The Journey Towards Not Sucking

Well.  Hasn’t it been a week and half.  I hope it wasn’t for you, but over here it certainly was.  In amongst all of that SHOUTING AT THE POLITICIANS ON THE TV and alienating workmates with my views on the Australian voting public, everything I drew sucked. 

I sat down and I drew and I drew and it all just sucked out loud.  I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong. 

For example, this actually came out of my hand:


(Not even the first draft.)

So I decided, fine, I must be burnt out on drawing feathers just now, so I took that down and decided to start on something else for now, time’s a wastin’, etc.

So then there was this:


Nope.  Nope nope nope nope nope nope. 

Meanwhile (in amongst all that SHOUTING that I did), I extracted a digit re: doing the flyer for my show.  Which made it all very real.  And I’ve got bugger all to show for myself even after working solidly ever since I arranged to hold this show back in April, my ideas were all over the place and therefore quite crap, and I just wasn’t happy with the direction it all was going and then I got thinking about what would draw the crowds in and blah blah blah, finally refined the idea halfway through June.  Yeah.  Have I mentioned that I’ve always had a history of self-sabotaging and making life a heck of a lot harder for myself than I need to?  Because that’s pretty much where I thought this all was going. 

It’s been a nasty week for the inner self-critic to come for a visit to say the least.


So, anyway, the lightbulb finally went on yesterday morning while at work.  I’ve been drawing on the wrong paper.  From here on in everything I draw is going to be half the usual size, which means I’m going to need to be able to pack a lot more detail in a smaller space than I’m used to.  I’d been using the Art Spectrum sandpapery colourfix board for the above two and look what happened.  I need to use a smooth surface.  Duh.

So in the past hour I’ve done this:


They’re happy tears, I promise.


What to do with the soft pastels you forgot about in the bottom of your handbag: A Tutorial

1.  Swear

2. Frantically check the three red lipsticks that you always carry but rarely get a chance to wear

3. Use for colour blocking, like so:


(Lie flat and don’t bother brushing away the dust.  This is important.)

4. Lock out furry helpers


5. Paint pastel (or probably charcoal too) into art surface carefully using methylated spirits and cheap foam brush (lessens brushstrokes, unless that’s your thing).  Don’t bother rinsing brush, just re-dip in metho to moisten.


6. Inhale


7. Smoosh all the tiny crumbs with fingertip while surface is still wet, otherwise they will still be there when dry and you’ll either have to pick them off (which may stuff up uniformity of colour) or leave them on and deal with the textured surface


8. Vow for the sake of your future children that their father will have a bit more melanin than you


9. Brush carefully over surface that you’ve just smooshed the crumbs into to remove finger prints and maintain uniformity

10. Realise that you’ll probably have to do this again to lower half of drawing once detail has been added, as soft pastel on easels leave a track of dust underneath where you’ve drawn (therefore, if using soft or hard pastel, start at the top and work down.  Always.  Even if the fun bit isn’t for ages).  Feel like a dill.

11. Paint the furniture


12.  Allow to dry (won’t take long – metho, huzzah!)


13. Weep softly at the state of your basin


14. This technique might also be a good idea if there is very dark colour blocking higher in the drawing than lighter, more delicate work.  You may find gravity catches up with your older work, like this: