Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's Okay to Fail

The weather was great outside so I thought I'd go out to our backyard spa yesterday afternoon to sketch it, since one of the things going on these days is our search for a replacement spa cover.  I approached drawing this with a somewhat cavalier attitude...it's just a 4-sided spa, how difficult can it be?  And I held up my viewfinder and started drawing...in pen.

As you can see from the version on the left page, it didn't turn out so well!  Oops.  It's funny how the mind has trouble seeing what is actually there when it thinks it "knows" how it should be.  My mind tricked me!

So I realized that this attempt could not be salvaged, so I decided to leave it (as a cautionary tale) and start again.  Now that I realized that my brain can trick me, I took the drawing task more carefully, using pencil to mark cross-hair guidelines, dots of the corners of the spa, etc.  When I was sure I had the proportions relatively correct, I then drew in ink.  Much better.

It's okay to fail.  Sure, it's easy to regard it as a blemish in my book, but it teaches me something (that the mind can make assumptions about shapes and angles when I draw something, and I need to pay attention), and that is even more valuable than a perfect drawing!

Roz Stendhal recently had a blog post that is very relevant to my experience here:  Go Ahead and Fail Today.  In it she links to a wonderful video of Milton Glaser talking to us about the fear of failure.  If you are always successful, you do not develop in your endeavor, period!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dealing with the challenges of Perspective

I want to share with you a drawing challenge I dealt with in today's journal entry--that of the challenges of perspective! 

Yesterday I was at a lovely outdoor mall and photographed an arched corridor that really caught my eye, both because of the vanishing point perspective, and also the wonderful light and shadows I saw (see below for a B&W version of the photo I took). 

I was really struggling with even being able to get my mind to SEE the key vanishing point lines, let alone draw them. I finally gave up, printed out my photo and put tracing paper over the photo and drew the key element lines, including some diagonal vanishing point lines (see below). 

Okay, NOW I can see better what is going on. I was then able to pencil in the pots and archways into my sketchbook, looking at the *traced* drawing rather than the confusing photograph, and I was able to do a much better job. I also put the tracing paper over my journal drawing from time to time to check my work. 

When satisfied, I inked in the drawing--what you see at the top. I will paint it tomorrow. I imagine many of you know how to deal with challenging perspective subjects, but this really taxed my brain!