Digital Art: Impossible Dreams

Last week, I was sketching while I was on the mass transit (which I’m apt to do). Typically, I end up with the strangest and weirdest sketches, even more so than my typical artwork.

art of russell dickerson

Yep. Odd.

I’ve learned over time that when I’m sketching in my Moleskine, I just have to let go and sketch whatever comes out (follow my Instagram for daily madness). I go with it, and don’t let any ideas push it around. I may have felt like drawing a cat, for example, but I get this kind of thing instead:

art of russell dickerson

It’s kind of like a cat.

I think it’s a good thing to let the creativity follow its own path for a bit, the exploration can take me somewhere unexpected. Last week, it took me to a sketch that was far less unusual than what I’d been doing:

art of Russell Dickerson

It’s a fairly normal sketch of a woman holding a skull. Sure, there’s some oddity there (what’s up with her hair?), but really its a fairly low-key image for the way the sketches have been running as of late. It’s also the beginning of a much larger project, and the first real sketch that approaches the final idea.

The overall idea is a graphic novel story about depression, something I know a great deal about. When I sketched this while I was on the bus, it started out just being another of my daily sketches. But it has been on my mind since, and I realized as I was wallowing in a long week that this sketch spoke to me of something different.

For one, it’s simply softer than most of my sketches. That’s been in my head, and I believe that the woman in my story is actually this one. Whether it was on purpose or a subconscious idea, she now has life. She is no longer just an idea of someone in my head, her story has now begun.

Will it go anywhere, and will I ever do a graphic novel? Who knows, I certainly don’t.

What I knew earlier today, though, was that I needed to make her even more real. To give her color, to let her escape the bonds of a simple sketch. So I put aside a few things, grabbed the sketch, and just started making her into something else, something more real to me.

For me, the journey to create my art pieces, or stories, or even videos, is most of the point. Sure, I like having a good piece of art at the end (at least I like it, I may be the only one). It’s the journey though, the catharsis of the work, that means more to me.

Here she is, and someday you may learn her name (click on it for a larger version). For now, the piece itself is called Impossible Dreams. While I sometimes make the titles of my works simply because I need one, in this case it means everything.

Impossible Dreams


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Russell Dickerson has been a lot of things over many years. Author, artist, designer, winner of awards and recognition, pursuer of the truth, leader of the earth after armageddon.