Thinking about drilling. Practicing something repeatedly until it becomes your own.
I picked up a paint brush the other day and applied it to a canvas. While certain elements had potential it basically looked like crap. WHY?
Because I’d forgotten how to paint; it’d been so long since I’d wielded a brush. It didn’t surprise me particularly, except maybe how poor it really was overall, because I drill regularly with my pencils, and am usually pleased with what I produce with them. Not having drilled with a brush in ?? way too many years it couldn’t have been a surprise.
For me drilling is actually liberating in that I’m not ‘trying’ to produce something. Yes I am trying to get better, but that is quite different from getting that exact turn of the mouth that IS the expression you want or the right highlight on the skin that IS the glow you’re after. When you can get that glow on the sketch paper and then apply it to the figure you’re working on, that is satisfaction.
And how do I drill? If it’s an effect I’m trying to get I’ll research how others get it. What is the technique? After all I’m working with ground pigment in a waxy based stick scrapping it on crushed wood pulp and fabric thread so there has to be some way to combine these to look like flesh. Find out how it’s done. Google and the library are your friends.
Here is a made up example: I see a highlight on a leaf, it is PC1006 Parrot Green with PC903 True Blue and the highlight is PC916 Canary Yellow. So I fiddle with this until it looks like it’s supposed to. Then I’ll do it again with less fiddling, and keep at it until I hardly need to fiddle at all. Now is when I start to really learn something because I’ll take this technique and lay down 966 Cold Grey Medium first, or I’ll apply it to a colured ground, and see what this looks like. Or substitute a different green or different blue stretch the technique out. That’s the way to learn and grow, and perfect. Drill.