Day 299: A Bit of a Rat’s Nest

Charcoal RatIt occurs to me that I started this journey not to show off any kind of artistic skills or talent (which I certainly didn’t possess) but rather to challenge myself.  I’m almost 300 days in now, nearing the finish line of the one-year challenge and I feel like I’ve gone astray.  Ironically, participating in some of these October sketching challenges is one of the things that brought this to the forefront of my mind.

There are of course some ways in which I have been challenging myself.  I’ve been trying out different mediums for different sketchbooks.  Going to Dr. Sketchy’s once a month has also been a very welcome challenge.  Then there are the aforementioned challenges.  Within all of these things I’ve been mitigating the risks though and playing it as safe as possible.  I want to learn.  Learning requires challenge.  Learning requires failure.

This blog was designed to keep myself honest and to give me some sort of accountability for getting a sketch in every day of the year.  To that end it’s been very useful.  The unfortunate side effect has been visibility.  Having my sketches on exhibition makes me more inclined to play it safe.  I want to have something to show each day that doesn’t look like garbage.  I don’t like the idea of building a blog post around a page full of scribbles.  Sometimes though, a page full of scribbles is exactly what’s needed.  Sometimes it’s important to step outside of your comfort zone and generate some garbage.

There are some things that I am really terrible at right now.  Practicing in those areas is not going to be pretty.  That’s why I’ve been shying away from them.  The biggest weakness I have right now is drawing from the imagination.  Without a reference I really am just completely lost.  Getting some building blocks in place can help with that but I also really need to just practice.  I need to face my fear.  That’s not so easily done when my sketches are on exhibition.

So here’s the solution I’ve come to.  Instead of attempting to do one good (or at least mediocre) sketch a day, I’m going to use the same time to do a few quick and dirty ones.  One of them will be in my charcoal sketchbook (which is pretty much my current designated sketch of the day sketchbook) and that one will usually be drawn from some kind of reference and therefore hopefully won’t be too terrible.  I’ve also designated a separate doodle sketchbook though.  It will most likely be an ink sketchbook since that’s what I started in but I won’t be too strict about that if I want to play with other mediums.  That’s where I’ll do my experimenting which will result in atrocious sketches for a while at least.  Hopefully at some point they’ll get better.

So on that note, here are today’s atrocious doodles:

Mutant Rat 1 Mutant Rat 2

Today’s #drawlloween prompt was “rat”.  You can see how desperately I need to practice drawing from the imagination. (/end rant)


12 thoughts on “Day 299: A Bit of a Rat’s Nest

  1. I love your first rat and your doodles. Please don’t be afraid to share everything. I stopped the one a day thing back in April and I couldn’t be happier doing it again. As long as the focus is on learning and experimenting we can’t go ring can we?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your doodle rat looks just like the large inflatable one that workers in NYC use when they demonstrate against bad business practices!
    And you’re right…we learn through doing and making mistakes. Best not to be timid and plunge right in. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome pose for that top rat! I, too, struggle with whether to post the rubbish pieces I do, but, you know, I’ve decided that just because I think a particular piece is not good, doesn’t mean others will think the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true. Actually just because I think a particular piece is not good it doesn’t even seem to mean that I will think the same in a few days.

      My opinions seem to be extremely subjective and tied more to how I expected something to turn out than whether it actually looks good or not. Some of my favourite sketches are ones that I thought were really bad when I first finished them, mostly because they didn’t look enough like my reference photos. Take the reference photos away though and give me some time to forget what I thought they should look like and I actually start to like them.

      Of course I’m not sure that will ever apply to these doodley experiments but those are about learning not about producing anything worth looking at.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think your first paragraph really nailed it! I had also read/heard recently from an author that we think our first drafts suck because what we put down on paper don’t match what we had in our heads, but really, different doesn’t not mean worse. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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