Holy crap, I just browsed through my old drawing folders which I used to pile up for each year since 2004. That was the year when I started to figure out my drawing style and and literally draw about every day during that year. There was maybe 10 days or so that I did not draw anything due to vacation or whatever valid reason, so that folder alone contains well over 300-350 sketches and smaller finished pieces. Around then I was going through some serious computer filter editing phase and I used to abuse filter and tonal control to the point of extreme ugliness (I think some of those are still in my ancient junk folder in here). Also, what I never posted in here are the...fan arts where for some reason I felt the need to slam down some comment suitable for the character. Reading those got me facepalming in my mind so many times that it gave me a head ache haha. Oh those old habits..
It's amazing to see how wide the skill range was only within that one year. Not talking about development made during that year but rather, what areas I was very weak at. I could had drawn something good for example in may, but in september created some shameful disaster. Back then I didn't know what led to that disaster, but looking at them now gets my brain ticking. Eventually after 2008 or 2009 those disasters led me to my long art block and disgust towards picking up the pencil again. I had ended up drawing unfamiliar poses, undesigned characters and had hoped for them to turn into masterpieces on the go, without planning anything at all like I used to do. Ideas used to pop into my mind and I never ever sketched a piece beforehand, drawing was easy then. I must've read more comics back then and played more games to get ideas, since after that all those activities faded, along with my inspiration and ideas.
I have about 5-6 folders and I tried to count my character designs but I can't even keep up with them. The amount is enormous, probably closer to 50. Browsing through those papers was fruitful, as there are design ideas I couldn't come up with today, patterns that look recyclable, characters with interesting details and they don't look all the same. There is more emotion to depict the character's nature, while today I prefer soothing expressions or no expression at all (this is nearly a fetish haha
). Now I can start going through each of those old designs and redo them, hopefully in better quality. I want my creatures hanging on my walls, they be my family! Maybe I just found something to do for the rest of the year. Not like I didn't have anything else, more important to do already <_<
Conclusion: ALWAYS keep old pieces and sketches, no matter how crappy, unoriginal or shameful. You'll be thankful later to get to learn from old mistakes and also, it will be your treasure chest when it comes to designs. What didn't work back then, could be developed into something awesome today!