About Nancy: How to fix a drawing

posted in: All, Art Lessons, USA | 3

The evening proved lively: wine and appetizers on the patio, playing badminton in our cocktail dresses, dinner, and then drawing. In her studio/office/workout space, Nancy and I crouched on the floor, sketching ourselves in the mirror. My piece started out fine, but soon ran into trouble.

For me, drawing balances wild abandon with careful consideration. Without some measure of freedom, the work becomes static, careful, boring. On the other hand, without discipline, you are left with chaos; success becomes purely hit or miss.

More often than not, I begin with a bit of planning. It’s important to have some sort of “map” or structure upon which you can let loose. Then I let loose. The gesture line meandering about my paper happily describes figure, sofa, wall, and lamp, moving from one to the next with little pause. There is no need for specifics; those come later, if at all. After a short time, the image takes shape.

Upon awakening, I looked at the drawing with fresh eyes. I felt satisfied with my visage on the left, but Nancy looked as if she’d had a very bad night. Her face was gray and her body uniformly vertical, as if trying to push herself up off the floor. Nancy is a beautiful woman, and this sketch did not begin to do her justice. There was work to do.


Using ink, marker, and white-out, I gave my friend more angles and color. At the same time, I continued working on the background, providing a refreshing break from the more arduous task of rendering the human form. My satisfaction with the results proved short when I realized I had drawn Nancy much too small for the space she occupied. Oh dear.


Round Three. This called for drastic measures. Using a white marker, I blocked in the new body, matching it to the scale of my own. On top of the correction, I repeated my initial process: ink, marker, white-out: layering until I achieved…




Moral of the story: if you know something is wrong, do everything in your power to fix it. Never give up until you rip a hole in the paper; then use what’s left as collage fodder. Nothing is ever wasted.

“Working yourself out of a jam is an opportunity for something wonderful to happen.” -me

Nancy’s version!  Love it.



3 Responses

  1. Sharon O

    Thank you for your insight and inspiration, and for me perspiration.
    Your encouragement, teaching skill, and guidance, has given me a new drawing image, and I will……
    Never give up.
    Xoxo Sharon O.

  2. Leslie Lutz

    Although I’m not a visual artist, I can appreciate the work that goes into revision. This was really interesting to read (and watch!).

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