Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's Harder Than It Looks

We all have those moments. Well, I do. Today was one of them.

It's called a delusion of grandeur moment. Which means that for some unknown reason, I decided that I was capable of drawing a sketch of myself.

It all started about a year ago, when I noticed a couple of blogs that had a sketch instead of a picture of the author. Cool! I thought. I'd like one of those.

I brought up the subject to my artist daughter. She agreed to try to make a sketch, but confided to me that she thought portraits weren't her strong suit. Pshaw, I said. So she told me that she would indeed draw a sketch of me.....when she got around to it.

I haven't seen it yet. And now that she's busy with a new job and has moved and....well, I understand, sweetheart.

Today, I was shopping at Wal-Mart, and noticed the school supplies lining the aisles. Wow. Pencils just 49 cents. And lookee here - sketch pads.

I threw pad and pencils into my shopping cart. Well, now. I'll just do my own self-portrait, then, I thought.

How hard could it be?

Yes. Those definitely are famous last words.

Later, I sat down in front of my laptop. I pulled up a picture of myself from my computer files, and with pencil in hand and sketch pad on the coffee table, attempted to began to draw.

Good grief in a bucket. Hm. Somehow what I drew didn't look even remotely like the picture. Go figure. I kept scribbling, and erasing, and scribbling, and erasing until I gave up. How on earth do you draw a nose? Or wrinkles.....not that I want to draw MINE. But maybe if I needed to sketch someone else's...

This smudged, nose-less, face and neck wrinkle-free pencil drawing won't be appearing in the ABOUT ME sidebar of Reasonably Well anytime soon.

Some things should definitely be left to the professionals.


annie said...


That is a very good likeness to your photo. You're more talented than you think.

Nancy Perry said...

I have been following your blog for several weeks and really love it. I have not been diagnosed with SS yet but am pretty sure I have it so you are a great help. I am an artist and love your drawing. FYI, check out Steven Aimone's free Expressive Drawing class on the AARP website.

Kelly said...

From another artist, (semi-pro) there is nothing at all wrong with your drawing. Maybe stylistically it's not what you were thinking of to post on your blog, but as a first attempt it shows an amazing amount of ability. You must be aware that portraits are incredibly difficult and that's why most artists steer away. I always say I don't do portraits because there only two outcomes possible: either it won't look like the subject, and that's bad, or it will look exactly like the subject, and that's even worse! (As in: I don't really look like that, do I? Ummm, I'm afraid you do...)

In addition to Nancy's fine suggestion, I would add that you might want to read Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, get a nice soft, thick, dark pencil (Eberhard Faber Ebony is my favorite) and just start filling up some sketchbooks, drawing every and anything from your dogs to your afternoon cup of green tea to those favorite shoes, to the nightly news commentators on PBS. Do it every day for a few minutes, and don't even stop to evaluate what you've done, just keep looking at things, drawing them, turning pages and drawing the next thing to capture your attention (do it FAST, have FUN). Then try another self-portrait after a few weeks of no-stress sketchbook scribbling and see the difference!

Anonymous said...

Another way people get those cool sketches Is by using those photo editing tools that can take a photo and turn it into a sketch or something that looks like it was done by Van Gogh. But I agree that for a first try this is quite nice.

Karen said...

I think you did an awesome job. Keep at it. I bet we will be seeing new doggy portraits in the near future too!