In The Process series, readers see the creative process of a new piece from start to finish.
This edition looks at the beginning of creating new, dynamic works with sticky notes and planning.
We've all been there: you've cut off the legs, drilled holes for the pins, and set the glue only to realize that the mod you made doesn't pose right. The feet don't fit on the base. The variant parts are in the wrong locations. The repose doesn't feel natural. To the dip it goes, along with hours of work.
It's like Dad always said, "Measure twice, cut once." But how do you do that with miniatures? Use the trusty old yellow sticky note. Sticky notes are amazing tools and they remain a constant part of laying out larger scale projects and modifications.
The small size forces artists to focus on the main points of the work like structure, components, and general feel of the piece and prevents hyperfocuing on details that may derail the project. What's more, if an arm, leg, or other part ends up out of wack, it's a minor loss to tear off a sheet and start fresh.
It isn't important to capture all of the finished details that only the creator of the work can love. SKETCH A QUICK, ROUGH OUTLINE OF THE MAJOR SHAPES AND PLACEMENT ON THE PIECE. The general part to include are feet, joints, hips, torso, arms, and cockpit. If you're an especially fancy artist, include construction and motion lines to plan out other details necessary for construction.
Here are two examples of rough sketches with notes. Looking carefully, you can see the light pencil lines that formed the basic shapes with darker lines overtop to represent the fleshed out details. It is more important to rough out an idea with general shapes, poses, and notes than it is to create an entire masterwork.
While designing, remember that the sketch isn't a finished-piece goal--you aren't trying to get to this end and check of this box to move to the next step. Rather, it is an active study of the idea and how to create it. Does your piece need to have a sense of motion? Use arrows to show this on the sticky note. Have questions about what you drew or how to achieve it? Mark it with a question mark. Maybe you need to add notes so you don't forget the source of the inspiration? Jot down a few words to remind you later.
When putting together a piece, no matter how simple or complex, planning is everything. Visualize the piece in your imagination and transfer that to the note. Where something doesn't make sense or match your image, make a note. In most cases the finished piece will be different than this sketch and that's okay. This is just one step in planning out--and saving time to reach--that finished work of art.
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