Sometimes, as a creative person, I get frustrated. As a society we put little value into art and even less value into artists. I suppose some of this is influenced by our muddled economy which makes purchasing art difficult for the average part — and I understand that bit. (I’d love to be able to support my fellow artists.) But sometimes I get the feeling that society, as a whole, would see more value in me if I worked any random nine-to-five job than it would if I were an artist. And that’s because, you know, work is work, and art is just playing around.
While it’s true that art has both a spiritual and recreational element to it, it also takes plenty of time and energy. Some people will look at the body of an artist’s work and say, “Look at all of this art! Look at how much work they do!” But I don’t believe that gives us a full picture of how much work an artist does. That’s because we usually only see somebody’s finished works and assume that’s everything they’e done. But the truth is, lots of works go unfinished.
This unfinished work is invisible to the public. After all, what’s the point in seeing a work of art if it isn’t complete? Sometimes the sketchbooks of artists do get published and sometimes people are indeed curious about them. But that’s about all the unfinished work seems to be — something trivial. Something to be consumed quickly, forgotten, and then discarded.
But this unfinished work was indeed work. It took time, energy, and spirit. I happen to have a good deal of unfinished drawings that I keep in a folder. On each of these drawings I probably spent between an hour and three hours. They’re not unfinished because I’m a lazy person. These drawings are unfinished because either something in my life distracted me or I felt that my time would be better used working on some other project.
So I present to you the following thesis: In order to fully appreciate the work that an artist does you must also see their unfinished works.
With that in mind, here’s 82 unfinished drawings from between the years 2011 and 2015.
I’ve tried to label the year when they were started but they might not be entirely accurate. For some reason I can look at a drawing and remember where I was when I made it. Then I just figure out which apartment I was living in back then and then I have a year or a range of years when it could have been made. I realize these works are unfinished, but they represented my life and my mind at the time they were drawn, so I feel the year is important to note.
Here comes the music.
2011. This was another drawing done in the wake of my break-up with the Purple Girl. Part way into coloring this drawing I realized I was sick of dwelling on this subject and just stopped. I find it really fascinating when you ( and I) can see the point where I stopped coloring. Notice, also, that this drawing was set to feature a good deal of red and purple — perhaps if I had finished it then I would have gone through my red and purple phase sooner? It seems the seeds were already planted in my mind somewhere. .
2012/2013. This was going to be another drawing featuring the Detective.
Very late 2012/ Very early 2013. I was not pleased with some of the changes at my workplace.I wasn’t pleased with how the black mixed with the red in this piece so I just shelved the drawing all together.
2014. I was undergoing a regeneration of sorts. In the long running British Sc-Fi TV show, Doctor Who, the title character will occasionally regenerate into a new body with a slightly different personality. This was me undergoing such an experience.
2013. A drawing inspired by The Legend of Zelda series. I guess a lot of people don’t see the owl as an iconic symbol for the series anymore but it was heavily featured from the Game Boy game to the N64 title. This would have been a drawing where I got to play with the gold colored pencil.
2013. A drawing inspired by the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
2011/2012. A reference to the video game Earthbound. (Mother 2 in Japan.)
2014. A reference to the video game Mother 3.
2014. A reference to the video game Chrono Cross.
2012/2013. I had colored something kind of like this drawing, so I skipped it in favor of something else.
Late 2013. This was an impression I had of New Mexico buildings when I first visited the area.
Unknown year. I only used the smaller tipped pen for this and it had an interesting effect. Because of this, however, I have no idea when it was actually made.
2013. Lots of cute girls.
This one is pretty much finished, I guess. I used the wrong shade of green on a portion of the treasure map and I never thought of a way to even out the colors to make it work. I suppose I could finish it now but it feels like a drawing done by a person very far away from the person I am now. So I’m sort of leaving it in peace.
The Pirate, Pt. 2.
The basically plot line of the Pirate Sequence was that the Pirate found a treasure chest that he couldn’t open. He didn’t know it, but the chest was haunted by a ghost who needed his help but couldn’t communicate with the Pirate. I think there was a third drawing to the sequence, too, but I can’t find it now.
Late 2012. This was another drawing dealing with the Sphinx’s riddle. This time the riddle had to do with the future.
2012. The working title for this one was going to be “Funeral.” I was really going to experiment with dark colors on this one. However, I couldn’t really discern anything in the background and that lessened my enthusiasm.
2013. I think that the magician was evil.
2011. This was an abstract landscape of sorts. I was going to color it with the ‘sky’ colors on the land and the ‘land’ colors in the sky.
2013. Young Heroine Sequence, part something. I don’t think this was part three, or if it was directly related to the previous two drawings. But clearly the Young Heroine finds a genie somewhere in the castle and is allowed to make a wish.
2013. This is what the Heroine was up to during the Fairy Sequence. There was also a drawing form this time that featured the Heroine meeting the Pirate on this same mountain path but I can’t find it now.
