Some people call them mistakes. I like to call them unexpected outcomes.
It can be very frustrating when a drawing doesn’t turn out as planned. Why can’t I draw a straight line? Why isn’t the perspective right? The figures are flat. The colours are wrong. The ink has dripped onto the paper and now the sky is frowning.
Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this kind of creative struggle. Quite the opposite. I believe that unexpected outcomes are an essential part of the creative process. They’re an indication that we’re exploring possibilities, stretching ourselves and continuing to grow as artists.
You start with a blank piece of paper. You draw. After ten minutes (or an hour or a day), you’ve created something that NOBODY ELSE IN THE WORLD has created. Something new exists because of you. Okay, so it’s not what you imagined it would be and maybe you’re a bit disappointed. But sometimes, sometimes it takes your breath away. I did that? How did I do that? I wonder if I could do that again?
Sometimes the very thing that we didn’t intend is where the magic happens.
18 thoughts on “Unexpected outcomes, part one”
Thank God, as an artist we don’t have to draw a straight line!
We don’t HAVE to… but sometimes we may WANT to : )
I agree! Sometimes I feel like my drawing looks so darn crappy when I start. I have to keep telling myself that if I keep going, then it’ll start to look like something; just don’t give up. A lot of my drawings also end up stemming from very different ideas!
I’ve lost track of the number of drawings/paintings I’ve kept working on when I’ve felt like giving up… but then I feel sorry for them looking so awful and I keep going. A crappy beginning can be wonderfully liberating — if it can’t get worse, it can only get better : )
I love your philosophy Anna, you’ve inspired me to keep struggling….
Thank you, Jen. That means a lot to me… especially coming from someone so talented : )
I know exactly what you are saying. I can struggle along and then something magical happens. Animals are really that way for me – somewhere during the process they go from being a piece of art to having a soul – and I know exactly when it happens in every piece!
Embrace the happy accident 🙂
You are so right!! With every stroke we are learning; it’s a process! I’m sure all the great artists got great because they didn’t give up when they were dissatisfied with their work. Keep calm (no ear cut-offs like Van Gogh!) and carry on!
Keeping calm and carrying on is one of the things I do best ; )
Great things are discovered by mistake :). I can’t draw a straight line either.
I recall one time I was discussing a subject with another person, who asked me to draw it, as it seemed I wasn’t describing it too well! I said “oh, I can’t draw” and he said, go ahead anyway. As I kept describing, I was drawing, a simple black biro drawing, onto a scrappy piece of paper. It was squiggly, involved and, when I’d finished and looked at it, he gasped and said, ‘how Japanese’. I looked at it again and, yes, it reminded me so much of a lovely watercolour painting my mother bought when she was in Japan many years ago — of a monochromatic branch with leaves and fruit, small bits of colour, very involved. It resides on my bedroom wall. I guess I must have absorbed its style unconsciously and this was reflected in my drawing. I looked at my drawing again, I looked at the other person, and I said, “Yes, I quite like this! Thank you for making me draw!” 🙂
Drawing using the ‘absorption’ method! I love it : ) Do you still draw?
Still draw….No I don’t; photography does that for me! ‘Tho occasionally I may do a sribble/dawdle when I am on the phone… 😉
Spot on Anna . I have felt a lot of encouragement from you and your blog posts . Thank you 🙂
A wonderful thought, Anna. I’ve learned to become friends with what you call unexpected outcomes. Sometimes these surprises are frustrating, but other times they’re quite good. I really like what you wrote about something new existing after you’re done drawing. So true, so good. And a great reminder of this.