Saturday, December 11, 2010

Permission to Fail

Sitting for drawing classes at local community colleges has given me exposure to new approaches to drawing. Some are techniques to which I've been exposed previously, and others have been completely new to me. Across the board, I've found that many of the techniques require giving yourself permission to fail.

Ah ha! My drawing has long-since become stagnant. I've needed to throw something new into the mix, and I realized that I now had a plan. I was going to give myself permission to fail.

Alas, between travel and other commitments, I hadn't actually made it to a drawing group since that revelation. Until today. I headed down to Boulder for the short pose drawing session at one of the groups that I sit for.

I did great with the two and five minute poses- I drew the model as nothing but the predominant shapes and forms in her figure. I drew her as a squiggly little ball of energy. Blind contour drawings, and just plain blind drawings. Negative spaces. I was all over the place with my sketches.

By the time that the ten minute poses rolled around, my drawing was a wreck. I did more of the same, drawing the same pose over and over in different styles. My sketch pad was utter chaos, and the figure was barely even discernible through the chaos. Permission to fail, granted.

Then came the fifteen minute poses. Something clicked in my brain. I slowed down. I actually looked at what I was drawing. I put thought into the lines that I was putting down. I checked angles and proportions before committing them to paper. After an hour of being a complete spaz, I was able to connect with the drawing.

It had worked! Though I ended up skipping out on the 25 minute poses, the last two drawings that I did were the strongest that I've done in quite awhile. I had to reach for a different place to get there, and to do that, I had to let myself flail for awhile. I failed, but it was the failure that allowed me to succeed.

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