Imagination is never quite at it's finest as when you free yourself to explore fantasy. Today's post is about ways to dive into fantasy in your artwork and let your vision come to life on the page!
For years I have wanted to create a series of fairies. Honestly my drawing skills were not quite at the level yet to where I could freely immerse myself into the imaginative world of fae. My first tip for any artist who wants to explore fantasy is to really hone your drawing skills. If you feel like your art is lacking because you can't seem to draw what you envision, spend a few months learning some new drawing techniques. I can recommend books by Bert Dodson as some of the best on drawing. He has a rudimentary book along with a book on drawing from your imagination that are just key to leveling up your drawing skills.
Anyone who has seen work in the latest pop surrealist and lowbrow movement will see that imaginative works have taken on a life of their own! Check out Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose magazines to get ideas for your own art. Or even research pop surrealists online to see amazing works that are fantastical and darkly humorous. Pop surrealism explores fantasy in a more modern scope and turns traditional fantasy art on it's head. I plan on researching these topics more in depth myself to level up my own artwork.
A few tips to get you exploring fantasy in your own art...
1. Work in a medium you are most comfortable with. I've chosen to work with watercolors because I have spent the most time mastering that medium. It takes the guess work out of developing fantasy works when you are really comfortable with the materials you are working with.
2. Explore common themes in fantasy art. Most notable and obvious are fairies, dragons, angels and a whole range of monsters and mythical creatures. Find ways to step up your traditional subject matter with elements of fantasy like adding symbolism or fantastical elements to portraits and landscapes. Work in colors that bring an element of surprise.
3. Practice makes perfect! Rome wasn't built in a day and making great fantasy art takes practice. Imagine that for every 100 works, maybe only 10 will turn out how you want. It takes years to develop skills to create art that represents your vision so be patient and enjoy the process of each work. I have been making visual art for almost ten years and I still produce some work that is total crap. It just goes along with the territory and risk taking means putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to make art even when it doesn't turn out how you want.
4. Take some classes and find your own way to bring fantasy elements to the works. Use your imagination and never produce art that is just a copy of something else. I always try to challenge myself to think outside the box and it means that my work is fairly unique. It's very important to have a unique voice and viewpoint when trying to create fantasy work that stands out.
5. Try honing in on features that you can emphasize. Like elongate fingers or make certain features larger or smaller to create works that have a sense of play to them. Use colors that evoke a sense of fun. Use reference photos for the main subject however change elements to create the look you are going for. Alter realism enough so that it becomes your own.
6. Try working from dreams. Keep a notebook by your bed and jot down dreams, mainly focusing on visual elements or key words. Then later create sketches based on your notes or do a pop surrealist twist on various elements of the dream.
7. Above all enjoy the process! If there is one thing fantasy work can be, above all it is just plain fun! Let yourself go and see where your ideas and imagination take you. And don't be afraid to explore taboo topics in your work. If there is one thing I see time and again in Pop Surrealism and Fantasy art is an exaggeration on things that are taboo.
I hope this post gets you thinking of new ideas and ways to incorporate fantasy and pop surrealism into your art. It's a cutting edge movement that I want to be a part of, that is for sure!