Fool Me Once…Fool Me Twice…

You’ve probably heard that old expression:

Fool me once…Shame on you!

Fool me twice…Shame on me! 

Accordingly, I’m to blame for today’s disaster, because for the second time, I’ve listened to my monkey mind and allowed myself to be lured into thinking that drawing a pine cone should be easy. Well, I have news for you. It’s not.

Inktober 21 - Sugar Pine (2)
Cones of the Sugar Pine – Ink Drawing by Judith Kraus

When our search words for today — big, furious, drain, treasure, tree — led to the Sugar Pine, I felt that same confidence I felt when a pine tree had come up on a previous search. Anyone can draw a pine tree. Even I can draw a pine tree.

But after reading a bit about the sugar pine, Cheeky Monkey Mind started in on me. I couldn’t take the easy way out and just draw a pine tree, for heaven’s sake! What fun would that be?

I should draw pine cones. That’s what my irascible monkey mind kept telling me. No, we’ve been there, done that before. It wasn’t a good experience. Perhaps you remember that awful pine cone from earlier this month.

Inktober 5 Pine
Pine Cone

Cheeky latched right on to that. “That’s exactly why you should draw pine cones today.” Notice, it’s now become plural. “You can do it better this time. It will be fun this time.”

Oh, how misleading a monkey mind can be, and how deceptive those lovely pine cones are.

“Just look at the patterns, look at the shading. Think of all the fun you’ll have drawing these pine cones.” Cheeky kept pointing at the reference photo I’d printed out. I was still shaking my head, ready to go back online to search for another Sugar Pine photo.

That’s when Cheeky delivered the deciding blow. “Did you know that the sugar pine has the longest pine cones of any species?” Well, yes. I did know that. I’d just read it. But I had to admit, Cheeky was making a good point. I mean, really, if you’re going to draw a sugar pine, you really should draw those long, slender cones.

And Cheeky was right about another thing. Pine cones do look like they should be easy to draw. I should have known it was a trick. I’d fallen for that line before when pine had come up on a search. Sadly, I fell for it again. Pine cones are not easy to draw, at least not for me.

Usually at the very least I can say that I enjoyed my drawing time, regardless of the results. This time I can’t say that. Drawing these two pine cones was not fun. I gritted my teeth, clenched my fingers around the pen, and I struggled through it, all the while vowing that never again would I listen to Cheeky Monkey Mind and be lured into drawing pine cones.

There were actually four pine cones in the reference photo. I managed to complete two of them, and then I put my foot down. I was not drawing anymore pine cones, and that was that. End of discussion.

But stopping with only two meant having a lot of empty white space to fill. I added pine branches, pine branches, and more pine branches. They aren’t very good pine branches, but at that point, I didn’t care. I was mad at Cheeky Monkey Mind for misleading me, and mad at myself for listening and believing.

Moral of the story: Don’t believe everything your monkey mind tells you.


Now Monkey Mind is telling me that tomorrow’s words will be:

  • Little
  • Trail
  • Expensive
  • Ghost
  • Tree

OK, we’re off to draw tomorrow’s tree. Thankfully this one does not have pine cones!


  1. Good Lord my cat sat on my keyboard while I went over to my flat files to look up a pine cone drawing from 30 years ago…good thing he didn’t find the “enter” key or you’d have a comment consisting of nothing but about a hundred rows of random characters! Anyhow, a helpful hint for pine cones is to set up your model in a strong angular light and draw only the dark negative spaces from the inside out until you get to the final exterior outline. Hope that makes sense!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I loved the pattern of light and dark. It was a lot harder to draw than I’d thought. I was working from a reference photo, but I think it would be helpful to pick up a cone or two on my next nature hike and bring them to my drawing table. I appreciate the helpful suggestion.


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