Some Art From My Current Sketchbook

As an artist, I have three major malfunctions, all of which more or less go hand in hand:

– Someone once told me that we are our own harshest critic – for me, this is definitely true.  The longer I keep a sketch/photo/painting around, the less I like it.  I start to notice more and more little things about the piece, until eventually I forget why I liked it enough to keep it and would sooner forget that I created it.  It’s for this reason that not much of my sketches actually survive for any length of time.  They end up in the trash, at the bottom of stacks of paper, they get coffee carelessly spilled on them, I let the dog chew them up, etc.  There are some exceptions, drawings that I still enjoy looking at years after I did them, but they’re DEFINITELY the exception.

(SIDE NOTE: Scroll down if you just want to see the art 😉 )
(As always, click for the full image)
[Sorry for the poor quality and vignetting – I snapped pics
with my cell then cleaned them up a bit in Photoshop]

I get REALLY down on myself and my artwork.  You know that guy that just seems to have been born able to draw?  He just picks up a pencil and churns out a masterpiece?  Yeah, that’s not me.  But I know a few artists like that.  And while I love their work and am even great friends with a few of them, a small part of me gets depressed when I see their art.  I start to feel like I should pack up my art supplies and put them in a drawer and just give up on ever being able to draw or paint that well.  I keep drawing and painting because I’m really passionate about it, but all the same I get upset when my drawings just aren’t as good as the others I’ve seen.

I’m WAY too controlling.  Huh? What’s that?  Draw without an eraser?!  ARE YOU NUTS?!  I use the eraser as much as I use the pencil!  Bob Ross advocated “happy accidents”.  I do not like accidents.  Accidents are to be erased and redone.  Several times if necessary.  I’ve spent 10 minutes drawing and redrawing a single line.  Eraser shavings litter the area and you could probably collect them and mold them into a new eraser.

I am making very deliberate efforts to change all of these though (well, the last two), and in general, I find I like it.  Specifically, I’ve been countering my desire to make perfect, exacting lines by engaging in “speed sketches”.  And I’ve also found that holding the pencil a different way actually changes my entire style of drawing, strangely enough.  As for the middle problem, screw it.  So I’m not the best artist around.  That’s not news.  I’ll just have to deal with it.  One way I’m going to force myself to deal with it is by sharing more of my artwork – just sort of putting it out there, you know?

I know I already have some artwork up to share, so you may not understand how hesitant I am to share my work – to put it in perspective, those 18 sketches on my blog here are the only sketches I found good enough to share IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS.  Considering that I normally do at least one quick sketch a day (averaging it out – I actually usually do 4 or 5 or 20 at a time), that means I’ve shared about 1% of my drawings.

Now, for the interesting part – the artwork:

As my wife has unhappily noticed, I have a thing for skulls in my artwork. This one wasn't about speed, it was about doing it without any reference photos or objects (harder than you'd think). I spent a couple days studying the major structures of the skull, then went about drawing it from my head.
This one's neither here nor there. It was just an idea for a painting that I eventually abandoned, but I sort of like the sketch itself.
These were some of the first sketches I did on my recent "speed sketching" kick. One is my French teacher, the other is one of my classmates. They were the ones sitting the stillest. 🙂
This was from the Zoonomia art expo I blogged about a while back. It was a small skull created from bits of broken ostrich shell. It HAD to be a speed sketch since we were on a guided tour and I was only able to steal glances as classmates walked back and forth between it and me.
Also from the Zoonomia art expo, and also speedy. At the bottom is the 10:1 scale bunny sculpture, and at the top is a ceramic skull that was awesomely lit.
Quick sketch from someone's profile image on Facebook.
Speed sketch: Vincent Price
Quick sketch done this morning, after a pot of coffee. Overdosed on caffeine, I don't have the attention span to obsess over details. The model in the photo I used was in the water, which is why parts of her seem to be missing.
Another quick sketch from this morning, also caffeinated. Lots of "happy mistakes" in this one.

One thought on “Some Art From My Current Sketchbook

  1. I’ve never met an artist with a big ego about their work. As a rule, we tend to be a self-deprecating bunch. Suffering fuels the fire, so to speak. 😉 Keep sketching, painting, photographing, and whatever else you’re passionate about. You being you blesses other people. 🙂

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