2013. This is what the Wizard was up to while the Warlock was watching him in the Fairy Sequence, Pt. V. He seemed to be helping the fairies with something.
2013. A drawing of The Heroine, myself, and the Fairy. In this drawing The Fairy was taking a lot more visual cues from Nina of the Breath of Fire series, who I think my sub-conscious mind was inspired by.
2014. It looks like the Heroine was dealing with some interesting characters at the time.
2014. This was going to be another drawing for my Wizard’s children book. It turned out nice enough, but the Wizard was stylistically more similar to how he appeared in the Heroine Sequence than in the Wizard Sequence.
2013. Another golem
2013: I’m not sure what’s going on in this one.
2011: Inspired by Doctor Who.
2012: Something more domestic.
2013: An astronaut repairing a damaged part of the ship.
2012: At the time I thought this might be Final Fantasy inspired, but now I don’t think that’s quite right.
2011/2012: Fun fact — the night after I scanned this image I had a nightmare about the scorpion monster. In this dream I had a roommate and the scorpion monster was her pet. It ran around the room making this awful noise. I was terrified! My roommate tried to tell me that this sound meant it was happy but it was just so scary! I woke up and realized the ‘happy’ noises coming from the scorpion monster were just the squeaking of my hamster’s wheel.
2012: I thought about coloring this one but I felt it would look too much like the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde drawing.
2011/2012: I thought this would be fun for experimenting with something to make it look ghostly. However, I wasn’t sure if this was an offensive use of stereotyping or not, so I figured I’d just shelve it. I always have plenty of things to color, after all.
2013/2014: Tripitaka has a monkey on his back — and unfortunately, it’s the Monkey King.
2013: I drew this one while watching Buffy. I think it’s supposed to represent the character of Anya who becomes rather enamored with being a shopkeeper. It probably works on a level just regarding money and capitalism, though.
Unknown year. That’s me, holding a hamster.
2012/2013: A soldier salutes a lady — or is it a mermaid? Hard to say.
2012: This is a picture of a person cut up. I thought it was ugly so I skipped it.
Unknown year: A bunch of abstract shapes. You can tell the marker I was using was drying out. That doesn’t matter when I’m first outlining a drawing, since I have to re-outline everything after I color it.
2012/2013: Mickey and Minnie Mouse being expelled from the Garden of Eden. I liked the concept but I didn’t like how the mice came out.
2015. A person and some shapes. I still might color this one someday.
2015. This might have been a follow up to Puzzle Game.
2015. A dragon is perched on top of a cliff. I really disliked his torso — it looked like a Lego brick.
2015. An alligator riding a lawnmower. I think this would look pretty good on a t-shirt.
2014/2015: A phoenix.
2014. I just thought this one was ugly.
2016. I thought a good title for this one would be “Alex is Cold.”
2015. Abstract shapes.
2015. More abstract shapes.
2014/2015. Chaos and confusion!
2015. I’m not sure why I stopped coloring this one. There’s nothing wrong with it, really.
2012/2013. A very nice looking head, for sure. But I couldn’t see anything else in the drawing.
2014/2015: This seemed like a pretty cool drawing, but I didn’t know what to do with all of that negative space. I couldn’t see anything below the window the lady is peaking out of.
2011: That’s myself staring through a time portal looking at my past-self on the computer.
2012/2013. A drawing about income disparity.
2011/2012. A guru-looking fellow stands beneath a bell. If you look in the pencil lines next to him you’ll see a lady seems to be seeking his advice — or worrying about the strength of the rope tied to the bell.
2012/2013. An archway.
2015. A rather unenthusiastic self portrait.
2015. This was actually an emotional reaction to a crappy job I had that involved food service. The customers were lovely people but the guy I took orders from? Well…He’s taking on the form of a rather militaristic chef here.
Year unknown. It’s a lot harder for me to pinpoint the year on a drawing if it’s completely abstract, it seems.
2015. I did this one around the same time as One Letter.
2015. This is a reference to Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Through out the course of the performance a wall is being built on stage and during the last song of the first act Roger Waters sings a song with only his head visible. Afterwards, the last brick is put in place and the rest of the narrative takes place entirely ‘behind the wall’ — that is, to say within the protagonist’s the mind. The wall is a concrete metaphor, you see. This is sort of blurring the performance of the album with the narrative of the recorded album, though.
2015. The tentative title for this one was “At Least I Have a Hamster.”
2015. Some sort of abstract castle, perhaps? I imagined bright swirling greens and blues in this one.
2015. Sitting on a block with her back to some sort of crazy rainbow-seashell world.
2015. Working title was “Alex is tied in knots.”
2014/2015. A damsel in emotional distress.
2014/2015. Working title is “A Hamster in the Hand.”
2014/2015. I think this was going to be another part in the self portrait series.