Sunday, April 19, 2009

Failure is Fleeting

Last week, the Illustration Friday topic was "Fleeting". I picked up my watercolor pencils and in spare moments I worked on a picture with two figures - one, a female, walking and looking forward at a 3/4 view and the other, the male, looking back at the first. The idea was that of a young couple and the tenuous beginning of a new relationship.

I searched websites for photos to use as guides and so as to create an original work, not derived from any one photo, I chose parts of many photos. This was easier said than done. There were the size relationships of the various parts of the drawing - each figure to the other - and parts of each figure (from separate photos), one to another. Hands, for instance - I must have drawn a hundred hands to get the right size and angles. I used lead for the more challenging parts, and made liberal use of my kneaded eraser before applying color.

Then, the two figures done, I started brushing on the water. The girl's face, which had been very carefuly drawn, started to melt like something out of a Stephen King movie. Lips were falling, etc. I managed to give her a facelift with corrections and moved on. In the end, the picture didn't look so hot. I then began applying more color, scribbling all over the drawing in a misguided effort to fix things - to make it more "arty". When it was done, drawings I had done in 10 minutes looked better than this one.

After a few days I cut the drawing into pieces, excising the parts that were passable. I like it better now, and feel I've had my revenge. I'm thinking I'll try a collage, and if it comes out any good, you will see it. I will not be defeated!

Failure is fleeting. And from this one I learned many things. I was able to practice figures, hands, hands, and hands, and composition; I think I learned that using composites of different photos for figures doesn't work so well, although I may not be ready to give up on on that one; and I learned a little about the watercolor pencils. So this was not a waste. Everything is an experiment at this stage. I do think I need some formal training in some medium, but at this point do not have the time. Everything I am doing here is in snatches of time.

Anyway, this next week's Illustration Friday topic is "Impossibility". From my perspective, I already did that topic.

These watercolor pencils are funny things. So I have included two quick drawings that I like much better than this last week's experiment. The first, of the girl reading, was done by wetting the pencils themselves. The second was done by applying water on a brush to a dry watercolor pencil drawing.

It's a new week. Thanks for joining me on the ups and downs of my journey.


  1. Hi Dan! If you need help learning a medium, I just purchased a book from Amazon (about $5, included the shipping), Art School: A Complete Painters Course. It breaks down watercolor, oil, and acrylic painting. Very thorough! I highly recommend it!

    I hate when I mess up a good drawing. I think that is why I'm having such a hard time learning color--I'm too afraid I'll mess it up! If you look at the drawing I did of Sandra, you'll notice that I stopped short of giving her skin color! That was out of fear!

    By the way, I love the creative use of color in the first drawing! And the second one is wonderful too!

  2. I have a pretty good library on painting - I guess in my frustration I just wanted a warm body to guide me. Thanks for the recommendation. I will definitely check it out. Thanks also for your kind comments.