Showing off “failed” drawings is not a lot of fun, but I learn so much from them that sharing them is important. I’m not exactly pleased with this drawing of “a set of gears”, but here it is for your, ahem, viewing pleasure.
This is a fairly small drawing, about 1/2 of a 9 x 12 sheet of drawing paper. It was done with only a standard 2B pencil. It is, you can probably guess, not the sort of detailed drawing that I would deliberately choose as a subject, so if you’re thinking that someone else picked this drawing assignment, you would be correct.
That “someone” was Ashley Bane Hurst, one of the two art instructors who host “Gettin’ Sketchy” each week. The current season has ended now, but you can still take part. Each sketching session is recorded and is available on The Virtual Instructor channel. Another season will be starting up later in the year.
As always, I tuned in shortly before the program was scheduled to go live. There, in the description, I read that Ashley would be sketching a “complex” subject in the allotted 45-minutes. A set of gears.
I shook my head. Nope. This was one I was going to pass on, for sure. And I might have done just that. I even jumped into the on-going chat and commented. “Gears? I think this one might be a bit too complicated for me. I think I’ll just watch.”
Ashley saw the comment, and in his best friendly art-teacher voice, he encouraged me to follow along, assuring me that he’d be breaking the complicated subject into workable parts. So, I grabbed my drawing pad and picked up my pencil.
The result, as you can see, is a sketch — I used almost the full 45 minutes — that bears a resemblance to a set of gears. It is not highly-detailed, and as we neared the end of the time, I put my pencil down without concerning myself too much with all the shading.
Ashley continued to work on shading long after the time limit expired. He worked another ten minutes in order to bring his sketch to completion. I watched in fascination as he added values — both dark and light — to the sketch.
I’ll admit to feeling a bit disappointed in my drawing, but I did give myself a pat on the back for going ahead and trying a difficult subject. And I dutifully carried my sketchpad upstairs to show my husband. He’s always curious about what our “Gettin’ Sketchy” projects are. I showed him my sketch knowing that he would assure me I’d done a good job. And, he did. It looked like a sketch of gears, he said.
Yeah. Right. Sure. Thanks. I returned to the studio, set the sketch aside, and then shut off the lights. It was time for bed, and I wasn’t feeling too good about my art at that particular moment.
And then, this morning, I came downstairs, and I looked at my 45-minute sketch of what is, definitely, a “complex” subject. Lo and behold! I saw a set of gears. Not the best gears ever sketched, and certainly a drawing lacking in strong values, but nevertheless a sketch that clearly shows two gears turning.
Even if I’m not completely pleased with how this turned out, I am still very proud of it. Or maybe I’m just proud of myself. I’m proud because I didn’t give up. I know there are times when maybe not participating in an art activity is the best choice — as with my woebegone water buffalo — but this wasn’t one of those times. This was a time when it was good for me to take a deep breath and push myself.
It was challenging, for sure. But I rose to the challenge. I followed along, and I learned more about graphite drawing and how to approach difficult subjects. So, yes, I am proud of myself, and I’m proud of this little sketch as well.