Layering

Hi all,

Thank you for popping by and checking out my blog. It has become a nice habit for me as I am able to sit down and think about my practice. I am not sure exactly whether I am going to the right direction, but I hope I will keep improving and providing information you are looking for. I am very open to receive comments and any kind of feedback. So, do not hesitate writing me!

I wasn’t entirely sure what should I talk in this blog post as I have covered some of the most important subjects of my practice and while I still have more to talk about it, I would like to keep it for the future posts to go over again. With new information and newer works.

Speaking of works and projects, it’s funny how each work teaches and brings something to you. At least, I have always felt that I learnt a lot after I completed a project. I also fail, but each failure teaches me too – how not to do it again. I am talking about it, because I went through traditional training and there were few things that made me feel that I am not good enough. I created an image in my head that I must succeed in one (or few) areas to make an artwork. If I don’t know, I shouldn’t even try. It took me years to come over these fears and thoughts and look at making art differently. Accept that it’s ok not to understand it or know how to use this or that method. Once in a while I do testing and experimentation, but usually I just go for it.

Yet, the traditional school taught me about layering. In painting. I am not going to teach how to paint here, but I always felt that so satisfied when I had to think of all the layers and steps in my head before I started to paint. Figuring of colours how they can blend without mixing them together. How each brushstroke of colour can compliment another and few more upcoming ones. And exactly, it wasn’t necessarily about the image, but the textures I am creating. I stopped painting eventually, but it came back to me. A little different and in a different form.

Ok, layering. Layers.

I personally believe that layers can give so much more liveliness and depth to the work; whether we are speaking of building an image or creating a narrative. There are so many great artist who are just great at making everything with one brush stroke. They have a recognizable image and it looks neat, fresh… I adore those. But somehow, my brain doesn’t want that. The process takes me in and conducts what I have to do. I layer everywhere. Any medium I take, it consists of layers. The way I think – in layers. Of course, I had a time, when I did a lot of sketchy, unfinished look, caricature style animations, but while it was simple, I couldn’t resist of building things around it. I think this is what I like about animation. Even the simplest animations involve layers.

When it came to drawing or painting, I ended up applying multiple layers. It didn’t have to do anything with achieving realistic approach, it had to do with achieving vibrancy and texture.

Building an image

Within years I came up with my way of painting (in watercolour) and though I am getting close to making realistic images, the idea of using layers is also to create the depth in the image. The key is to let each layer to dry and avoid overworking. (And I just said I won’t teach you painting here)

But to be honest, making a drawing or painting comes natural to me. In the beginning I was more neat and there was more blending, but later I realized that some of the rough brushstrokes are actually work even better. It justifies that this is a painting, made by a real person. It takes a great skill and a lot of patience, but we have printers for that. Of course, if the person enjoys making such art – go for it and ignore this part. I’ve seen a lot of great artists, who really excel at this. I just wanted to defend myself of being messy. It’s absolutely fine to be messy. And it’s totally fine for being as accurate as possible.

The messiness sometimes comes from rushing. I am naturally fast, I lack patience and easily bored, so I think the layering also comes from a feeling ‘not enough’. Or trying to improve the image.

I recently learnt that mixing different media can give you an interesting result too. It was tough for me to mix watercolour and pastel, because I love one flavour ice-cream. As usual, me and my food references. But I think, it’s worth breaking the ice and crossing two strong mediums to get what you’re looking for. Mix ink, watercolour, colour pencils, pastels, found objects, cut outs, salt, grain or whatever. In some works I used salt and I loved the grainy texture it gave me. I am slowly coming out of my shell when it comes experimenting on paper. I am still quite traditional, but whatever makes the drawing look good.

Creating a narrative

Layers in narrative are quite similar to unfolding. It’s about what follows and what unfolds within process. Yet, some works are layered using objects I draw (or paint). Often, I reach times when I don’t know what to do next. Then I don’t know and don’t want to pause the creative process – I make something. I draw objects and anything that comes to mind. Most of them never see the light of the day, but some of them come to life and get to feature in some animations.

I am still learning how to animate and struggle with backgrounds, but then I see that there is something missing I try to use those drawings to animate and build a narrative. Give new meanings too. I started making watercolour animations (from drawings) few years back and used them as a way to break ‘the silence’ or as I mentioned earlier – give a new meaning. It could look messy, but people want to understand what’s happening and look for meanings. Since I am not sure about the meanings myself, I am happy if somebody puts all the dots on ‘i’.

Recently, I found myself layering animations and objects together when animating. A simple thing that creates a depth I am always looking for in drawings. It is also a great opportunity to make playful animations. I think, it adds humour too. And I am all about that. That’s another thing I am learning – comedy.

All in all, layering is equal to play. I think about layers before I start drawing, but all the details and all the flaws come during the process. I admit that sometimes I fear to fail and ruin an already great looking image, but the best result comes from play. A play of trying to build something. Though, it is much easier to play in animation (post production), because once it’s digital – there is always a way to go back and re-do. There is no fear, because everything can be fixed… Although I have some ruined files and exported videos that can no longer be fixed. It happened from not having backups. Always have a backup.

Hope you are all well. Stay healthy and keep making.

Yours,

Inga

5 thoughts on “Layering

  1. It’s funny, the concept of “layering” seems to be coming up a lot around me. For example, a documentary about Leonardo Da Vinci, Adobe Photoshop projects, my own theories about reality. Thank you!

    Like

      1. I don’t remember, but it turns out that Da Vinci created art unlike anyone else, there were no underlying foundational sketches, the picture developed with the layers. I instinctively like this.

        Liked by 1 person

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