Taking Chances

9:53 AM

Imaginary Traveler
Stillman & Birn Zeta
Ink and Watercolor
When I first created this sketch just after the first of the year, I was very unhappy with the way it turned out as it looked nothing like I hoped it would. It is based on imagination and just didn't feel fight, it didn't have that sketchy feel to it. In fact, I stopped working on it. I had intended to put a large advertisement poster in the background to push the woman forward, but decided not to waste more time on the sketch.

So I turned the page and ignored it.

Fast forward to this week and I realized I hadn't posted anything on the blog last week and I didn't have anything to post this week. I've been sketching and painting but on things I can't share—yet.

Looking through my sketchbook, I came across this page and decided since I didn't like it anyway, I was going to play with it. (I know I have a scan or photo of the page without the changes somewhere, but after two searches, I can't seem to find it—sorry!)

I went to get one of my juiciest black pens and sat down with my sketchbook and started to scribble in more lines. At first, I was still being careful. As I began to see improvement, I relaxed and just went with what felt right.

Once I was finished, I set the book aside so I could study the updated page. I saw a few places that needed a bit of refinement and then decided to call it "good enough."
More and More Ink Scribbles
Is this my most favorite sketch I've ever done? No, but by being willing to make a mess of it I managed to get it to where I considered it good enough to post.

If you've been reading the blog for very long, you may have guessed that my sketchbook is where I play, try out ideas and such. I try very hard not to let any sketch become too precious and it still happens on occasion. When it does, I find that time is a great equalizer. Time tends to help me gain distance from the work whether I consider it a great piece or garbage.

By allowing time to neutralize my stronger feelings towards this piece, I could see it still had potential. By adding more line work, by not being so careful, it gave the sketch a subtle change. It now feels less contrived and flows better.

Neutralizing Fear So You Can Play
If you have some sketches you're not crazy about in your sketchbook, but don't quite have the courage to jump in and take the chance of messing up the page, I would suggest scanning it or photographing it and then printing it out and practicing on it. If you're not any happy with the changes you can just ball up the paper and throw it away.

Consider printing out more than one copy to try out different ideas.

Staying stuck, especially out of fear, stops our artistic growth. Taking chances, trying different things, will almost always move you forward even if you don't like the end result because even then, we're learning.

So pull out your sketchbook and look for a page that just doesn't quite make you happy or that you downright dislike. Consider what you can do to make it better, more likable. Will more pen work help, will adding a different color or a background or more values or perhaps using stamps change it up? Will small changes do the trick or do you need something more drastic like gesso or a piece of ephemera? Is there an area you can cover up with another piece of paper, like craft brown paper that would help?

Finding the courage to make those changes is the first step.

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4 Creative Thought(s)

  1. a great tip here Laure' --- I liked your idea to scan/print your page and practice on it too

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    ______██████████████████.•°*”˜҈.•°*”˜҈..•°Excelente post !
    ..............★MaRiBeL★ http://yomismaokk.blogspot.com.es/

  3. Sometimes a page will sit for over a year before I get back to it and once in a while I just never do. I don't worry overmuch because I still recall memories even from the bad pages and that's partly what it's all about. And then there was that time or two when I covered most of it up and regrouped, lol.

  4. Laure - wonderful post. I really like your sketch. Sometimes we may not care for something because it didn't achieve what we had pictured but others don't have that preconceived idea and like it. This is certainly the case with your sketch my friend.
    Your post once again holds great wisdom for just getting in there and playing. Fear keeps us from moving ahead - so glad for your encouragement - I have several pages in my sketchbook that are not what I like - so will take your advice and play with them. Have a wonderful week-end.


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