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partially-finished sketch columbine

Things don’t always go smoothly with artistic endeavors. I’d started this drawing from a photo of some wild columbine that had popped up in our yard, using  water- soluble graphite pencils. Despite adding various darks & lights and details, I just didnt like it! Finally I decided I had nothing to lose by throwing some color into it. I thought maybe just a hint, with colored pencil, would help it, but –no— so I added even more color with watercolor marker. That was too stark, so I blended with more colored pencil. Then I decided it wasn’t worth putting any more time into.

This may have seemed like an exercise in futility, but sometimes WHAT YOU LEARN from your “failures” is of just as much benefit as what you gain from successes.

I learned the following:

1.  work from a photo that has good directional lighting with strong contrasts —especially with a pale-colored, almost monochromatic , subject. It’s no fun  to have to “wing it” & try to create shadows & highlights enough to make for good definition of form. (If not sure your photo has enough contrast to work from,  print it in black & white, & you’ll find out.)

2. If not sure of the composition, take time to draw it on cheap paper, & then transfer it to the pricey illustration board that makes you wince every time you have to buy it. (Or else you will kick yourself & possibly give-up your art career.)

3. When you know something’s probably a lost cause, go ahead & experiment. I learned a lot  about blending marker with colored pencil on this drawing, & that will undoubtedly help me with something else in the future.

4. Know when to give up & cut your losses. By the time I was done experimenting with this drawing, I had decided to change the composition altogether. When I start it again, it’ll be better than it was this time .


NOTE: All images and text in this post are Copyright K. A. Renninger 2011. I am more than happy to have you share them through your own blog, and hope you will do so—but you must give me credit. Anyone who uses them to make money will be prosecuted.