Hot damn, it’s time for an episode of Improv-a-Sketch! And by “episode,” I mean “blog post.” And by “Improve-a-Sketch” I mean “the very deliberate process by which all art happens as a series of drafts, culminating in a final, more polished version.” But the idea here is that I go through an old sketchbook and find something particularly reprehensible and then I try and make it better. My past attempts have been pretty shaky. Also, remarkably old! So let’s see if I can bring some new skills to the table this time around.
Let’s look at the sketch in question:
On its merits, this is undeniably bad. However, let’s THINK POSITIVE (™) and quietly ignore all the bad stuff and focus solely on the few redeeming qualities.
Redeeming Quality #1: This is completely inexplicable. The cat is looking at me like “Well, here I am. Is this what you wanted? It must be, because you drew me.” And Abraham Lincoln-corn is just as unenthused to be a part of the project, if he’s even sentient.
Redeeming Quality #2: … ?
Now that the sketch has been chosen, it’s time to workshop some possible compositions, because leaving things the way they are is not an option. In addition to looking like it was drawn like a child (oh hey, maybe that’s redeeming quality #2) the overall placement of things in this image is a bit… bad. If I could choose what bugs me the most it’s probably the moon just sitting in the center of the page doing nothing, or the fact that I can’t tell if the stuff in the sky is supposed to be stars or snow. But you know what, I’m just gonna say that they’re stars because this is not something I need to wrack my brain over.
(stares at sketch for three hours)
Enter the thumbnail phase.
This is basically my attempt to find something, anything, that looks a bit better on the eyes in terms of placement. Since I have a moon to work with, I want one of the central figures to overlap it in order to add some depth to the proceedings, as well as to stage a dramatic light source. For similar reasons, and to help ground the scene at least slightly, I’m adding a lake and some mountains to the background, and just to add a dash of Thomas Kincade I’m gonna throw in the Northern Lights. And as I continue to draw octo-cats, I am discovering that every time I tried to add paws (as in the original sketch), they keep coming out like weird boobs and I am very not into it, so that little touch is going right out the window. Also, instead of looking directly at the viewer and looking catatonic (respectively) the octo-cat and Abraham Lincoln-thing are looking directly at each other, having some sort of moment.
What kind of moment?
Perhaps a tender good-bye.
SCORE: Abraham Lincoln’s skeleton smacking his own forehead from beyond the grave.