Ben Crowder / Blog Menu

Brain dump time. These are some of the things I think about re: art, specifically the type of art I’ve been doing these past few years (which admittedly has some quirks that other types of art wouldn’t necessarily have). These are in no particular order:

Concept. With this kind of minimalist religious art, the question is always: “How can I convey this idea in as few lines/shapes/colors/etc. as possible?” I usually mull over an idea, sketch something out until I feel loosely satisfied with it, then send it to my wife and we do a few rounds of feedback and revision. I also find myself thinking about other ways to represent things minimally, beyond just the circles, triangles, and rectangles I’ve used. (Yesterday’s Peace, Be Still felt like a nice change, for example.)

Process. The main question is usually: “What’s the fastest way to execute this idea without a drop in quality?” And, close on its heels: “What style do I feel like working in right now?” At the moment, the process I tend to use most is this: refine the idea in Illustrator, then export to SVG, open the file in Vim and add in the filters (turbulence, displacement, erosion, etc.), using Quicklook to preview my work, then open it in Inkscape and export to a 6500×6500 PNG (or thereabouts), which I then texture in Photoshop. Writing it out like that makes it seem fairly time-consuming, but it’s usually not too bad. (On average, I think I spend a total of perhaps an hour per piece, though it’s usually broken up over several days.) Lately I’ve been itching to simplify my texturing process, or perhaps to try wildly different textures. (With this type of art, I’ve found that it’s the idea that matters most. As long as it’s adequately conveyed, the rest — which tools I use, what style I do it in, etc. — doesn’t matter nearly as much.)

Releasing. I often think about whether I should care what time of day I post pieces (and usually decide that I don’t care), whether I should only post one piece per day max (I go back and forth here but usually post whatever pieces are finished regardless), and how much explanation I should give in the captions. I also think about how checking Instagram and Facebook for likes and comments feels a little like a soul-sucking death trap. Sometimes I think about ditching both platforms and posting art only to my site, but I’m not quite ready yet.

Storage. Last and probably least, I find myself frequently thinking about how much storage all these original image files are taking up. It’s a bit silly since it’s peanuts compared to video and I have plenty of disk space, but the part of my brain that loves plain text often points out that a novel takes up a mere few hundred KB while these original image files are usually a much larger 50–80 MB each (full-resolution lossless PNG; I’ve thought about JPEG but I don’t think I want to go down that road). And then I tell that part of my brain to hush, since it’s not a real problem.