Sometimes I can’t finish things. Luckily for me that’s not too often but this week was the week for it and I found that frustrating. It was all about me wanting to make a large piece but not being able to. I haven’t made any of my 20 by 28 inch ink drawings in a while but I wanted to get one started again. I didn’t seem to be able to. In the past they’ve been fairly easy to start. I start them just like every other drawing I make. I pick a drawing out of one of my ink books that are full of drawing ideas and I work up a working drawing from that. Usually a six by nine inch drawing but sometimes a nine by twelve inch one. That’s why I do all those small ink drawings. So I can have a place to start from. And that’s where I started with this one.

After I found a drawing I liked I printed it out in blue line on a six by nine inch piece of paper. Nothing new there. I started to draw but quickly got nowhere. Nothing was working. I couldn’t get the eyes right, the spiral shapes were all wrong, and I had no idea what to do with the background figure. It was a frustrating bit of drawing. After about half an hour I decided to put that drawing aside and look for a new drawing idea to work form. Putting a drawing aside is almost always the right answer when I can’t make it work. Maybe I can another day.

I went back to one of my ink books and found another face drawing to use. I still wanted a face to work with so that’s what I went with. Once again I printed out a six by nine inch blue line and started to draw. More frustration. I gave up on this drawing even faster than the first. I couldn’t get it done. More swirls to struggle with, more eyes that I couldn’t find anything interesting to do with, and another dull neck. It seemed like I would never get that drawing done either so I decided to change course yet again.

I went back to my ink books and looked for a drawing that was more figure and environment based. I found something with less face in it and more body. I thought for sure I had this thing licked and I’d have a finished drawing soon enough. It didn’t happen that way. I couldn’t figure the drawing out. I worked on it longer and harder than the first two but to no avail. Hard work isn’t always the answer. I can’t bull my way through a drawing that’s not working. That’s a hard lesson to learn but every artist has to learn it. So I abandoned a third drawing. I even decided to abandon the whole idea of a large ink drawing. That would take too long and I needed to get something done. A smaller piece just so I could accomplish something. A decided to switch over to one of my “Dreams of Things” covers.

A few days before I had managed to get something done when I couldn’t get much done. I inked “Dreams of Things” #12 cover. One of my faux comic book covers. The way I got it done was to change up my inking technique. I usually use a smooth line to ink with and that takes a certain amount of concentration. I decided to switch over to a rough textured line technique that doesn’t take the same kind of concentration. It’s more free-wheeling. That worked for me a few days before with cover number twelve and I got that cover inked. I decided to work up another cover. The difference between covers twelve and thirteen would be that I already had the pencil drawing done for cover twelve and I had nothing yet done for number thirteen.

I had already proved to myself that I was going to have trouble getting any drawing done that day so I decided to dig through a bunch of my old drawings to see if I could find something that was finished enough to use. It’s pretty easy for me to do that since I scan in all my drawings so they’re all digital files on my computer. It did take a while for me to find one I could use though. Every drawing is not for every occasion. I was even getting frustrated as I was looking through the drawings and not finding anything. It was that kind of day.

After settling on a drawing I had to modify it a little. That wasn’t too hard since I did it digitally but even that was frustrating. I actually picked a horizontal drawing that I cropped and was using vertically. It was a drawing of a person in some kind of elaborate Japanese influenced armor. The person had super-wide shoulders that made the piece horizontal but I cropped it in such a way as the shoulders didn’t even fit onto the sides of the paper. The drawing was from a few years ago and I don’t think I ever made anything finished out of it so it was about time I did.

I don’t think I could have finished the cover if I inked it in my usual way. I obviously didn’t have my usual concentration that day. That much was obvious. Instead I inked with the side of my brush. I used a line that wasn’t thick-to-thin but was uneven. It took me a while to get it done. I was talking on a Google-chat as I was working and that’s usually and easy way to get distracted but this time it helped. I could work slowly and methodically while being able to either listen to someone or take a mental break and talk. It probably took me two and a half hours to ink. I think if I was on I could have cut that time by half an hour if not more.

It was a tough day of not finishing stuff. Days like that can try anyone’s patience. I’m glad something finally came together.