Monday, May 30, 2016

Permission to suck

I was twenty years old when I drew this for a close friend of mine. I had NEVER took any drawing classes before. I didn't know anything about anatomy or proportion or anything like that. I had the reference and the pencil and I just did it.

Twenty years later I worked for a group of nice Canadian engineers and I did this for one of my bosses. It was meant to convey his temper and business skills and he and his peers thought it suited him perfectly. Still, no drawing or art classes of any kind. It was just sheer innate talent. I mean, having no instruction at all and pulling something like that must have its merit.

It's worth to notice here that I copied from references I was given. However, whenever I tried to draw something from imagination, it was absolutely awful. I've improved through centuries but still one can tell the difference between those things I've done by copying references and things I've done out of my imagination (like my dwarves). There's a huge gap there. Well, may be they are not TOO bad, but they could be much better than this.

Anyway, it's been difficult to get some drawing theory from A to Z because when I started drawing, I dove in at Q or something like that, and it did look fairly good.

Now that I'm trying to start from A, it looks terrible and I have a problem with it. However, I've come to understand that I do need to start from A and go all the way through, in the order it is meant to be, so I can start doing cool things that are completely mine. Things that I didn't copy on the most part from some other picture. I know I am good a copying. Not that it matters but in my early years I even considered making a career out of forgery of classic masterpieces. Instead of the Thomas Crown affair, it would be the Father Dragon affair, hahahaha.

Anyway, I want to do things right but in order to do that, I am beginning to understand I have to give myself permission to royally suck, with capital letters, like this.

Presumably, they are 30 second quick gesture drawings. If you don't know what Gesture is, you can take a look at this video by Proko (which by the way, is great!). Yet, I look at my attempts and all I can think is "I suck, I suck, I suck". Odd enough, for the first time there is another voice in my head that answers "so what? so what? so what?" Here I am looking at my messy lines and honestly not caring that much that they are uuugly. I've cared too much for centuries, and I think it was that excessive caring that scared me away of way too many starts in the past.  I am not getting any younger and it is really sad and terrible to get to old age with regrets.  It is a million times better to give oneself permission to suck, in order to try something, that going to the grave with the regrets of what you didn't try out of fear or shame or what people will say if...

I'm giving myself permission to suck and I'm gonna brag about how much I suck by posting my ugly drawings here, just for a change. Why not? It's my cave and I am a fire dragon. How many are willing to tell a fire dragon he can't post ugly drawings in his cave? Besides, for some mysterious reason, these ugly drawings make me feel very good about myself. That alone makes them GRREAT drawings, don't you think?

Dragon Hugs!


  1. Yay you. Permission to suck is one of the very kindest things we can do for ourselves. And why, oh why are we sooooo much nicer to other people than we are to ourselves?
    And from my totally unable to draw perspective I am awed at your sucky productions.

  2. You are basically learning a new art form. Sure you'll suck. We all suck when we begin. But you will get better. And just imagine what you'll create when those skills are all equal talents.

  3. Permission to suck granted Sir Dragon. It is all about the learning curve. I personally cannot draw so in my eyes you are exceptionally talented. I've seen some of your drawings and if they suck, mine should be buried somewhere for all time. I hope you will share your progress with us. I would so enjoy seeing what you create.

    I offer you hugs in return...

  4. Definitely permission to suck querido dragon. I love your first drawings even if you had references. Now you are learning from A and that is always a difficult thing to do but you will get there, you have the determination and I believe you won't suck for long. Muchos abrazos.

  5. Those first drawings look like the ones we did in figure drawing class (I studied art at the U. of Ga and the Art School here in Vancouver). I don't think they suck at all. I still enjoy sketching and am trying to teach myself watercolours when there is time. Self taught is the way many people learn, and that way your own creativity will show through. It's never too late to take up a new skill. Besides, you have talent in this area already, what you are doing now is refining your style. Good Luck!

  6. I don't see the ugly. All my life I've wished too have the talent to draw and honestly, I don't have any talent in those regards. I think you have a another great gift and you should definitely keep at it. Like most things, it just takes lots of practice, which you are already doing. I admire you for that. Keep up the good work.

  7. Hi Father Al - so lucky you can draw like that - and if you've got those huge starting pointers you'll be able to add so much ... gosh I'd love to talented like that ... I'd be bragging all the way to your cave too ... looking forward to seeing more .. cheers Hilary

  8. Kudos to you for wielding pen, pencil, charcoal, or whatever medium works. And, very definitely, sharing the sucky-attempts doesn't equate to yuck or ugly. It's just something different. Different is good. Besides, you're striving for excellence in the craft, not perfection (only God is perfect). :)

  9. Father Dragon, you are a far better artist than I am. Your rough gesture sketches show character and expression. That's far better than I've been able to do. I look forward to seeing more!

  10. Hi Al,

    My artistic dragon friend, you actually have a flare, um, flair for improving and progressing your drawing skills.

    You are doing very well.

    In kindness,

    Penny's fictional character,

    Gary :)