away, but understanding why it is good is more valuable.


This longwinded semi-tangent is to say that building your knowledge of art will help you to identify what works and what doesn't work, and help you to not get trapped in a major plateau and feel stagnant. It's kool to go to skool!


Finishing up


This isn't supposed to be a "get off your ass and get to work!!" type of motivational post; I'm not gonna throw out the Chuck Close, or Stephen King quotes on inspiration "being for amateurs," I've essentially said the spirit of that quote in a couple hundred more words here anyway. The reality is almost all of you out there who read this are going to be amateurs, and I hope you've gotten some amount of help from this, at the very least maybe some insight. Any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments, or message me. Also if you have any insights on what you do to beat art block, drop that in the comments too!

Art block sucks, it's a reality every artist deals with at multiple points on their journey. Overcoming it may be harder for some than it is for others, but it can be overcome, all you need is a piece of paper, a pencil, and a flat surface.


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11

Posted by SourCherryJack - May 13th, 2022


JACK GOES BEHIND THE SCENES ON THE ART FRONTPAGE!!


So the art forum goes through waves of newer users either becoming frustrated that their art isn't being frontpaged, or curious about how the frontpaging system works here on Newgrounds. I've been meaning to peel back the curtain on this for a little while now, and have generally been refraining from going more in depth in the forums in favor of a deeper dive. I have a bit of time to get into it today so here's my long-put-off inside baseball on getting your art frontpaged.


*DISCLAIMER making art with the sole intent of getting attention, and by extension frontpages is a bad reason to make art, draw what you like and what inspires you... but anyway, on to the guide.


Who (or WHAT) decides what gets FrontPaged?


Admins and Art Moderators. That's it, no algorithms, or ai's to worry about, if your work got FP'd a human came across it, and thought "hey neat" and clicked the "frontpage this art" button. There is a thread in the General forum with recommendations for the Frontpage that does a lot of good work and often recommended work ends up featured. Although if you are an artist reading this, I do not recommend posting your own art in there, it feels like poor etiquette and generally will rub people the wrong way, so just participate if you see cool art and post in there, maybe someone will see your account because of it and think "hey I should put this cool user's art in here.


When is the best time to post to get Frontpaged?


Our Fearless Leader TomFulp does a majority of the frontpaging, and is mostly online doing that in the morning (NG Time) So around 5:00 - 8:00 am (NG Time) is probably your optimal posting time, but these aren't necessarily hard numbers, and this is just what I've noticed over the years. The Art Moderators are volunteers and don't have super structured times they go through the Art Portal so there's not gonna be a set time to catch any of us. Sorry.


What should I draw to get Frontpaged?


While I do not recommend drawing explicitly to get your art Frontpaged there are a few ways to bait an FP. Pixel art is a good first choice, as is drawing anything that has to do with Newgrounds culture; Castle Crashers, Salad Fingers, Tankmen, Friday Night Funkin' etc. Other good options are playing the zeitgeist, if a hot new movie/tv show/videogame/anime is coming out, draw something related to that. Evergreen pop culture properties like Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, Street Fighter etc. are also good options. Another good proven method to get Frontpaged is to participate in sitewide holidays such as Pico Day, Madness Day, Robot Day, Clock Day etc. Be sure to tag your work with whatever the post says to and post it up, chances are you'll get frontpaged for it.

If you want to bait me personally, do some traditional art with intricate inkwork, or something with interesting color use, out there compositions and/or weird character/creature designs are all good starts... Also Guyver and Soul Reaver fan art will probably catch me.


Of course all of these suggestions are predicated on the assumption that they are well composed and complete pieces. If you are posting up art that has obvious shortcomings, and look incomplete or partially phoned-in, there's a slim chance you're going to end up Frontpaged. If you're looking at a drawing thinking "I could've cleaned that up a bit" chances are so is whoever would consider frontpaging it. I can't speak for other mods, but I do have a list of artists whose work I like a lot and am waiting on their super baller piece to FP.

Jack, what do you mean by complete exactly?!

