Why I’ve Decided to Stop Drawing Every Day

1980 summer pencilThree years ago, killing time on a lunch break, I got excited by a little sketch I made that seemed to have a touch of life in it, and I decided right there that I’d try to draw at least a little something every day. And I did. I was super-proud of myself because I’ve often declared the goal of a daily drawing practice, but couldn’t muster the discipline to maintain it.But this time it was easy.

For three years, anyway.

At the start, the sketches were very humble, and if I do anything like them now, I feel like I’m copping out. My standards have shifted. Also, at first, I was very excited to draw and to push my own limits and learn everything! But increasingly over time, it has felt like a chore. It shouldn’t feel that way on a regular basis, which must mean I’m doing it wrong. I’m pleased at the way I’ve regained skills almost to the high level I had in my early 20s, and I’m very afraid to lose that. The loss of skill and the shame of failing at daily drawing are thorns that have already begun to dig under the skin, but so be it. I can’t compete and I don’t want to. I’ll still draw, but only when I’m moved to make an image, to play with color and line, to discover pleasure in the skill. And if the result is worth sharing, you’ll find it here.


The Force Awakens in Miniature

2016-02-22 Force Awakens thumbnails detail clip2016-02-22 Force Awakens thumbnails clip

I can’t get enough of The Force Awakens.

I’ve seen it three times, read the novelization and watched innumerable YouTube videos full of hints, analysis and theories. And of course, I’ve drawn a few of the characters. Then I thought I’d try a series of minute thumbnails from my favorite trailer. What I thought I’d discover, I don’t know, but I ran out of page before finishing. There were 44 shots in the minute and a half I covered; the cuts were faster toward the end so there may well have been as many in the remaining 50 seconds. The patterns of movement were the most exciting thing, but I made no attempt to capture that. This time. I’ve got a few more ideas to explore–and I’m sure they’ll turn up here when I work them out.

Is this studying or playing? I’m not sure it matters. I love discovering how the images were put together and maybe deciphering what it means.

(media: markers and colored pencil)

Disagreeable Valentine

2016-02-14 HVD

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I have what everyone wants, a disagreeable valentine gift. An intense ginger, who seems not at all pleased. That was what you wanted, right? Sorry, but this is all I have this week. I think the brutal cold made my desire to draw hibernate….at least that’s what I prefer to believe.

(media: markers and colored pencil)

Drawing Faces (2)

2016-02-01 IM condensed 2016-02-04 Verkerk

Two of my better drawings of the last week, faces referenced from models Joan Severance and François Verkerk. I employed a certain amount of exaggeration, but I like the results. In drawing this, it seemed I was either on or couldn’t do anything. Shouldn’t drawings of beautiful people always come out well? They most certainly don’t. Some of the fault is pure fatigue on my part: half because I didn’t sleep well most of the week and half because I tend to put off drawing until evening when my best hours are behind me. To make better use of my livelier hours, I started sketching from life again, people loitering on their lunch breaks, but I’ll gather those at another time. It took a few days to get back into the swing of that on-the-move style, but I liked my results after that.

(media: markers and colored pencil)

Three Drawings: Rey, Ren and a Stranger

2016-01 Rey 2016-01-29 Consequences 2016-01 Dagroon

A few drawings from the week…Rey and Kylo Ren, both to be added to the Star Wars gallery shortly, and a sketch of the Stranger from Rattman Road.

(Media: pencil, markers, colored pencils)

Announcing my new Star Wars Gallery!

2016, Leia to the Rescue, Star Wars art

2016, Leia to the Rescue

I’ve opened a new Gallery page for all my Star Wars art, spanning 34 years of sketches, cartoons, drawings and watercolors. Stop over and check it out. If there’s something or someone you’d like me to draw, let me know in the comments.



Recent Drawings

2016-01-16 Scepticism white   2016-01 Two-2 2016-01-03 Adam Driver  2016-01-14 Sirius 2016-01-23 Jumper 2016-01-20 discovered

Here is a selection of my recent drawings in the usual media–pencil, markers, colored pencils–and now I’ve begun dabbling with ink washes. Of course, I’m still obsessing about Star Wars, so much so that I’ve decided to set up a new gallery page for the new and old work. It should be ready in a day or two.

I still find myself short on time when it comes to doing drawings, but more often than not, even with quick sketches, I’m pleased with the results. That feels really good and everything, and shows that three years of daily practice is paying off, but maybe it makes me wonder….is it time to stretch in new directions?

Silent Star

2016-01-12 Lillian Gish

Inspired by the luminous silent film star, Lillian Gish. I recently watched her 1919 film directed by D.W. Griffith, True Heart Susie. It turns out I was familiar with one of the stills from an old film catalog from my college film school days, but I wasn’t aware of which film it was. The pacing of the silent films takes some getting used to, but there was much that was charming in this one.

There’s something about Gish’s wistful child-woman face that I find appealing, so I had to try to draw her. I love the lighting in these old films and publicity photos, and I’ve drawn from them before, namely Marie Prevost (and here and here and here). I believe the still was a publicity shot; if it was from a film, I don’t know which one. I know it isn’t a good likeness of her, but it is a good drawing. I want to try another one soon.

(media: Prismacolor markers)

Retro Friday: Star Wars Love (1982)

1982 Luke_0002 pale 1982 Luke cap 1982 Leia WC2 1982 Leia WC 1982 Luke pencil 1982 Luke pencil2 1982 6 heroes cap 011 crop 013 Three cap

Star Wars love is in my family…I have it…my sister has it….

Like so many, many others, I’m geeking out about the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Like any self-respecting nerd, I have a few gripes, but overall, I think this new story is pretty terrific. Not that Start Wars love is exactly a new thing for me; I’ve been a fan for 38 years. I saw the original Star Wars movie in the theater in the summer of 1977–Dad took all of us kids, expecting to fall asleep, but didn’t–but I really fell for the series with the arrival of The Empire Strikes Back in 1979, or rather, with its re-release in 1982. That year, the stars were aligned and I was enraptured. I have pages of little doodles and cartoons of these guys, I drew them everywhere, all the time, but here are some of the best things. I hope you enjoy them. They still bring me pleasure.

I’m busy drawing Star Wars again–new characters and old, prequel, classic and the latest and greatest. I’ll post them when I have a nice collection to share. Till then…

May the Force inspire you!

(Media: watercolor, pencil and ink wash)