Friday, March 25, 2005


Yes, Brush-ups. [Calithenics for the Brain-hand-brush connection.] Like Push-ups, but with a brush. Everyday before working on pages I take a bit of time and draw directly on paper, loose sheets mostly, 11 x 17 or even 8 x/1/2, warming up with free-hand drawing with the pen and brush to 'warm-up' the Mike Machine. It's about control and confidence. The most important skills you have to have as an artist, especially if one is inking, besides being able to draw well, is absolute control over your tools and the subtle manipulations of the pen and especially the brush, the brush being harder to learn to control; but it's the best most flexible instrument.

You must control the tool, not the tool control you.

So like an athlete or a musician pratice, practice, practice is a must. Each day's work adds to your skill level. If you don't practice it's simple--you'll suck! You'll be afraid and that fear will cause you to make a mistake! You can't erase ink as easily as pencil, so confidence gives me the ability to work directly without worrying I'll mess up.

If I added up all the hours I have spent using pens and brushes since I was about 13 years old and serious about becoming a professional cartoonist it would be 1/3 of my lifetime I'm sure. I love to draw and draw all the time. The absolute confidence I have with my skill-set when it comes to inking, (drawing in ink) comes from my endless dedication to practice, study and maintaining my skills and pushing mysel to get better. I think I get better and better, a little bit at a time now, not the great leaps I had when 20 years younger, but I still strive to get better with my tools. Everytime I do something I didn't before or pull off something I feel good about, I feel like I have won another level, another stair on the climb up Art Mountain.
Today's warm-ups


Kristen McCabe said...

those are some incredible warm ups Mike M, Very inspiring! Makes me want to try out my brush pen again. I'm really enjoying your blog.

Jill said...

Your lines show alot of confidence. Amazing!!