New Figures, Old Injuries

Somehow, I managed to re-injure myself after my neck trauma from a week or two ago, which meant a weekend of lying around on my back in a lot of pain again. I don’t like pain. I don’t like being inactive. So the minute I managed to get to the chiropractor and start healing, it was back to the drawing board. Fueled by the anxiety of not being able to draw for two days in the midst of a ton of deadlines, I’ve been churning through things like crazy. Sometimes I feel like it’s never enough, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, here’s some figure drawing.

For figure drawing this week, I picked up one of those Pentel pigment pens at the art store because I hadn’t had time to go home and get my regular supplies. I’m not going to lie, I really struggled this session. My figures felt lifeless and poorly planned, painting with the brush was tricky, I invariably used too much ink, I couldn’t get the essence of the model on the page. But I pushed on, and by the end of it I’d done two pieces I was actually quite proud of. I debated putting them up here in isolation, but I want to own up to the days when I’m just not feeling it, so here’s the whole bunch.

This is a pattern I experience time and time again (feeling like my work is rubbish, drawing anyway, getting through it, and arriving at a place of excitement and inspiration), and the more it happens, the more I can say “I know you think this horrible now, but just keep drawing.” It doesn’t make the despair of the earlier stages less horrible, but practice teaches me that it’s just a phase. Hopefully one day it’ll be gone altogether, but given that I hear about it from just about every artist I admire, I don’t have my hopes too high. And that’s okay.


So dudes: I went to the zoo this past weekend to draw animals. I had a blast and got a few good sketches done, but I also learned some exciting lessons. Turns out that if you sit down in front of an enclosure and start drawing animals, people begin treating you like an animal. Seriously. It only ever took about two minutes before loud mothers were looming over my shoulder, screeching “Look at the lady, kids! She’s a lady, alright! The lady is drawing! Gee, isn’t that somethin’!” I don’t think anyone attempted to directly engage with me the entire time.

However, there were some upsides. While trying to sketch a trio of distant lions in the (fairly) recently-opened Predators of the Serengeti exhibit, a lioness suddenly noticed the fact that I was relatively immobile and low to the ground and made a beeline across the enclosure to stand directly in front of me. Shortly thereafter, I developed a deep appreciation for the inches of plexiglass between me and this magnificent creature as she made it utterly apparent that she was bent on devouring my skull. She swiped, reared, clawed, headbutted, pawed, and bit that poor stretch of wall, eventually resorting to murderous licking when the other tactics proved ineffective. It was awe-inspiring and, of course, fearsomely adorable.

One particularly grating onlooker loudly told everyone surrounding me that they were obviously witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime moment of psychic connection, interpreting the lionesses’ vicious attempts on my life as blatant displays of affection and kinship — doubtless based on the fact that I possess a mane-like cloud of blonde hair and a birthday which falls within the realm of a certain astrological sign. While it would be lovely to think that this was the case, and that I’ll eventually spring her from her touristy prison so that we may go frolic on the plains of Oregon together, the extensive opportunity I had to examine her vicious fangs suggests that this is an unlikely outcome.

ANYWAY, on to the goods! Sadly, not as many as I’d like, but any drawing is good drawing at this point.

Finally, in other news, all the drawings for TALES FROM THE FRAGMENT are due this Friday, so I’ll be hard at work for the next 24 hours wrapping all that up. I guarantee you sneak peeks when appropriate, dear readership, but for now, let me just say that I never thought I’d need to download so many goddamn reference images of stalactites. Jeez.