From time to time, I am in terrible doubt. Are my drawings good enough? Am I even an artist? Doesn’t it take me way too long to draw? What is my signature style? Which material suits me best? Since I joined a few fb-groups of artists, I was hoping to be more certain about certain incertainties. But the opposite happened.

When I am drawing this beautiful blue-eyed cat (ref by Voicu) in pastel pencils on pastelmat, I suddenly feel stuck. Where am I heading? Do I want more detail or less? I love details, but they also take me a loooong time to draw. So I try to draw a bit looser, quicker, and this fluffy cat seems the perfect subject for that. But… something is putting me off, and I don’t know what it is.

I try posting on Twitter a few times, and the response helps me through. It takes me several days, but then I finish it.

When I post the finished cat on Twitter and fb, I am flabbergasted by the overwhelming numbers of likes and comments. It’s so wonderful to feel the support from all those artists! In the end, I think I am even content with the drawing myself…

drawing fluffy cat

And then I get stuck again.

I want to draw a horse. With a very dark background (ref by werdepate). But I want to try to draw details, but also rich colours. For the details, I prefer to draw with Polychromos colour pencils on Bristol smooth. But I have never managed to get the colours that rich on the smooth surface, neither have I ever done a dark background on it…

The layers are endless. I cannot ever count them anymore, layer after layer after layer… And the colours don’t seem to get more vibrant. I search the internet and youtube, but I can’t find any example of anyone doing the same thing, with the same materials, and getting the result I’m aiming for. It seems I am the only idiot trying.

Posting the work-in-progress gives me back a little confidence, but I’m still not sure if it’s doable.

The effect on me is paralyzing. I put the drawing aside for a few weeks, several times. The longer I postpone finishing it, the more I hesitate. Is this ever going to work?

Even though I am not happy with the drawing so far anyway, I am still afraid to ruin it if I try drawing a dark background. With colour pencil alone, I know I won’t manage to get it smooth and really dark. I should try out various media and techniques on a spare piece of paper, I’ve even bought some gouache. Panpastel won’t stick, and pastel pencil and even charcoal also seem to come off easily… it’s all getting so messy!

drawing horse

So there it is, still waiting for me to finish it. And somehow, these challenges have made me lose my drawing appetite. So… what should I do? A few thoughts.

– I guess I really should push myself to try out the various materials on a scrap piece of paper. The paper is expensive, but it’s worth it, if it makes you enjoy drawing again…

– Pastel pencils – though very hard to sharpen and thus more difficult for drawing details – are more satisfying for me, because the rich colours can create a more realistic effect.

– My next drawing should probably be on pastelmat. If it takes too long to finish a drawing, I lose my confidence in ever finishing.

– If I want to draw details on Bristol smooth anyway, I should not aim to get vibrant colours, but choose a subject that has other interesting features.

– It might be worth trying to buy different kinds of paper, perhaps Bristol vellum or other slightly rough surfaces.

– I should consider doodling more often, on cheap paper: quick choice of subject, and just start drawing.

But for now….

What would you do? And would you keep working on the horse, or even start drawing that dark background? Or just leave as it is?