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Sketchbook Troubles, or How I Met My Critic

July 14, 2010

I’m always reading in books or on blog about artists and their Critic.  It was something I never related to.  I always have so much fun making art in my art journal.  To me, it is a stress-free venture.  I never had that little voice in the back of my head telling me how horrible my artwork is…until I started trying to draw.

I was sitting in the breakroom at work trying to draw Picasso Dogs (Drawing Lab #19) when it hit me.  I hated my drawing and it was in pen and I was stranded far away from my forgiving friend gesso (a good coat of that stuff makes anything go away).  I was attempting to color my doggie in with colored pencils that I had just purchased and all the while, the voice in my head was screaming, “This sucks!  Why did you buy colored pencils?  You suck at coloring!  Your co-workers are going to see this crap on the table and think you draw like a 5-year-old!”  Oh my goodness!  I always equate art with fun, but this was just making me uncomfortable!  I had to force myself to sit there and finish the drawing.  This is a totally different experience for me!  A big part of me really wants to give up drawing and go back to my safe little world of spreading paint around.  My sketchbook embarrasses me!  I can’t even bring myself to scan in my picasso dog and show it to you guys.  So, for now I’ve scanned in a couple of things that don’t completely make me shudder.

Look!  My first contour drawing where I didn’t cheat and look at the page.  It’s one of my old rotary telephones.  It does, in fact, look like something a child drew (or so says my Critic) but I also like the abstract look and the fact that you can actually tell what it’s supposed to be.  You’re supposed to draw very slowly when you do contours, but my critic is always screaming at me to hurry up and finish.  I should start timing myself (as in, don’t stop until the timer goes off).  Oh, and I tinted this scan in photoshop just for fun.  I like my blog to have a bit of color.

Drawing Lab #3–quick sketches of my cat, Lenore, while in motion.  I had a moleskine and some pencils by my side when she plopped down on the coffee table in front of me.  In the first one she looks a bit like a squirrel, but I started to loosen up and enjoy myself and got a few cat-like shapes.

I hope I don’t sound too whiney.  I guess I thought that sketching would come as easily to me as art journaling, but that is really not the case.  I am writing this post because I think it’s important for artists to share their triumphs and their struggles.  I’m not giving up on my drawing.  I just treated myself to a new kit of charcoal pencils and I’m going to spend a couple of hours in my room with my sketchpad as soon as I finish this post.

On a personal note, I had a really great time last night.  I went to St. Louis to see Hole and we stuck around after the show and got Courtney Love’s autograph!  I will post pic on my Flickr account soon, if you’re interested.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2010 11:51 am

    keep trying! I like your cats, thats a great approach as they always move way to fast to get into detail

    • July 16, 2010 12:26 pm

      Yes, it’s crazy to keep up with miss Lenore! You should see the way the little beast speeds around my house!

  2. July 15, 2010 8:01 pm

    i think these are great! one of the keys to drawing, in my opinion, is to get the spirit of the thing. i think that’s more important than getting the details right – which will come with time anyway. i can absolutely see the motion in the kitty drawings, motion which is very cat-like!

    keep it up!

  3. July 17, 2010 11:53 pm

    keep it up! I couldn’t imagine trying to draw my cat, even in quick sketches. I am on a similar journey right now with trying to learn to draw as well, except I haven’t posted it on my blog yet 😉 A fun website I found was with free lessons, and I really learned some interesting beginner stuff. It is harder to try and learn to draw because you are trying to make your art LOOK like something, unlike art journaling, which is so free and it is whatever you want it to be. If a giant mistake happens, you probably can turn that into something…or nothing, and no one would know. And for me, proportions and getting angles right are really difficult-but I’m not giving up either.

    • July 18, 2010 12:03 am

      yeah, I know what you mean. Abstract art is fun, but when it comes to trying to make a likeness of something it’s very difficult. I will have to check out that website. I have been studying cartoon-y figure drawings lately and I’ve been having fun drawing girls. Unfortunately, my cartoon girls look too much like the other artist’s drawings, so I haven’t shared them on here because it would be like stealing their work. I can already tell I’m getting better with practice though.

  4. July 28, 2010 7:30 pm

    OH MY GOSH!!!

    “I guess I thought that sketching would come as easily to me as art journaling, but that is really not the case.”

    You know, I discovered mypeacetree’s art journals yesterday, and through her, I found yours. And I was inspired to make my own (which I just did about 20 minutes ago). I was and I am very impatient with it… unlike with my artwork (click my name to see my deviantart page). And what you said up there really got me thinking, and I suppose I’m in that same situation… just the opposite. I’ve never really done anything like art journaling before. I was just looking for cool journal cover designs when I came across the both of you (you and Ingrid).

    (sorry I’m talking too much, but I think I’ll keep going)… I’m really glad that your not going to give up drawing. And it’s inspiring me to not give up on art journaling either, despite my lack of paint which I’m dying for… but it’s OK. 🙂 I’m really happy that you wrote this because my day and my summer is looking a lot better


    • July 28, 2010 8:13 pm

      Hi! I love all of your drawings. I’m glad you decided to start an art journal–I bet your pages will look amazing. Don’t freak out about not having any paint yet, you can make art journal pages with whatever you have on hand. Definitely keep it up, because art journaling is so freeing and fun once you really get into it. And I am still drawing. I have gotten half-way decent at drawing lovely ladies and I’m even try to start up my own sketching group. Anyway, feel free to browse around my blog and your questions and comments are always welcome.

      • July 28, 2010 8:19 pm

        Thank you! And I’m also glad. Hopefully I’ll get to post them somewhere.
        I suppose I kind of do have paint (if you count using watercolor pencil lead shavings for paint). But really, I’m happy with the things that I have 😀 I’m so excited to see what I can make!

        A sketching group sounds like fun! I’d totally join! *subscribes to your blog*


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