I say complete piece because the general criteria of the Frontpage isn't necessarily "this is the best piece I've ever seen omg!!"

The way I go about it, and the way that seems to be agreed among Frontpages is that they're all not begging for more work. Whether it's an incredibly rendered digital painting with multiple characters and a full background, or a single cartoony character with a simple geometric shape background (or even no BG), in order to be frontpaged both need execute on what they set out to do. Obviously one was harder and took more time to do, but both should be drawn in such a way that they don't leave the viewer demanding any more from them. It's a difficult concept to explain, but if a character is floating awkwardly in a white void, or if a full scene has an area that looks empty and throws off the composition they'd both feel incomplete and would probably leave the audience wanting more, and would not be featured. However if the character is standing with a shadow and small details that imply they're standing on the ground, and the artist explicitly chose no background to keep the focus, that is complete. And if the full scene has an area that is empty but shown to be destroyed or wiped out intentionally and the composition supports it then it is complete. Both Frontpage worthy.


I've been posting for YEARS! I still haven't been frontpaged what gives!?


I get that it might be frustrating to not get the recognition of an FP after posting a ton of art, especially when there are a bunch of well known artists who seem to have a reserved spot on the Frontpage. The simple reality is you don't wait around to get Frontpaged, you gotta work to improve your skills to get to the point where a mod or admin looks and says "dang, that's some baller art, I'm gonna showcase it." That's it; it takes time, work and honestly, a decent amount of luck, catching the right mod at the right time. Even with all the ways I listed at the start to get frontpaged the absolute best thing you can do is learn. Learn and experiment with art, get better and better. Frontpage features are cool, I'm not gonna lie, I get a nice ego boost when I get one, but compared to being an objectively better artist and being capable of drawing dope stuff, it's small beans.


I'm really good at drawing! How do I get my work out there so a mod will see it?


Post your work in the Art Portal, be sure to get scouted (Ornery's Scouting Guide & Luwano's Thread) Now your art will appear in the main Art Portal, already there's a much better chance your work will be seen. Next you can make a thread in the Art Forum I can't speak for the other Mods, but I'm usually there every day or every other day poking around. A personal art thread is a good place to post up a lot of your art and works in progress, as well as get more structured feedback on what to improve. Being an active member of the art community here on Newgrounds will only help raise your profile and get more views on your work, so it's good if you're trying to catch attention. Beyond that, as much as I hate to admit it, a lot of the NG community operates offsite on twitter and discord servers; so getting involved in those portions of the community might be worth it for you as well.


Should I ask a mod or admin directly to frontpage my work??


Haha No! Silly.


That's it, good luck.

I hope you found these insights and recommendations helpful.

The tl;dr on this is to always improve, and make the best art you can possibly make; eventually you'll get there.


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21

Posted by SourCherryJack - January 2nd, 2022


IT ONLY TOOK 365 DAYS


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Hello, on December 31st I wrapped up a daily art challenge where I did at least one full drawing every day of 2021, and streamed the process on my twitch. I'm going to share some of my thoughts on the journey in this news post, they're gonna be a bit disjointed and maybe contradictory at times, but you know, that's part of the fun.


To start I figure I'll explain the "why?" and give a brief overview of the year.

2019 and 2020 were my two least productive years in terms of art. The pandemic did not help matters, but it wasn't the main cause. I would get home from the day job, and sit around watching stupid shit I didn't care about on Youtube; and wait for inspiration to strike when I should have been getting to work drawing.

So on January 1st, 2021 I woke up and did my first stream with the intent to see how far I could get, after considering streaming more art after I did like half of inktober 2020 on my twitch.

A week of dailies went by, then a month, then two, then I hit 100 days and at that point I was locked in.

Full disclosure: there were twelve or so days last year that my internet was down, so there was no stream, but I still drew those days and posted the art.

