I’ve started sketching again after a hiatus, and am doing so in pen. Aren’t I afraid of messing up? Not really. I’ll explain why after the break.


There’s something freeing about giving in to imperfection and mistakes. The pressure lets up and I feel open to more experiences and more possibilities. I’m doing so with my sketches by drawing in ink instead of pencil. Why? Because it means that, when I make a mistake, it’s now a permanent fixture of the sketch. This means I can move on and learn from it.

I used to sketch and erase at breakneck speed, so anxious to nail down whatever I’m sketching as perfectly as I can. This wasn’t healthy for me, as it left me feeling very dissatisfied with what I produced. I also had a tendency to make a god damn mess. Sketching in ink means I have to be more thoughtful with my pen strokes.

Take the following sketch. I’m not 100% happy with how I drew the rocks, but that’s a lesson I learned by doing it. The depth came out fairly nice, and I like the volume of the tree in the middle. Is it perfect? Far from it, but I did it, and that counts for a lot.

This next sketch is better. The rocks in the foreground look more like rocks, although I could have certainly used a finer pen for the cracks and details. The overall composition seems decent too. If I redid it, I’d leave out the tree in the middle, behind the bare tree. I also intend on finding a better way to draw scrubby foliage, like that grass.

Anyway, I’m finding this to be a very helpful thing for me. Maybe it’ll help you too! There’s something to be said for Finishing the Thing and getting on to the next one. This is why I’m not worried about intense realism or anything yet. I’m still learning a lot. It all has to come incrementally, and at a pace I find enjoyable.

Another note: Once you have an idea down, you can always revisit and refine it later. It’s all about getting things out so you can play with them. (winky face?)

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