Monday, April 10, 2023

Just Start Over


4/5/23 graphite (reference photo by  joshua-j-cotten on Unsplash) 

To test a new sketchbook’s paper with graphite, I started making a small portrait of a young raccoon. It was getting close to my bedtime, and I was tired, but I wanted to make the sketch anyway. I roughly blocked in proportions and features as I usually do for any portrait, and then I saw that I was drawing – a bear. Or something else, but not a raccoon. Something was wrong. I started erasing an ear to see if that was a proportional problem, but I was too tired to think about it. I went to bed.

4/4/23 unfinished bear or something
The next morning, I tried again in exactly the same way: Blocked in proportions and features, and less than 30 minutes later, it was done.

The moral of the story is that sometimes things just go wrong, and it’s not worth the time or effort to figure out what. Stop immediately and just start over (maybe after a good night’s sleep). That’s much better and easier than “fixing” the bear I started with.

I’ll use this post as an opportunity to mention Unsplash, a site I learned about from Kathleen Moore, who uses it often for reference photos. “Unsplash is internet’s source of freely usable images” which come from nearly 300,000 photographers who generously offer their images for free download (as a courtesy, downloaders should credit the source by the photographer’s name and a reference to Unsplash). If I want portraits, Unsplash’s curated selection tends to be posed, attractive models, and I still prefer Earthsworld, whose photographs of ordinary people are all candid. But for nature, landscapes, animals and other subjects, Unsplash is an excellent source.


  1. There are similarities, but I think it was wise to just start over. I like the way you did the racoon's fur.


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