This is Sktchy muse Ali. I’m generally pretty good at capturing a likeness these days but every so often I’ll have a run of missing it every day for a week or more. I’m having one of those runs right now. I’ve missed Ali’s likeness completely in this portrait. My last several portraits haven’t been so far off, but they haven’t been quite there either.

I don’t worry when I miss the likeness. The process of drawing is more important to me than the outcome. But I do think about what it says about me and what’s happening with my drawing at the time. Often it can mean that I’m not as focused as perhaps I should be, or I’m rushing my portraits because I don’t have as much time to work on them as I would like, or it can be a sign of personal stress.

Sometimes, it’s a sign of progress. It’s what I think of as the “one step forwards, two steps back” progress that comes with creative development, that means it feels like your work is getting much worse just before you make a breakthrough and step up a level. That might sound a little nonsensical but I hope some other artists recognise it. I’ve come to understand that that’s how my work progresses.

Right now I’m quite stressed so I think this loss of likeness is probably down to stress and a lack of focus but there’s a little bit of me that’s hoping I’m about to make an unexpected creative breakthrough. 🙂

I drew Ali in a Midori cotton sketchbook with Copic markers and Prismacolor coloured pencils.

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I love drawing things. These days I am rarely found without a pen, pencil or stylus in my hands. In my working life I spend a lot of time in meetings and classrooms, reading papers and strategies, so my home life provides a creative antidote to all that! I also have chronic pain, lots of it. I have scoliosis, fibromyalgia and CRPS, so my life is a balancing act, trying to balance work, which make me feel part of the real world, with pain, which is ever present, and art, which soothes my pain.

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