Article courtesy of Karen Ruffles

I was inspired to write this after talking to a friend who was having some issues with a dream she had. I draw demons, which often come to me in nightmares and I usually find that once they are down on paper, they become much more manageable. Usually :) I finished up by joking that this is why I'm approaching an agent with them soon- if they are going to keep me up all night, the least they can do is buy me a drink!

Early sketch of  'Her Ladyship'




This got me thinking about the relationship between creating and money. There are some obvious issues- do you purely do your own thing and hope it sells? Do you -can you- work to ideas someone else has presented, such as work on a book cover perhaps? Is it a hobby, something you just relax with that pays for itself all being well? Or are you like many of us, looking for a way of working that pays for you to do what you love, so you can continue doing it?


That's the tricky part.


Or is it? I often get frustrated with lack of inspiration, ideas are like birds- you can't make them appear, you just have to watch and wait. You sit there and nine times out of ten, it's a sparrow, or a starling- very nice, but nothing to get that excited about. If you're lucky though, every once in a while, you spot a 'What the holy cr*p was that? I've never seen one of those before- careful, it might bite' idea.


I'm just finishing a second work on just such an idea- can't share him with you yet but he's a good one:) I'm very excited about the whole project and think it's some of my best work. I have to say though, it's exhausting! Asides from the mental strain of working on something so important, a thing like that requires an awful lot of research. To make him as real to everyone else as he is to me, I've had to learn a lot about anatomy of more than one species, find a whole bunch of reference photos and then using my artistic know how, allow for differences in lighting, perspective etc to put them together in one coherent image.


Charcoal drawing of physalis


Which is why I'm starting to think I'm actually getting about as many of those as I can handle. Not just for the sake of my sanity, such as it is, but because of the technical skills I've had to learn to make these things happen. I've had to spend a lot of years drawing, say, fruit, to get my understanding of how different surface textures reflect light.


I'm not going to wander off into a lot of technical waffle, I just want to leave you with the thought that there is always something to be learnt, whether you are sketching, collecting, taking photos or just testing new materials. You never know when that little bit of knowledge might come in handy. It's all important.


Oh, and don't let your feet hang off the end of the bed- I know what's under there :)


More of Karen Ruffles' work can be found here