Dealing With Artistic Frustration

I don’t even want to post these drawing but the best way of dealing with artistic frustration is to recognize the source of the frustration and take steps right away to correct it. So I’ll look at my bad drawing, hate them, and do my best to get better.

I’m not sure how most artists deal with failed art. Do they run away from their bad work and just do something else? Or maybe hide it and act like it never happened? Or are they like me and feel like my bad art is issuing a challenge to do better. Well, the gauntlet is being dropped today as I struggled to get any drawing correct today.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: warmup page
10 minute warmup page

Warmup page as always.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration Head-on

If you can see the problem, don’t run from it, recognize it and deal with it head-on. The next few photos are of some bad drawings and I’m going to make some notes about each one of what makes them bad, and how I can change next time to hopefully fix the issues, or at least not repeat them.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: 2min gesture poses setup
10, 2 minute gesture poses setup

A little different today with the gestures, I focused on just one pose. And drew it over and over 10 times for 2 minutes each.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: gestures
20 minutes of gestures

Gesture drawing issues

  • Unable to SEE the gesture
  • Too much focus on detail
  • Not getting the full body gesture down right away
  • Messy unsure lines

How to correct the gestures next time

  • Take a some time to see the main gesture line of the pose, if you only get that line down in 2 minutes it’s something
  • Group the body into large shapes and deal with the contours as larger single lines
  • Think of working from head to toe with the main gesture line
  • Slow down, speed is gathered through correct decisions, not a bunch of random strokes that miss the mark.

Maybe I got better by the 10th gesture but I don’t see it. Literally, I couldn’t see the gesture in this pose. I may be too caught up in the details or just plain lack the practice but most of these gestures are terrible. So to deal with the frustration, I’m doing gesture drawings as many days as I can this month.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: portrait setup
Portrait setup

Ok, this was the largest source of my frustration. I want to blame the photograph and its flatness, but I know it’s just my lack of skill. This portrait drawing is the worst.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: 15 minute portrait
15 minute portrait

The problems with this drawing

  • Size and shape of the head is wrong.
  • I started with the features too soon and placed them incorrectly.
  • It’s not drawn as a three dimensional shape in space, but as a flat mask.
  • Messy unsure lines.
  • The photo is very flat and unclear.

How to correct the problems

  • Take my time, measure more
  • The shape of the head is paramount get that right, then begin to place the features
  • Practice drawing the head as a box or egg shape with its planes and learn how it turns in space
  • Place a line once, focus on accuracy while drawing and making clear decisions before marking
  • Stop messing around and get out your mirror and do a self portrait stupid!
Dealing With Artistic Frustration: figure drawing setup
Figure drawing setup

This figure drawing wasn’t too bad but I definitely have room to improve.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: 15 min figure drawing
15 minute figure drawing

Figure drawing issues

  • Too much focus on contour
  • It’s too flat
  • Proportion is off
  • Messy lines

How to fix the figure drawing issues

  • Think of the body parts as three dimensional shapes, draw across the body not just the outline
  • Slow down, measure more
  • Slow down, make a mark when you sure of its placement
Dealing With Artistic Frustration: Still life thumbnails
Still life thumbnails

After spending about 15 minutes setting up a still life in a composition I liked. I drew a couple thumbnails to figure out placement on the canvas.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: still life drawing on board
Still life drawing on board

Once I had the placement figured out I drew the still life on my board as accurately as possible.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: still life value sketch
Still life value sketch

Onto painting finally. I spent 15 minutes getting the values figured out over the painting. This worked out well for this still life because most of the background is black so a lot of this value work will stay even to the end of the painting.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: still life setup
Still life setup

The painting went fairly well. As I look at it again I see there are some drawing issues but I’m sure I can correct them when I work on it again.

Dealing With Artistic Frustration: still life subject
Still life subject


Dealing With Artistic Frustration: Still life with yellow pear
Still life with yellow pear

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