The last three months were the hardest as I was working close to full time and doing the streams while trying to fit going out and seeing friends and family as well since everyone I knew was vaccinated and the world was opening up again. It all ended up working out despite being utterly exhausted by Christmas time


To any artists considering something like this: I do not recommend it. It isn't a good or sustainable practice to try and do a full original composition every day; the quality of some of my pieces are a testament to that. There were quite a few strings of days where I was just drawing to fulfill the challenge, and they just look blah. There were days when I got home past midnight and set up to do a thirty minute stream so I could pass out immediately after uploading.

Drawing or sketching every day is great, but being beholden to do so arbitrarily is not so great.

The flipside of this is that there is now a ton of art that I have done, which would have never existed if I didn't do this. I have concepts and compositions that I'm definitely going to be returning to in the future, whether it's to expand, redo or rework. I used techniques and color choices that I normally do not use and I experimented a lot with materials, which is a ton of fun having the freedom of knowing if it didn't work I'd have tomorrow's stream to try something that might.


One of the biggest skills I learned is to know when something is just not working early on; and more importantly to stop working on it and find another approach, or work on something completely different.

One regret I do have is that I didn't really have much time for studies, and had initially intended to do gesture drawing and portrait practice in March, when I thought by that point I would be done posting finished pieces. But I just kept pushing myself to finish the pieces and never got around to doing the learning streams. Overall those would have been more valuable than continuing to draw in my usual current style, but we all make choices I suppose. I have been asked by a few artist friends if I feel like i've improved significantly, I have to answer "not really" or "yes, but in the process rather than raw technical skill." I guess it boils down to "there are more productive ways to spend a year doing art, than just doing a punch of pieces." --But again I have to stress I did get a lot out of it in the mindset and adjustments to the process.

Even though there were days that I really didn't want to hop on and stream art, I'm glad I did, it was a lot of fun and having the chat there definitely kept me just engaged enough to not completely lose it. So if you ever dropped in the Stream, Commented on my Art Portal submissions, bought a piece, subscribed, said hi, or whatever else, thank you so much! It's super appreciated and I hope to produce a decent amount of art this year despite not going for 365.


I will be resuming the art stream (twitch.tv/sourcherryjack) later this week or next week. First stream back I'm going to go back and look through all the art and review them, what I like, what I don't like so much, what I remember about them etc. My first art stream back will be an ART FORUM ART WHORE stream where I will be drawing your requests from the thread I make in the art forum. Here is my last art whore thread

FAVORITE PIECE OF THE YEAR

JAR MONSTER


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14

Posted by SourCherryJack - July 5th, 2021


Hey everybody, as of July 2nd I've reached the half a year milestone of daily art!

This is pretty huge, and I've managed to stream almost all of them over at my twitch, save for a few days here and there where my internet was down.

Beyond that, my Etsy Store is up with a few originals, a few recreations and a button pack! Prints are coming soon!


I've got a lot of big plans on the horizon, along with the daily art updates for the remaining half of the year, there will be a lot of Papier-mâché in the coming months as I prepare for Halloween, and maybe - just maybe - some animation.


Thanks for checking in, here are a few of my personal favorites from the past year so far:

Day 49: Damn Cats, a return to an older concept of grim reaper and cats. Conker says wussupiu_349453_2960153.webp


From Day 84: Attack of the Feesh, marker piece where I tried using colors I rarely useiu_349454_2960153.webp


From Day 112 Legally Distinct from Vampire Hunter D. Was a quick one, but it really ended up working out.

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From Day 140 Ska Party Promo, Just worked out as a concept.

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Alright Catch you guys later!


8

Posted by SourCherryJack - February 17th, 2021


Hello, I am currently approaching 50 days of my 2021 daily art streams over on twitch.tv/sourcherryjack . I'm planning on doing a giveaway this Saturday for my subs on twitch, in honor of 50 days in a row, if you're interested go subscribe on my twitch and I'll throw your name in the raffle.

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Here's the first giveaway I did for last month as part of a collaboration when I was hosted on my friend's stream. I definitely try to go all out on all of these, so if you're interested in potentially getting an original piece from me for the cost of a twitch sub, jump in!

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Plug aside, here are some of my favorite drawings from the past 47 days on stream.


