Frustration Again

Some days when I’m sketching I just can’t seem to nail it. And it’s usually the portraits. It drives me a little nuts.

It is just so frustrating to be able to get it some of the time and not others. Because a portrait just isn’t any good when it’s off.

My subject this session is my oldest grandson, AJ. At age 16 he’s a very thoughtful kid. He spends a lot of time producing electronic music on the computer so he’s a rather “arty” type. He also has a pretty good sense of humor.

As he’s gotten older he has become very accommodating with me… opening doors, carrying things, asking if I need help. One time I commented, “AJ, I’m so proud of you! You are becoming quite the gentleman!” To which he replied, “thanks, Nonna… but don’t tell my mom!” I thought that was hilarious. And smart. We wouldn’t want his mother’s expectations to soar too high, now would we?

I was pleased with the first sketch. And I have to say it looks much better in person. It’s all scribbly and sketchy like I like.


The second one started out ok and then got lost. At one point it was quirky and cute but I just couldn’t leave it alone. I kept messing with it to the point of near ruination. Ugh!


So I figured, why not do it again and try to have a little restraint? Go for the quirky and keep it sketchy and lighter. Same thing happened again. And this time I managed to make him look older than he is. I don’t even know how I did that since it was the same photo. Double ugh!


I don’t think they’re horrible. They’re just not what I was going for. Thus the frustration.

And I realize I have a couple problems here. One, it wasn’t a great photo. I liked it, but sometimes you can’t get a good drawing out of a challenging photo.

Two, I’m working in a bound book. That makes me feel pressure to make every drawing “nice” so there aren’t bad pages in the book. This is dumb. Not every drawing is going to be good or on the mark. I know that. So why am I expecting such a thing?

I think a way around that is to work on single sheets. I’m planning to cut up some of my spiral bound sketch pads into a huge stack of loose pages. Then I can work with more abandon. If I do a bunch of bad drawings, I can simply throw them away. The ones I keep can be bound into a book of their own.

So I guess I’m off to round up supplies and start getting the pages ready. I’m itching to get loose!

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