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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Drawings and things


When I’m not painting, I’m drawing. I use my small sketches on cards and for illustrations in the picture books I’m working on. One of my favorite sketches is a raccoon head that I drew after a close-up encounter with one not long ago.

I wanted to capture the raccoon’s expression. I wanted to portray a tender, simple creature. But like all artwork, appreciation is subjective. To the friend I gave the card to, the drawing seemed too sweet and loving for a raccoon, and she asked if it was a pet or a dog I had once owned. When I told her it was a raccoon, she said “oooh, raccoons are nasty things aren’t they? I always thought they were mean.”

She saved all the original cards I made for her, but not this one. Profiling, based on poor information or past experience. At any rate, the drawing I viewed with affection as a beautiful work of nature was to my friend something else.

This experience brought back what I learned as a writer: “if you fall in love with one of your words or phrases, beware. If you get too attached to what you write, you may not be able to cut when necessary” that holds true for artwork as well.

I would enjoy getting your reaction to this small sketch. Does it look like a raccoon to you? Should I toss the sketch out or continue to use it from time to time?