That Wretched Bird

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Seeking Communion

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Mother of Monsters

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January Jesters

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DreamPop Canyon

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Bafloonery

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Communion With the Crimson Bovine

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2

Posted by SourCherryJack - January 3rd, 2021


Hey everybody, been a little while since I've made a news post. This year I'm going to try to be doing daily art streams over on twitch.tv/sourcherryjack I'm mostly going to be doing traditional art like ink, watercolor, colored pencil, I'll definitely be having a few paintings in acrylic and oil; and am going to try to dedicate a few days to getting more comfortable with digital painting.

It's a pretty chill time, feel free to drop in and say hi, or drop a request in the chat.


Here are the past two days drawings:

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1

Posted by SourCherryJack - July 2nd, 2020


The Art Portal has had a noticeable uptick in artists being scouted with traced art, and filtered photos in their galleries. Collage and use of pictures in art isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it must be transformative and recontextualized in some way. I'm gonna use this post to clear up some uncertainty in what constitutes a heavily referenced drawing from a traced drawing; as well as what constitutes a transformative work from one that is just using images you don't own and calling it your art.


Tracing

In the event that a submitted drawing is a one to one match with an existing image in its silhouette, and major details, it is traced. If I can stick it in photoshop and put a transparent image over it and all of the lines up perfectly, it is traced, there's no argument, the submission will be deleted, and there's a good chance the uploader will be unscouted from the Art Portal.

How can we tell?

There are a variety of red flags that arouse suspicion from Art Mods, one is post history. If a week ago the rest of a user's submissions had wonky proportions, no grasp of the fundamentals of art: spacial awareness color theory, anatomy, balance etc, and then suddenly they make a wild jump in quality and artistic knowledge; there's a good chance there is some funny business going on. An extension of this is if a user comes out of nowhere, with no icon and a bunch of professional grade looking art all uploaded in a short span of time.

Another red flag is if the technique appears automated; posterize tools and live trace tools in art programs create a very specific type of geometry in the way it breaks up colors and shadows, that artists, frankly, are not likely to do, it's not impossible that a person did it, but unlikely.

The last and possibly most significant is user history. If a user has a past of stealing art, or tracing, we're a lot more likely to believe its happening again and less likely to give the benefit of the doubt.

These are the main red flags we look for, then from those suspicions we go to google images and keyword search to see what comes up.

Don't trace, and don't use filters or art program tools that are basically tracing.


References

Using references is great and an absolutely necessary tool for any artist to be successful in learning to draw something. I strongly recommend every artist use references in their work and studies. Chances are most use of references, unless you are overlaying to get the broad strokes (still tracing), won't be a problem in the portal. But the best way to use a reference is to look at the example image and try to draw what you see as close as possible while using artistic license to fit what you want into your composition. If you're drawing a character like darth vader for example, use posemaniacs, or another more generic body reference and then work out from there and add the armor to the blank body you've drawn. This way you have a completely original darth vader with no question that its your's.

References are good, use them, but don't trace them, learn from them.


If you end up super close to your reference, you might also want to link your reference in the description, art mods are people too, and if we spend ten minutes hunting through google images trying to find your reference piece to check if it is traced we might be in a bad mood and make the call that it is too close and mark it as traced. Being straight forward does go a long way (for me personally at least).


Filters and Collage

This is probably the grayest area, but even then there are some clear lines.


  • Don't use images that you do not have the rights to, stick to photos you've taken, and photos clearly in the public domain
  • Don't just post a filtered image, that is not significantly altered, and it is just photography
  • The photograph should be a relatively small component of the piece as a whole, a sunset with a little stick man drawn on the floor isn't gonna cut it.


So what use of photographs are allowed?

In short; significantly altered photos. This can extend to painting scenes over photos in a way that is clearly distinct, photoshopping more trees into an orchard isn't what we're talking about, maybe inking black and white fantastical trees or trolls or something like that would be cool though.

Cutting out scraps and collage making on painted backgrounds is alright. (@yurgenburgen is a great example of how to transform and recontextualize photos in a way that suits the Portal)

Another acceptable way to transform, I forgot the user, but a while ago in the art forum an artist used an image of a Sea Doo and cut it up in photoshop and created a mech from the cut up image.

