Appreciating the Imperfect

Drawing of a Rubiks cube

Last week I didn’t do my best drawings. Michael Nobbs often says ‘there’s no such thing as a bad drawing’ but I do wonder sometimes!

2 line drawings of a solitaire ring, jewellery

I can’t say that I was entirely pleased with any of the drawings that I produced last week.

I could pick holes in each one – and don’t get me started on the demon teddy bear!

3 drawings of a glass of water, a mouth and a teddy bear

I’m not going to do that, though. I don’t let a few ‘bad’ photographs put me off taking more photos and in the same way I won’t let a few not-so-good drawings put me off doing more drawing.

My drawings are about more than producing an aesthetically pleasing image. They’re certainly not about producing a photographic likeness (which is why I have my camera).

close-up of stripy clothing on an airer

Like my photographs though, each drawing I do is a little record of a particular object or moment in my life.

When I look back at my drawings and my photographs I remember where I was, maybe how I was feeling, the time of day and what else was going on in my life at that point.

I recall the tiny details in something that I’d never noticed before until I really slowed down and took the time to see them.

The exact hue of the colours on the Rubik’s cube that I still didn’t manage to quite capture. The fact that my Gran’s opal ring could really do with a clean. The way that actually my mouth doesn’t have a hard outline to it, despite the way I drew it.

No matter how I, or others judge the quality of my drawings, whether that be positively or negatively, the value of them for me will still be there and that’s what motivates me to keep going.

Two Lessons from a Week of Drawing

Black line drawing of 2 carrots and 1 onion

Motivation and Building a Habit

I’m more than half way through the Drawing August challenge now and it’s interesting to notice the things I’m figuring out about my drawing and about myself.

Joining this drawing group has given me the motivation to draw every day so far in August and I’ve found that I can usually do that, even on the days when I’ve felt quite tired.

It feels good to be slowly building a daily creative habit and I’m realising how drawing every day affects, and is affected by, my energy levels.

Slow Down and Don’t Panic

This week has taught me a couple of things about drawing and energy.

The first thing I’ve been reminded of is something I learned from Danny Gregory’s The Creative License. Even with small subjects like the vegetables that I drew on Monday, the details and textures can seem a bit overwhelming at first.

I remembered how Danny describes the tiny details on the surface of an object as ‘stepping stones’, tiny ‘landmarks’ for you to map, as you look at and really see what you’re drawing.


Black line drawing of a Moleskine notebook with elastic holding it closed

This helps me to slow down and really notice what it is that I’m drawing rather than what I think I can see.

It also helps to stave off the slight panic I feel when starting to draw certain things, which in turn, stops me from giving up and choosing a less complex subject.

Being Realistic

The second thing I’ve learned is that if I am going to complete one drawing each day this month then I have to be realistic about what I choose to draw.

On Tuesday I decided to go out to draw but instead ended up having a long walk and taking a couple of photographs to draw from when I got home.

Line drawing of Andrewes House balconies on the Barbican Estate

I was quite tired after the walk so it probably would have made sense to draw something small or simple to compensate for the huge amount of energy I’d used walking around.

Instead, I attempted quite a complex drawing using the photographs I’d taken and it took me over an hour to finish it. Just getting the basic shapes and lines down was quite tiring and the whole thing still felt like a rush so I didn’t feel like I’d done the drawing justice.

Black line drawing of an eye looking straight ahead

While it’s nice to draw complex things sometimes, it can be tiring. Even if your energy levels are a bit more reliable you might be short on time so it probably makes more sense for that kind of drawing to be an ongoing project, rather than something to squeeze into a spare 20 or 30 minutes.

Black line drawing of an open padlock

Drawing something smaller and simpler means that you can have the satisfaction of getting your drawing finished without running out of time or using up too much energy.

Black line drawing of the palm of a hand

I can usually draw the outline of a smaller or simpler object quite quickly and then I can choose whether or not to spend more time adding shading, texture or other fine detail.

Black line drawing of an ey looking down, behind frame of glasses

I’m hoping that, rather than pushing myself too much too often, I can use these things that I’m learning this month to help me build a regular creative habit that is sustainable.

Making Space for Drawings AND Photographs

Rain on a path with reflection of a black railing

I’ve been (and still am) doing a lot of drawing lately but I didn’t want to neglect my camera so I thought I’d post a couple of photos today.

I’m still doing the Drawing August challenge and am tweeting a photo each day of the most recent drawing.

I started off tweeting and blogging each drawing every day but it felt like a lot of work, especially when, like yesterday, I wanted to scan and colour the picture, which can take a long time.

Rain splashing on the ground

So I’ve decided that I’ll continue to tweet photos of my daily drawings for the rest of August and once a week I’ll write a blog post including my drawings from the previous 7 days.

Doing one summary blog post of my drawings just seems a bit more manageable than doing a short post every day.

It also means that when the mood takes me I’ve got the space and time to include photographs as well as drawings on here.

If you’re interested to see what everyone else has been contributing you can see the most recent Drawing August drawings on Twitter and as there are no prompts for this challenge there’s a huge range of styles and subjects to have a look at.