So what did I do this week? Well, amongst other things I drew big. I completed the first of the big drawings that I started a few weeks ago. It’s not a particularly good drawing but I got it done. That counts for something.

I mentioned a little while ago that I felt like making some larger scale drawings and so got a large drawing board. I grabbed some of my 22×30 inch paper and taped it to the board as it sat on my easel. Then came the hard part. What was I going to draw and how was I going to draw it?

Most drawings I do start out small even if they don’t end up that way. It’s generally easier to figure out things at a small size and then blow up the drawing. But spontaneous drawing at a large size can be interesting too. Except if you want to do large size drawing it’s best to use a large size tool. Like charcoal. And I didn’t want to use charcoal.

This lead me to some abortive first attempts. Spontaneous pencil drawing on a large scale is not my strong suit. It showed. I had nothing but some uninteresting scribbles on paper. Things sat around that way for a while. In an effort to get something done I decided to start with a small drawing. So I did. I kept it simple and only worked it out part way. Then I drew it big and ran into trouble again with the parts that weren’t worked out. Of course I eventually had to go back to the small drawing and work it out all the way.

Then I ran into another problem. It turns out I’m not really interested in finishing a drawing in pencil. In “finishing” I mean making a total and complete piece of art out of something. I find pencil a fairly boring medium and usually pencil drawings are a step for me to get to a finished piece. Some artists can make a finished piece in pencil but not me. Not up my alley. So the drawing sat there for another little while.

Finally after sitting on my easel for too long I decided to take a brush to the drawing. Being that one of the artistic traditions I come out of is cartooning I’m used to finishing drawings in ink. I like the stark black and white contrast of ink. Plus I can scale up my ink tools by grabbing a big brush.

It was a little strange drawing with an ink brush on an easel. Usually that’s something I do on a flat drawing table. But I paint with brushes on an easel so it wasn’t that strange. Still it took me some time to get the hang of it. I even tried using some white paint in a way that, years ago, I saw someone use back when I was in art school. I was less successful than she was at the method.

I eventually ruined the drawing because I was trying so many different things with it. That was okay though. I was sure I wouldn’t get this large drawing thing right on the first try. That’s why I kept the drawing simple. It would have taken much more time to inevitably fail with a more complicated drawing.

So after weeks of working on this drawing (in real time not actual work time which was only hours) I trashed it and started over. It only took me a day to finish after I knew what I was doing. And finish it I did. It’s not great. It makes no profound statement about anything. But I’m glad I finished it. Sometimes it’s just good to get something done. And I think I might make some big charcoal drawings too.