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Phil’s Rants #3:
People often unconsciously assume that if they sneak up on their drawings, by either being tentative or very careful, they’ll get better results. I find that being terribly careful or tentative doesn’t give better results at all. It simply gives fewer results. Being super careful and tentative boils down to trying to draw one’s future, that is, trying to make the drawing you will be capable of when you are more experienced. That is not the drawer’s job. Never has been. The drawer’s job is to leave frank evidence of the present, where the drawer is now, at this precise moment. That is all we can ever do as drawers and all we are supposed to do. What gives drawings value is not that they achieve some singular ideal of perfection, but rather, that they reflect a moment in a specific person’s perception and experience. Paradoxically, new drawers progress far more quickly by being true to where their perception and hands are at the moment, than by trying to create their future through excessive control. Do what you can do now, full out, without apology. It is the equivalent of swinging hard in baseball. You may miss the ball. You may nick the ball. You may hit the ball full on. But if you swing tentatively, you are guaranteed failure. So swing hard!

(A draft copy of Phil’s book, Introduction to Drawing, is available for $15 per copy.)

The Drawing Studio—Essays/rants

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