Zbrush, Photoshop. Not counting how long it took to model and texture this guy (probably 25 hours-ish, give or take) nor how long it took to do do every one of the individual poses and then light the figure in different lighting scenarios, this took somewhere between 25 and 30 hours-ish, if not, probably a little more. Counting ALL the work combined, probably 60+ hours.
It seems to really irk some people when I call them sketches but compared to how long I spend on an illustration (sometimes upwards of 60hrs or twice that), these would count as sketches for me (anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour for most of them, an hour for the one in the top right with the full wings). But at the same time, I can kinda see where they are coming from so I invented a new word: Illusketchions. It's horrible, I know, it sounds like a monster that might exist in the Lord of the Rings universe, but I am hereby and henceforth calling these illusketchions.
When I was sixteen, roughly fifteen years ago, or somewhere thereabouts, my sketchbook was stolen. This was a book with over a hundred pages, each one filled front and back with all my dreams, fantasies, ideas, and wildest imaginings. Fantasy creatures of all kinds, sci-fi, costume design, characters, invention ideas, schematics, detailed biological breakdowns and anatomical illustrations of mythical beings and so on and so on- all that work, gone. It had been sitting right next to me as I waited for the bus. I looked away and when I looked back, it was gone.
I was so devastated that I ripped up almost all my art and vowed never to paint or draw or sketch again. The only bits of my work that survived that time were things my friends and family had kept. I cried every day for two weeks straight. Then one day, I sat down and began drawing almost photorealistically. I had never done anything in that style to that point. I think I considered it to be a safe way to do art. If someone stole my photorealistic drawing of a pair of jeans, all they got was a stupid drawing of a pair of jeans. They stole my work, my effort, and my time but they didn't steal my heart. They didn't take my ideas. They didn't pillage my dreams and fantasies.
Eventually, I snapped out of it and slowly returned to more imaginative subjects though I was never able, after that, to keep a sketchbook again. I've tried so many times and I always end up ripping out pages or just being weirdly obsessive about organization and page-structure to the point where I can't move forward. Around this time, I created a character. He was nameless but I came to love him dearly. He was extraordinarily pretty with long black hair framing a delicate, pale oval face, ram horns, hawk wings, and golden-amber tiger fur. His feet and tail were those of a feline's. His eyes were large and faintly sad with a twinkle of mischief, rimmed in black and awned by long, dark lashes.
At that time, I always had great difficulty expressing my characters how I saw them in my mind. They were never quite right. I always got something a little wrong and no matter how many times I tried, I could not quite put on paper the things dancing through my mind. One day, I finally got it. I fucking got it
- perfectly. The nameless, tiger-striped beauty came out perfectly (or so I felt at the time) in Prismacolor pencils on a big 18X24 piece of canvas paper. Running through a gemstone rainforest aswirl with streaks of rainbow and glistening with honeyed god rays of sun, wind-combed hair swaying behind him, stained glass amber hawk wings spread to take flight- I fucking nailed it
This illustration was the pinnacle, the pièce de résistance of what I was capable of at the time. I was so proud of it and I remember feeling so happy when I finally finished it. It had taken me over a hundred hours. It was a marriage of everything I knew about art, a great deal of hard work, scalding critiques, trial and error, failure after failure- it felt like reaching the top of those nine-hundred and ninety-nine stairs, like winning the gold, like arriving. I had arrived
and for the first time in my short, bitterly self-effacing, doubt-riddled artistic life, I felt like I had achieved something worth being proud of. Perhaps losing my sketchbook wasn't so big a deal because I had THIS
to show for all my efforts.
I thought he would be safe in the art room hidden behind my clunky, awful watercolors and Georgia O'keeffe imitations. But someone took it. He or she left my crappy watercolors and flowers and took my Nameless One. And so that was that. I was done. With art. Forever. I had no more energy for it. That act single-handedly robbed me of all will to continue on as an artist. It destroyed me, perhaps even worse than losing my sketchbook, especially considering that I had only just
begun to get over that.
I did not so much as pick up a mechanical pencil for a whole year to do anything other than school work. There were days when I would lay on my bed, dreaming about all my characters for hours and hours. Sometimes, I did only this for entire days on end and without doing anything else outside of eating, sleeping, or going to the bathroom. The Nameless One, through no agency of my own, vanished from my mind. He no longer existed. He was totally and completely forgotten in every sense of the word. I even forgot the drawing of him.
That might seem a little odd for someone to just forget something like that but it is especially odd for me. I have a Precise
memory. I remember shit from when I was two years old in explicit detail.
I remember every single phone number, address, zipcode, and area code I ever had. I remember shit people said to me when I was three. Is my memory perfect or omniscient? No, of course not, but it's pretty damn sharp. How I forgot the Nameless One... I don't know. I had some kind of notion that I had done a painting but it was all hazy and wrong. My subconscious had replaced him with something entirely different; a black and white drawing of a very masculine man with long hair.
In the periphery of my life at that time, I slowly started becoming aware of this "Photoshop thing." I tinkered with it as a curiosity from time to time but I didn't really try to do any serious artwork with it, not for a while anyway. Eventually, I discovered the wonderful world of digital art and was heartened by the fact that no one could steal my ideas once posted to the internet, at least not in the same, hard, irretrievable way someone could steal my sketchbook or the single best thing I had ever accomplished as an artist to that point.
Fast forward roughly a decade later and I created Tamacier: bjpentecost.deviantart.com/art…
I created this character a little under three years ago or so and I recently decided to do some illustrations of him. I've grown to quite like Tamacier. A few days ago, as I was working on these very illustrations, I was suddenly smacked right in the face with a really bizarre realization- it hit me so hard that my head actually jerked back as if someone had spritzed me in the face with water. I had lost something and forgotten it and found it again all without even realizing it somehow. Tamacier IS the Nameless One. He is the tiger-striped beauty I created all those years ago, the one I had lost and forgotten. I recreated him without even realizing it.
How strange is that?