“Accepting what your drawings look like now is important. You cannot learn to make more effective drawings if you don’t first draw.
“… The point isn’t to make ‘good’ drawings. The point is to draw. Learn the feel of the pencil against the paper, the different angles you hold your wrist, the motion of your whole arm when you draw from your shoulder.”Chris Gavaler and Leigh Ann Beavers, “Creating Comics: A Writer’s and Arist’s Guide and Anthology“, page 25
Note the term “effective” in the quote. Isn’t this far more useful for judging a drawing than “good” or “bad”? A drawing I am unhappy about can still be effective in what it teaches me.
Accepting the gap between where our drawing skills are today and what we wish they were is part of how we narrow that gap. Berating yourself for perceived shortcomings is a misdirection of energy, and won’t solve the issue, so keep the pity-party short and try again.
One of the most frustrating things for me is that when I do try again, I frequently end up with a result I am even less pleased about. I know it happens, I recognise it when it happens, and the more desperately I want something to turn out well, the more likely it is to not. I have a category I file these pieces under: Trying Too Hard.
I also know from experience that if I can keep going, I usually get to a satisfactory result. I don’t always try again, sometimes I stop drawing. Other times I change mediums so I can’t make a direct comparison between my next piece and the previous.
That’s what I did on the morning I drew the two plein-air pieces below. I was a bit ambivalent about my pencil drawing and swapped to watercolour for another go at the scene.
I changed the composition too, focusing in closer on a smaller part of the edge of the bay. I got it to a point where I was feeling happy, and stood up to get a photo, having forgotten how windy it was because I’d been so absorbed in my painting.
As I took the photo above, the wind caught the edge of the paper and blew it onto the pebbles. A bit of wild scrabbling and I was able to get hold of it fortunately. If you compare the bottom of the photos above and below, you’ll see the wind’s contribution to the painting, creating drips off the edge. I rather like it.