Trying New Things

When I eat out, whether it’s Italian, Chinese, or Mexican, I usually get the same dish each time. I like what I like. That’s not to say I don’t ever try something new. When it comes to artists, we tend to associate a certain style or even themes with specific artists. Some artists are known for their dragons, some for their landscapes, etc. Artists who develop a unique voice in their art are recognizable from across a room. How does one find that voice? Time, practice, passion, and exploration. Trying new things, exploring, is essential to expanding our minds and skills as a creative individual. If you only paint or draw one thing, how can you evolve?

I consider myself on the cusp of developing a unified series of paintings. I’m not going to say I’ve found my voice–that’s for someone else to decide. But I am discovering what makes my heart pound a little harder. I feel as if I’m finally moving toward my goal. Then I go and paint this… Why?

Sunward Bound by Amanda MakepeaceI’ve never painted an airship. This shouldn’t be surprising. I’ve never had any desire to paint anything mechanized. Emotion and intuition are huge aspects of my process. When I think about painting a car or spacecraft I feel like I’m looking at a tax return form. Nature, magic, organic, tied to the earth–these things are in my veins. But it’s good to try new things. . . right? Yes!

This small painting challenged me to think in new ways. My brain and my muse fought me the entire way but I did it. I think no matter what stage you’re at with your art, it’s important to explore new themes, techniques and mediums. We need to flex those creative neurons. That doesn’t mean every experiment must be a masterpiece. But every experiment will help us grow and teach us something new. The journey is one part of developing that unique voice, of becoming.

About Amanda Makepeace

Amanda Makepeace is an award winning illustrator inspired by nature, mythology, magical beings, and distant worlds. She is the co-founder of the Bird Whisperer Project, a monthly art challenge focused on spreading the the love of birds and art making for everyone. Her art has appeared in ENnie award-winning games and on the covers popular independant novels and anthologies. Her latest project is the cover art for the Long List Anthology Volume 4, a book featuring Hugo nominated stories. Amanda is a regular at Fantasy and SciFi conventions in the southeast, and an award winner at JordanCon, DragonCon, ChattaCon, and LibertyCon.
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  1. Love this piece. Has a cool, almost cel-shaded look. Makes me want to write a story about what’s going on in that neat-o airship.

  2. It’s been fun watching your process evolve. I think I started at EBSQ maybe 8 years? or so ago and started watching your work at that time. I’ve seen a major evolution in your work over the past year. I always loved your work, but this year IMHO you took a huge leap forward. Maybe it was because you “had” to get ready for the CON and had that pressure on you? You definitely are on the cusp but IMHO I think you are already there. Keep on keeping on. I love the airship, probably because it looks like it’s organic mixed with mechanized, like a live machine. Hey, didn’t I just describe Steampunk, I think I did. Maybe that’s why I like Steampunk so well.

    • Thanks, Annie! 🙂

      Part of it was preparing for Dragon Con and another part was actively learning, researching, practicing, etc. But I think the key was allowing myself to paint my daydreams. I’ve always loved fantasy and horror but somewhere along the way I separated my art from that side of myself. I’ve become whole, opened up what’s inside my head and let it out.

  3. So very thoughtful and true. You definitely have developed an Amanda style when it comes to your fantasy art. I love this one!

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