Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Daunting Prospect

Unemployment continues, though it's only been less than a week. Not having a phone makes it difficult. I'll need to acquire a microphone and set up google voice so I can make effort toward finding a job.

This evening I finished an ink drawing of my friend's cat. My husband said "Have I ever told you that your art is awesome?" I said "I'm not sure...?"

I had been putting this project off because I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to approach it. Was it going to be done with ink? Or was it going to be an etching? Was I going to wash it with color? Or leave it black and white? The whole project seemed daunting to me. I was afraid that the moment I began it I would ruin it, and feel as though it was hopeless. That I never should have tried. (I seem to have a defeatist perspective on my art.)

In the end I just sat down and did it. I had photocopied some photo's, blowing them up to twice the size so I could mark them. Then I gridded the whole thing out, gridded my paper and threw down a rough sketch. Then I started inking it in. The whole thing only took a few days, and I probably could have finished it in less time if I had spent several hours solid on it at a time. But I worked in spurts, taking a break if I felt nervous.

Sometimes I feel like using the grid approach to drawing from photo is cheating because I'm not freehanding the whole thing. But how is it really any different than tracing a photograph for an illustration? Just because I use a guide of some kind to get the initial layout, doesn't make the whole project a fraud. It's still my own work. If it were cheating one could argue that drawing anything from a photograph, or even real life was cheating because it didn't come out of your head. It's the same sort of logic that equals A+B=C THEREFORE B+C=D (even if it really equals E).

In the end I'm thrilled with the piece. It's beautiful and probably one of my best so far. I've already found a few things that I would do differently if I were to do it over again, but those things are so minor that I'm probably the only one that notices them.

Tomorrow I gift the work to my friend. She already knows she's getting it. It's for her birthday, and a commemoration of her dearly departed cat.


  1. Everyone uses the grid method. Even DaVinci did. The grid will not help you if you don't know how to render shape and form, it is simply a tool we can use to make things a big faster. Plumb and level is just an invisible grid in our minds, and if a non-artist thinks they can just whip out a realistic drawing with a grid and no other training, I think they'd be in for rather a shock. Have confidence in your ability. Use any tool you need to make your art more pleasurable to produce.

  2. <3 Thanks for the advice! I didn't know DaVinci used a grid.. that's neato and gives me some ideas. :)