These are what we mean by transformative uses of photography.


Filtered photographs as backgrounds in general is tricky game to play and its acceptance is a bit sketchy all around, the way I personally police it is if the background pulls away significantly from the original work on display, it is not okay to use in the portal. What that means by its nature is so vague and difficult to explain, I understand it can be frustrating, but that's the nature of the beast, there's no clean answer to this and it is overall better for the drawing if the artist draws their own background.

To try and explain this: If you have a picture of a mountain range in the far off horizon of a drawing with a foreground and middle ground you yourself drew that's probably alright, but again, its sketchy and other mods can have different approaches. Character drawings with a heavily filtered background might also get a pass, but again, it brings down the quality as a whole and you're better off drawing your own background. It's a case by case basis, and again, sorry no clean answer here.


I can't speak for all of the art mods, but this is how I moderate the portal when it comes to traces/references/photomanipulations.

If you feel your work has been unfairly deleted for any reason you can pm me and I can probably give you a reason why, or failing that, find out from the mod who did delete it why.

We aren't here to punish people or crush hopes and dreams, we're just trying to keep the work in the art portal original, as intended.


1

Posted by SourCherryJack - December 28th, 2018


Just kidding.

I'm gonna keep posting art. See you in the future. 

Carry on. 


3

Posted by SourCherryJack - February 20th, 2018


Rummy posted one of these the other day and I found it to be a great read and a lot of it resonated with me since it was pretty close to my experiences with this wonderful corner of creatvity and dick jokes on the internet. This will be a truncated mini bio of Newgrounds and me, its still long as brevity isn't soemthing I'm good at.

So flashing back to when I first found out about this site, in the very early 2000's a friend showed me Madness on funnyjunk it had no mention of Newgrounds anywhere and I had forgotten funnyjunk and was trying to find it again to show another friend when I rean through all the other flash sites, albino black sheep, ebaumsworld etc. Eventually found it and its sequel! I was playing all the browser games, my friend and I fell in love with Halo TSAH (and still regularly quote bits and pieces here and there). 

I never engaged with the community and didn't have an account until I was thirteen in August 2009. I had always been the kid drawing comic characters and rip offs of whatever movies, games etc in dedicated spiral notebooks, I still have the stacks and stacks of Marvel heroes, Spawn, Jak and Daxter and so on into infinity rip offs that I drew and redrew. Then came the Meat-Heads a parody attempt of military shooters that were so popular in the mid/late 2000's I thought I was gonna blow all the art forum peeps away (at the time I had no idea it just recently launched). 

I made my first thread "The Meat-Heads by Jack" and posted the bic pen scratch that was Meat-Head #1 with the promise of posting 110 of these super soldiers. The response was not quite the praise I was expecting it was mixed with a lot of niceties but some harsher words mainly telling me to improve and the infeasability of having 110 characters (very valid points) I was not prepared for criticism and responded like you'd expect a 13 year old to. Excuse after excuse saying "I'm doing my own thing if you don't like it get outta my thread." 

I fancied myself a writer more than an artist when I was thirteen and fourteen (teenagers are an annoying bunch aren't they) but I stuck around the art forum and continued drawing and not being super open to crits, but the stellar art of people like M-vero (now daverom) Hyptosis, e-m-b-r-i-o, and then Bizarrojoe's whore threads, among other activity threads, kept me coming back and in there. Then after about a year and a half I notcied I had been improving a lot; so I was drawing more and more and noticed I was enjoying it more, I was getting involved in collabs (man I miss those) engaging with the community more and commenting on other art threads. I would try to branch out into the General and Videogame forums but the art forum was my home on this site. The Art Forum Stickam chat was what solidifyed it, I was an artist. By the time I had hit fifteen I knew I wanted to go into illustration in some capacity, I was a reg in the chat made friends with some killer artists and great people - Aigis, Lovingthedark ( now radiodark), Ornery, Test-Object, ThePsychoSheep, Bigjonny13, Turkeyonastick, and so many others. 

After being a member of the community for so long when I heard about the pico day 2015 meetup I knew I had to make the trek. I flew out on my own for the first time from LA to Philly and met Radiodark, Kashi and Orn and had a great time met tons of people (all too briefly though). Got to meet brother/sister in ink Linda-mota and Yurgenbergen - my two favorite inkers in this place, racked up a sketchbook full of everybody's little scribbles I could. I remember the feeling after that weekend I was supercharged, everything felt amazing my creative energy was at an all time high and I just felt like Newgrounds was made of magic, having faces to a lot of names and business cards really turned the site into an almost tangible force in my life and I cannot put words to how incredible it is that so many creative and weird people are united here in their love for all sorts of random shit, but also that DIY spirit that doesn't exist in the same way on bigger sites like tumblr and is completely absent in the 'LOOK AT ME' world of instagram. Also its just crazy talking to people whose voices you've heard in countless flash animations and then realizing after talking to them - wait, THAT was redminus, or stamper or hearing Johnny Utah across a room but not knowing the source and investigating the source so you could get a scribble. Or walking up a staircase and bumping into Tom Fulp. BLEW MY dumb little mind 

The next year I began doing super in depth reviews and critiques of art (still available pm me!) and I suppose it didn't go unnoticed as I was made an art mod which I try to still fill out my moddly duties but its difficult with life in the way. ANYWAY I went to Picoday 2016 for Newgrounds 21's birthday more of the magic was there as in 2015 I met test-object (accidentally kicked his shin while gettin that hug) and TOAS, great times, great people, Tom remembered most of my name - still gets me hot and bothered thinking about. I got to tell rikert to his face how amazing his forms are there are countless little moments I'll hold onto from these two weekends and cannot thank Tom and company for hosting them because they really were fantastic meet ups and celebrations of all things NG.

So Currently I am going to community college and will be transferring next spring or fall (depending on how my units shake out) to an art school, Cal State or UC with a major in illustration or fashion design here in LA and I have Newgrounds to thank for that. While I was always the kid doodling in the back, the art forum gave me the critiques, the support and the community to improve. Not just to improve but to pursue learning more and get better at not just drawing but understanding art and branching out into using photoshop and illustrator, I got direction from NG. The Art community was my art teacher since I hated art classes in highschool and always felt they focused on shit I didn't care about or presented information in a way I couldn't relate and get excited for. As dramatic as it may sound Newgrounds gave me not only entertainment but it gave my life as a whole direction. I have no idea where I'd be without it I probably wouldn't be an artist I wouldn't have any artistic skill I'd be a boring motherfucker. So thank you Tom for this place because without I'd just be another guy who can't draw for shit. 

 


2

Posted by SourCherryJack - February 8th, 2017


Its been a while since I've done one of these, almost a year in fact. A lot of stuff happened all over the place since then the big world stuff obvioulsy but also on the smaller scale of my personal life. Overall it was a pretty good year for me which is always good.

 I think last year saw the most creative output I've ever had judging by quantity and overall quality which feels good, I'm hoping to to top it this year and so far its not looking so bad. Unfortunately motivation has been hard to come by lately especially with all the distractions the past few months have had to offer, I lost the past week and a half to Titanfall 2 online which was fun while it lasted but the more I think about it the ore embarassed I am of it because I haven't sunk so much time into an online game by myself for a while and it just feels gross to have neglected art for so long. But I'm back to it now and am going back at it with some loose plans and some mostly written scripts I'll hopefully be able to turn into little comics or zines. There are a lot of doubts I have floating around about where I should go with my art, I'm trying to keep up with personal studies and staying on top of improving which I definitely need but beyond that obvious need its difficult to exist as an online mostly presence while staying only traditional, the problem is I don't enjoy the digital process and I want to have fun doing art especially if I am going to pursue it but that's irrelevant for the most part considering the only way forward really is to embrace digital and I know that. Its very frustrating and I'm sort of just venting at this point. Regardless I guess we'll see. 

Also the art forum bums me the fuck out, man.